19 October 2010

Zheng He's treasure ship

Amateur video filmed in Nanjing in the Ming Dynasty shipyard.  I have seen Zheng He's ship compared to Columbus' flagship in diagrams; this is the first time I have seen the contrast portrayed with models.

Addendum:  I think reader BJN is correct in pointing out that the scales of the two models in the video are not in exact concordance; the idea is correct, but the math is wrong.  Here is a photo of models from another source that may be more accurate:


  1. The model that's supposed to be Columbus's ship isn't anything like the model shown. The Santa Maria was the largest of the three ships in Columbus's discovery voyage at about 70 ft. long.

    Here's a photo image of much more accurate replica models comparing the size of the two ships:


    1. Others are available via a Google search. Here is one article with images -


  2. Is this really a fair comparison? I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim that any of Columbus' ships were especially large. Granted, on the other hand, it is notable that Zheng He's ship predates the European age of sail by several hundred years...

    Always amazing the things you never hear about simply because it doesn't fall into the Euro-centric realm of history.

  3. The video would not play, but that is an incredible looking ship. Thank you for this post.

  4. It plays for me. It must not like you.

  5. Zheng He 郑和 whose voyages ranged from nearly ninety to nearly fifty years prior to Columbus' first voyage brought back such things as zebras and giraffes from Africa to the Ming Court. Can you imagine a couple of giraffes on the Santa Maria (which went aground on Haiti and was lost)?


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