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My "China Room"




At the upper floor of my house, there is a room I call my "China Room".
Well,- for me it is more than just a room - - - -
Actually it is the biggest room in my house,- bigger that the sitting room at the lower floor.
This is a place full of memories; - - a place for thinking,- and a lot of dreaming - - -
 
 



      My "China Room" - - - -




To the very right in the picture you see the Company flag,- "The Three Mackerels"-, of well known China traders Jebsen & Co. from Aabenraa , Denmark - - -
And just above you see a painting of Hong Kong,- as it looked around 1850 - - - -

To the left of the "Three Mackerels" you see a general arrangement drawing of Jebsen's motor ship, - M/S "EMMA JEBSEN" -, which eventually became Denmark's last real China trader, and indeed,- the last big ship registered in the once unique maritime community of AABENRAA.

When entering this room,- it is quite obvious why I call it my "China Room".

The first thing that meets the eye of a visitor is a huge oil painting of three highly cultivated Chinese ladies - - - -
They are dressed in their finest cheong-sams,- made from silk, and decorated with fine and delicate embroideries,- which indicates that obviously they belong to the aristocracy - - - -
They play music on traditional Chinese instruments,- and sit on their chairs in that very special way ,- so typical for Chinese women-, with the spine straight as a needle, without touching the back of the chair.
 
 


My "China Room"




Take note of the paintings:  Three Chinese Ladies,-  and next to them,- a reproduction of a painting by Montague Dawson showing the "Thermopylae" leaving Foochow, China - - - -

The old ship's bell is from the  M/S "BORIBANA"  of the East Asiatic  Company,- Copenhagen.-
This ship was the first ship that took me to the Far East way back in 1969,- and later in 1971.
There's another ship's bell as well, but you can't see it on this picture - - -
It's on the floor,- hidden behind the sofa - - -
Once it was mounted on another proud Far East trader,-  the big first generation container ship ,-  M/S "JUTLANDIA" -, also of the East Asiatic Company,- Copenhagen.
 

Just underneath the "3 Chinese Ladies" is a big Chinese chest, with delicate carvings,- and inlaid with silver dragons - - - -
The chest is made from rose wood, and lined inside with camphor wood, which fills the air with its special fragrance, whenever the chest is opened.
It is very typical Chinese,- and a camphor wood chest like that was a very common souvenir to be brought home by sailors visiting Hong Kong in the seventies and earlier - - - -
Therefore I have reason to believe, that there must be many, many homes in Denmark, where such a chest is part of the interior,- just like in my house!
On the floor,- in front of the Chinese chest-, is a hand made Chinese silk carpet, decorated with Chinese dragons,- brought home from Shanghai in the beginning of the seventies - - -
 
 


Chinese camphor wood chest,- and Chinese silk carpet





In one of the corners of my "China Room",- I have my favorite chair - -
When I sit there, I can overlook the whole room with all its exotic things and beautiful artifacts from another world and,- indeed-, another time - -

Right over my head is a big map of HONG KONG   in scale 1 : 50 000 - - -
I love to sit and study it,- and be reminded of all the trails I have walked over the mountains and across the valleys,- and of the numerous peaks I have climbed,- the villages I have visited,- and the islands I have explored, - and of all the things I have done, seen and learned over the years in this very beautiful and fascinating place - - -
This is the place, where I once lived in a number of years from the beginning of the seventies and up to 1977,- when I finally moved back to my native country ,-  DENMARK.

On the same wall as my Hong Kong map,- but in the opposite end-, is a reproduction of another less known painting by Montague Dawson.
It shows a big unknown clipper ship at what I believe could be the "Pagoda Anchorage" at Foochow.
Or maybe the scenario is from Whampoa, - an even more well known location on the China coast-, which also has pagodas????
Its preparing for departure,- and its just before dawn - - -
The pagoda can be seen as dark silhouettes against the sky,- and a  Chinese junk with a waving man is on a parallel course - - -
Maybe the pilot????
Montague Dawson is catching the moment brilliantly in its dreamlike quality - - -
 
 


 My "China Room" - - - -





Take note of Montague Dawson painting of "Pagoda Anchorage"
On the vertical wall are plates with pictures of many famous clipper ships and China traders.
The half model is not a China trader,- but shows a very typical   MARSTAL  schooner from 1917.

To the left,- on the small cupboard-, you can see a fine statue  of Kun Yam,- the Goddess of Mercy.

My other Montague Dawson reproduction hangs on the opposite wall,- next to the three Chinese ladies.
It shows the "Thermopylae" leaving Foochow fully loaded with its cargo of tea for the Europeans of all classes , who at that time had been almost addicted to this truly wonderful drink.
 
 


Morning at Foochow,- the departure of "Thermopylae" - - -




The sails are already set - and around her are numerous other ships and Chinese junks.
In the background is China,- and ahead of her is a journey that will take her halfway around the World,- only driven by the power of the wind - -
The morning sun lights up her sails,- and the shadows make her stand out supreme among the other ships.
This fine painting of the "Thermopylae",- possibly the finest of all clipper ships, only rivaled by the "Cutty Sark"-, shows brilliantly one of the finest moments,- and the very essence-, of the old China trade - - -

But the "Thermopylae" was not alone in this trade - - -
My "China Room" also have pictures of other great clippers from the golden age of sail.
Names like "Ariel" and "Taeping",- not forgetting the legendary "Cutty Sark"-, can make any sailors heart pound a little faster, -and with great joy -,when he looks at pictures of these "greyhounds of the sea",- racing "easting down" across the South China Sea,- under towering clouds of white canvas!
That is TRUE sailing - - -

 BACK to "The Ships" - - -

BACK to "The China Trade" - - - -

Click  HERE for more about my "China Room"




Updated:    June 21st. 2001
                 May 12. 2005