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Stamps Issued to Commemorate Zheng He

A set of commemorative stamps was debuted on Tuesday in the Ocean University of China based in Qingdao, a port city in Shandong Province, to mark the 600th anniversary of maritime expeditions by Zheng He, a seafarer in the15th century.

Zheng He, an important historical figure, commanded seven expeditions to the "Western Oceans" on royal orders between 1405 and 1433. Steered by stars and directed by the compass, his fleet used nautical astronomy and geonavigation to visit more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa, successfully extending Chinese cultural and technological influence as well as fostering trade and good will.

Zheng He's impressive fleet comprised more than 200 ships and a crew of more than 20,000. The 100-meter-long flagships, known as "treasure ships," sailed in convoy with a fleet of battleships, combat billets, supply ships, water tankers and horse ships. The size of the fleets sent, the equipment used and the distance traveled all demonstrated that nautical technology in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was well ahead of other maritime powers.

In addition to China Post, both Hong Kong Post and Macao Post also issued a set of three commemorative stamps and a stamp booklet on Tuesday. This is the fifth stamp issue jointly conducted by the three postal administrations.

The three stamps issued by China Post depict a likeness of Zheng He, exploration, trade and diplomacy, seamanship and the science of navigation. The stamp booklet features Zheng He's mighty fleet.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2005)

Shanghai to Hold Zheng He Ocean Voyage Exhibition
'Treasure Ship' Park in Nanjing
Ship Sails Historical Mariner's Trail
Zheng He's Voyage Commemorated
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