Sailing West: Admiral Zheng He's Voyages
22/2/2006 – 15/5/2006
Special Exhibition Gallery,
Hong Kong Museum of History
Zheng He (1371-1433) is the greatest Chinese navigator of all time. From the third year of the Yongle reign (1405) to the eighth year of the Xuande reign (1433) in the Ming dynasty, the seafarer led his squadrons of ships on seven voyages to the Western Sea (xiyang), a term used for the seas and lands west of Kalimantan. On each expedition Zheng commanded about 200 ships and 28,000 men. He led his enormous fleet to Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and Africa, travelling as far as the Red Sea and the east African coast and visiting more than 30 places.
Zheng He's epic voyages are an unparalleled feat in the annals of seamanship. They demonstrated the exceptional organisational skills of the ancient Chinese and the cutting-edge navigational and shipbuilding technologies of the Ming dynasty. Zheng's great undertakings were unprecedented across the world. This exhibition features 60 precious artefacts and more than 100 photographs associated with his voyages, and reviews the most remarkable chapter in China's maritime history.