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In the early fifteenth century China sent large fleets to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. The written records on these missions include several works with descriptions of the trading ports and coastal regions of Asia and East Africa. One such work was Fei Hsin’s “Hsing-ch'a sheng-lan“. This book conatins accounts of over forty places; it is one of the most important sources with economic, geographic and anthropological information on maritime Asia in pre-colonial times and is comparable to the books by Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Wang Ta-yüan, Ma Huan, and others.
The present translation of Fei Hsin’s book is based on the Chinese edition by Feng Ch’eng-chün. The work is revised and annotated by the editor, who also prepared an introduction on the editorial history of the text, copious notes, a bibliography, and a detailed index.