FilmQ04d_Ch19: Cheng He & The Ming Dynasty
How to Use Video as a Source
Step #1: Familiarize yourself with film questions prior to viewing the film. By reading the questions and understanding the vocabulary contained within, you allow yourself the luxury of viewing the film without having to look at the questions continuously.
Step #2: View and Listen Attentively. Unlike a book, a video provides information via visual images and audio. Both forms of data are ‘more valuable together’ than separately. For example, turn the volume off on your TV during your favorite program. Then, raise the volume while ‘blacking out’ the image. Under which conditions was the data most richly delivered? Always make sure that you have unobstructed viewing of a film and that the sound is audible.
As you view the video, pay attention to visual and or audio cues that reflect the issues raised by the questions below. Your responses should refer to video content as well as your current knowledge and understanding of history.
Step #3: Organize Your Thoughts. Unlike a book, the data from a video is often delivered at a constant rate. With a book, you can slow your reading speed when you encounter a particular segment that is complicated. You can also turn back to a previous page to review information. A film is a bit different in that you may not always have the option to use ‘slow motion’ or ‘rewind’. Therefore, maintaining focus on the imagery and sound is important. Targeted Notes will reduce the amount of time you’re looking away from the film. By writing quick and simple phrases of a few words each, you maintain greater attention to film events. Targeted notes use key words/ phrases that will ignite a thought or idea when you read them later. There is no concern for grammar or spelling while doing this. After the film has ended, you look at your targeted notes and manipulate the data to compile responses in complete sentences.
Organizational Tip: Vertically divide your sheet of paper (where you’ll write your responses). On the ‘left’ half, take targeted notes for each question given. After viewing the video, use the targeted notes to compose complete responses to each question (on the ‘right’ half of the sheet).
Your responses to these film questions will form the foundation of, or supplement, your notes for this lesson. While the focus of the film is Cheng He’s voyages, we don’t want to overlook the policies that made such endeavors possible. We want to then compare & contrast that Ming policy with the version that brought an end to these great maritime ventures. We want our discussion to shed light on what will eventually transpire when Europeans contact the Chinese in greater frequency and scope.
SOURCE:\ CNN’s Millennium Video Series:The 15th Century: Century of the Sail ©1999. Narrated by Ben Kingsley. CNN Productions, Inc. ©1999 [~15 min.]
Context: 14th C. – 17th C. China Ming Dynasty & Cheng He’s voyages
1. Determine the goals of the Ming for the 15th C. voyages.
2. Offer an explanation for the unusual description of the legendary Cheng He.
3. Use the data relevant to the Caravel (listed below) and offer your opinion regarding how it compares to Cheng He’s first voyage in 1405:
a. Carried a crew of 25 – 30 sailors & upto 52 tons of cargo
b. Upto 87 feet long and 25 feet wide
c. Three masts holding square-rigged sails (retro-fitted with lateen sails in the late 15th C.)
d. 1492- Columbus sails with three Caravels
e. 1498- Vasco daGama sails with 30 Caravels
4. Identify at least three (3) maritime advantages the Chinese enjoyed over all other civilized peoples of the world.
5. Describe the treatment given to Cheng He’s crew as they encountered peoples of other lands.
6. Despite the commercial and political potential of Cheng He’s voyages, Ming bureaucrats recommended to the emperor that all maritime ventures cease. In addition, all of Cheng He’s notes were destroyed and he was ordered never to return to the sea. Please offer a plausible (possible within context) explanation for this outcome.
A. Forbidden City: Ming dynasty’s imperial palace complex.
B. Eunuch: A male serving in a government role that can vary from harem guard to the highest positions of political power, like the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman empire. The roles vary with the region of the world. One common characteristic of eunuchs is that they are castrated.
C. Caravel: the dominant ship design for European commerce and exploration in the 15th C.
D. Reckon: To calculate. In this context, calculate position and/ or course by considering variables like: ship speed, time, distance, etc.
E. Magnetic North: Refers to the northern pole of the Earth’s magnetic field. It does not coincide with the Earth’s terrestrial North Pole.
F. Tribute: A gift or service showing respect, gratitude, or affection. In this context, the gift-giving is part of a ritual between one of ‘lower’ standing to one of ‘higher’ standing.
G. Junk: Derived from a Javanese word (jon) that was later adapted by the Portuguese (junco). A ship common in Far-East Asian waters. Its name is specific to its design features.
H. “Intelligence”: In this context, ‘information’ concerning an enemy, possible enemy, or an area.
*Source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary