The National Museum, in collaboration with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Sultanate of Oman, inaugurated a Chinese-language version of the National Museum's website on Thursday, November 30, 2023.
The ceremony included a special tour for guests through various galleries of the National Museum, such as the Maritime History Gallery, the Land of Frankincense Gallery, Splendours of Islam Gallery, and Oman and the World Gallery, introducing them to distinctive artifacts that embody the longstanding Omani-Chinese relations throughout history.
During the tour, the guests passed by some Chinese artifacts that had arrived at the museum after the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said's death. The origin of these artifacts is unknown, and no additional information is available about them.
Regarding the choice of Chinese as the third language for the website, The Secretary-General of the National Museum, His Excellency Jamal bin Hassan Al-Musawi, stated, "Considering that most visitors come from European countries where English is predominantly spoken, and since English translation is already available, we decided to translate it into Chinese. We believe that China is a promising market for tourism in the Sultanate of Oman, and this website serves as a gateway for Chinese tourists to learn about the historical and cultural aspects of Oman in the absence of other official sources in the Chinese language.
Nevertheless, we are working concurrently with our partners to add other European languages such as French and Italian."
Ambassador Li Lingbing of the People's Republic of China to the Sultanate of Oman said, "The inauguration and activation of the website in the Chinese language for the National Museum are very important because the Sultanate of Oman has a history that extends for a thousand years, with a rich and vibrant civilization. The National Museum holds numerous valuable archives and artifacts, including several Chinese treasures discovered years ago. The dating of these artifacts spans hundreds of years, indicating the historical connection and relationship between China and the Sultanate of Oman."
The ambassador added, "For the Chinese, we are very interested in this historical relationship and traditional friendship. While many Chinese are aware of this history, there is a larger group that may not be familiar with it. If this website is launched, everyone in China, whether in offices or at home, will be able to browse the site and learn about the history and historical relationship between the two countries."
She explained, "In recent years, we have witnessed many new exchanges in various fields such as the economy, trade, investments, and tourism. Before the pandemic, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Oman reached 50,000. We look forward to greater cooperation in the future, welcoming more Chinese tourists, and translating this website into Chinese will allow them to learn a lot before arriving in the Sultanate. We will also promote this inauguration through our embassy's website, leveraging our numerous followers to raise awareness about the museum's website, which we translated today into our Chinese language."
The museum houses more than seven thousand archaeological artifacts, mostly rare collectibles dating back to ancient time periods. In addition, there are tens of thousands of other artifacts that chronicle various historical epochs of Oman, including up to the present day.
The National Museum is the first museum in the Middle East to incorporate the "Braille" system. This system is specifically designed for the blind to provide sufficient explanations about the exhibited artifacts.
The historical relationship between Oman and China, rooted in ancient maritime trade routes, has evolved into a contemporary partnership marked by diplomatic ties and economic collaboration.
Centuries ago, Oman's flourishing maritime trade saw interactions with China through routes like the Silk Road, fostering exchanges of goods and cultures. Records suggest Omani sailors visited Chinese ports during the Ming Dynasty, adding to the historical ties.
Formal diplomatic relations between Oman and China were established in 1978, marking a significant milestone. Since then, both nations have focused on strengthening economic cooperation, particularly in trade and infrastructure. China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has provided a platform for joint ventures, including development projects in Oman's ports and infrastructure.
Recent decades have witnessed high-level diplomatic engagements, showcasing mutual efforts to bolster political ties. Moreover, cultural exchanges and educational initiatives have sought to enhance people-to-people connections between the two nations.