Under the sands of a beach in the city of Quanzhou City in Fujian Province, a well preserved secret was discovered–a boat built during the Song Dynasty.
It is the oldest, fully intact wooden boat unearthed in the world with a load capacity of 200 tons.
It was not the largest boat constructed during that time. The largest had a load capacity of more than 1,000 tons.
Experts say the construction of these ships with hermetic compartments made safe navigation possible and these methods that were developed a millinea ago are still used today in modern ship construction.
During the Song Dynasty, the trading port of Quanzhou was considered one of the two largest in the world. Egypt’s Alexandria was the other one.
As an important seaport for trade at one end of the Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou had close ties with Korea and Japan in the east and as far as northeast Africa in the west.
At the time, the Indian Ocean was called the Western Seas, which explains the story of Zheng He’s Voyage to the Western Seas” in the Ming Dynasty.
There were two major kinds of trade goods–silk and porcelain. Some scholars say that porcelain should be considered the fifth great Chinese invention.
Return to Song Dynasty – Part 3
If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.