The Ming Dynasty emerged in the second half of the 14th century, having achieved a hard-won victory over the declining Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. Admiral Zheng He, a Muslim of Mongol descent, was born into this turmoil in a far-flung, frontier province of the Ming empire. Yet by the early 15th century, he had been made the commander-in-chief of some of the most extravagant and far-reaching naval voyages in history. How did a Muslim eunuch ascend to a position of such power in the Ming court? Where did these vast voyages take him, and how is he considered in China today? Dan is joined by Craig Clunas, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford and an expert on the Ming Dynasty, to answer these questions, and more.
Produced by James Hickmann. Edited by Dougal Patmore.