Selden map
The Selden Map will be the stand-out item in the 'Oxford treasures' exhibition.
Image: Bodleian Libraries

Oxford treasures go on show in Hong Kong

Treasures from Oxford's celebrated Chinese collections have gone on show in Hong Kong, coinciding with the University's largest ever gathering of graduates in Asia.

An exhibition titled 'Mapping Ming China's Maritime World – The Selden Map and Other Treasures from the University of Oxford' begins today at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and runs until 23 June. It has been jointly organised by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and Bodleian Libraries.

Today also marks the start of the inaugural 'Meeting Minds: Alumni Weekend in Asia', which is being held in Hong Kong and is expected to attract at least 270 Oxford alumni from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The alumni weekend, which is being hosted by Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University, and Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University, will allow Oxford's graduates and friends to come together and celebrate their links with the collegiate University, enjoying a varied programme of social activities and academic events.

Speakers include Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, and Professor Rana Mitter, Director of the Oxford China Centre.

Among the highlights of the museum exhibition is the Selden Map, which is one of a number of items on display from the Bodleian Libraries and the Ashmolean Museum. Bequeathed to the Bodleian by London lawyer John Selden in 1659, the map details the maritime trade routes of the Far East in the late Ming period.

It is the earliest known map showing shipping routes linking Ming-era China with markets in South East Asia and beyond, and has undergone extensive restoration work in recent years.

To mark the Hong Kong exhibition, the Bodleian Libraries are releasing three digital resources: an e-book on the Selden Map and two digitized historic manuscripts showing sea routes with compass bearings. All are freely available online.