Facebook icon
Logo of Hong Kong Museum of History

Special Exhibitions



"Across the Oceans: the Local Connections and Global Dimensions of China's Maritime Silk Road"

The Maritime Silk Road was a major conduit for foreign trade in ancient China. Maritime trade began as early as the Qin and Han dynasties, and reached its peak during the Song and Yuan period. The Maritime Silk Road comprised of two major shipping routes: the East China Sea route linking China with the Korean Peninsula and Japanese archipelago; and the South China Sea route reaching from China westwards to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region. Major Maritime Silk Road cities in China such as Penglai, Yangzhou, Ningbo, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Guangzhou, and Beihai played important roles in the development of maritime transport and trade. From the south-eastern ports and through the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, Chinese silk, pottery, tea, and other goods were sent to the Arabian world and other locations in Asia and Africa. Spices, woollen textiles, ivory, and other commodities flowed into China from overseas. Although the Maritime Silk Road suffered the restrictions of a maritime trade ban during the Ming and Qing period, exchanges between China and foreign countries never stopped. In addition to facilitating the exchange of goods, the Maritime Silk Road also promoted the interaction and integration of different ethnicities, religions, and cultures. This exhibition is a cultural exchange programme of Mainland China-Hong Kong-Macao in 2016, supported by the Chinese Culture Friendship Association. By using the cultural relics from eight Maritime Silk Road cities, as well as artefacts from Hong Kong, the exhibition elaborates upon the roles and functions each had as they grew and prospered on the Maritime Silk Road. The exhibition also reflects upon the impact and contribution of the Maritime Silk Road on the development of the world's civilisations.

Besides the precious artefacts about the Maritime Silk Road, the exhibition features a number of interactive programmes, such as the interactive map of Maritime Silk Road, "My merchant ship" and "Guess the ancient places" etc. which aim to provide the audience with different museum experiences and deeper understanding of the exhibition subject.


The Museum offers public guided tours from 31 October onwards. Each tour lasts about 1 hour and admits 30 persons on a first come, first served basis.

Public Guided Tour Schedule (PDF)


Audio Guide Service

The audio guide service (in Cantonese, English or Putonghua) is available from 26 October onwards. The rental fee is HK$10. Please proceed to the Audio Guide Service Counter at the 1/F Main Lobby for enquiry and rental.


Download Area

The base with brown patterns on white glazed coloured vessel from the Cizhou Kiln
Collection of Penglai Ancient Ships Museum
Amethyst beads
Collection of Hepu Han Dynasty Cultural Museum
Bronze mirror with seahorse and grape patterns
Collection of Yangzhou Museum
Yue kiln neriage porcelain pillow with lingzhi pattern and a mythical animal
Collection of Ningbo Museum
Jingdezhen kiln green-glazed blue and white porcelain gourd-shaped vase
Collection of Fuzhou Museum
Cizao kiln black-glazed vase with carved designs and two handles
Collection of Quanzhou Maritime Museum
Spanish Netherlands silver coin
Collection of Zhangzhou Museum
Armorial dish in Canton enamels
Collection of Guangzhou Museum

26/10/2016 – 27/12/2016

Free admission

Special Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of History

Jointly presented by 
Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Ningbo Bureau of Culture Radio & TV, Press and Publication
Art Exhibitions China

Jointly organised by
Hong Kong Museum of History

Ningbo Museum
Art Exhibitions China


Inspiring Insights into Dr Sun Yat-sen and His Time

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the Hong Kong Museum of History now introduce Dr Sun's revolutionary career to members of the public – with a special focus on the interests of younger visitors – through a dynamic mix of fascinating images, videos and multimedia programmes. Towards the end of the Qing dynasty, conflicts such as the First Sino-Japanese War, the occupation of Beijing by the Eight-Nation Alliance and the Russo-Japanese War, as well as major incidents in China including the Hundred Days' Reform, the constitutionalist movement and the May Fourth Movement, sowed the seeds for Dr Sun's revolutionary cause and also provided him with opportunities to advance it. His revolution thus rode the tide of history, and this exhibition shows Dr Sun's life and times from a variety of starting points to provide a comprehensive view of the man who changed China.



The Qing government invited Dutch painter Hubert Vos to paint a portrait of Empress Dowager Cixi in celebration of her 70th birthday in 1905.

Top: The Portrait of the young empress as requested by Cixi herself.

Bottom: Cixi as Vos painted her from memory after he returned to the Netherlands.

A member of both the Foo Yan Man Ser and Xingzhonghui societies, Tse Tsan-tai was not only a revolutionary, but also an invertor; he designed the first Chinese airship, China.

A three-year-old Puyi (left) ascended to the throne in 1909 as the Xuantong Emperor. His father, Zaifeng (right), became Prince Regent.

Prominent businessman Li Yuk-tong and the character Li Yu-tang (played by Wang Xueqi) based on him in the Chinese-language film Bodyguards and Assassins.

A British newspaper introduced Dr Sun Yat-sen as 'The Man Of The Week' during the 1911 Revolution.

12/11 – 5/12/2016

Free admission

1/F Lobby, Hong Kong Museum of History

Presented by 
Hong Kong Museum of History