GeoCarta Has Moved

Jan 17, 2006

More Questions Surface Over Chinese Map

More questions have arisen over the map that purports to be a 1763 copy of a map made in 1418 that supporters have said prove that the Chinese sailor Zheng He circumnavigated the globe and during his voyage discovered America.

The International Herald Tribune has a story that sheds more light on some of the troubling details of the map that has caused some historians to question its authenticity.

In the article, Gong Yingyan, a historian at Zhejiang University and a leading map expert, says the map is too full of anachronisms to date from the 15th century. As an example, Mr. Yingyan says that Chinese cartographers did not use the style of projection seen in Liu's map - a three-dimensional globe on a flat sheet - until much later when they were introduced to the technique by Europeans.

The Chinese map expert also said:
The map's Chinese notes about the cultures, religious and features of people in the continents of the world also contain vocabulary that would have been unfamiliar to a reader in the early 15th century, he said. He cited the term the map uses for the Western God, which he said was not used until after the Jesuits arrived in China in the 16th century.
One final consideration is the fact that last year, China's Communist government celebrated the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's voyages. However, Beijing, which has never been known to shy away from trumpeting China's achievements, did not promote the idea that He circled the globe or discovered any unknown continents.

See previous posts:
Did Chinese Discover America?
Did Chinese Discover America? No Says Professor