Essay about History: Diary and early Seventeenth Century

Submitted By kamilledenise
Words: 1236
Pages: 5

The Historical Voyage of Hsu Hsia-K’o Through Parts of China Hsu Hsia-Ko’s Travel Diaries through his journey across different parts of China is a primary source that is presented in the form of several diary entries. In the account, the author prevalently describes his voyage in superior detail as he travels from place to place in China. Just like any journal entry, the author provides elements of his personal thoughts and experiences as he journeys and explores. Thus, as a result, this allows the readers to catch a glimpse and insight to the culture and society that surrounded him in the early seventeenth century. However, just like any historical source, this particular account also contains several key strengths and weaknesses for historical study. For instance, it is evident that the author only focuses majority of his diary on the one particular topic that is mainly the visual imagery of his voyage. He writes in great detail the grandeur of his expedition by descriptively stating the places he notices such as the mountains, waterfalls, etc. Therefore he offers a very limited perspective that is difficult to interpret about the historical context of China at the time of his travel. On the contrary, since the account is written in diary entry form, it is advantageous that it offers an individual’s perspective since the author writes about it in great detail during the time of1his voyage. He is able to account every event and notable occurrences that he encounters which is effective with allowing the reader to immerse along with him in his voyage. Each and every part of the account was intricately written with a great amount of description through the author’s use of expressive language. In addition, it is noted that someone of a Chinese decent that is voyaging through his own homeland, China, writes these summations of travel diaries. Therefore from a historical context, this account is able to unveil and relay key facts and information about the culture and society of China at the time. Nevertheless, Hsu Hsia-Ko’s Travel Diaries provides a glimpse of China during the early seventeenth century through the author’s expedition. Throughout his journey, the author notes in repetition several travelling sites that he enjoys and finds grandeur. Due to the fact that he travels for a long period of time and in long distances, one may say that the people, type of weather, and sceneries that he repeatedly encounters are those that significantly exist in China at the time. For instance, in several of his entries, he recurrently states mountains, waterfalls, rivers, monasteries, bridges, abundant rainfalls, monks, caves, etc.1 In his diary of the second visit, the author recounts, “There we saw a rock rising from the creek. The stream turned into a waterfall as it fell and pounded the base of the rock. Water and rocks made this spot a place of great beauty.”1 This depicts that China during that time period is perhaps filled with mostly rural developing areas that is rich in land and associated with nature. The author did not directly state anything regarding urban developed areas since his voyage is solely directed towards the rural areas with not that many inhabitants. This idea is related back to the weakness of this historical study that is that it provides a limited perspective. Consequently, not only are the diary entries designed to recount the notable events of the author’s voyage, but it also gives an excellent perspective and imagery of China’s landscape. From a reader’s perspective, the description of the sights the traveller sees is marveling and admiring as it predominantly showcases the richness of China’s land and acreage. For example, the author repeatedly encounters abundant amounts of rainfall in parts of his journey while at the same time mentioning that he was provided meals that included millets (rice). 1 This correlation illustrates that due to the rainfalls, there are copious amounts of