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Asia Society "Secrets of the Sea" Exhibit - Explorers Club Field Trip

Members and their guests are invited to private tour of the latest exhibit at the Asia Society, Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia, with Adriana Proser, Ph.D., the John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art.

In 1998, Indonesian fishermen diving for sea cucumbers discovered a shipwreck off Belitung Island in the Java Sea. The ship was a West Asian vessel constructed from planks sewn together with rope — and its remarkable cargo originally included around 70,000 ceramics produced in China, as well as luxurious objects of gold and silver. The discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo confirmed what some previously had only suspected: overland routes were not the only frequently exploited trade connections between East and West in the ninth century. Whether the vessel sank because of a storm or other factors as it traversed the heart of the global trading network remains unknown. Bound for present-day Iran and Iraq, it is the earliest ship found in Southeast Asia thus far and provides proof of active maritime trade in the ninth century among China, Southeast Asia, and West Asia.

In the past the common historical narrative described major global maritime networks connecting Asia to the rest of the world first emerging in the fifteenth century as western explorers and adventurers asserted a role in the region. With the discovery of the shipwreck near Belitung we now know that important, complex, and dynamic networks of maritime trade already connected disparate cultures across the globe as early as the ninth century.

Don't miss this unique look at early exploration, seafaring techniques, and 9th century wayfinding that linked Tang China with the Abbasid Caliphate.

Date: Tuesday, May 23

Time: 4:45 pm sharp in the Asia Society Lobby

Location: Asia Society, 725 Park Ave, New York, NY 10021

Reservation Notes:

Tickets are $25.

Due to limited availability each Member may only bring a single guest. Reservations can be made by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or calling 212.628.8383.

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