framework and referred to as “tribute” ( gong 貢). 3 The Ming dynasty was no different: the ban was lifted and embassies were sent out. The now-famed Zheng He 鄭和 (1371–1433) expeditions that reached as far as the EastAfrican coasts are best known. 4 However, after the Zheng He expeditions, the Ming court
literature offered new forecasts for relations between Eastern and Western cultures and civilizations.
The Silk Road, which dates back to ancient China, is a major transportation hub connecting Asia, EastAfrica, and Europe. It is also known as “the Canal of Human Civilization” and “the Womb of Global