What is ‘Ukwanshin’?

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The “Ukwanshin” (oo-‘kwa-n-sheeng) or “crown ships” carried the Chinese emperor’s emissaries to officially install the kings of Ruuchuu. However, these ships not only carried these important officials, but also brought over scholars, artisans, and traders with their goods. Thus, the Ukwanshin became not only a symbol of diplomatic relations, but more importantly a vessel for the exchange of culture.