Library's Talk: Solving the World's Worst Piracy Problem in 1809: An Introduction to the Jinghai Fenji of Yuan Yonglun and the "Pacifying the South China Sea" Scroll in the Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Date: 9 April 2015 (Thursday)
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Venue: User Education Room, Library
Language: English
Speaker: Dr. Stephen Davies, Honorary Fellow, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong
Enquiries: / 3442-5418 (Ms. Helen Lee)

The waters off Southern China were a favoured hunting ground for pirates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jinghai fenji 靖海氛記 (History of the Pirates who infested the China Sea, from 1807 to 1810), written by Yuan Yonglun 袁永綸 in 1830, depicts the pirate scourge in this period, including a vivid narration of Zhang Baozai 張保仔, a pirate lord who operated in the waters around Hong Kong in the early nineteenth century. He was so powerful that at one stage he controlled an armada of pirate vessels and some 30,000 troops. An extraordinary 18m long, ink-painting scroll entitled Pacifying the South China Sea 靖海全圖, at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, depicts the final battle that took place off Lantau Island, Zhang's surrender, appointment as a Lieutenant in the Qing Navy and subsequent assistance in clearing out the pirates who had paralysed the Guangdong coast. As the lead researcher in decoding the scroll, Dr. Stephen Davies will describe in detail the Jinghai fenji and the Pacifying the South China Sea scroll. 

Dr. Stephan Davies is an Honorary Fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. His passion is the sea and he is an active yachtsman, sailing most weekends around Hong Kong's waters. In 1985 he founded Hong Kong's internationally known ABC 4 Peaks Race, which celebrated its 31st annual competition this year. Dr. Davies has been researching and writing about ships, seafarers and the sea for some 50 years.

Recommended Reading
Anthony, Robert J. (2003). Life froth floating on the sea: the world of pirates and seafarers in late imperial south China. Berkeley, Calif.: Institute of East Asian Studies, China Research Monograph 56. (Call no.: DS753.2 .A57 2003)  
Glasspoole, R. (1935). Mr. Glasspoole and the Chinese pirates. London, England: Golden Cockerel Press. 
Murray, Dian H. (1987). Pirates of the South China coast, 1790 - 1810. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. (Call no.: G535.M78)

Yuan, Y.L. (1831). The History of the pirates who infected the South China sea from 1807 to 1810 (Neumann, C.F. Trans.). London, England: Oriental Translation Fund. Accessible from

袁永綸著《靖海氛記》箋註專號,《田野與文獻》,第 46 期 (2007 年 1 月)︰香港︰ 香港科技大學華南研究中心。(Call no.: DS793.S644 Q245 2007) Enquiries: