Chinese Porcelain at ExpoŽ98
The oceans, the theme chosen for the Lisbon World Exposition, could hardly have better fitted in with the most cherished Foundation areas of interest: the cultural dialogue consecrated by the highly important relationship Portugal has always held with the sea. 500 years on from the discovery of the sea route to India that would revolutionise relations between Europe and 15th century Asia, the Foundation joined commemorations putting on for visitors an exhibition on the history of this mysterious product first brought back as a present for king after the first direct contact with the Far East. This objective was fully met with the Porcelain Routes exhibition in praise of the oceans for having rendered dialogue around the world possible. With contributions from private and institutional collections, which agreed to display alongside those of the Foundation, it proved possible to unite over 200 pieces to depict the history of the Portuguese presence in distant lands and their impact in creating a new view of Asia distant to the vague and confused accounts dating from the Medieval era and including a diverse range of manuscripts and porcelain.