This lecture from Professor Craig Clunas FBA, University of Oxford, will introduce the series of voyages made by imperial Chinese fleets in the early 15th century, commanded by the famous enuuch admiral Zheng He (1371-1433/35). Sailing across the Indian Ocean, as far as the east coast of Africa and into the Persian Gulf, thse famed voyages have been variously understood as being about exploration, trade, or just about the prestige of the new-founded Ming Empire. But what was their real purpose? And what role have they played in Modern China's understanding of its place in the world? This extensively-illustrated lecture will look at the rich visual and material evidence from Chinese art, and try to consider both the historical context and the present significance of Zheng He's presence in 'the Western Oceans'. Hosted by the University of Aberdeen Confucius Institute.
Linklater Rooms, University of Aberdeen