Ancient Fujian-style shipbuilding techniques gain global recognition

By Wang Jing (People's Daily Online) 14:04, January 22, 2024

Fuchuan, or Fujian-style ships, are ocean-going wooden boats built in southeast China's Fujian province. They feature a deep keel and wide upper structure, making them ideal for long-distance voyages.

Quanzhou, the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, was a hub of maritime trade and shipbuilding during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties, establishing itself as the nation's foremost shipbuilding center.

Fujian-style ships were the primary choice for Chinese merchants navigating the Maritime Silk Road to destinations including Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Peninsula, and East Africa.

"The keel is the most crucial component of Fujian-style ships, known for its robustness and thickness. It enables the vessels to withstand winds and waves," said Lin Peizong, an 11th-generation inheritor of the watertight compartment technique in making Fujian-style ships.

Watertight compartments are a key feature in the construction of Fujian-style ships. By using compartment boards, the ship's interior is divided into sealed chambers, reinforcing the hull and safeguarding against leaks.

"Even in modern times, the watertight compartment technique is still employed in Chinese vessels such as submarines and aircraft carriers," according to Lin.

In 2010, the watertight-bulkhead technology used in Chinese junks was inscribed on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Du Mingming)


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