： (Zheng He, Ming Dynasty, Relics)
Zheng He was a great pioneer in the maritime history of the world. Between 1405 and 1433, Zheng He led a large commercial fleet and voyaged to the Western Sea seven times, sponsored by the Ming government, which was aiming to establish China’s position, impress foreigners and extend the empire’s tributary system. Zheng He commanded expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia and East Africa, visiting more than 40 countries and regions and promoting communication between China and other countries. It is recognized that the seven naval expeditions led by Zheng were the earliest, largest and most technologically advanced voyage activities in ancient maritime history. His achievements, regarded as a great feat in the history of human civilization, surpassed those of the three previous dynasties and even went beyond the Han and Tang Dynasties. Zheng He lived in the early Ming Dynasty, the most powerful era in China’s late feudal society. During this period, the Ming Empire—with its booming economy and military might—was in its golden age. Zheng He brought back large amount of items, including beautiful, colorful and precious gemstones and the deep blue cobalt pigment, smalt. These precious cultural relics witnessed the glorious era in which Zheng He lived and the flourishing of trade between China and overseas countries.
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