Ma Huan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A page from Ming dynasty woodcut printed edition of Yingyai Shenglan by Ma Huan

Ma Huan (simplified Chinese: 马欢; traditional Chinese: 馬歡; pinyin: Mǎ Huān; Wade–Giles:) 馬歡; (c. 1380–1460[1]), courtesy name Chung-dao 宗道, pen name Mountain-woodcutter, was born in Kuaiji (會稽) County (presently, part of Shaoxing City) of Zhejiang province. He was a Muslim voyager and translator who accompanied Admiral Zheng He on three of his seven expeditions to the Western Oceans. It was said he was not born Muslim, but was a Chinese who converted to Islam when he was young, and his "Ma" surname had nothing to do with Muslim ancestry. He knew several Classical Chinese and Buddhist texts. He learned Arabic to be able to translate.[2]

In the 1413 expedition (the 4th), he visited Champa, Java, Sumatra, Palembang, Siam, Kochi and Hormuz.

In the 1421 expedition, he visited Malacca, Aru, Sumatra, Trincomalee, Ceylon, Kochi, Calicut, Zufar and Hormuz.

In the 1431 expedition, he visited Bengal, Chittagong, Sonargaon, Gaur and Calicut. From Calicut, he was sent by Eununch Hong Bao as emissary to Mecca.

During his expeditions, Ma Huan took notes about the geography, politics, weather conditions, environment, economy, local customs, even method of punishment for criminals. Returned home on his first expedition, he began writing a book about his expedition, the first draft of which was ready around 1416. He expanded and modified his draft during later expeditions, the final version was ready around 1451. The title of his book was Yingyai Shenglan (The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores).

During the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty, there were many printed and handcopied editions. The latest authentic text of a printed version was edited and annotated by historian Feng Chen jun. A newer edition, based on Ming dynasty handcopied editions, was recently published by Ocean Publishing House in China.

An annotated English translation by J.V.G. Mills (1887–1987) was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1970,[3] and reprinted in 1997 by The White Lotus Press in Bangkok. Mills's translation was based on the edition by Feng Cheng jun.

The Yingyai Shenglan is considered by sinologists worldwide as a primary source for the history of Ming dynasty naval exploration, history of South East Asia and history of India.

Some scholars who have done research work on Ma Huan are J.J.L. Duyvendak, F. Hirth, Paul Pelliot, Feng Chen jun, Xiang Da, J.V.G. Mills.

See also[edit]

  • Fei Xin, another participants of Zheng He's expeditions who wrote a book
  • The "Mao Kun Map" in Wubei Zhi

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forbes, A.D.W. (1983), "Ma Huan", in Bosworth, C.E., The Encyclopaedia of Islam, E.J. Brill, pp. 849–850, ISBN 90-04-07164-4 
  2. ^ Sir H. A. R. Gibb. Encyclopedia of Islam, Volumes 1–5. Brill Archive. p. 849. ISBN 90-04-07164-4. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  3. ^ Book review by Jung-pang Lo
  • Ying-yai Sheng-lan, The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores 1433 by Ma Huan, translated by J.V.G. Mills, with foreword and preface, Hakluty Society, London 1970; reprinted by the White Lotus Press 1997 ISBN 974-8496-78-3 (restricted online copy at Google Books)
  • Paul Pelliot, Les grands voyages maritimes chinois au début du 15ème siècle。

Further reading[edit]

  • Gordon, Stewart. When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks who created the "Riches of the East" Da Capo Press, Perseus Books, 2008. ISBN 0-306-81556-7.