The Ming Afloat: From Zheng He to the Selden Map

October 27, 2015

Dr. Timothy Brook, a specialist on the Ming period, will address this age of creativity and change in China and the trade that expanded both Chinese horizons and the cultures that were influenced by the vast armadas that China sent to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The remarkable voyages of Zheng He, the maps of the period, including the late Ming “Selden” map discovered in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the commerce of the time will be the focus of the talk. Cargos of exquisite Chinese jade, porcelain and silks sailed from China and returned with spices, aromatics, gems, precious metals and tribute exotica such as giraffes and elephants. An engaging speaker, Prof. Brook will reveal his investigations into an extraordinary time in China’s history.


Dr. Timothy Brook

Dr. Brook is a professor of Chinese and world history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he holds the Republic of China Chair. He has published eleven books (nine of which have been translated into other languages) and edited seven. A specialist on China in the 16th and 17th centuries, he served as editor-in-chief of the six-volume History of Imperial China published by Harvard University Press. He has also written on Japan’s wartime occupation of China (1937-45), human rights, and world history. His more popular books include Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global Age and Mr. Selden’s Map of China: Decoding the Secrets of a Vanished Cartographer. He was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2013.

Research website

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

SFU Harbour Centre
Room 7000
515 West Hastings Street

RSVP: This event is free! 
Please reserve your spot

Light refreshments will be served


  • The Canadian Society for Asian Arts
  • SFU David Lam Centre