Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) treasure ship design

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Ulrich Rudofsky
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Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) treasure ship design

Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Wed May 23, 2007 9:46 pm

The Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) is believed to have discovered America earlier than Columbus. The admiral’s “treasure ship” was a wonder of the world with 9 masts and 12+ sails, water-tight compartments (also for keeping live fish and for bathing), and triple rudders. Large models in museums, and also sold as a kit by Trumpeter, give dimensions that are bizarre; at 1:1250, the model would come out to approximately 12 cm LOA, 12 cm keel to truck, and a beam of 4.9 cm! Therefore, has anybody seen plans or documents that would disagree with my estimate of this grapefruit-wedge-shaped ship. I would like to gather some more data before I start this miniature model http://ship1250photo.com/index.php?cat=10005. http://www.chinapage.com/zhenghe.html
http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/mar ... aJapan.htm
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b138/ ... ria500.jpg
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Postby RF » Thu May 24, 2007 9:19 am

The Vikings (Eric the Red) were in fact the first Europeans to discover America, centuries before Columbus.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Thu May 24, 2007 11:02 am

I know that, but in America we have a holiday and parades only for Columbus and not for Leif Erikson a.k.a. Eric the Red. http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/Holidays ... umbus.html :lol: . I imagine that has something to do with political expediency. The Italians and Hispanics are a strong voting block. The Scandinavians here have made some attempts to restore Eric the Red to his rightful place, but it always fizzzels, partly because of several questionable historical items like the Kensington Runestone found in Minnesota.

There is even some mention of Viking ships (silvery snakes) in the sagas of some Florida and South American Indians.

I obviously have no doubts that Vikings, perhaps even Irish monks came here before Cloumbus. But then there are the Mandan Indians of Welsh ancestry :lol:
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Postby marcelo_malara » Thu May 24, 2007 3:33 pm

I think that the problem with the vikings is that the discovery was not carried on with long time settlements, so the fact that they came first was forgotten.

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu May 24, 2007 4:20 pm

Marcelo:

I think that the problem with the vikings is that the discovery was not carried on with long time settlements, so the fact that they came first was forgotten.


I agree. My dad, who is Norwegian, always told me that about the Vikings. They were more interested in another land where they settled and were able to stablish one of the greatest nations on earth: Russia.
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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Thu May 24, 2007 4:34 pm

History is sometimes influenced by "National Romanticism" or "Romantic Nationalism".

But I am still looking for the Eunuch Admiral's ship plans (which were burned when the emperor died, they say) or reconstructed plans for models. The length to beam ratio appears to be enormous in museum models, but the Chinese measurement are recorded . My 1:1250 model would have to be approx. 12 cm LOA, 12 cm keel to truck, with a hefty 4.9 cm beam. Hard to believe that this thing could move through the water.....the shape of a rugby ball.........
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Postby Admiral-scheer » Sat May 26, 2007 11:48 pm

I believe the suprising thing about the ships is it Beam. At 4.9cm on a 1:1250 model, the real ship would have a beam of 50-60 meters long (approx) :shock: :shock: :shock:


From Wikipedia:

…We stopped in the port of Calicut, in which there were at the time thirteen Chinese vessels, and disembarked. China Sea traveling is done in Chinese ships only, so we shall describe their arrangements. The Chinese vessels are of three kinds; large ships called chunks (junks), middle sized ones called zaws (dhows) and the small ones kakams. The large ships have anything from twelve down to three sails, which are made of bamboo rods plaited into mats. They are never lowered, but turned according to the direction of the wind; at anchor they are left floating in the wind.

Three smaller ones, the "half", the "third" and the "quarter", accompany each large vessel. These vessels are built in the towns of Zaytun and Sin-Kalan. The vessel has four decks and contains rooms, cabins, and saloons for merchants; a cabin has chambers and a lavatory, and can be locked by its occupants.

This is the manner after which they are made; two (parallel) walls of very thick wooden (planking) are raised and across the space between them are placed very thick planks (the bulkheads) secured longitudinally and transversely by means of large nails, each three ells in length. When these walls have thus been built the lower deck is fitted in and the ship is launched before the upper works are finished." (Ibn Battuta).



If you look at models and representations the ships were really wide, unlike the Europeen ships. Columbus' ship Santa Maria was 82 ft long (roughly 20 meters, unlike Zheng He's being more then 100m long.
Just look at your scale models of chinese junks as they have the same layout.

After the voyages zheng He had the ships were decomminsoned and left to rot in the harbours. Apprently the Chinese forgot how to manufacture the ships (possibly has to do the plans being burnt as Ulrich said) . :( :(

In general I believe the wide beam is very true.
Best regards

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Postby marcelo_malara » Sun May 27, 2007 12:14 am

water-tight compartments (also for keeping live fish and for bathing), and triple rudders. Large models in museums, and also sold as a kit by Trumpeter, give dimensions that are bizarre; at 1:1250, the model would come out to approximately 12 cm LOA, 12 cm keel to truck, and a beam of 4.9 cm! Therefore, has anybody seen plans or documents that would disagree with my estimate of this grapefruit-wedge-shaped ship.


I have read 4 books about wooden ship construction. Two points come to my mind:

-western shipwrights could never make watertight compartments in wooden ships, even in the recently clipper era. They have to wait until the advent of iron and steel to subdivide the interior of the ships. Moreover, it was very difficult to make perfectly waterproof the outer skin, so a little water would always enter.

-ships (like the Columbus ships) were short because of the limitations of the technology of the era. With the advent of internal iron reinforcement bands, LOA reached more than 50 mts.

So it is very difficult to believe that a ship that size could be constucted in those years.

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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Sun May 27, 2007 11:02 am

Thanks for all the help. I think I will follow roughly this model. 1:1250 will be 12 cm x 5cm. Hight approx. of main mast 7 cm.
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http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/0 ... g-he.shtml
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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:55 pm

I have finished the Zheng He Treasure Ship
The details about building the 1:1250 miniature ship are at http://ship1250photo.com/index.php?cat=10005

http://ship1250photo.com/displayimage.php?pid=2828&fullsize=1
Ulrich

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Postby Bgile » Sat Sep 22, 2007 6:12 pm

Wow. Pretty amazing.

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:10 pm

Normandie was quite a big ship, a couple of feet longer than Queen Mary. Being the dimensions correct the chinese ship was overwhelming, incredible. It was bigger than the Spanish ship of the line Santisima Trinidad...
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Postby Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Yes. Also there are no plans, there is pretty good evidence that these treasure ships were immense. One rudder post was excavated that suggest it would have been OK for a 500 ft ship!

My next Project is the HMS Habakkuk. I will make it from ice cream, chocolate and marzipan as soon as the outside temperature is -1 F. At 1:1250 it would be 48 cm long X 7 cm wide! Deck to keel 5 cm. The deck will be Lindt chocolate thins etc. If I get it done, which is doubtful, I will pot the mold for the hull and the final product........ :lol: :lol: :lol:
Ulrich

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Re: Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) treasure ship design

Postby herrmill » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:48 am

I came upon this thread just the other day as I was researching more on the paint schemes for Zheng He's treasure fleet.

I am currently finishing an RC conversion of Trumpeter's Cheng Ho treasure ship which I picked up last month from a hobby shop in Shanghai. Aside from some glaring inconsistencies in regards to scale - their designer must have been drinking too much beijou as he worked up on the kit - its an easy build & makes for an easy conversion to RC due to the huge amount of space in the one-piece molded hull & large rudder.

At 60cm long, I didn't go to the trouble of making it a working rig with sail servo but will have enough slack on the sheets it allow it to sail on a broad reach as well as downwind. When the wind doesn't want to cooperate, the 380 motor I installed should push this beamy tub around quite easily.

Does anyone know of other conversions made with this kit?

Chuck

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Re: Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) treasure ship design

Postby marcelo_malara » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:54 am

Hi guys. Those still believing the crazy theory of the giant ships should read this page http://www.1421exposed.com/.

Regards


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