International conference


Seafaring, Trade, and Knowledge Transfer

Maritime Politics and Commerce in Early Middle Period to Early Modern China


4-5 July 2017

Culture and Convention Center Het Pand, Priorzaal

Onderbergen 1, Ghent


The conference is part of a research project we have been carrying out since early 2014. This project is sponsored by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and focuses on the investigation of the qualitative characteristics and changes of China’s maritime commerce and politics over time (c. 7th to 18th centuries) and space. In our research, we especially focus on periods of significant changes or “transitions”. In addition, the integrative perspective of China’s foreign networks and the interaction of Chinese and foreign agents, analysing the practice of local trade and knowledge (science) transfer, the specific inter-relation between seafaring and socio-economic and political-military purposes of Chinese governments are of particular importance. 


Tuesday, 4 July




   Opening Remarks by Angela SCHOTTENHAMMER

Session 1: Administration and Politics (chair: Angela Schottenhammer)


   Paola CALANCA (EFEO, France): Family Strategies during the Ming-Qing Transition: Focus on Sea Coastal’s Minnan Region

   Robert J. ANTONY (Guangzhou University, China): Mountains, Rivers, and Sea: Canton and the Lianyang Trading System in Historical Perspective


   Coffee break


   John CHAFFEE (Binghamton University, NY, USA): Song and Yuan Maritime Administration Compared: Implications for Knowledge Transfer

   Tansen SEN (City University of New York, NY, USA): The Mongols and the Changing Patterns of Indian Ocean Connections

   Leonard BLUSSÉ (Leiden University, The Netherlands): Shreds of Chinese Business Correspondence: A Collection of Letters sent by the Yanghang of Xiamen




   Lunch break

Session 2: People and their Environment (chair: Leonard Blussé)


   Ellen Xiangyu CAI (Guangzhou University, China): On the Negotiation on the Translation of the Dutch Letter of Credence to the Qianlong Emperor in 1794

   Patrizia CARIOTI (Università di Napoli l’Orientale, Italy): The Intriguing World of the Tōjin in Nagasaki in the 16th-18th centuries


   Coffee break


   MA Guang (Shandong University, China): Free Market, Natural Disasters, Climate Change, and the Wokou in Yuan China

   Mathieu TORCK (Ghent University, Belgium): Qi Jiguang and the Defense of China’s Sea Border during the Ming Dynasty         

   XU Zhexin (Salzburg University, Austria): Publication of Medical Texts in Fujian During the Ming Dynasty



Wednesday, 5 July

Session 3: Transfer of Knowledge and Technologies: Cartography and Nautics (chair: Timothy Brook)


   Radu LECA (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, United Kingdom): Imaginary Islands on East Asian Cartographic Sources from 15th  to 17th Centuries

   Timothy BROOK (University of British Columbia, Canada): Mapping from the Water: Navigation and Global Cartography in the Ming


   Coffee break


   CHENG Weichung (Academia Sinica, Taipei): The VOC Nautical Investigations and Hydrographical Charting on China Coast and Taiwan between 1652 and 1668

   Elke PAPELITZKY (Salzburg University, Austria): Seafaring Knowledge of Ming Literati: the Scholarly Dissemination of Sea Route Descriptions




   Lunch break

Session 4: Trade with the Indian Ocean World (chair:  Manel Ollé)


   Ubaldo IACCARINO (Università di Napoli l’Orientale, Italy): The Sino-Japanese Trade in the Philippines and its actors between the 16th and 17th Centuries

   Manel OLLÉ (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain): Transformation in the Commercial Projection of Manila in East Asia throughout the 17th Century

   LI Man (Gerda Henkel Foundation, Germany): Southern Han’s “Bad Money” in the Java Sea: Possible Logic for the Southward Money Flow in Early 10th Century


   Coffee break


   KIMURA Jun (Tokai University, Japan) and Mark STANIFORTH (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia): Maritime Archaeological Evidence of the Early and Medieval South China Sea’s Commerce and Political Events in Vietnam

   John GUY (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA): Crossroads of Asian Long Distance Exchange: Shipwreck Evidence of the 9th and 10th Centuries in the Java Sea Realm

   Wim DE WINTER (Ghent University, Belgium): The Ostend Company and its Worlds: Trading Communities and Courtly Authority in 18th Century Canton and Bengal

16:30-18:30 Global Comparions

   Angela SCHOTTENHAMMER (Salzburg University, Austria): Was Traditional China’s Maritime Politics (Proto-)Colonialist?

   Koen VERBOVEN (Ghent University): Imperial Seas: Rome, the Mediterranean and Seas Beyond, from Augustus (27 BC – AD 14) to Justinian I (AD 527 – 565)

   Michael LIMBERGER (Ghent University): China’s antipode?: Seafaring, Trade and Maritime Connections in the North Sea area in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

   Jean BOURGEOIS (Ghent University): Geoarcheological Research in the Turfan Oasis


Contact and info

Angela Schottenhammer   

Mathieu Torck