The Chinese were ahead of the other countries as far as the art of shipbuilding is concerned. The technique of making a ship has varied from simple to complex through the passage of time. A ship in Chinese is called Junk and was developed for the first time during the reign of the Han Dynasty. Famous Ancient Chinese Ships were called junk approximately from the 14th century. The very first ships were made from bamboo rafts, canoe, wooden boat, oared boat, wooden sailboat, steamships and developed to the modern steel vessel over the years.
Famous Ancient Chinese Ships can be traced back to the 2nd century AD. However, throughout the ancient Chinese period, ships became famous but particularly during the reign of Kings like Lou Chuan, who belonged to the Han Dynasty, the Sui Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty and the Zheng Dynasty. During the rule of Lou Chuan of the Han Dynasty, Castle ships were very popular.
The Castle ships were made before the Han Dynasty came to power but the structure of ship was enhancement during the Han rule. These Castle ships were more than 33 meters in heights and comprised of three floors, each floor having its distinct name.
The first floor was called Lu which consisted of various houses, the second floor was known as Fei Lu or Flying Lu and the last floor was called Sparrow Room or Que Shi. The top-most room was used to keep an eye on the enemy’s movements and thus was named after the bird.
The castle ship was heavily protected with weapons like spears and daggers in case of an attack from an enemy. The size and the availability of weapons made these castle ships of prime importance during war periods.
During wartime, horses and vehicles were loaded onto the deck of these ships. All these features give us an insight of the sophistication of shipbuilding techniques of the Han Dynasty.
Another important ship that made its impact during the ancient Chinese rule was the Big Dragon Boat built during the reign of Emperor Sui Yang. The boat was built in 640 on the orders of Emperor Sui Yang who intended to go on a voyage to Yangzhou. This boat was 15 meters in height and 66 meters long.
On the top floor of the boat, two palaces were constructed for the Emperor and on the bottom floors, there were 120 rooms which were ornamented with gold and emerald. Other than these lavish comforts for the Emperor, the boat also nine three-floored dragon boats in the fleet. The Dragon boat was made from timber.
One of the most famous ships of the ancient China belonged to Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty. The important ship in the fleet of the Zheng He was known as the treasure ship and was a Fu-Chuan ship that was apt for the ocean-going expedition. These Famous Ancient Chinese Ships had nine masts and weighed around 1500 tons. The treasure ship had the capacity to board over 1000 passengers at one time.
The ship had a sharp base, a broad deck, a sharp front end and a square stern. All these features of the treasure ship made it effortless to sail on the rough ocean waves with utmost easy. The treasure ship was not only the most advanced ship but also was the largest wooden ship that was built during the ancient times that cruised along South Sea and West Sea.