Digital Library

Sarah Ward


The Centre for Maritime History and Culture Research at Dalian Maritime University is located at Dalian, Liaoning Province, Northeast China. Its research focuses on Sino-Foreign maritime exchanges and Asian shipbuilding tradition. This page is a hub for Asian maritime archaeology and history of seafaring and a space for sharing knowledge, projects, oportunities and Asian research on shipbuilding.

With a millenary history, China has a rich and diverse seafaring tradition that is largely unknown in the western world. Watch Dr. Ward November 2020 talk here.

Ship Models

China is developing an inventory and database of ship models and Texas A&M University has two interesting collections of models, currently housed in the Department of Anthropology. This space is devoted to research on ship models from Asia, with a special interest on Chinese boat and ship models.

The Spencer Collection (29 models) was built in China between 1934 and 1940, and offered to Texas A&M University in 1974.  It was made by a professional model builder from the port of Yichang, on the Yangtze River and encompasses a variety of boats from the Yangtze River Basin.

The Forrest H. Wells Collection (42 models) was purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, brought to America in the 1930s, and offered to Texas A&M in the 2000s.  It is a precious collection of Asian models with a varied provenance, and we are currently trying to match the documents that came with the models, with the pictures and designations.

Almost one century old, some of these models are probably unique renderings of a world that has since vanished and we want to make the entire collection available on this website, for study and comparison.


There is an extensive bibliography pertaining to nautial and maritime archaeology and this section is intended as a repository of papers and reports, with English abstracts, as a means to share the existing body of data to western audiences.

Fujian Museum et al. (1973) A Brief Report on Cleaning Baiyan Cliff Cave Tomb on Mount Wuyi in Chong’an Fujian Province, China. Wen Wu. Vol. 6, pp. 12-20.