<p style='text-align: justify;'>The Chinese collections of Cambridge University Library include a number of items in non-book format. An example is the single sheet shown here, which provides rare information about the foreign trade relations of China in the early eighteenth century.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The document is an official proclamation (ling pai) issued on 8 February 1711 by Wu Ying (1637-1712), the Naval Commander-in-Chief of Fujian Province.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>Since the pacification of Taiwan in 1684, the Qing government had been encouraging foreign trade by reducing tariffs at Amoy and other ports. This document, issued to a ship's master from Bengal whose name is represented by Chinese characters pronounced 'Xiaer' (霞儿), notes that the number of traders coming from foreign countries had fallen off of late. Therefore this proclamation is given to the Bengal trader 'Xiaer' so that he can take it back with him and circulate it amongst his fellow merchants, who are assured of favourable treatment when they come to do business in China.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The document is a large proforma printed on thick paper, the heading and title being within a border decorated with dragons chasing pearls. The text of the proclamation is written in a neat hand, and endorsed by the addition of official seals and circles and lines in red ink.</p>
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