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The Da Ming Hunyi Tu: Repurposing a Ming Map for Sino-African Diplomacy

The Da Ming Hunyi Tu: Repurposing a Ming Map for Sino-African Diplomacy <p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>In 2002, an exhibition at South Africa&apos;s parliament included a reproduction of the <i>Da Ming Hunyi Tu</i> (Amalgamated map of the Great Ming), citing it as the earliest world map to depict the entire African continent. As part of its broader efforts to shape a narrative of long-standing and peaceful international relations with Africa, the People&apos;s Republic of China formally presented a replica of this map as a gift to the South African government in conjunction with the exhibition. In official statements and popular media coverage alike, the map was described as evidence of a distinctly Chinese approach to global relations, based on benevolence and mutual respect. In particular, the map was ahistorically intertwined with the legacy of Zheng He&apos;s diplomatic expeditions, which reached the East African coast in the early 1400s. To the cartographic historian, however, the depiction of Africa in the <i>Da Ming Hunyi Tu</i> is clearly derived from non-Chinese sources that predate Zheng He&apos;s expeditions. This article examines the ways in which the map has been divorced from its original context to suit modern needs, exemplifying the deployment of cartography to deflect anxieties about the nature of Chinese economic influence in South Africa.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review University of Hawai'I Press

The Da Ming Hunyi Tu: Repurposing a Ming Map for Sino-African Diplomacy

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University
ISSN
2158-9666
eISSN
2158-9674

Abstract

<p>ABSTRACT:</p><p>In 2002, an exhibition at South Africa&apos;s parliament included a reproduction of the <i>Da Ming Hunyi Tu</i> (Amalgamated map of the Great Ming), citing it as the earliest world map to depict the entire African continent. As part of its broader efforts to shape a narrative of long-standing and peaceful international relations with Africa, the People&apos;s Republic of China formally presented a replica of this map as a gift to the South African government in conjunction with the exhibition. In official statements and popular media coverage alike, the map was described as evidence of a distinctly Chinese approach to global relations, based on benevolence and mutual respect. In particular, the map was ahistorically intertwined with the legacy of Zheng He&apos;s diplomatic expeditions, which reached the East African coast in the early 1400s. To the cartographic historian, however, the depiction of Africa in the <i>Da Ming Hunyi Tu</i> is clearly derived from non-Chinese sources that predate Zheng He&apos;s expeditions. This article examines the ways in which the map has been divorced from its original context to suit modern needs, exemplifying the deployment of cartography to deflect anxieties about the nature of Chinese economic influence in South Africa.</p>

Journal

Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture ReviewUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 8, 2017

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