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[Seminar] The Discover of Shipwrecks and Maritime Silk Road

11,09,2021

By Aneka Rebecca Rajbhandari | SRS2021

On November 9th, the second seminar lecture of Silk Road School series, "The Discovery of Shipwrecks and Maritime Silk Road" was held online. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Zhaoyang Zhang, associate professor of History, School of Humanities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Ph.D. in History, University of California, Berkeley. All first year master’s students of the class of 2021 attended the online lecture.

Professor Zhang thoroughly introduced the most representative archaeological findings of the Maritime Silk Road, and exclusively analyzed how cultures, beliefs, technologies and languages from different regions spread to other regions through trade. He evidenced the prosperity of foreign trade of the Song Dynasty by using the foreign trade porcelain of the Song Dynasty shipwreck "Nanhai No.1" in Yangjiang, Guangdong province, which has rich types and diversified origins. The Chinese porcelains, Tang dynasty shipwreck in Indonesian waters, and the Arabic inscriptions, Tang poems and Buddhist auspicious patterns on the artifacts show the diverse cultural tastes of the Tang Dynasty. Professor Zhang pointed out that the Maritime Silk Road is an important way for China to communicate with the rest of the world. This vast network not only carries trade of goods, but also promotes the spread of knowledge, ideas and culture, which has had a profound impact on world history and civilization.

Professor Zhang maintained timely interaction with the students throughout his presentation. He also asked students questions which students answered enthusiastically. Students expressed their keenness through questions in between presentation and after as well. The interactive lecturewas a very effective and encouraging way for students to explore their curiosity.

Ekaterina Prodanova, SRS student from Russia who joined the lecture at mid night from Italy, shared

“I loved it in fact, even though it was late night, professor Zhang shared his enthusiasm for his topic, and the time just flew by. He took us on a journey through ancient times, showing how the Maritime Silk road worked towards the globalization process. The examples of shipwrecks findings illustrated the topic so vividly, it felt like we were really there.”

Another student from Carlos Ignacio Uc Herrera from Mexico also described

“The lecture was interesting because we could learn more about the maritime routes used by China to trade with not only its neighbors even far from regions like Egypt, it shows us how the process of globalization is not a new concept instead came frommany centuries ago, also I want to highlight the enthusiasm of Professor Zhang, who involved everyone in the interactive session.”

This lecture is the second in a series of lectures organized by Silk Road School in the new semester. Through this lecture, the Silk Road School students are able to further understand the profound origins and ties between the ancient Silk Road and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, and the wisdom of China and the world reflected in the Belt and Road Initiative.




Zhaoyang Zhang

Zhang Zhaoyang, male, Ph.D. in history, University of California, Berkeley (2010), associate professor of History, School of Humanities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has a wide range of research interests, mainly focusing on Ancient Chinese History and History of Sino-foreign relatons, where he has had research achievements. He has published more than 30 papers in academic journals in China and abroad and a monograph. Zhang has undertaken a number of national and Shanghai social science projects. His English course "Two Thousand Years of Sino-Foreign Cultural Exchange" has won the title of "Model English-taught Course for Foreign Students in Shanghai Universities".