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Dr Church will give a talk on 'A Lion Presented as Tribute during Chen Cheng's 陳誠 Diplomatic Expeditions to Herat (1413-1420)'

When Jan 25, 2019
from 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM
Where Room 138, Alison Richard Building
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Cambridge Central Asia Forum in collaboration with the Centre of Development Studies invites you to a talk by

Dr Church, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge on

'A Lion Presented as Tribute during Chen Cheng's 陳誠 Diplomatic Expeditions to Herat (1413-1420)'


Date: 25 January 2019

Time: 11-1pm

Venue: Room 138, Alison Richard Building,7 West Road, Cambridge


Abstract: In the very year when representatives of the Sultan of Bengal presented a giraffe as a tribute gift to the Chinese emperor during Zheng He's 鄭和 maritime expeditions (1405-1433), Shāhrukh Bahadur (1377-1447), ruler of the Timurid empire from 1407 to 1447, sent his hunters out in the hinterland of his capital Herat (in present-day Afghanistan) to capture a lion as tribute for the same emperor. The year was 1414, and the emperor was Yongle 永樂 (r. 1403-1424). While the presentation of the giraffe from Bengal, which came to China by sea, is clearly documented in the Ming Shilu 明實錄 (Veritable Records of the Ming), there is no mention of a lion among the gifts from Herat in the entry for 30 November 1415, the date when the Shilu records the arrival of their envoys via the overland Silk Road. This talk examines the reasons why this hasn't been documented  in the Shilu which is one of the most detailed sources on the Ming Dynasty's foreign relations.




Everyone is welcome.