An exhibition to celebrate Chinese navigator Zheng He opened on July 12 in the Yunnan provincial museum.
The exhibition is part of the 2012 China Kunming Pan Asian Zheng He International Cultural Tourism Festival, which will be launched in Jinning county on Wednesday, the China Navigation Day.
Zheng, a legendary navigator, was born and raised in Jinning, Yunnan province. From 1405 to 1433, he led seven maritime expeditions. He took with him Chinese tea, silk and porcelain all along the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean to West Asia and Africa.
His expeditions reached numerous countries and lasted for years. During his 28 years at sea, he led the vast fleet and took the Chinese civilization to Asia and Africa.
The week-long exhibition covers classical ship models from ancient times to modern times, including Zheng's "treasure ship". The largest ship in Zheng's fleet, the "treasure ship" is equivalent to a flagship in the modern navy. It was used to load and ship treasures of ancient Chinese emperors to Western countries.
Jin Feibao, a Yunnan province explorer involved in planning the exhibition, said the ship models come from more than 20 regions.
Also being shown is a piece called Zheng's Navigation Chart, with a height of 1.4 meters and a length of 37 m, drawn by Yunnan artist Liu Zongqi.
Stuart Smith, a visitor from the US, said that his knowledge of Asia's navigation history was focused on the Silk Road and that he knew little about Zheng before he attended the exhibition. Smith believes this is a very good way for a city like Kunming to make people aware of the navigator's achievements.
Cai Desheng, Party secretary of Jinning county, said that the event will help to carry on Zheng's spirit, which spread the seeds of peace and friendship to over 30 countries as he sailed along.