Exhibition Track
Encounters between Disparate Cultures > Han Chinese in Taiwan > Early Han Activities
Junk, East Asia trade, Taiwan
Object description:
Starting in the Song and Yuan Dynasties, merchants along the coastal provinces in southeastern China conducted trade using wooden sailboats, a practice that continued in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Europeans referred to the sailboats as junks, which first appeared in the travel notes written by Friar Odorico and Ibn Battuta in the 15th century. From the late Ming Dynasty to the early 20th century, Chinese merchants often used junks to carry out trade across the Strait. After the mid-19th century, they traveled frequently between various ports in Taiwan, Penghu and the coastal regions of southeastern China, and thus formed the lifeline for trade with Taiwan.
The model junk represents one from the Quanzhou merchant ship system, with three masts, brown sails, high bulwarks, watertight bulkheads, a square opening at the bow and foils on either side. The most prominent feature of the sailboat is its white underside, and thus the name “white-bottomed boat” was often used for such vessels.
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Cultural relic

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