Professor Wang Wei Attended the Opening Ceremony of 'Origins of Clothes—Barkcloth' Exhibition
Wang Wei, the head of IA CASS and Professor Liu Guoxiang attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition, namely, ‘the Origins of Clothes—Barkcloth’, held in Hong Kong from August 3th to 5th, 2011. Actually, they were officially invited by Prof. Tang Chung, director of the CUHK Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art. In the opening ceremony, Professor Wang Wei gave a speech and spoke highly of this exhibition. Specifically, he pointed out that the study of barkcloth is one of the significant fields of archaeology in South China. Stone beaters were uncovered from the Xiantouling site in Shenzhen, dated to AD 6600, a time over 3000 years earlier than their parallels found in the region of Southeast Asia. Therefore, these findings have been identified to be the earliest stone beaters for manipulating barkcloth, providing significant evidence of the origin and spread of the culture of barkcloth. This exhibition, with an outstanding topic, ample contents and original way to exhibit, on the one hand, has provided significant archaeological discoveries for the study of the barkcloth among the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, on the other hand, made better understanding of manipulation and technology of the barkcloth garments by the means of ethnological investigation and study of the experimental archaeology, which leads us to recognize that the stone beater is a tool which might have been made especially for hammering the barkcloth. Along with beautiful images, precious cultural relics and ample ethnological materials, this is the first exhibition to present significant, historical position of the human clothing culture.
From the beginning of 90s in the 20th century, Professor Tang Chung, director of the CUHK Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art, has directed and participated in archaeological field projects in Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam, including a series of significant results, which can be functioned as a motivation for the study of the barkcloth. In 1996, he worked with the institute of Archaeology CASS, excavating the Dawan site at Nanya island in Hong Kong, where house remains, dated to AD 6000, and stone beaters were found. In 2002, stone beaters dated to Bronze Period were found in collaborating excavations conducted in Vietnam. Beside the above achievements of archaeological field projects, Professor Tang Chung collaborated with the scholars from Taiwan, Vietnam and conducted a series of investigation and studies on the stone beaters for making barkcloth between 2000 and 2002, when he was sponsored by Hong Kong Research Grants Council. Meanwhile, he conducted a series of ethnological investigation on the barkcloth making tools in Chinese Yunnan, Hainan and Taiwan as well as Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. These studies and investigations have provided an opportunity for multi-disciplinary research of the barkcloth. Based on the current results, barkcloth technology was spread from South China to continents and islands in Southeastern Asia, and to Central America – via the sea route crossing Atlantic Ocean. According to Professor Tang Chung, he said that ‘the course of spread of the barkcloth culture and associated issues of human social culture have become the most important topics of the world archaeology’. This exhibition shows significant value for both academics and visiting. Also, it has attracted the CUHK teachers, students and public.
Other honored guests were invited to attend the opening ceremony of the exhibition, including He Hanwei, deputy head of the Institute of History and Philology of Academia Sinica, researcher Chen Zhongyu, Dr. Zhao Jinyong. Su Guifen, chief of Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, Wei Jun, deputy chief of the bureau, He Bin, head of Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Deng Hongwen, deputy head of the institute, researcher Qiu Licheng, and Li Hairong, deputy head of ShenZhen Municipal Institute of Identification and Cultural Relics, Archaeology Research. (Translator: Sang Li)