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Chinese Literature
Zheng He hanghai tu 鄭和航海圖


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Zheng He hanghai tu 鄭和航海圖 "Map of Zheng He's maritime voyages" is a map drawn according to the reports of several journeys made by admiral Zheng He 鄭和 during the years 1425 and 1430 of the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The original was a map rolled to a scroll but is commonly printed in book shape. The first print was made in Mao Yuanyi's 茅元儀 Wubeizhi 武備志 (chapter 240), on 20 pages, together with a navigation chart, the Guohai xianqing tu 過海牽星圖.
The map was drawn after Zheng He returned from his sixth travel when all officials participating in the journey still stayed in the southern capital Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu, and Emperor Xuanzong 明宣宗 (the Xuande Emperor 宣德, r. 1425-1435) envisaged a seventh journey. Nanjing is the center of the map, and the whole route is shown on to the east coast of Africa. Each country or state the travelers touched on is indicated, as well as the distance, the astronomical height, and in some places also the water depth. It is likewise indicated of which quality the shore is. The given distance from the starting point to Hormuz in the Gulf of Persia is longer than the distance back. The map renders more than 500 names of foreign places and countries, much more than any book on foreign countries of that period. Inspite of these advantages the map is only drawn with the aspect of relative position, and not according to real scale.


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Source: Zheng Hesheng 鄭鶴聲 (1992), "Zheng He hanghai tu 鄭和航海圖", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, p. 1525.

September 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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