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Ptak, Roderick (2021): A Rock in the Sea: Daxingjian in Chinese Nautical Texts and on Selected Maps (c.1400-1600). In: Ming Qing Yanjiu, Vol. 25, No. 1: pp. 1-38

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Records of the Ming period, especially nautical works and maps, refer to various locations near or along the coasts of Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan. Many of these islands and bays, reefs and rocks have a history of their own, while other places rarely attract the attention of modern scholars. One neglected site is Daxingjian, an uninhabitable mini-islet or rock formation south of Honghai Bay, at the northern rim of the South China Sea. The present article analyzes representative references to this rock in selected navigational texts, local gazetteers, and geographical works of the Ming period, and on selected maps from that era. Above all, it shows that Daxingjian was an important mark for Chinese sailors. The final section of the article briefly turns to Portuguese works, which mention Daxingjian as well, albeit under different names. One question that emerges in the course of this paper relates to the large island of Nan'ao and the Nanpeng Islands: how important were these locations in maritime trade at that time?

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