Silver, as early currency, has been linked to global economy, maritime trade and international relations. Silver wares made by this rare metal triggered the technical and cultural exchange of handicrafts between countries and regions. Curated by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and co-organized with the Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong Museum, this exhibition is divided into six sections, including ‘Global Maritime Trade’, ‘Making of Chinese Silver’, ‘Export Silver’, ‘Workshops in Treaty Ports’, ‘From Canton to Hong Kong’ and ‘East Meets West: Table Etiquette’. Taking the role of silver in global economic development as a starting point, it explores the origins of Chinese export silver, Hong Kong as a trading hub of export silver during the late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, and Hong Kong’s close relation with other silver manufacturing centers in China. Selected from the prominent collections of the Guangdong Museum, the HSBC Archives, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Museum of Art and a number of local collectors, this exhibition is organized in conjunction with the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR.
Dr. Libby Chan is currently Assistant Director (Curatorial and Collections) at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum where she oversees the Museum’s curatorial and education departments, museum service, and responsible for exhibition and collections development. Before joining HKMM, she was Senior Curator (China) at the Asian Civilisations Museum, National Heritage Board of Singapore, with particular oversight of the Chinese collection and the China gallery revamp project. Previously, she was Research Associate and Curator at the Art Museum, Institute of Chinese Studies and lecturer at the Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also served as J. S. Lee Memorial Curatorial Fellow at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and Curatorial Consultant at the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas. Her research interests include underwater and land archaeology, cross-cultural maritime and land trade, Chinese decorative and export arts, Maritime Silk Roads topics, material cultural exchanges from Early China to contemporary times, as well as Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta history and heritage. She has authored numerous catalogues and articles on Chinese arts, shipwreck and archaeology, and museum studies.