ST Lee Annual Lecture in Asian Art and Archaeology Annual Lecture 2014

2 September, 2014

The 9-10th centuries were the first peak of China’s maritime trade. Many ports along the coast of China engaged in this period and traded commodities from different regions of southern and northern China. However the ports were not selling the goods directly to the end users of Southeast Asia and further away. There was an entrepôt between China and Arabian area in the trade routes from South China Sea to India Ocean. Based on the Chinese and Arab records of the 9-10th centuries, we learn that there were three trading circuits around the trade routes from the 9-10th century: one between China and Southeast Asia, one between Southeast Asia and Arabia and the Persian Gulf, and one between the Arabian area and east Africa. Sri Vijaya and Basra were the two main entrepôts for these circuits. According to documentary records, China and Sri Vijaya had a very close relationship. Chinese and Arab records of commodities both contain products from Southeast Asia. Their texts on trade route were more detailed for the side of Malacca Straits that they were familiar with, but not for the other side. The cargoes from the shipwrecks of Belitung and Cirebon in SE Asia waters all contain products from around the South China Sea and the India Ocean. During the 9-10th century, the mode of maritime trade between South China Sea to Indian Ocean was therefore centred in Palembang, Sri Vijaya, where the trade of the East and the West was primarily interconnected. The prosperity and decline of the Sri Vijaya Kingdom had a great impact on the trade between China and Arabian area, as well as more distant regions. 

Professor QIN Dashu is professor at the School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, where he received his BA, MA and PhD degrees. He is a world leading scholar on Chinese ceramics and is the author or editor of a few books or international conference proceedings. He has published over 100 articles and some of these are translated into Japanese, French, and Italian. Dashu has given talks at worldwide organisations such as SOAS and the Percival David Foundation of the London University, the Oriental Ceramic Society (London), Osaka Museum of Oriental Ceramics and the Asia Civilization Museum of Singapore. Two kiln site excavations led by Qin were listed as Top Ten China Archaeological Discoveries of the Year (2001 & 2009).

Sponsoring by the Angkor Research Program, Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, the Chinese Studies Centre and the Confucius Institute.

The Annual Lecture in Asian Art and Archaeology is endowed by Dr Lee Seng Tee, owner and director of Lee Industries, Singapore.

Dr Lee Seng Tee has been a generous supporter of the Angkor Research Program of the University of Sydney.

Location: The Refectory, Quadrangle, The University of Sydney

Contact:Dr Martin King