IN HIS LATEST BOOK, Zheng He (White Star, 2006), award-winning National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita ’71 pays tribute to Admiral Zheng He, who sailed from Ming Dynasty China and made seven voyages in 28 years (1405–1433), visiting 30 countries. Before the expeditions of Columbus, da Gama, and Magellan, Zheng He traveled with a fleet of massive junks from Southeast Asia to Africa and from India to the Middle East. But when the Ming Dynasty’s power collapsed, his accomplishments were forgotten.
Yamashita traces each of Zheng He’s journeys, recreating his voyages in hundreds of stunning photographs, accompanied by text about the intrepid explorer by writer Gianni Guadalupi. Yamashita’s pictures capture landscapes, waterways, various peoples, and religious rituals and traditions as he travels to such diverse locales as Vietnam, India, Iran, and Somalia.