Leonard Blussé and Zhuang Guotu*


In the long history of Chinese expansion overseas, the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 A. D.) is a particularly outstanding period due to the highly divergent, even mutually contradictory, policies the Ming Government applied at different times towards the overseas trade of its own subjects and due to the high expectations which the court harboured of obtaining large profits from tributary trade and, later on, from private overseas trade.

From 1405 to 1433 the Ming court sent seven large fleets under the command of Admiral Cheng Ho (1371-1433), the 'three jewels eunuch', via Southeast Asia to the Indian Ocean. Chinese ships visited no less than thirty-seven countries covering an area stretching from Champa and Palembang in Southeast Asia via Calicut and Ormuz in South Asia and the Middle East as far as Mogadishu and Brawa on the east coast of Africa. The first and largest of these fleets consisted of about 310 ships of different tonnage, carrying altogether some 27,800 men. As a result of these court-sponsored expeditions, more than sixty countries from Southeast, South and West Asia ended up sending tribute missions on a more or less regular basis to China during the Yung lo and Hsüan te reign periods. (1)

Parallel with this active promotion of tributary relations between China and the overseas nations, the Ming court forbade its own subjects from private trading, "not even allowing a wooden plank to drift to sea". This policy of maritime prohibitions was first formulated in 1372 by Chu Yüan-chang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and was continued and periodically enforced by his successors until it was finally abolished in 1576. (2)

The question as to why the Ming court suddenly decided to stop sending large fleets abroad can here only be answered with a succinct, though composite reply. There seem to have been several interconnected reasons: the court-financed expeditions became too heavy a burden on the imperial treasury (3) when the court had to concentrate all resources on its defensive campaigns against the Mongols who by the early 1430's were once more posing a threat on the northern border. Eventually even naval troops from the south had to be shifted to the Great Wall in the north to deal with this Mongol menace. By abolishing the court-financed maritime expeditions, and strengthening the prohibitions against Chinese private trade, the Chinese Imperial Government abandoned its exploits abroad.

The official withdrawal from the overseas adventure notwithstanding, a large number of Chinese private merchants and seafaring people, who had gone abroad in the wake of Cheng Ho's fleets, remained active in the Southeast Asian Archipelago. Even though the authorities tried to strictly enforce the prohibition on Chinese maritime trade, a private 'contraband' trade developed in the southeastern coastal provinces of China, especially Fuchien. By the middle of the Ming period, this illegal trade network had reached dramatic proportions stretching from Japan (which was even forbidden to carry out tribute missions) and Taiwan all over Southeast Asia. (4) When the Ming court became fully aware of this situation, it further intensified its efforts to enforce the maritime prohibitions. Mandarins forbade the coastal people to build sea-going vessels with more than one mast, they set fire to large junks, and in some instances barred the coastal people from fishing. (5) Some officials even went as far as to suggest that the court destroy all remaining evidence pertaining to Cheng Ho's voyages. (6)

As the economy of the Fuchien Province depended to a great extent on maritime trade and fishing, the local people sought refuge in the coastal waters from the draconian policies which threatened their livelihood. The situation became so acute that, as it was observed, "the more strictly the prohibitions were enforced, the more the piracy increased".(7) Finally the local officials responsible started sending memorials to the throne imploring the court to lift the prohibitions which were wreaking such havoc on the economy of the province. (8) After the Governor of Chechinang, Chu Huan, had carried out several punitive expeditions, wiping out all but the last remaining pockets of piracy along the coast, at the suggestion of the Fuchienese governor, Tu Tse-min, the court decided to lift the maritime prohibitions in 1567. (9)


In the era of maritime prohibitions the port of Yüehkang (Moon Harbour), originally little more than a strategically situated hamlet in the Nine Dragons River Delta where governmental control was almost non-existent, had gradually risen to become the smuggling headquarters of Fuchien Province. (10) After they had lifted the maritime prohibitions, the authorities concentrated and institutionalized overseas maritime trade in Yüehkang, hoping to gain more efficient control of this theatre of activity. Contemporary sources tell us that soon every year "more than two hundred" and "no less than seventy" Chinese ocean-going vessels were fitted out at this port. (11) By the turn of the century this number had increased to three hundred vessels. (12) Direct trade with as many as forty-seven countries, all of them in Southeast Asia, was organized from Yüehkang and indirect trade relations with such European nations as Spain, Portugal and Holland was generated at such transfer ports as Manila, Macao and Banten in West Java. (13) Some 116 different kinds of foreign commodities were annually imported into Yüehkang by the Fuchienese sailors in return for the wide variety of Chinese commodities (mostly industrial products), which they exported. (14)

"China Regio Asia", anonymous Portuguese map dating from the mid-seventeenth century, turned 90º clockwise (reproduction provided by Father Benjamim Videira Pires, SJ).

By the turn of the seventeenth century, the Yüehkang trading network served all the main China Sea ports from Japan in the north to the Indonesian Archipelago in the south. At the end of the southwest monsoon, Chinese merchants and sailors returned to their home port Yüehkang, where they sold their cargoes of tropical goods and exchanged information on foreign commodities and markets, preparing themselves for the next trip to Southeast Asia after the Chinese New Year. (15)

The booming maritime trade at Yüehkang brought great benefits not only to the local people but also to the Government. The Fuchienese provincial government promoted the port to the status of capital of Haicheng county and established a tax office (Tu hsiang kuan) 督餉舘 there. In 1599 a tax-collecting eunuch, Kao Ts'ai, 高宷 was even sent by the court to Fuchien to raise taxes and skim the profits of the overseas trade for the emperor's treasury. The increase in tax returns from the Nanyang trade were indeed impressive: in 1575 the total sum collected amounted only to some 6,000 taels of silver, while by 1594 already more than 29,000 taels were being collected; in 1613 the tax reached a peak at 35,000 taels. (16) As a result Yüehkang was called "the southern treasury of the Emperor".(17)

The local government of Haicheng was eager to garner more knowledge about the wheeling and dealing of Chinese merchants abroad and the ports and countries where they were engaged in trade in order to effectively manage the trade at Yüehkang, advance maritime trade in general and ensure the income of "the southern treasury of the Emperor". In other words, the administration felt the need for a manual of overseas trade which contained nautical as well as socio-economic information, describing in detail the historical dimensions and the ins-and-outs of the Nanyang trade. therefore it was decided to invite a local worthy, Chang Hsieh 張燮 of Lung ch'i County, to write such an all-encompassing work. (18)

Chang Hsieh (1574-1640), who styled himself Hsiao Ho, was born in Lung ch'i County (present Lung Hai County) in Fuchien Province. Quite precocious and eager to learn in childhood, when he was 21 years old he had already obtained the degree of Chü-jen (licentiate). In Fuchien, Chang was a well-known man of letters who wrote no less than fifteen works (consisting of 696 chüan) during his lifetime. Only three of his works have survived, the tung-hsi-yang k'ao being one of them. (19)

"The sea constitutes the rice field of Fujian, the people go to sea as if they go to the market", ran a local saying. Pedlars and sailors returning from Southeast Asia could provide Chang Hsieh with the latest information about the geography, products and customs of the foreign countries which they visited, and let him share in their rich experience and knowledge of overseas navigation, a craft which had been mastered over several tens of generations. For practical reasons, however, Chang Hsieh mainly made use of existing official documents concerning the management of trade and the tax system, including all kinds of imperial edicts and regulations from the local government, as well as the written information about the countries of South-East Asia in the Chinese Dynastic histories and, last but not least, rutters and geographical descriptions of the overseas world. In his introduction, Chang Hsieh boasts of having compiled his treatise about the history and geography of South-East Asia in the short time of only four months. It was eventually published in 1617 by the local government.


There are four versions of the Tung-hsiyang k'ao (THYK) available, two of them published in the Ming dynasty and two published in the Ch'ing dynasty. (20) As the earliest available version dates from the Wanli reign period (1573-1617), we presume this copy may be one of the original books published in 1617 by the local government of Haicheng. In 1981 this copy was checked and punctuated by Hsieh Fang and reprinted by the Chung Hua Press in Peking. This is the edition which will be used by the present editors when preparing an annotated Chinese edition and the annotated English translation.

The THYK contains three forewords by the local officials who invited Chang Hsieh to write this book, followed by an introduction by Chang Hsieh himself as to how the book should be used by the reader. The text itself is divided into 12 chüans. It includes: notes on the countries in Eastern and Western Oceans including remarks on Taiwan (chüan 1 - chüan 5); notes on Japan and Holland (chüan 6); notes on taxes (chüan 7); notes on the tax-levying eunuch Kao Tsai (chüan 8) notes on commercial ships and sea routes (chüan 9); notes on treatises about Southeast Asia (chüan 10-11) and finally anecdotal notes (chüan 12). The main contents of the book are thus as follows: a) the history and geography of Southeast Asia and Japan; b) the historical and political relations between China and these regions; c) the first encounter of the Chinese with Dutch overseas expansion in the China sea region; d) the taxation of Chinese overseas trade; e) navigation techniques and religious practices on board the Chinese junks.


One of the most important duties at the court was the recording of the daily events at the court including the important correspondence of the imperial administration. According to an age-old tradition, every dynastic court was responsible for the compilation of a history of the preceding dynasty. The imperial administration prided itself in sparing neither men nor material resources to achieve its aim of writing the Dynastic History. Within these annals the description of foreign "vassal" countries which paid tribute to China was, of course, also included. Apart from these gigantic court-sponsored projects which took decades to execute, individual scholars also applied themselves to the compiling of encyclopaedias, often with large geographical entries such as the Shih Tong 十通 ("The Ten Encyclopaedias") or the T'ai P'ing Yu Lan 太平御覽 ("The Encyclopaedia Written for the Emperor"), which also provides a lot of information about foreign countries.

In addition to the Dynastic Histories and the Encyclopaedias referred to, private travelogues, rutters and geographical treatises provide valuable, often first-hand, information about the geography and history of Southeast Asia. Some of the more important pre-Ming and Ming examples of this genre are: Fo Kuo Chi 佛國記 ("Records of the Buddhist Kingdoms") by Fa-Hsien (A. D. 413-414); Nan Hai Chi Kuei Nei Fa Chuan 南海寄歸內法傳 ("Memoir of the Esoteric Doctrine Sent Home From the South Seas") by I-Ching (about A. D. 700); Ling Wai Tai Ta 嶺外代答 ("Records of the Areas Beyond the Nanling Mountains") by Chou Chu Fei (A. D. 1178); Chu Fan Chih 諸蕃誌 ("Records of Barbarians") by Chao Ju Kua (A. D. 1226); Tao Yi Chih Lioh 島夷誌略 ("Descriptions of the Barbarians of the Islands") by Wang Ta Yuan (A. D. 1349); and Chen La Feng Tu Chi 眞腊風土記 ("The Natural Conditions and Social Customs of Kampuchea") by Chou Ta Kuan (ca. A. D. 1312). The number of overseas travel records grew rapidly in the early Ming period because of Cheng Ho's expeditions abroad. The most famous ones are Hsi Yang Fan Kuo Chih 西洋蕃國誌 ("Records of the Western Barbarian Countries") by Kung Chen (A. D. 1434), Hsing Cha Sheng Lan 星槎勝覽 ("Description of the Starry Raft") by Fei Hsin (A. D. 1436); Ying Yai Sheng Lan 瀛涯勝覽 ("Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores") by Ma Huan (A. D. 1451); Hsi Yang Chao Kung Tien Lu 西洋朝貢典錄 ("Records of the Tribute Countries from the West") by Huang Sheng Ts'eng (A. D. 1520) and Hai Yu 海語 (Records of the Martime Travel) by Huang Chong (A. D. 1537). (21)

Chinese map of Southeast Asia, Hai-Kuo t'u-chih ("Treatise of the Sea Kingdoms), 1842 in Jane Kate Leonard, Wei Yuan and China's Rediscovery of the Maritime World, 1984)

Like so many scholars after him up to the present day Chang Hsieh consulted all of these works for his research. Some of these treatises have actually been translated and annotated into Western languages, but the THYK, the most complete survey of Southeast Asia and the biggest in content, still awaits translation and annotation, even though parts of the book have been cited often enough.


Chang Hsieh's treatise is of great value for the student of Chinese maritime history and the history of Southeast Asia for several reasons.

1) Depth and Detail

The THYK describes the different countries of Southeast Asia in greater depth than all preceding works. It covers no less than twenty-two countries and their twenty-one dependencies in Southeast Asia including Japan and Holland - some 45 different nations in all. (22) The account of every country consists of headings on history, scenic spots, strange customs, products and trade. As the book is said to have been conceived as a manual of trade to the Nanyang for the use of local officials, the historical relations between China and the Southeast Asian countries served by Chinese shipping are dealt with in earlier Chinese records are enumerated and the trading customs which Chinese merchants have to deal with in these countries are referred to.

2) The Trade Policies of the Court

Although the maritime prohibitions were lifted in 1567, the Chinese private trading ships were only licensed to sail the so-called Eastern and Western Oceans, the eastern and western trunk routes of the South China Sea as far west as Aceh. Consequently the author only refers to countries within this limited area. The reason why separate chapters on Japan and the Red Haired Barbarians, the Dutch, are included is because the Dutch arrived in Southeast Asian waters around the turn of the seventeenth century and unsuccessfully tried to obtain favourable conditions of trading directly with China, whereas Japanese illegal traders and pirates, the wo k'ou, 倭寇 had caused mischief in Chinese coastal waters when they teamed up with Fuchienese desperados.

3) Sino-Western Contacts

Chang Hsieh was the first Chinese author within the context of Chinese overseas trade to write about the European activities in Far Eastern waters. The Portuguese occupation of Malacca as well as the Spanish colonial establishment on Luzon and the Dutch expansion into Southeast Asian and Chinese coastal waters are described in remarkable detail and the author does not fail to refer to the contacts which occurred between European and Chinese traders abroad.

4) Maritime Knowledge and Experience

Perhaps the most curious part of the book are the entries on the naval expertise and maritime traditions of the Fuchienese. Chang Hsieh collected and collated many sailing rutters and records. Because these materials were often fragmentary and hard to decipher, (23) the author consulted merchants and sailors in Yüehkang about their own experiences. (24) With the information gained from the interviews, he sorted the old records out into a systematic geographical survey, and arranged the trading voyages of the Fuchienese to the Nanyang into two routes: the compass needle route of the Eastern Ocean ran from T'aiwu shan in the Bay of Amoy via Penghu, through Luzon to the Moluccas; while the Western route ran from the same starting point via Champa, Siam, Patani and Palembang to Banten in West Java, from where it branched out via East Java to Timor, which in turn was connected with the terminus of the Eastern route, the Spice Islands.

The Eastern trunk route contained some forty-six feeder routes, most of them situated in the Philippines and the Sulu Islands Archipelago, while the Western route had as many as 125 feeder routes. (25) The rutter provided in the THYK is even more detailed than the famous Cheng Ho chart inserted in Mao yuan-i's military treatise Wu Pei chih 武備誌 ("Notes on Military Preparation"). Apart from the navigational notes, there is also a detailed record of meteorological observations, ocean currents, landmarks, shallows and reefs along the routes, as well as the religious practices on board of the Chinese junks.

5) Taxation

Chang Hsieh explains how taxes were levied on Chinese overseas trade, the taxation system really being a reflection of the Ming court's attitude toward the overseas trade of private Chinese merchants. Although the maritime prohibitions had been lifted in 1567, the court continued to control the private trade with all kinds of trade regulations.

First of all, the merchants had to apply for sailing licenses and secure guarantees from their neighours in their home village before they could go abroad. Only fifty licences were issued before A. D.1574, but after this year the number of licences increased up to 100-110 junks. (26) By 1613 the number of junks allowed to go abroad amounted to some 190 vessels. (27) But even this huge number of ocean-going vessels could not serve the demands of the Fuchienese coastal economy.

As we have seen, the court had designated Yüehkang as the only port for Chinese commercial shipping to the Nanyang. The shipowners thus had to apply for licenses and inspection at Yüehkang before their ships could sail. There were four different kinds of taxation: the tax on the navigation licence 給引, which initially amounted to three taels of silver but was later on increased to six taels; the so-called sea tax 水餉, which every ship had to pay according to its size, the land tax 陸餉 collected on the cargo, according to the price of the commodities, and finally the surcharge 加徵稅, which was only collected from the ships carrying silver from Luzon. (28)

In a separate chapter Chang Hsieh lashed out at the evil doings of the eunuch Kao Ts'ai, who had been sent by the court to Fuchien in order to levy taxes for the emperor, and applauded the strenuous efforts of his fellow countrymen and the local officials to thwart the eunuch's designs.

City and castle of Batavia, in J. B. Du Halde Description (...) de l'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoise (The Hague, 1734)


For all the valuable information the THYK has to offer, the book also has some severe shortcomings. Because Chang Hsieh never went abroad himself, he was not in the position to check and evaluate the written sources and the oral information of which he made use. The fact that he compiled the book in only four months(!) may be cited as another extenuating circumstance for the many errors he committed, although it should not be used as an excuse. A few examples of these errors will suffice for our purposes.

a) Geographical errors:

Sometimes different countries are dealt with as if they were one place. The information in "The Account of Pattani", for instance, as far as the pre-Ming period is concerned, actually refers to Brunei. In the same fashion Aceh in North Sumatra is confused with the Arab country Ta shih in the pre-Ming period, while Pagan in Burma is accounted for as a dependency of Kampuchea.

b) Lack of diachronic conception

Products, commodities and customs of overseas countries are lumped together with little differentiation in time. In the Tang period, for instance, Java produced rock salt, but after the Sung only sea salt is mentioned in the Chinese geographical treatises. Chang Hsieh, however, in his own time still identified Javanese sea salt as rock salt. Elsewhere, the author, quoting from the Sui Shu ("Sui Dynasic History", A. D. 589-618) mentions that the king of Kampuchea received his officials in audience once every three days. He did not realize that such an audience had occurred at the Kampuchea court daily ever since the Yüan period.

c) Erroneous citations

We can hardly blame Chang Hsieh for borrowing wrong information from other sources. The Khmers did not conquer Champa in 1199 as he states (if calculated according to the Western calendar), but in 1190, nor was Kampuchea subjugated by the Yüan as the author claims. More serious is his uncritical use of certain texts such as, for instance, the Nan shih ("Southern History") which even in his time was recognized as having been carelessly compiled from a miscellany of other sources. All citations from the Nan shih have to be double checked with the original texts from which the Nan shih has often haphazardly lifted its quotations.


The authors of this short communication are presently involved in translating and annotating the Chinese text into English. The wide array of disparate questions and problems we encounter can only be solved with the assistance of our fellow-specialists in the field. While engaged in the translation and annotation of the THYK the present collaborators cannot hide their ambivalent feelings towards Chang Hsieh. We deplore his laxness in quoting, but admire all the same the all-encompassing knowledge and zeal of this seventeenth-century author. All criticism aside, the fact that a book compiled by one man in the space of four months can keep us both busy for at least four years ought to keep us suitably humble. We do hope, however, that the English translation of the THYK will ultimately provide the Western reader with a clear insight into the organization of Chinese overseas trade and navigation at a time when Western expansion was about to challenge its position.

Chinese junk sailing to and from Sunda Kalapa (Batavia), second half of the seventeenth century (Matsuura Historical Museum, Hirado)


(1). For the countries visited by Cheng Ho's ships, see: J. V. G. Mills, Ma Huan, Ying-Yai Sheng-lan (Cambridge U. P.,1970) p. 20. For information on the tributary countries, see Zheng Yi-jing, 鄭一鈞 "On Cheng Ho's voyages to Western Ocean" (Lun Zheng-He Xia Xi-Yang 論鄭和下西洋 (Hai-Yang Press, Peking, 1985) p. 378.

(2). After 1372, Chu Yüan-Chang several times issued maritime prohibitions. (Ming Tai Tsu Shihlu, 明太祖實錄 Vol. 70). These prohibitions were also part of the so-called "Ancestral Laws" (Ts'in Chung Chen Fa 祖宗成法 ) to which the later emperors had to adhere. Also cf. Great Ming Laws, Vol. 8, Ming Cheng Tsung Shihlu, 明成祖实錄 Vol. 10; Bodo Wiethof, Die Chinesische Seeverbotspolitik und der private Überseehandel von 1368 bis 1567 (Hamburg, 1963) pp. 27-38.

(3). Ming Ren Chung Shilu, ch. 1.

(4). See THYK, Vol. 7: "The powerful families and great merchants still carried on overseas trade during the maritime prohibition period". This contraband trade reached its zenith in the Chia Ching reign period (1521-1567); see also Hsü Chien-chu, 徐健竹 "The struggle against the maritime prohibitions by the sea merchants of Yüe Kang" in A collection of essays on Yüe Kang 月港硏究論文集 (Chang chou, 1983) p. 107-119.

(5). According to the orders from the Ming court in 1524, "ships with two masts should be destroyed, the owner should be punished by banishment and forced labour in a remote place". The same orders were reaffirmed in 1525, 1529 and 1533, please refer to 明世祖實錄 ("Ming Shih Tsung Shihlu") Vol. 38, Vol. 54, Vol. 108, Vol. 154, THYK Ch. 7.

(6). In 1473, Liu Ta hsia (劉大夏) who was employed as Bureau Director (Lang-chung 郎中 ) at the Ministry of War, presented a memorial advising the court to destroy all the documents of Cheng Ho's expeditions since these voyages had devoured so many men and materials and had only brought back useless luxury items. See Carrington Goodrich, Dictionary, pp. 958-59; Yen Chung-Chien (嚴從簡), 殊域周諮錄 (Shu Yü Chou Tse Lu "General Acounts of Remote Areas"); Sun Kuang Ch'i ( 孫光折 )中國古代航海史 ("The History of Chinese Voyages in Ancient Times") (Ocean Press, Peking, 1989) p. 532.

(7). Tang Shu (唐樞), 禦倭雜錄 (Yü Lou Tsa-Lu - "Various Records about the Defence against the Japanese Pirates"); THYK, ch. 7.

(8). In 1517, Wu Ting-chü ( 吳廷擧 ) the Administration Commissioner of Canton, suggested the Government allow the Portuguese to trade at Canton. See: Ku Yen-wu, ( 顧炎武 ), Tien Hsia Chün Kuo Li Ping Shu, (天下郡國利病書 ch.120); Chou Liang (周亮) the Regional Inspector of Fuchien, suggested the court reduce Chu Huan's (朱紈) power because the latter enforced the prohibitions too severely. See ( 明史 Ming Shih, "Account of Japan"). In 1567, Tu Tse-min ( 塗澤民 ), the Governor of Fuchien requested in a memorial that the maritime prohibitions be lifted. See THYK, ch. 7, and Wiedhof, Seeverbotspolitik, p. 113.

(9). In the Chia-ching period (1521-1567) the Wo k'ou (Japanese pirates) posed a serious problem. These so-called "Japanese pirate bands" were actually mainly recruited from the coastal people of South China. About the composition of the "wo k'ou bands", see Mao Jui-Cheng ( 茅瑞徵 ) Huang Ming Hsiang Hsü Lu 皇明象胥錄 (Vol. 2). According to him, only 10-20% were Japanese and 80%-90% were Chinese coastal people.

(10). In the early Ming period, Fu Chou was the political centre of Fuchien and Ch'üanchou was the official harbour. Ming troops were stationed in both cities. Yüehkang was said to be situated "far from the governmental offices; the official regulations do not reach there". See Lung Hsi Hsiechih (龍溪縣誌) ("Lung Hsi Gazetteer") ch. 1.

(11). See Ku Yen-wu, ch. 93 and THYK, ch. 70.

(12). In 1562, about two hundred ships were allowed to go abroad. Ships sailing without licences were also by no means few and far between. Foreign ships, Spanish and Portuguese ones, also visited the port. It is estimated that the total number of ships frequenting Yüehkang amounted to three hundred vessels. (Hsieh Fang "The rise and decline of Yüehkang and the coming of Europeans", in Collected Essays, p. 169)

(13). About the trade between China, Europe and America in the late Ming period, see Tien Tsê Chang, Sino-Portuguese Trade, Leiden, 1933; William Lytle Schurz, The Manila Galleon, New York, 1939; C. R. Boxer, The Great Ship from Amacon, Lisbon, 1959.

(14). The different commodities are all described in the account on taxation in THYK, ch. 7.

(15). As mentioned in the two forewords of THYK.

(16). According to an edict from the court, the amount of tax levied in Yüehkang could be reduced in 1613 by one third, or 11,700 taels, therefore the total tax levied in this year should be assessed at 11,700 x 3 =35,100 taels. See THYK, Vol. 7. See also Hsieh Fong, Collected Essays, p. 176, note 5.

(17). See the third foreword in THYK, by Chou Ch'i Yüan.

(18). Ibidem.

(19). For the biography of Chang Hsieh, see Hsieh Cheng-ching, "The biography of Chang Hsieh and his works" in Ling Nan Journal, Vol. 4, part 2.

(20). See the introductory remarks by the editor Hsieh Fang, THYK, p. 7.

(21). The following treatises have been translated and annotated: Fo Kuo Chi; The Travels of Fa-hsien, H. A. Giles ed., Cambridge 1923; Nan Hai Chi kuei Nei Fa Chuan; A Record of the Buddhist Religion as practised in India and the Malay Archipelago, I. Takakusu, Oxford 1986; Chu Fan Chih: Chau Ju-kua, on the Chinese and Arab Trade, Frederick Hirth and W. W. Rockhill, 1911; Tao Chih Lioh: W. W. Rockhill, "Notes on the Relations and Trade of Chinese with the Eastern Archipelago and the Coast of the Indian Ocean during the Fourteenth Century" in Toung Pao, (1915) 16: 61-159; Chen La Feng Tu chi; only partially translated by P. Pelliot, "Mémoires sur les coutumes du Cambodge" in BEFEO (1902) 2; Ying Yai Sheng Lan: J. V. G. Mills, The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores, Cambridge 1970.

(22). In the Eastern Ocean there were seven countries with twelve dependencies. In the Western Ocean there were fifteen countries with nine dependencies.

(23). As Chang Hsieh himself remarked: "The old records on the direction of the compass-needle are too rough to be distinguished clearly"; see his notice to the reader THYK.

(24). Ibidem.

(25). THYK, ch. 9.

(26). THYK, ch. 7.

(27). In 1589 110 ships were provided with licences. The taxes collected amounted to 25,000 taels. In 1613 the taxes amounted to 35,100 taels. If the proportions between the number of ships and the collected taxes of 1589 are taken into account, the number of ships allowed to go abroad should amount to some 190 vessels.

(28). Before 1590 the surcharge levied on the ships from Luzon was fixed at 150 taels of silver. When the merchants complained, this additional tax was reduced in 1590 to 120 taels. See THYK, ch. 7.

*Dr. Zhuang Guotu is an Associate Professor at the History Department of he Nanyang Research Institute. His doctoral thesis was on the policies of the Ch'ing government vis-à-vis Chinese Overseas Expansion.

Dr. Leonard Blussé is teaching at the History Department and the Sinological Institute of Leiden University and secretary of the Research Institute for the History of European Expansion of Leiden University. He is the author of several publications.

Dr. Zhuang and Dr. Blussé are presently preparing an English translation of the Dongxiyangkao, an early seventeenth century treatise on China's overseas trade with Southeast Asia.

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