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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter of this book highlights the special significance of the seas to China under the Qing dynasty which will be the focus of the following seven chapters. The chapter argues that China faced the oceans to the East and South too, and that at certain points in her history China was focused almost exclusively on the seas. The maritime world was central to the search for the three celestial islands that began with the First Emperor, and it gave birth to at least one deity - Mazu, a goddess still worshipped in overseas communities from the Straits of Malacca to Cape Town and the Caribbean islands. It was the seas that made the Tang "golden", the Song "China's greatest age", and spread the gospel of Ming China.

Keywords:Chinese seas; maritime world; Ming China; Qing dynasty

10.1163/9789004194786_002
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