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Nanhai One shipwreck artifacts on display in China

Spectacular porcelains salvaged from an ancient Chinese merchant ship are on display in Yangjiang City of Guangdong Province. The “Nanhai One,” or “South China Sea One” captured the nation’s imagination when it was raised from the depths of the sea in December of 2007.

One spectacular highlight was that the ship was laden with fine Chinese porcelain manufactured some 800 years ago.

For the first time, visitors were able to appreciate the fine works that were lost at sea during the height of China’s maritime trade centuries ago.

Like many sunken wrecks, “Nanhai One” proved to be a treasure trove. More than four-thousand gold, silver, and porcelain artifacts, and six-thousand copper coins from the Southern Song Dynasty were salvaged. Experts estimate Nanhai One contained more than eighty-thousand valuable relics.

The Southern Song Dynasty marked the first high point of China’s porcelain industry. Products were exported to east, south and west Asia. They traveled as far as the east coast of Africa. Those who owned porcelain in those days were seen as holding status.

As the locale where the sunken ship was discovered, the coastal city of Yangjiang has established a special museum to house these retrieved treasures. The Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum showcases not only the salvaged works of art, but also displays the ship wreck, stored in a huge transparent case. The museum has officially opened with a ticket price of 80 yuan per person.

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