INAUGURAL TRIP TO CHINA 21st October - 11th November 2000


Monique Crick, President of SFECO together with a Curator from one of the museums in Zhejiang, will accompany the group visiting museums, ancient kiln sites and potteries. The trip will be conducted in French and English.

XIAMEN (Amoy): appears in records as early as the Song  Dynasty but it was in the middle of the 14th century, in the early years of the Ming Dynasty that the city walls were constructed and it was established as a major seaport and commercial centre. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and British traders found their way there over the centuries. The SWATOW kiln sites are to be found west of XIAMEN.

QUANZHOU: until the end of the 14th century was probably one of the greatest commercial centres in the world from which Chinese silks, satins, sugar and spices were exported to India, Arabia and western Asia. It was from here that Kublai Khan's invasion fleets set sail for Japan and Java. Marco Polo was awed by its splendour and evidence of its arab traders can be seen in their architecture and tombs. Between 1403-1433 seven major maritime expeditions were despatched to South-East Asia, Sumatra, Java, India, the Persian Gulf, up the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. To the north-west of QUANZHOU are to be found the kiln sites of DEHUA, famous for its production of Blanc de Chine and Qingbai. Travelling north, following river valleys we climb up towards WUYISHAN one of the most scenic mountains in south east China. Travelling by boat along the river, high up, wedged in the cliff face are boat shaped burial tombs dating back more than three thousand years.

LONGQUAN: town lies in a river valley, surrounded by hills and mountains. "Some of the kilns producing the finest quality celadon wares lay well to the south, high up in the steep mountain valleys characteristic of the southern half of Zhejiang Province."

SHAOXING: is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt towns in China, criss-crossed with canals filled with white-washed houses and ancient bridges. Birthplace of the 20th century writer Lu Xun and home of Shaoxing Wine. From 770-211 BC it was the capital of the Kingdom of Yue. Close by, near SHANGYU are to be found the Yue Yao kiln sites.

HANGZHOU: Capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty where the 'Official' Guan ware was made. Situated on the banks of West Lake, a large freshwater lake surrounded by hills and gardens, its banks dotted with pavilions and temples, is also known for its tea, silk and wood-block printing.

SHANGHAI: the most famous of the Treaty Ports. We will be staying at the famous Peace Hotel (The Cathay) which was completed in the 1930's. Some of its suites laid out in Art Deco Style representing the concessions of the time: French, British, American and Japanese as well as Chinese. When China began opening up again in the 1980's old members of its jazz band appeared with their instruments to start entertaining its visitors once again. Over the years the members have got younger and visitors have replaced the worn out drum sticks! Situated overlooking the Bund at night we can look out onto its bustling, trading sea-port A visit to the new Shanghai Museum will be a fitting end to an incredible journey.

This Tour is now completed... "Bon Voyage!"


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