The inaugural lecture on 29 November will be given by Lars Tharp on the topic will be “The Gate of Heroes – on the China Trail.”
Lars will trace the epic 800-mile overland journey made by Chinese porcelain destined for Europe. In the 1600s and 1700s millions of pieces – dinner services, vases, and ornamental wares - were carried from the “secret” porcelain city of Jingdezhen over lakes and mountains to Guangdong province, passing through the “Gate of Heroes”.
If making the porcelain was arduous and dangerous, then the journey it had to take was harder still. Carried by barge across treacherous lakes and hauled up shallow rivers by “stick stick men” or coolies, the climax of the journey was the arduous climb to the “Gate of Heroes.” Finally the precious porcelain arrived in Canton to join the other fine goods destined for the West: silks, teas, wallpapers, furniture, and silverware. Luxury created by the labour of millions to satisfy the hunger of the European rich.
The second part of the journey was no less perilous – the 12,000 mile sea voyage to Europe on an East Indiaman vessel. Many didn’t make it as the wrecks around Malaysia’s shores bear silent witness. Some of the ships may well have put into Penang for water and other provisions.
Please book the lectures by calling the IWA office on 04 898 2540 (9.30-12.30 Mondays to Fridays). Alternatively, the following committee members will be happy to take bookings:
Marlene Fox: 016 491 1658/04 228 5692
Robert Newton: 014 258 6318
Jenny Ng: 015 611 488
Judith Ellidge: 017 578 3965