THE SINGAPORE ZHENG HE BAOCHUAN PROJECT
The “Friends of Admiral Zheng He” is embarking on a project to create an accurate model of Zheng He Treasure Ship. The process includes the setting up of workshops and seminars to discuss the dimension, design and features of a Ming Dynasty sailing junk. We write to you to get ideas, suggestions and feedback to help us with this project.
Background: Singapore, through the coordination of the Singapore Tourism Board, will be celebrating the 600th Anniversary of Admiral Zheng He' voyage. Several celebratory programmes are planned (Please see Appendix). One programme is the building of a high quality Baochuan (Treasure Ship) Model to act as the centre piece of the celebration. The intention is not only to construct one of the best researched Baochuan models, but also to document the process, so that Singapore, as an international maritime centre, can contribute to the understanding of Zheng He's enterprise. This project is undertaken by "Friends of Admiral Zheng He" with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board.
We hope to set up one workshop in Singapore and two in China to gather together scholars and experts to discuss this matter.
Workshop Title: "Unravelling the Mystery of the Size and Design of the Baochuan"
Objective: To deliberate on the dimensions, design and features of the Zheng He Baochuan in order to construct one (or more) detailed ship model of high quality and accuracy as a centrepiece for the celebration of the 600th Anniversary of Admiral Zheng He's voyages.
Venue for the Seminar: Singapore, Nanjing, Shanghai/Quanzhou (or other suitable cities)
Agenda for the Seminar:
1) Discuss the current status of research concerning the size and design of the Baochuan
2) Identify the leading scholars, past & present, who has made serious studies in this subject
3) Collate the most commonly accepted concepts
4) Investigate the pros & cons of the commonly accepted concepts
5) Propose improvement and modifications for a more authentic design.
Each workshop will last a day.
The results of such deliberation will be used to build a large Baochuan model.
We would like to have your assistance on the following:
1) Leads regarding the identity of scholars/and experts in the study of Zheng He’s Baochuan
2) Reference to past and current data, documents and material on this subject
3) Your opinion regarding the dimensions, design and feature of the Baochuan
4) Any reference material on ancient Chinese sailing and shipbuilding technology.
In addition, we would appreciate if you can forward this email to anyone whom you think can be interested in participating in this project.
Please send your suggestions and comments to:
Mr Chung Chee Kit
"Friends of Admiral Zheng He"
Group on quest to recreate Zheng He's ship
An Article from the Singapore Straits Times
By Joann Tan
To mark 600th anniversary of Chinese explorer's first trip, they aim to learn what his ship looked like and make model
FORTY avid followers of the famed Chinese explorer Zheng He (Cheng Ho) want to recreate his flagship to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the 15th-century seafarer's maiden voyage next year.
The problem is no one is quite sure what it looked like or the size of the vessel, called the Treasure Ship.
So the group, the Friends Of Admiral Zheng He Society, intends to hold discussions on this in Singapore and several other cities around the world next year.
The admiral was born in 1371 in Yunnan, a province in China's south-west. Over 28 years, he visited around 30 countries, going as far as the Middle East. He kept a detailed logbook and made nautical charts of each voyage, which involved an armada of 300 ships carrying 27,000 sailors and soldiers.
Some historians claim it was he, and not Italian Christopher Columbus, who was the world's first ocean navigator as his seven voyages were made between 1405 and 1433. The Italian explorer's first voyage was only in 1492.
The admiral travelled on the order of the Chinese Emperor to establish trade relations with countries west of China. A Muslim, he is said to have contributed to the spread of Islam.
The society's secretary, Mr Chung Chee Kit, said determining the vessel's dimensions is vital as these affect its ability to navigate and float.
'For a long time, the West has been sceptical about Zheng He and Chinese technology. We're really trying to separate the myth from reality and to promote the awareness of Zheng He.'
The Treasure Ship was said to have had 1,000 men on board, 10 times more men than the Santa Maria, Columbus' flagship, which was said to be 27m long and 9m wide.
The size of the model to be built will depend on the society's funds. The model will be displayed at the international Zheng He exhibition at the National Library's new Bras Basah premises in August next year, along with Zheng He-related artefacts like porcelain pieces and books.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) plans to mark the anniversary with musicals, plays and movies of Zheng He, as well as build a statue of the Chinese explorer.
It will also put up two rock structures, called Long Ya Men (Dragon's Teeth Gate), at Labrador Park. The original structures there were apparently used by the admiral as navigational markers. They were destroyed in the mid-19th century.
STB assistant chief executive of leisure Gerald Lee said: 'Zheng He's anniversary will be a way for Singapore to celebrate its maritime heritage.'