Walking into Sri Lanka National Museum and exploring the ancient Maritime silk road
Editor's note: Sri Lanka (old name Ceylon), is a tropical island country in the Indian Ocean. As early as hundreds of years ago, Sri Lanka has become attached to China because of the Maritime Silk road. Sri Lanka pavilion will be set up in this expo and it is going to show their special products from nearly 30 companies. Today, let me take you to know more about the ancient maritime silk road of Sri Lanka.
According to historical records, the navigator of Ming dynasty, Zheng He had arrived in ancient Ceylon several times on his Treasure voyages. Zheng made a pilgrimage and carried out economic and cultural activities there. Now, lots of precious historical relics are still collected in Sri Lanka National Museum.
Galle is a coastal city in the southwest of Sri Lanka adjoined the Indian Ocean. It is a city with a long history and also one of the four major economic towns in Sri Lanka. Since the 16th century, Galle was colonized successively by Portugal, Netherlands, England and declared independence till 1948. But long before its was discovery by Europeans, it had already been one of the important stops of the Maritime Silk Road.
According to the historical records, from 1405 to 1433, Zheng He had visited Sri Lanka five times on his Treasure voyages. In his third trip, he came to Galle. Now, in National Museum Galle branch, there is a theme exhibition hall presenting a variety of scenes such as Zheng He's fleet to Ceylon countries 600 years ago through pictures, models, and videos.
Walking into the exhibition hall, a statue of 1:1 proportion of golden statue meets in your face. It is the statue of Zheng He wearing a cap and official robes. His eyes and face look peaceful with a background of the Galle sunset beach.
Zheng He's navigation documentary is playing on electronic screen in Sinhalese.On displaying is the traditional blue-and-white porcelain and ancient coins.Ouna, the museum staff said that referring to the historical records, Zheng He's fleet is made up of more than 300 ships and a large number of officers, including vessels. On his arrival in Galle, he set up a piece of stone carving three languages. This stones, coins and other cultural relics reflected the history of trade between China and Sri Lanka.
According to Ouna, Zheng the stela brought by Zheng He was originally stood in a temple of Galle, but over years it disappeared.It was discovered by a British engineers Tomlin til 1911 when he rebuilt the road. The Stela was on the sewer under the cover of Cripps in Galle. After the independence of Sri Lanka, the tablet was sent to the National Museum.
"According to research, the Chinese content is talking about the praise of Shakyamuni Buddha from Yong Le,the Ming dynasty emperor. Tamil and Persian content are respectively praising Lord Vishnu of Hinduism and Allah. At that time, the major merchants were from Arab, therefore there was Arabic inscriptions while The ancient merchants are mostly Tamil. Language in Chinese reflected the economic and cultural connections by the silk road between China and Sri Lanka.
Sanchi varney said that it is very rare in the history of Sri Lankasuch that there were three languages carving in the same piece of stone tablets to praise three religions. Its findings to relevant historical research is of great significance.
“The stone is one of the important cultural relics of the Maritime Silk Road and also one of the precious historical materials witnessing the diplomatic intercourse between Chinese and Sri Lankan. As far as I know, there are lots of tablets found about the Maritime Silk road in China and around the world. But this is the only trilingual tablet that found in Sri Lanka and collected by museum.This is a huge discovery between China and Sri Lanka.”
According to the museum, “Zheng He tablet” has become one of the Sri Lanka National Museum collections of precious cultural relics. In recent years, with the development of tourism industry in Sri Lanka, it not only attracts local visitors, but also Chinese tourists. This tablet is going to witness the friendship in the Maritime silk road in the 21st century .