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China's Great Armada
JULY 2005
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Photo captions by Cliff Tarpy
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China's Great Armada Gallery Photo

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Timeless Design
Photograph by Michael Yamashita

Hewing to a long but dying tradition, workmen in Beihai, China, craft the wood skeleton of a junk for the prolific South China Sea fishing industry. The ship's design has probably changed little since Chinese admiral Zheng He commanded a massive fleet of junks during seven epic voyages—the first of which was launched 600 years ago this month. In service to Ming emperor Zhu Di, Zheng's Treasure Fleet conducted widespread trade and diplomacy throughout the Indian Ocean. His mandate was to enrich the imperial treasury by exacting tribute from leaders of other countries bordering the Indian Ocean, and to solidify their allegiance to China.
Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Canon EOS 1V
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia
Lens: 16-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/30 @ f/2.8

Weather Conditions: Cloudy, bright
Time of Day: Late afternoon
Lighting Techniques: Natural light

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