Zheng He Treasure Ship - earliest primary sources don't say size

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,138
Portugal
#61
(cont...)

I did imply European ships 100 years after Zheng He have around 5,000 liao [1250 tons burthen]. You can easily check up their tonnage especially when I gave the name (And I mentioned a Portuguese ship too, albeit I mistakenly double counted it). Here is one example out of many: Adler von Lübeck - Wikipedia
Thank you for the link, the Adler von Lübeck wasn’t Portuguese, so doesn’t fall into my previous reasoning, and I confess that I don’t know much more besides what is written in that article.

If you know no Portuguese reference to Chinese ships in the early 15th century, then you know of no Portuguese source whose topic would involve Zheng He's ships dating to the early 15th century.
Already answered. Several times.

I don't need to provide sourcing for statements I never made. On the other hand 1000 liao isn't that big.
See your post #37. The value that we are talking is 5000 liao. Any mention to 1000 liao was a typo.

That wasn't what you said, this was what you said:

It seems that there is some communication problem here. That a Junk in the 19th century would be 800 tons, isn’t a issue, the issue that raises some eyebrows, at least for those like me aren’t aware of the Chinese sources, are values above, or much above, 1000 tons for quite earlier dates (15th century).
You could have put in bold all the part “values above, or much above, 1000 tons…”

And yes, I said that with the 450 ft in mind until you dismissed the 450 ft, and said to me that they were from a novel. You even quoted me: “It seems that there is some communication problem here.” that problem persists.

The 450 feet long ship you keep bringing up would not be anywhere near 1000 tons burthen. The 5000 liao ship would be 1250 tons burthen. Ergo, you are not just questioning statements about 450 feet long ships (which no one challenged) but the 15th century 5000 liao ships as recorded in the Ming dynasty tomb. And your defense is that the Portugese, who only arrived 100 years after the ships were scrapped, didn't record it. You also currently admitted that you know of no Portuguese source that talked about early 15th century Chinese ships in the first place.
Already answered.

I've brought two examples, one of an 800 ton Keying and another of the 1000 ton Tek Sing, so the 1250 tons isn't that far away, and I am aware of no significant engineering improvement in junk design between Zheng He's period and the period of the Keying and Tek Sing.
Already answered.

I must say that the repeating themes, questions answered and explained several times, the constant need to get posts back here to try to have a understandable conversation it has become tiresome to me so, if you don’t have questions to me I will decline to proceed with further posts.

If you want to provide sources to Portuguese ships above 5000 liao feel free to do it, if not, it is ok, I don’t make a question of it anymore, since it seems it was a communication problem.

Goodbye.
 
Dec 2011
1,301
#62
(cont...)
Thank you for the link, the Adler von Lübeck wasn’t Portuguese, so doesn’t fall into my previous reasoning, and I confess that I don’t know much more besides what is written in that article.

[...]

See your post #37. The value that we are talking is 5000 liao. Any mention to 1000 liao was a typo.
The point he was making is about what people find noteworthy enough to tell others or not. What he is saying is that it would not be much of a surprise if the Portuguese didn't record anything about 5000 liao ships if they had never seen them, and the same would be true of the Chinese telling the Portuguese of 5000 liao ships a century after they had been scrapped. He then reversed the perspective and asked why there are no Chinese records of European 5000+ liao ships of later periods, as, if your reasoning was correct, any European in the know could have told them. This is an entirely reasonable argument. And note that for HackneyedScribe's argument to hold, the existence of these European ships does not have to be conclusively proven, it would be enough to prove there had been stories of them floating around at the time (the 16th century), which we can. And well, the answer is that the Europeans in China either didn't know or didn't care. But if we allow for this answer, we have to accept that the Chinese equally might have not known or didn't care, especially if the last Chinese ship of this size had been scrapped a century earlier.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,138
Portugal
#63
The point he was making is about what people find noteworthy enough to tell others or not. What he is saying is that it would not be much of a surprise if the Portuguese didn't record anything about 5000 liao ships if they had never seen them, and the same would be true of the Chinese telling the Portuguese of 5000 liao ships a century after they had been scrapped. He then reversed the perspective and asked why there are no Chinese records of European 5000+ liao ships of later periods, as, if your reasoning was correct, any European in the know could have told them. This is an entirely reasonable argument. And note that for HackneyedScribe's argument to hold, the existence of these European ships does not have to be conclusively proven, it would be enough to prove there had been stories of them floating around at the time (the 16th century), which we can. And well, the answer is that the Europeans in China either didn't know or didn't care. But if we allow for this answer, we have to accept that the Chinese equally might have not known or didn't care, especially if the last Chinese ship of this size had been scrapped a century earlier.
Hi Entreri,

Thanks for the clarification, your text was clear and you made the reasoning in simple words. I think that my understanding of his words was not far of what you wrote, even if he sometimes went out of that line, in my understanding. I also think that is a relatively plausible (possible) argument, even with all the “if”s that we can also add to that line of thinking, I didn’t countered that line reasoning. I don’t even think that reverse engineering by the negative my reasoning would be necessary to prove its holes.

I just have a doubt on a part that you wrote (“it would be enough to prove there had been stories of them floating around at the time (the 16th century), which we can.”, but don’t really consider it that relevant, at this point are minor issues, or that necessarily invalidates the all reasoning.

I also think that the all cross talk begun that I launched the idea, that I considered plausible, and HackneyedScribe didn’t. My idea had its weakness, as I already stated, but I still old the idea that the Portuguese recorded in the Orient the things that they considered “out of the box”, and that the memory of a big ships (above or much above 1000 tons) if existed was for the Portuguese out of the box. Naturally that if that collective memory didn’t existed it couldn’t be recorded. And naturally that the possible inexistence of that memory isn’t a prove that the ships didn’t existed. The existence of a collective memory and its relation with history has its own field of study, maybe I didn’t the best application of it. Let us just move on.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#64
A 1000 to 1250 ton ships would be unusually large.for the 15 century, although not unprecently large. Even until the mid 19th century, it was a large ship.

But what the Chinese could do in the 19th century is not an indication of what they could and did do in the 15th century, and 2000 tons is a major leap from 1250 tons.

Based on the Nicolo Conti's reporting of Chinesr ships.capable.of loads of.2000 butts (not tons, as incorrectly reported in many sources), it seems that Chinese ships reached 1000 tons (a butt was half a run, and a tun was typically around 1 long ton or 1 metric ton). Conti's language implies the Chinese ships that traveled to India regularly reached that.size, since he gave no indication that the ships capable of carrying those loads were some unusually large sxceptions. Conti figure corresponds to a size of 5000 liao, assuming a value of 500 lbs for the liao.

1000 tons also meshes with Gong Zhen crew sizes for the Zheng He ships. At a a 2.5 ton/sailor rational, Gong Zhen"s 300 crew gives a ship size of 750 tons, not too far off from 1000 tons. Further reading indicates that a 2.5 tons per man ratio may be a little low. In an article "The Voyage of the Dronningen of Danmark to China I. 1742" by Mad Kirkebaek, the 540 ton burden (it carried 216 lass of caro, and a lass was 2.5 tons) Dronningen had a compliment of 150, which works out to 3.6 tons per man, and the 800 ton Keying had a crew of 44, and the 916 ton GRT Cutty Sark had a crew of 35. It seems that sailing ships crew sizes decline overtime, and so Song dynasty ratios may have no longer valid by the Ming dynasty.

So multiple lines of evidence points to Ming China ships of around 1000 - 1250 (5000 liao) the tons burden. The evidence for large ships of 2000 tons is lacking, although probable within the capacity of Ming China. If 15th century England could build a 2000 ton Grace Dieu, it is hard to see how Ming China could not build ship equally as large.

Note, even a 1000 ton ship would be very large for the time, let alone a 2000 ton ship.
 
Feb 2011
6,346
#65
A 1250 tons burthen ship gives 2000 tons in displacement. Each time someone mentioned 2000 tons in this thread, they are speaking about displacement of the 5000 liao ships, not carrying capacity. If you think that Sally K's ratio is correct, then a 5000 Liao ship would mean 1250 ton in carrying capacity and 2000 tons in displacement.
 
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Feb 2011
6,346
#66
(cont...)



Thank you for the link, the Adler von Lübeck wasn’t Portuguese, so doesn’t fall into my previous reasoning, and I confess that I don’t know much more besides what is written in that article.



Already answered. Several times.



See your post #37. The value that we are talking is 5000 liao. Any mention to 1000 liao was a typo.



You could have put in bold all the part “values above, or much above, 1000 tons…”

And yes, I said that with the 450 ft in mind until you dismissed the 450 ft, and said to me that they were from a novel. You even quoted me: “It seems that there is some communication problem here.” that problem persists.



Already answered.



Already answered.

I must say that the repeating themes, questions answered and explained several times, the constant need to get posts back here to try to have a understandable conversation it has become tiresome to me so, if you don’t have questions to me I will decline to proceed with further posts.

If you want to provide sources to Portuguese ships above 5000 liao feel free to do it, if not, it is ok, I don’t make a question of it anymore, since it seems it was a communication problem.

Goodbye.
I had questions for you for the additional sources that the Portuguese wrote about China, preferbaly comparable in scale to the Chinese "Strange inventions from the West". You keep speaking about the bounty of records that the Portuguese made about China, but you gave one example. That's not enough to show quantity, it only shows existence.

Your entire argument rests on what could have happened, and if it didn't happen then it hadn't happened. For that argument to work, it needs to be based on what MUST happen not what might have happened. After all if something could have happened, then it also could have NOT happened. All I did was reverse your logic.

Your logic is:
If >1000 ton ships were scrapped in the 15th century, then it's possible that there's still collective memory of it in the 16th century.
==>If there's still collective memory of it in the 16th century, then it's possible that the Portuguese heard of it.
==>If the Portuguese heard of it, then it's possible that they may have recorded this collective memory down for posterity.

Yet by the same reasoning:
If >1000 ton ships were scrapped in the 15th century, then it's possible that there's little to no collective memory of it in the 16th century.
==>Even if there's still significant collective memory of it in the 16th century, then it's possible that the Portuguese didn't hear of it.
==>Even If the Portuguese heard of it, then it's possible that they may not have recorded this collective memory down for posterity. After all without additional proof, "collective memory" of what happened 100 years ago is basically another word for rumor and hearsay.

Now you agreed that there may not have been a collective memory, so we can move on from there. Just look at the chokepoint in the logic here of step 2. When is the last time you spoke to your fiends about "the length or tonnage of the ships sunk in Pearl Harbor" over a cup of coffee? Even for people like us, the few and far between who likes history, that type of conversation is highly unlikely to happen. And then in step 3, how many Portuguese sailors would find a 1250 ton ship as an UFO? By the time the Portuguese arrived, the Europeans where constructing significant numbers of ships of similar size, so it wasn't exactly as noteworthy as an UFO would be. How many Portuguese are the type that speaks Chinese and have the resources to do some digging into Chinese government records, rather than just rely on hearsay of 'collective memory'? After all, if they heard it from "collective memory", then that's basically long-hand for hearsay.

And as I quoted from you before, you were questioning not just 450 feet ships (which I agree didn't exist), but any 15th century ship of 1000 tons. That means you questioned the existence of 5000 liao ships, which is what I was and am addressing. The ships of 450 feet long would be closer to 20,000 tons. From the very beginning I was speaking about 5000 liao ships (1250 tons in carrying capacity, 2000 tons in displacement), not the 20,000 ton type ships.
 
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Feb 2011
6,346
#67
The point he was making is about what people find noteworthy enough to tell others or not. What he is saying is that it would not be much of a surprise if the Portuguese didn't record anything about 5000 liao ships if they had never seen them, and the same would be true of the Chinese telling the Portuguese of 5000 liao ships a century after they had been scrapped. He then reversed the perspective and asked why there are no Chinese records of European 5000+ liao ships of later periods, as, if your reasoning was correct, any European in the know could have told them. This is an entirely reasonable argument. And note that for HackneyedScribe's argument to hold, the existence of these European ships does not have to be conclusively proven, it would be enough to prove there had been stories of them floating around at the time (the 16th century), which we can. And well, the answer is that the Europeans in China either didn't know or didn't care. But if we allow for this answer, we have to accept that the Chinese equally might have not known or didn't care, especially if the last Chinese ship of this size had been scrapped a century earlier.
Thank you, that's a good way to explain what I said (or what I was trying to say at least).
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,138
Portugal
#68
I had questions for you for the additional sources that the Portuguese wrote about China, preferbaly comparable in scale to the Chinese "Strange inventions from the West". You keep speaking about the bounty of records that the Portuguese made about China, but you gave one example. That's not enough to show quantity, it only shows existence.

Your entire argument rests on what could have happened, and if it didn't happen then it hadn't happened. For that argument to work, it needs to be based on what MUST happen not what might have happened. After all if something could have happened, then it also could have NOT happened. All I did was reverse your logic.

Your logic is:

If >1000 ton ships were scrapped in the 15th century, then it's possible that there's still collective memory of it in the 16th century.

==>If there's still collective memory of it in the 16th century, then it's possible that the Portuguese heard of it.

==>If the Portuguese heard of it, then it's possible that they may have recorded this collective memory down for posterity.

Yet by the same reasoning:

If >1000 ton ships were scrapped in the 15th century, then it's possible that there's little to no collective memory of it in the 16th century.

==>Even if there's still significant collective memory of it in the 16th century, then it's possible that the Portuguese didn't hear of it.

==>Even If the Portuguese heard of it, then it's possible that they may not have recorded this collective memory down for posterity. After all without additional proof, "collective memory" of what happened 100 years ago is basically another word for rumor and hearsay.

Now you agreed that there may not have been a collective memory, so we can move on from there. Just look at the chokepoint in the logic here of step 2. When is the last time you spoke to your fiends about "the length or tonnage of the ships sunk in Pearl Harbor" over a cup of coffee? Even for people like us, the few and far between who likes history, that type of conversation is highly unlikely to happen. And then in step 3, how many Portuguese sailors would find a 1250 ton ship as an UFO? By the time the Portuguese arrived, the Europeans where constructing significant numbers of ships of similar size, so it wasn't exactly as noteworthy as an UFO would be. How many Portuguese are the type that speaks Chinese and have the resources to do some digging into Chinese government records, rather than just rely on hearsay of 'collective memory'? After all, if they heard it from "collective memory", then that's basically long-hand for hearsay.

And as I quoted from you before, you were questioning not just 450 feet ships (which I agree didn't exist), but any 15th century ship of 1000 tons. That means you questioned the existence of 5000 liao ships, which is what I was and am addressing. The ships of 450 feet long would be closer to 20,000 tons. From the very beginning I was speaking about 5000 liao ships (1250 tons in carrying capacity, 2000 tons in displacement), not the 20,000 ton type ships.
HackneyedScribe,

I said that I would answer to you if you would have new questions for me, and I will make that effort. I really will not answer to questions with formulations like “Pearl Harbor" over a cup of coffee”.

I mentioned to you more than a work (I counted 3) and then provided a non exhaustive list of works that are Portuguese (and a couple of Castilian) sources that have parts about China or about the Chinese, solely for the 16th century (I made a mistake, the work of Álvaro Semedo is from the beginning of the 17th, the author lived in both centuries, for the mistake I beg your indulgence). That list included the probable coordinator of the first Portuguese-Chinese dictionary (1582), the mentioned Jesuit Michele Rugiero. For the 17th century forward we have more sources about China, since the Macau colony was already fully established. Let us recall that basically since Marco Polo in the 14th century there were no direct European sources about China until the arrival of the Portuguese (at least that I recall/know).

Most of the mentioned works I read them partially, few totally. Any question about them I will answer in the best of my abilities. Some are available online. Some even translated to English.

I can’t compare them in scale or content with the Chinese "Strange inventions from the West", since I don’t have knowledge the Chinese documents that you are mentioning.

For the rest of your post I already said goodbye. The issues that you mentioned were really already answered, several times, and explained in different words, for some you still seem that didn’t quite understood, please try to read it again under new eyes, I confess that right now I don’t have the capacity and the will to do it all over again, since I consider that part of the conversation is in a constant infinite loop.
 
Feb 2011
6,346
#69
None of those you mentioned relates to how they would relate to Zheng He's ships.

The issues I raised was certainly NOT answered. There are things that I've explained several times that I don't think you've ever addressed. Argument from possibility and argument from personal incredulity are logical fallacies, not proper arguments. You can repeat them over and over but that's not evidence for anything.
 
Feb 2011
6,346
#70
Already answered. Several times. Summary on post #57.
No you have not. All you did was deny what you originally questioned in post 57. I quoted you word for word what you originally questioned, and that is you questioned the existence of 15th century ships thats 1,000 tons or more. You are trying to make it sound as if you are questioning the existence of ships of 450 feet only, and those types are closer to 20,000 tons.

I only quoted about his own time period. He may have went back some decades, that was what I also already stated.

About Portuguese sources about China, 16th century, besides the already mentioned Gaspar da Cruz we have (and this list doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive):

We have other that you didn’t seem to notice my mentioning, “Galiote Pereira” with “Tratado da China/Treaty of China”:

There is a compilation of the letters of the Portuguese in captivity (1524), also already mentioned in this thread by me, Cristóvão Vieira and Vasco Calvo;

Décadas da Asia, by João de Barros (I think mostly in Década III);

Relação da Grande Monarquia da China, by Álvaro Semedo;

Suma Oriental, and other works, by Tomé Pires;

Peregrinação, by Fernão Mendes Pinto;

Lendas da Índia, by Gaspar Correira;

Cartas de Afonso de Albuquerque;

Letter of Leonel de Souza;

Works of Afonso Ramiro and Mateus de Brito;
Thank you for the sources but under what context would any of them describe Zheng He's 15th century ships? You know that is why I asked for Portuguese sources, because you said Portuguese would have mentioned Zheng He's 15th century ships. Or how about we make it easier, can you provide quotes in which a Portuguese source gives details on Chinese "collective memory", ergo hearsay and rumors?
You expect Portuguese sourcing to mention Zheng He's ships just because of "collective memory". So I don't see how things like a letter on negotiating treat agreements with the Ming, would somehow mention word-of-mouth hearsay about Zheng He's ships from more than 100 years ago.

You are saying that Gaspar da Cruz has nothing to do with the Great Spanish Armada? Well, we agree. Why should I relate them? Sounds confusing.
How does any of your sources have to do with Zheng He's ships any more than Gaspar have to do with the Spanish Armada?

You questioned me “You question the existence of Zheng He's ships because the Portuguese didn't record it, yes? And then you brought in Gaspar da Cruz as an example, did you not?” #lost the post

I had mentioned that there were Portuguese in China that wrote about China. I can add Portuguese that were in the Orient and heard about China. There was an intensification of information between Europe and Asia in the 16th century. Gaspar da Cruz is a sample of those Portuguese in the East that heard or were in China and wrote about China. I tough I was clear.
No one denied that there were Portuguese who heard about China. However,
1. you questioned the existence of Zheng He's ships because the Portuguese didn't record it <===True or not?
2. you then mentioned Gaspar da Cruz as an example <==== True or not?
3. Gaspar da Cruz only mentioned ships of his time period, not Zheng He's time period <==== True or not?

If Gaspar da Cruz only mentioned ships of his time period, not Zheng He's time period, then you example is not relevant.

“Definition of sample

(Entry 1 of 3)

1: a representative part or a single item from a larger whole or group especially when presented for inspection or shown as evidence of quality : SPECIMEN

2: a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole

3: an excerpt from a recording (such as a popular song by another performer) that is used in a musical composition, recording, or performance”

INSTANCE, CASE, ILLUSTRATION, EXAMPLE, SAMPLE, SPECIMEN mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category.”

From: Definition of SAMPLE

Anyway more samples (read examples, cases…) were provided.
I asked for Portuguese sources because you claimed they would have spoken about Zheng He's ships. The only source you quoted from shows that he was talking about ships from his own time period. The rest of your "samples" are just names of sources, you haven't shown under what context would they mention Zheng He's ships.

Yes it would. But as far as I said several times I don’t know of any about the ships. About the Portuguese writings of the time period and the Chinese explorations in the Indian Ocean there is somewhere a thread in this forum that mention them. I think that we even talked in that thread.
If you don't know any Portuguese sourcing that relates to the topic of early 15th century Chinese ships, then your logic that the Portuguese would mention Zheng He's ships falls apart. I don't know why that is hard to understand. It is like denying the current Chinese education taught evolution just because they didn't teach evolution in a class on Chemistry.

Already talked. Already answered.
Your answer was that you admit you don't know any Portuguese sourcing that relates tot he topic of early 15th century Chinese ships, which makes your argument fall apart. Yet you still stick to your argument, even though you admitted a fact that causes the entire foundation of your argument to collapse.

In order for a Portgueuse source to talk about Zheng He's ships, then it must talk about 15th century Chinese ships, not Chinese ships of their own time period. Since you don't know any, then you can't expect them to talk about Zheng He's ships much like how you can't expect a book on Aircraft Carriers to talk about Carracks and Galleons.

Hmmm… how can I prove if they didn’t mentioned it? I begin to think that this conversation is a bit surreal.
Exactly, if they didn't mention it then you CAN'T prove it. If they did mention it then you can prove it, but so far you have not. "It" being15th century Chinese ships.

You say that the Portuguese would have mentioned Zheng He's ships if they existed.
I asked you which Portuguese source would have mentioned 15th century Chinese ships, you say you don't know any.
I don't see how a Portuguese source which don't talk about historic 15th century Chinese ships, would somehow mention Zheng He's ships which are 15th century Chinese ships.
It is like expecting to find the Pythagorean Theorem in a book about Biology.

Ok. Recap:

You: “If you don't think the Great Spanish Armada is a good example, we can talk about all the Portugese ships in Europe that are of much greater size than the 5000 liao ships, but never made it to Asia.” #37

Me: “Sorry, I don’t understand this reasoning or the disconnected questions.

What is the point here? What Portuguese ships in Europe? The Portuguese ships went overseas.

How many Portuguese ships were bigger than 5000 liao in the 16th century? That means 1250 tons burden? 2000 tons displacement? I can’t answer to that. Most probably none. None that I am aware.” #47

You, giving Portuguese ships and other ships: “There's the Adler von Lubeck, the San Pelayo, the Sao Martinho, the Triumph, the Great Michaeal, Henry Grace, Grace Dieu, Madre de Deus, Santa Catarina, Nossa Senhora da Graça, etc etc, I'm sure I'm missing a lot of these 16th century to early 17th century ships that were around 1000 tons burthen.”

So, if you didn’t we have a huge problem of communication here. As I already pointed.
Out of those I listed, the Madre de Deus is a 1000 ton Portuguese ship. In fact most of those I listed are around 1000 tons burden, albeit most aren't Portuguese ships but they are European ships. For Portuguese ships there is also the
1556 S. Marcos at 790 Portuguese tons or 1422 metric tons
1560 S. Pedro at 520 Portuguese tons or 936 metric tons
1566 S Joa at 1100 Portuguese tons or 1980 metric tons
(Source: Seapower in GLobal Politics, 1494-1993 by George Modelski, pg 162-164)
Since the Chinese didn't mention any of them in their records, then by your logic this is enough ground to question their existence.

Recap, this was what started the argument in your post 22: " That a Junk in the 19th century would be 800 tons, isn’t a issue, the issue that raises some eyebrows, at least for those like me aren’t aware of the Chinese sources, are values above, or much above, 1000 tons for quite earlier dates (15th century). "

So you were questioning ships of 1000 tons or more, which means you are questioning the existence of 5000 liao ships as mentioned in the tomb of Hong Bao.

You said the reason in post 25: Any Ship with more than 1000 tons would raise comments in the sources. It would be quite
an unusual ship for men that saw ships every day. It doesn’t matter if it was English or Chinese. It would be unusual for that timeline.


Except there were plenty of European ships, including Portuguese ones in the list, that reached 1000 tons. I don't see how the Portuguese were obligated to mention each and every one of those ships. You also admitted that you know of no Portuguese sources which mentions 15th century Chinese ships, so expecting them to mention Zheng He's ship from the 15th century is like expecting to read about Galleons in a book dedicated to describing aircraft carriers.
 
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