Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, Malacca

Cheng Ho Cultural Museum is a small museum in Malacca dedicated to the memory of Cheng Ho (the more modern conversion to an English name calls him Zheng He). It is believed that the present Museum is situated on the original site of Guan Chang built by Cheng Ho, the Ming Grand eunuch, about 600 years ago. His fleet of several hundred ships sailed 7 times to the Western Ocean from China between 1405 and 1433.

Historic Timeline  of Melaka

Historic timeline of Malacca

Historical records reveal that Ming Dynastyโ€™s Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) visited Melaka at least five times during his famous seven voyages to the Western Ocean (Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Africa).

Map of Cheng Ho's voyages

Map of Cheng Ho’s voyages

The museum is ok, but something that certainly can be missed. The history of Cheng Ho is amazing but the museum itself is not that special. For those very interested in small museums, history or Cheng Ho it is a fine place to visit. Others can skip it. I am a bit partial to museums and history myself.

Tin coins and ingots minted by Cheng Ho

Tin coins and ingots minted by Cheng Ho

Zheng He was the second son of a family from Kunyang, Yunnan, China. He was originally born with the name Ma He. His family were Hui people. He had four sisters and one older brother.

Zheng He was born into a Muslim family. However, his religious beliefs became all-embracing and eclectic in his adulthood. The Liujiagang and Changle inscriptions suggest that Zheng He’s devotion to Tianfei (the patron goddess of sailors and seafarers) was the dominant faith to which he adhered, reflecting the goddess’ central role to the treasure fleet.

museum display including depth measuring instruments

Museum display including depth measuring instruments

Zheng He was captured by the Ming armies at Yunnan in 1381. General Fu Youde saw Zheng He on a road and approached him in order to inquire about the location of the Mongol pretender. Zheng He responded defiantly that he had jumped into a lake. Afterwards, the general took him prisoner. The young Zheng He was soon castrated before being placed in servitude of the Prince of Yan.

Among the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, Zheng He became the object of cult veneration (called after either of his names, Cheng Hoon or Sam Po ). Even some of his crew members who happened to stay in this or that port sometimes did as well. The oldest and most important Chinese temple in Malacca is the 17th-century Cheng Hoon Teng.

Read more about the history of Zheng He.

Entrance, Cheng Ho Museum

Entrance to the Cheng Ho Museum

Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM everyday
Address: 51 Lorong Hang Jebat, Melaka 75200, Malaysia
Phone: +60 6-283-1135

Related: Siew San Teng (Tau Pek Kong) Temple and Chinese History Museum, KuchingStreet Art in MalaccaAsian Civilizations Museum, Singapore

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