A short walk from the Q

The number “444” (44 zhang, 4 chi, or 444 chi) prescribed for the length of this important imperial ship was certainly no accident. Four was the symbol for the earth, which was thought to be “four cornered.” The Middle Kingdom was imagined to be in the middle of four seas. There are four cardinal directions, four seasons, and, according to Confucian philosophy, si wei, “four bonds” or virtues: propriety, integrity, righteousness, and modesty. All were auspicious associations for the treasure ships. Image Copyright Lisa Whiteman:

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