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Ship models the Empress Dowager Ci Xi sent to the

Belgian's World's Fair Expo.

"Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1910"

 

ChineseJunkModel9.jpg (33838 bytes)
In this model, we find a fire-wok hanging from poles at the stern,
with fresh made spear tips leaning against the handrail
and wooden anchors hanging from the bow.
Also paintings along it's entire length.


The Qing Empire had lost many battles with the Western Powers since the 1840s.  Despite the shame and aggravations, there were still cultural exchanges, though very few, between China and the West.  After discussing the World Expo matters with the top officials of China, Empress Dowager approved a shipment of 86 ship-models, primarily made by historians and craftsmen, of different kind of junks, different applications, junks made in different ship-yards from all over China, and sent a delegation to attend the World Expo in Brussels, Belgium in 1910.

 

ChineseJunkModel2.jpg (45492 bytes)
6 swivel Deck Cannons; 2 forward, 2 mid-ship and 2 a stern,
with a woven rudder (fenestrated), metal handrails at the stern,
masts with shrouds and a stern post (sprit) to handle the mizzen.
Looks like the rudder may be hanging from the sprit as well.


Their historical accuracy was of the utmost importance, they were representing their country.

 

ChineseJunkModel3.jpg (35554 bytes)
Junks were painted with eyes, so they could see at night, in the fog and in bad weather.
Hopefully protecting the crew and cargo from any dangers they could not see.


But before the Expo, the Wuchang Revolution brought down the Qing Empire, the officials leading the delegation found they had no imperial government to represent and they left hastily for the next boat back to the East, leaving behind the ship-models they were supposed to show.


ChineseJunkModel4.jpg (42014 bytes)
Retractable anchor blades, bowsprit and a second type of woven rudder.
The slots in the rudder were designed to make it easier for the operator to handle.


The ship models have been in Antwerp for the past 100 years.

 

ChineseJunkModel5.jpg (36344 bytes)
Square sails, windlass used for sail and anchor, and a retractable rudder.
With red painted on the bow and stern and again the eye to see.


The 86 ship-models are kept in the Maritime Museum in Belgium.
Recently, around 20 of these models were lent to an exhibit for the Taiwan exhibition.

 

ChineseJunkModel6.jpg (44733 bytes)
Hand cranked windlass and capstan, with holes in keel to help relieve broaching
and a raised stern for following seas, with a rudder that can be raised for shoal waters.


An attempt will be made, some time in the future, to revisit Antwerp and acquire more photographs.

 

ChineseJunkModel7.jpg (24650 bytes)
A cabin with windows? A bowsprit with a windlass spanning it?
One things for sure, a third type of woven rudder (fenestrated rudder).


ChineseJunkModel8.jpg (32462 bytes)
A metal grapnel anchor is shown here on this flat fronted barge.
With the rudder fully aft and a bulkhead for the helmsman's support.


If we could acquire the images of all 86 models, we'd
have a richer understanding of what to look for, when scouting out perspective wreck sites.

 

ChineseJunkModel1.jpg (37842 bytes)
A pair of Admiralty type anchors hang from the bow of this Junk.
Does anyone recognize the partially covered flag on the center mast?
All indications are that this was some sort of officials vessel.


T
here were over 300 ships in Zheng He's Armada. These 10 models represent just a small sampling
of the diverse aspects of Junk construction.

 

ChineseJunkModel10.jpg (35426 bytes)
Notice the capstan located on the center-aft-section of the deck.
A couple of knowledgeable advisors, suggested the capstan was used for fishing nets.
The wooden handles are called "handspikes".


Different a
rtifacts found in the Caribbean, closely match those of the two models above.

 

RailWeb.jpg (33016 bytes)
One example here, waits for us to prove it's origins.

 

SuperJunks1sWeb.jpg (58567 bytes)
Model of a Treasure Junk or "SuperJunk" as it's also known.
It too, shows a capstan on deck, next to the sign, and it looks to be metal.

CapstanMini.jpg (13960 bytes)            CapstanMainE1.jpg (11601 bytes)
    Thank you Cedric Bell.                                     In the Caribbean.

 

CedricsAnchor.jpg (19110 bytes)
Example of a SuperJunk's stone anchor.

 


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The model above is on exhibit in the Quanzhou Maritime Museum.
Notice the dragon, carries the "Pearl of Wisdom" in it's mouth.

Model of the Emperor Zhu Di (Yongle)' dragon boat.

ZhengHeShips.jpg (50265 bytes)
A thousand thank you's to Madam Ding Yuling, Deputy Curator of the Quanzhou Maritime Museum.
And a big thank you goes out to Frank Lee, in Hong Kong, for all his help.

View the animation of a "Treasure Junk" produced by NOVA

Asian maritime & trade chronology to 1700 CE


rudder.jpg (18291 bytes)
A Rudder from a "SuperJunk"


If you have any images you'd like to share, please forward them to my email link below.


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Laz@LaszloArt.com

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