ICS Lecture: Maps that Turn History Upside Down

October 7, 2016

ICS Lecture: Maps that Turn History Upside Down

Maps that Turn History Upside Down

How Maps Turn World History Upside Down

- A Critical Analysis of World Maps and 600 Years of World Exploration

Dr. Siu-Leung Lee
Friday, October 7, 2016
4:00-5:30 PM
Page Hall, 1810 College Road.

Abstract: For the past 400 years, the 1602 Chinese world map (Kunyu Wanguo Quantu) has been believed to be the work of Matteo Ricci translating from works of European cartographers. However, as the nickname “The Impossible Black Tulip” indicates, the map is incompatible with such authorship. Using a forensic approach, detailed analysis of more than 600 maps from 14th to 18th century as well as original records of explorers reveals that the map is in fact completed before 1430 by Chinese explorers, overturning the history of the Age of Exploration. This discovery has profound implications on American history.

Prof. Chan's introduction                         Prof. Walker's introduction.


Q&A session

Bio: Born in Hong Kong and graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Lee obtained his PhD from Purdue University with an academic and industrial career in biochemistry and biotechnology at Yale University, Texas A&M University, Corning Corp, and Battelle Memorial Institute. He pioneered in enzymatic biosynthesis of natural products. Upon retirement from his position as associate director of Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology, he returned to US and picked up his earlier interest in arts and history. For the last 10 years, he has focused on pre-colonial history of America. He has given more than 30 lectures at major universities and higher education institutes in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and US. Dr. Lee’s interest in history began with a Ming medallion found in the Appalachian Mountains. His curiosity led to a 10-year pursuit of the lost history of Ming Chinese in America, which is the subject of his two books. Dr. Lee is the president of Zheng He Society of the Americas, based in Washington DC.