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Chouhai tubian 籌海圖編

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Chouhai tubian 籌海圖編 "Illustrated book on maritime defense" is a military treatise compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) writer Zheng Ruoceng 鄭若曾 (1503-1570). It is 13 juan "scrolls" long and describes the arrangements for coastal defense during the early Ming period. The book is enriched with 114 maps and illustrations. Some sources attribute the book to Hu Zongian 胡宗憲 who has actually only written the preface.
The Chouhai tubian describes the whole coastline of China, the fortifications along the coast, the methods of defense, the weapons used, the historical development of piracy in the East China Sea and the relations between China and Japan. A very large proportion of the pirates during the 14th and 15th century were Japanese (called wokou 倭寇) Very important is an analysis of the routes pirates used to attack coastal villages and the hinterland, in order to forestall further raids. It is also described, which weapons the pirates used to assess their fighting abilities. In the maps, the whole coastline from the southwestern province Guangxi to the northeast is shown, including the fortifications. It is the earliest collection of maps of China's coastline. For the defense, the book provides instructions of the selection and training of the troops in the garrisons. The most effective method of anticipating raids was reinforcing the fortifications, strengthening the defensive troops' fighting power, to keep the pirates out on the oceans, and, if they approach, instantly attacking them.
The Chouhai tubian had a great influence on practical coastal defense. It is at the same time an important source of the history of piracy at the Chinese coast.
There are several prints from the Ming period. A facsimile of a print from around 1700 is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Source: Fan Zhongyi 范中義 (1989), "Chouhai tubian", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Junshi 軍事 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 104.

January 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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