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Volume 23 of the series Maritime Asia contains eleven studies on the late Ming novel Sanbao taijian Xiyang ji tongsu yanyi (short title Xiyang ji) which narrates Zheng He’s adventures in the “Western Ocean”. Xiyang ji is the earliest and best-known Zheng He narrative. Its macro-structure resembles that of Xiyou ji and is equally complex as the text draws on diverse sources. Besides looking at Xiyang ji from a sanjiao guiyi perspective or as a novel of quest, one can also make use of it for historical research, sociological inquiries, and above all, within the general framework of “Maritime Studies”.
Five of the articles in the present collection and the preface are in Chinese; these parts were written by Huang Huizhen, Xi Longfei, Zheng Run, Zhou Ruyan, Zou Zhenhuan and the Chinese editor. The other articles, in German, are by Cai Jiehua, Ralph Kauz, Kathrin Messing, Katrin Weigold, Thomas Zimmer and the German editor. All of them deal with Zheng He and his portrayal, the circulation of his novel, the characteristics of his ships and concepts of space with certain elements taken from Sanguo themes, and various religious dimensions including some Islamic components, the role of Tianfei/Mazu, and the “White Eel Spirit”.