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Concerning  the  Kingdoms  and  Marvels 
of  the  East. 










7  he  right  of  Translatio?i  is  reserved. 




Explanatory  List  of  Illustrations 






Journey  to  the  West  and  South  -  West  of  Cathay. 


XXXV. —  Here  begins  the  Description  of  the  Interior  of 

Cathay  ;  and  first  of  the  River  Pulisanghin  i 
Note. —  The  Bridge  Pul-i-sangin ,  or  Lu-kyu-kao. 

XXXVI. — Account  of  the  City  of  Juju  .  4 

Notes. —  i.  The  Silks  called  Sendals.  2.  Chochau.  3.  Bifitrcation 
of  Two  Great  Roads  at  this  point. 

XXXVII. —  The  Kingdom  of  Taianfu  .  6 

Notes. — 1.  Acbaluc.  2.  Thai-yuanfu.  3.  Grape-wine  of  that  place. 

4.  PHngyangfu. 

XXXVIII. —  Concerning  the  Castle  of  Caichu.  The  Golden 

King  and  Prtster  John  .  8 

Notes. — 1.  The  Story  of  the  Roi  d’Or.  2.  Effeminacy  reviving  in 
every  Chinese  Dynasty. 

XXXIX. —  How  Prester  John  treated  the  Golden  King  his 

Prisoner .  1 1 

XL. —  Concerning  the  Great  River  Caramoran  and 

the  City  of  Cachanfu  .  12 

Notes. — 1.  The  Karamuren.  2.  The  akche  or  asper, 

XLI. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Kenjanfu .  13 

Notes. — 1.  Geography  of  the  Route  since  Chapter  XXXVIII.  2. 
Kenjanfu  or  Singanfu.  3.  Prince  Mangala. 

XLI I. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Cuncun,  which  is 


Notes. — i.  The  Mountain  Road  to  Southern  Shensi.  2.  Wild 

a  1 


Chap.  Page 

XLI 1 1.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Acbalec  Manzi..  ..  19 

Notes. —  1.  Geography,  atid  doubts  about  Acbalec.  2.  Farther 
Journey  into  Ssechuen. 

XLI V.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Sindafu  .  22 

Notes. — 1.  Chingtufu.  2.  The  Great  River  or  Kiang.  3.  The 
word  Comereque.  4.  The  Bridge-Tolls.  5.  Correction  of 

XLV. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Tebet .  26 

Notes. — 1.  The  Part  of  Tibet  and  events  referred  to.  2.  Noise  of 
burning  bamboos.  3.  Road  retains  its  desolate  character.  4. 
Persistence  of  eccentric  manners  ilhistrated.  5.  Name  of  the 

Musk  animal. 

XLVI.— Further  Discourse  concerning  Tebet  .  31 

Notes. — 1.  Explanatory.  2.  “  Or  de  Paliolle.”  3.  Cinnamon. 

4.  5-  Great  Dogs. 

XLVI I.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Caindu .  34 

Notes. —  1.  Explanation  from  Ramusio.  2.  Pearls  of  hiland 
Waters.  3.  Lax  manners.  4.  Exchange  of  Salt  for  Gold. 

5.  Salt  Currency.  6.  Plant  like  the  Clove  spoken  of  by  Polo. 

Tribes  of  this  Tract. 

XLV  III.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Carajan  .  39 

Notes. — 1.  Geography  of  the  Route  between  Sindafu  or  Chingtufu , 
and  Carajan  or  Yunnan.  2.  Christians  and  Mahoniedans 
in  Yunnan.  3.  Wheat.  4.  Cowries.  5.  Brine-spring.  6. 

XLIX. —  Concerning  a  further  part  of  the  Province  of 

Carajan . .  ..  45 

Notes. — 1.  City  of  Talifu.  2.  Alligators.  3.  Yunnan  horses  and 
riders.  Arms  of  the  Aboriginal  Tribes.  4.  Strange  superstition. 

L. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Zardandan .  52 

Notes. — 1.  The  Gold -Teeth.  2.  Male  Indolence.  3.  The  Couvade. 

4.  Abundance  of  Gold.  Relation  of  Gold  to  Silver.  5.  Wor¬ 
ship  of  the  Ancestor.  6.  Tallies.  7-10.  Medicine-men  of- 
Devil-dancers ;  extraordinary  identity  of  practice  in  various 
.  regions. 

LI. —  Wherein  is  related  how  the  King  of  Mien  and 
Bangala  vowed  vengeance  against  the  Great 

Kaan .  62 

Notes. —  1.  Chronology.  2.  Mien  or  Burma.  Why  the  King  may 
have .  been  called  King  of  Bengal  also.  3.  N timbers  alleged  to 
have  been  carried  on  elephants. 

LIL— Of  the  Battle  that  was  fought  by  the  Great 
Kaan’s  Host  and  his  Seneschal  against  the 
King  of  Mien  .  66 

Notes. —  1.  Nasruddin.  2.  Chinese  account  of  the  Action.  General 
Correspondence  of  the  Chinese  and  Burmese  Chronologies. 


Chap.  Page 

LI  1 1.— Of  the  Great  Descent  that  leads  towards  the 

Kingdom  of  Mien  .  70 

Notes. — 1.  Market-Days.  2.  Geographical  difficulties. 

LIV. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Mien,  and  the  Two 
Towers  that  are  therein,  one  of  Gold,  and. the 
other  of  Silver  .  72 

Notes. —  1.  Amien.  2.  Chinese  Account  of  the  Invasion  of  Burma. 
Co7nparison  with  Bur77iese  An7ials.  The  City  inte7ided.  The 

Pagodas.  3.  Wild  Oxen. 

LV. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Bangala  .  7 8 

Notes. — 1.  Polo's  view  of  Bengal ;  and  details  of  his  account  illus¬ 
trated.  2.  Great  Cattle. 

LVI.— Discourses  of  the  Province  of  Caugigu .  80 

Note. — A  Paid  of  Laos.  Papesifu.  Chmese  Etymologies. 

LVI  I.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Anin  .  82 

Notes. — 1.  The  Name.  Probable  ide7itification  of  tei'ritory.  2. 

LVIII. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Coloman  .  85 

Notes. — 1.  The  Na77ie.  The  Kolo-7nan .  2.  Natural  defences  of 


LIX. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Cuiju  .  88 

Notes. — 1.  Kweichau.  Phwigan-lu.  2.  Grass-cloth.  3.  Tigers. 
4.  Great  Dogs.  5.  Silk.  6.  Geog7'aphical  Review  of  the  Route 
smce  Chapter  L  V. 


( Continued .) 


Journey  Southward  through  Eastern  Provinces  of  Cathay  and 


LX. —  Concerning  the  Cities  of  Cacanfu  and  Changlu  95 

Notes. —  1.  Pauthier's  Identificatio7is.  2.  Changlu.  The  Burning 
of  the  Dead  ascribed  to  the  Chmese. 

LXI. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Chinangli,  and  that  of 

Tadinfu,  and  the  Rebellion  of  Litan .  97 

Notes. — 1.  Thsinanfu.  2.  Silk  of  Shantung.  3.  Title  Sangon. 

4.  Agul  and  Mangkutai.  5.  History  of  Litan' s  Revolt. 


Chap.  Page 

LXI I.— Concerning  the  Noble  City  of  Sinjumatu  ..  ..  ioo 

Note. — The  City  intended.  The  Great  Canal. 

LXI  1 1— Concerning  the  Cities  of  Linju  and  Piju  ..  ..  102 

Notes. —  1.  Linjtt.  2.  Piju. 

LXIV.— Concerning  the  City  of  Siju  and  the  Great 

River  Caramoran  .  103 

Notes. — 1.  Siju.  2.  The  Hoang-Ho  and  its  changes.  3.  Entrance 
to  Manzi;  that  name  for  Southern  China. 

LXV.—  How  the  Great  Kaan  conquered  the  Province 

of  Manzi  ..  ..  . .  107 

Notes. — i.  Meaning  and  application  of  the  Title  Faghfur.  2.  Chinese 
self  devotion.  3.  Bayan  the  Great  Captain.  4.  His  lines  of 
operation.  5.  The  Juggling  Prophecy.  6.  The  Fall  of  the 
Sung  Dynasty.  7.  Exposure  of  Infants ,  and  Foundling 


LXVI. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Coiganju  ..  ..  ..  ..  114 

N  ote. — Hwai-ngan  -fu. 

LXVII. —  Of  the  Cities  of  Paukin  and  Cayu  .  115 

Note. — Pao-yng  and  Kao-yu. 

LXVI II. —  Of  the  Cities  of  Tiju,  Tinju,  and  Yanju .  116 

Notes. — 1.  Cities  between  the  Canal  and  the  Sea.  2.  Yangchau. 

3.  Marco  Polo's  Employment  at  this  City. 

LXIX.— Concerning  the  City  of  Nanghin  .  ..  118 

N  ote. — Nganking. 

LXX. —  Concerning  the  Very  Noble  City  of  Saianfu,  and 

how  its  Capture  was  effected . .  119 

Notes. — I  and  2.  Various  Readings.  3.  Digression  on  the  Military 
Engines  of  the  Middle  Ages.  4.  Romance  of  Cceur  de  Lion. 

5.  Difficulties  connected  with  Polo's  Account  of  this  Siege. 

LXXI.— Concerning  the  City  of  Sinju  and  the  Great 

River  Kian .  132 

Notes.- — 1.  Ichin-hien.  2.  The -Great  Kiang.  3.  Vast  amount  of 
tonnage  on  Chinese  waters.  4.  Size  of  River  Vessels.  5.  Bamboo 
Tozv -lines.  6.  Picturesque  Island  Monasteries. 

LXXIL— Concerning  the  City  of  Caiju  .  136 

Notes.— 1.  Kwa-chau.  2.  The  Grand  Canal  and  Rice-Transport. 

3.  The  Galden  Island. 

LXXI  II. —  Of  the  City  of  Chinghianfu  ..  ..  . .  139 

Note. — Chinkiangfu..  Mar  Sarghis,  the  Christian  Governor. 

LXXIV. —  Of  the  City  of  Chinginju  and  the  Slaughter  of 

certain  Alans  there  .  140 

Notes. — 1.  Changchau.  2.  Employment  of  Alans  in  the  Mongol 
Service.  3.  The  Changchau  Massacre.  Mongol  Cruelties, 


Chap.  Page 

LXXV.— Of  the  Noble  City  of  Suju  .  142 

Notes. — 1 .  Suchau.  2.  Bridges  of  that  part  of  China.  3.  Rhubarb  ; 
its  mention  here  seems  erroneous.  4.  The  Cities  of  Heaven  and 
Earth.  5.  Huchau ,  Wukiang ,  and  Kyahing. 

LXXVI. —  Description  of  the  Great  City  of  Kinsay,  which 

is  the  Capital  of  the  whole  Country  of  Manzi  145 
Notes. — 1.  Ringsze,  now  Hangchau.  2.  The  circuit  ascribed  to  the 
City ;  the  Bridges.  3.  Hereditary  Trades.  4.  The  Si-hu 
or  Western  Lake.  5.  Dressiness  of  the  People.  6.  Charitable 
Establishments.  7.  Paved  roads.  8.  Hot  and  Cold  Baths. 

9.  Kanpu ,  and  the  Hangchau  Estuary.  10.  The  A  ine  Pro¬ 
vinces  of  Manzi.  11.  The  Kaan's  Garrisons  in  Manzi.  12. 
Mourning  costume.  13.  14.  Remains  of  the  Nestorian  Church. 

15.  Tickets  recording  inmates  of  houses. 

LXXVII. —  [Further  Particulars  concerning  the  Great 

City  of  Kinsay]  .  158 

(From  Ramusio  only.) 

Notes. — 1.  Remarks  on  these  supplementary  details.  2.  Tides  in  the 
Hangchau  Estuary.  3.  Want  of  a  good  Survey  of  Hangchau. 

4.  Marco  ignores  pork.  5.  Great  Pears ;  Peaches.  6.  Textual. 

7.  Chinese  use  of  Pepper.  8.  Chinese  claims  to  a  character 
for  Good  Faith.  9.  Pleasure-parties  on  the  Lake.  10.  Chinese 
Carriages.  II.  The  Sung  Emperor.  12.  The  Sung  Palace. 
Extracts  regarding  this  Great  City  from  other  medieval 
writers ,  European  and  Asiatic.  Martini's  Description. 

LXXVIII. —  Treating  of  the  Yearly  Revenue  that  the 

Great  Kaan  hath  from  Kinsay  .  17 1 

Notes. — 1.  Textual.  2.  Calculations  as  to  the  values  spoken  of. 

LXXIX.—  Of  the  City  of  Tanpiju  and  Others  .  175 

Notes. — 1.  Route  from  Hangchau  southward.  2.  Bamboos.  3. 
Ldentification  of  places.  Changshan  the  key  to  the  route. 

LXXX. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Fuju .  179 

Notes. —  1.  “ Fruit  like  Saffron .”  2.  3.  Cannibalism  ascribed  to 

Mountain  Tribes  on  this  route.  4.  Kienningfu.  5.  Galin- 
gale.  6.  Fleecy  Fowls.  7.  Details  of  the  Journey  in  Fokien 
and  various  readings.  8.  Unken.  Lniroduction  of  Sugar¬ 
refining  into  China. 

LXXXI.— Concerning  the  Greatness  of  the  City  of  Fuju  183 

Notes. —  1.  The  name  Chonka,  applied  to  Fokien  here.  2.  The  River 
of  Fuchau.  3.  Explanatory. 

LXXXII. —  Of  the  City  and  Great  Haven  of  Zayton  ..  ..  185 

Notes. —  1.  The  Camphor  Laurel.  2.  The  Port  of  Zayton  or 
Thsiuanchau.  Probable  origin  of  the  word  Satin.  3.  Artists 
in  Tattooing.  4.  Position  of  the  Porcelain  manufacture  spoken 
of.  Notions  regarding  the  Great  River  of  China.  5.  Fokien 
dialect  and  great  varieties  of  spoken  language  in  China.  6. 

From  Ramusio. 




Chap.  Page 

I  — Of  the  Merchant  Ships  of  Manzi  that  sail  upon 

the  Indian  Seas .  195 

Notes. — 1.  Pine  Timber.  2.  Rudder  and  Masts.  3.  Watertight 
Compartments.  4.  Chinese  substitute  for  Pitch.  5.  Oars  used 
by  fmks.  6.  Descriptions  of  Chinese  funks  from  other 
Medieval  Writers. 

II. —  Description  of  the  Island  of  Chipangu,  and  the 

Great  Kaan’s  Despatch  of  a  Host  against  it  ..  199 

Notes. — 1.  Chipangu  or  Japan.  2.  Abundance  of  Gold.  3.  The 
Golden  Palace.  4.  Japanese  Pearls.  Red  Pearls. 

III.— What  further  came  of  the  Great  Kaan’s  Expedi¬ 
tion  against  Chipangu .  203 

Notes. — 1.  Kublai's  attempts  against  Japan.  Japanese  Narrative 
of  the  Expedition  here  spoken  of.  2.  Species  of  Torture.  3. 
Devices  to  procure  Invulnerability. 

IV.  —  Concerning  the  Fashion  of  the  Idols .  208 

Notes. — 1.  Many -limbed  Idols.  2.  The  Philippines  and  Moluccas. 

3.  The  name  Chin  or  China.  4.  The  Gulf  of  Cheinan. 

V.  —  Of  the  Great  Country  called  Chamba  .  212 

Notes. — 1.  Champa,  and  Kublai's  dealings  with  it.  2.  Chronology. 

3.  Eagle-wood  and  Ebony.  Polo's  use  of  Persian  words. 

VI. —  Concerning  the  Great  Island  of  Java .  217 

Note. — Java  ;  its  supposed  vast  extent.  Kublai's  expedition  against  it 
and  failure. 

VII.— Wherein  the  Isles  of  Sondur  and  Condur  are 


Notes. — 1.  Textual.  2.  Pulo  Condore.  3.  The  Kingdom  of  Locac, 
Southern  Siam. 

VIII. —  Of  the  Island  called  Pentam,  and  the  City  Malaiur  223 
Notes.— 1.  B intang.  2.  The  Straits  of  Singapore.  3.  Remarks 
on  the  Malay  Chronology.  Malaiur  probably  Palembang. 

IX.— Concerning  the  Island  of  Java  the  Less.  The 

Kingdoms  of  Ferlec  and  Basma  .  226 

Notes.— 1.  The  Island  of  Sumatra;  application  of  the  terjn  Java. 

2.  Products  of  Sumatra.  The  six  kingdoms.  3.  Ferlec  or 
Parldk.  The  Battas.  4.  Basma ,  Pacem ,  or  Pasei.  5.  The 
Elephant  and  the  Rhinoceros.  The  Legend  of  Monoceros  and 
the  Virgin .  6.  Black  Falcon. 



Chap.  Page 

X.— The  Kingdoms  of  Samara  and  Dagroian .  235 

Notes.— 1.  Samara ,  Sumatra  Proper.  2.  The  Tramontaine  and 
the  Mesire.  3.  The  Malay  Toddy- Palm.  4.  Dagroian.  5. 
Alleged  custom  of  eating  dead  relatives. 

XI. —  Of  the  Kingdoms  of  Lambri  and  Fansur .  241 

Notes. — 1.  Lambri .  2.  Hairy  and  Tailed  Men.  3.  Fansur  and 

Camphor  Fansuri.  Sumatran  Camphor.  4.  The  Sago-Palm. 

5.  Remarks  on  Polo's  Sumatran  Kingdoms. 

XII. —  Concerning  the  Island  of  Necuveran  .  248 

Note. — Gctuenispola,  and  the  Nicobar  Islands. 

XIII.  —  Concerning  the  Island  of  Angamanain .  251 

Note. —  The  Andaman  Islands. 

XIV.  —  Concerning  the  Island  of  Seilan  .  253 

NOTES. —  I.  Exaggeration  of  Dimensions.  The  Name.  2.  Sovereigns 
then  ruling  Ceylon.  3.  Brazil  Wood  and  Cinna7non.  4.  The 
Great  Ruby. 

XV. — The  same  continued.  The  History  of  Sagamoni 

Borcan  and  the  Beginning  of  Idolatry  ..  ..  256 

Notes. — 1.  Adam's  Peak,  and  the  Foot  thereon.  2.  The  Story  of 
Sakya-Muni  Buddha.  The  History  of  Saints  Barlaam  and 
fosaphat  a  Christianized  version  thereof.  3.  High  Estimate 
of  Buddha's  Character.  4.  Curious  Parallel  Passages.  5. 
Pilgrimages  to  the  Peak.  6.  The  Pdtra  of  Buddha ,  and  the 
Tooth- Relic.  7.  Miraculous  endowments  of  the  Pdtra;  it  is  the 
Holy  Grail  of  Buddhism. 

XVI. —  Concerning  the  Great  Province  of  Maabar,  which 

is  called  India  the  Greater,  and  is  on  the 

Main  Land  .  266 

Notes. — 1.  Ma'bar,  its  definition,  and  notes  on  its  Medieval  History. 

2.  The  Pearl  Fishery. 

XVII  — Continues  to  speak  of  the  Province  of  Maabar..  274 
Notes. —  1.  Costume.  2.  Hindu  royal  necklace.  3.  Hindu  use  of  the 
Rosary.  4.  The  Saggio.  5.  Companions  in  Death ;  the  word 
Amok.  6.  Accumulated  Wealth  of  Southern  India  at  this  time. 

7.  Horse  Importation  from  the  Persian  Gulf.  8.  Religious 
Suicides.  9.  Stittees.  10.  Worship  of  the  Ox.  The  Govis. 

11.  Verbal.  12.  The  Thomacides.  13.  Ill  success  of  horse- 
breeding  in  S.  India.  14.  Curious  Mode  of  Arrest  for  Debt. 

15.  The  Rainy  Seasons.  16.  Omens  of  the  Hindus.  17.  Strange 
treatment  of  Horses.  18.  The  Devaddsis.  19.  Textual. 

XVIII. —  Discoursing  of  the  Place  where  lieth  the  body 
of  St.  Thomas  the  Apostle  ;  and  of  the  Miracles 

thereof .  290 

Notes. —  1.  Mailapiir.  2.  The  word  Avarian.  3.  Miraculous 
Earth.  4.  The  Tradition  of  St.  Thomas  in  India.  The 
ancient  Church  at  his  Tomb.  5.  White  Devils.  6.  The 
Yak's  Tail. 



Chap.  Page 

XIX. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Mutfili .  295 

Notes. —  1.  Motapalle.  The  Widow  Queen  of  Telingana.  2.  The 
Diamond  Mines,  and  the  Legend  of  the  Diamond  Gathering. 

3.  Buckram. 

XX.— Concerning  the  Province  of  Lar  whence  the 

Brahmins  come .  298 

Notes. —  1.  Abraiaman.  The  Country  of  Lar.  Hindu  character. 

2.  The  Kingdovi  of  Soli  or  Chola.  3.  Lucky  and  Unlucky 
Days  and  Hours.  The  Canonical  Hours  of  the  church.  4. 
Omens.  5.  Jogis.  The  Ox-emblem.  6.  Verbal.  7.  Recur¬ 
rence  of  human  eccentricities. 

XXI. —  Concerning  the  City  of  Cail .  305 

Notes. —  1.  Kayal ;  its  true  position.  Kolkhoi  identified.  2.  The 
King  A  shar.  3.  Betel-chezving.  4.  Duels. 

XXII. —  Of  the  Kingdom  of  Coilum  .  312 

Notes. —  1.  Coilum ,  Coilon,  Kaulam,  Columbum,  Quilon.  2.  Brazil 
Wood;  notes  on  the  name.  3.  Columbine  Ginger  and  other 
kinds.  4.  Lndigo.  5.  Black  Lions.  6.  Marriage  customs. 

XXIII.— Of  the  Country  called  Comari . .  318 

Notes. —  1.  Cape  Comorin.  2.  The  word  Gat-paul. 

XXIV.—  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Eli .  320 

Notes. — 1.  Mount  D' Ely,  and  the  City  of  Hili-Marawi.  2. 

Textual.  3.  Produce.  4.  Piratical  custom.  5.  Ancient 

account  of  the  Ports  here.  Wooden  Anchors. 

XXV. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Melibar  .  324 

Notes. — 1.  Dislocation  of  Polo's  Lndian  Geography.  Malabar.  2. 
Verbal.  3.  Pirates.  4.  Cassia;  Turbit ;  Cubebs.  5.  Cessa¬ 
tion  of  direct  Chinese  trade  with  Malabar. 

XXVI. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Gozurat  .  328 

Notes. — 1.  Topographical  Confusion.  2.  Tall  Cotton  Trees.  3. 
Embroidered  Leather-work. 

XXVI 1. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Tana  .  330 

Notes. — 1.  Tana,  and  the  Konkan.  2.  Lncense  of  Western  India. 

XXVIII.— Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Cambaet  .  332 

N  ote. — Cambay. 

XXIX. —  Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Semenat  .  334 

N  ote. —  Somnath. 

XXX.— Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Kesmacoran  ..  ..  334 

Notes. — 1.  Kij-Mekran.  Limit  of  India.  2.  Recapitulation  of 
Polo's  Indian  Kingdoms. 

XXXI. —  Discourseth  of  the  Two  Islands  called  Male  and 

Female,  and  why  they  are  so  called .  337 

Note. —  The  Legend  and  its  diffusion. 


Chap.  Page 

XXXII.— Concerning  the  Island  of  Scotra . .  ..  340 

Notes. — 1.  Whales  of  the  Indian  Seas.  2.  Socotra  and  its  former 
Christianity .  3.  Piracy  at  Socotra.  4.  Sorceries. 

XXXIII.— Concerning  the  Island  of  Madeigascar  ..  ..  345 

Notes. — 1.  Madagascar ;  some  confusion  here  tvith  Magadoxo.  2. 
Sandalwood.  3.  Whale-killing.  The  Capidoglio  or  Sperm- 
Whale.  4.  The  Currents  of  the  South.  5.  The  Rukh.  6. 

More  on  the  dimensions  assigned  thereto.  7-  Hippopotamus 

XXXIV. —  Concerning  the  Island  of  Zanghibar.  A  word 

on  India  in  general .  355 

Notes. —  1.  Za?tgibar  ;  Negroes.  2.  Ethiopian  Sheep.  3.  Giraffes. 

4.  Ivory  trade.  5.  Error  about  Elephant-taming.  6.  Num¬ 
ber  of  Islands  assigned  to  the  Indian  Sea.  7.  The  Three 
Indies ,  and  various  distributions  thereof.  Polo's  Indian  Geo¬ 

XXXV. —  Treating  of  the  Great  Province  of  Abash,  which 

is  Middle  India,  and  is  on  the  Main  Land  ..  360 

Notes. —  1.  Habsh  or  Abyssinia.  Application  of  the  name  India 
to  it.  2.  Fire- Baptism  ascribed  to  the  Abyssinian  Christians. 

3.  Polo's  idea  of  the  position  of  Aden.  4.  Taming  of  the 
A frican  Elephant  for  War.  5.  Marco's  Story  of  the  Abys¬ 
sinian  Invasion  of  the  Mahojnedan  Low-  Country ,  and  Review 
of  Abyssinian  Chronology  in  connexion  therewith.  6.  Textual. 

XXXVI. —  Concerning  the  Province  of  Aden .  373 

Notes. — 1.  The  Trade  to  Alexandria  from  India  via  Aden.  2. 

“  Roncins  a  deux  selles.”  3.  The  Sultan  of  Aden.  The 
City  and  its  Great  Tanks.  4.  The  Loss  of  Acre. 

XXXVII.  — Concerning  the  City  of  Esher  .  377 

Notes. —  1.  Shihr.  2.  Frankincense.  3.  Four-horned  Sheep.  4. 

Cattle  fed  on  Fish.  5.  Parallel  passage. 

XXXVIII.— Concerning  the  City  of  Dufar .  ..  379 

Note.  — Dhofar. 

XXXIX. —  Concerning  the  Gulf  of  Calatu,  and  the  City 

SO  CALLED .  ..  ..  .  381 

Notes. — 1.  Kalhdt.  2.  “  En  fra  terre.”  3.  Maskat. 

XL. —  Returns  to  the  City  of  Hormos  whereof  we 


Notes. — 1.  Polo' s  distances  and  bearings  in  these  latter  chapters.  2. 
Persian  Bad-girs  or  ventilating  chimneys.  3.  Island  of  Kish. 




Wars  among  the  Tartar  Princes,  and  some  Account  of  the 
Northern  Countries . 

Chap.  Page 

I. —  Concerning  Great  Turkey .  387 

Notes. — I.  Kaidu  Khan.  2.  His  frontier  towards  the  Great  Kaan. 

II. —  Of  certain  Battles  that  were  fought  by  King 

Caidu  against  the  Armies  of  his  Uncle  the 

Great  Kaan .  389 

Notes. — 1.  Textual.  2.  “Araines.”  3.  Chronology  in  connexion 
with  the  events  described. 

III.  —  f What  the  Great  Kaan  said  to  the  Mischief  done 

by  Caidu  his  Nephew  . 393 

IV.  —  Of  the  Exploits  of  King  Caidu’s  valiant  Daughter  393 

Note. — Her  name  explained.  Remarks  on  the  story. 

V. —  How  Abaga  sent  his  son  Argon  in  command  against 

King  Caidu .  396 

( Extract  and  Substance.) 

Notes. — 1.  The  Arbre  Sol  or  Sec ;  addition  to  former  note  thereon. 

2.  The  Historical  Events. 

VI. —  How  Argon  after  the  Battle  heard  that  his 
Father  was  dead  and  went  to  assume  the 

Sovereignty  as  was  his  right  .  398 

Notes. — 1.  Death  of  Abaka.  2.  Textual.  3.  Ahmad  Tigudar. 

VII. — f  How  Acomat  Soldan  set  out  with  his  host 


VIII. — f  How  Argon  took  Counsel  with  his  Followers 


IX. —  fHow  the  Barons  of  Argon  answered  his  Address  400 

X. —  f  The  Message  sent  by  Argon  to  Acomat  .  400 

XI. —  How  Acomat  replied  to  Argon's  Message .  400 

XII. —  Of  the  Battle  between  Argon  and  Acomat,  and 

the  Captivity  of  Argon .  401 

Notes. — 1.  Verbal.  2.  Historical. 

t  Of  chapters  so  marked  nothing  is  given  but  the  substance  in  brief. 


Chap.  Pagk 

XIII.  —  How  Argon  was  delivered  from  Prison .  402 

XIV.  —  How  Argon  got  the  Sovereignty  at  last  ..  ..  403 

XV. —  fHow  Acomat  was  taken  Prisoner  .  404 

XVI. —  How  Acomat  was  slain  by  order  of  his  Nephew..  404 
XVII. —  How  Argon  was  recognized  as  Sovereign  ..  ..  405 

Notes. — 1.  The  historical  circumstances  and  persons  named  in  these 
chapters.  2.  A  rghttn's  accession  and  death. 

XVIII.—  How  Kiacatu  seized  the  Sovereignty  after  Argon’s 

Death  . 406 

Note. —  The  reign  and  character  of  Kaikhatu. 

XIX. —  How  Baidu  seized  the  Sovereignty  after  the 

Death  of  Kiacatu  . 407 

Notes. — 1.  Baidu's  alleged  Christianity.  2.  Ghazan  Khan. 

XX.—  Concerning  King  Conchi  who  rules  the  Far 

North  .  410 

Notes. — 1.  Kaunchi  Khan.  2.  Siberia.  3.  Dog-sledges.  4.  The 
animal  here  styled  Erculin.  The  Vair.  5.  Yugria. 

XXL—  Concerning  the  Land  of  Darkness  .  414 

Notes. — 1.  The  Land  of  Darkness.  2.  The  Legend  of  the  Mares 
and  their  Foals.  3.  Dumb  Trade  with  the  People  of  the 

XXII. —  Description  of  Rosia  and  its  People.  Province 

of  Lac  . 417 

Notes. — 1.  Old  Accounts  of  Russia.  Russian  Silver  and  Rubles. 

2.  Lac ,  or  Great  Wallachia.  3.  Oroech ,  Norway  (?)  or  the 
IVaraeg  Country  (?). 

XXIII.— He  begins  to  speak  of  the  Straits  of  Constan¬ 
tinople,  BUT  DECIDES  TO  LEAVE  THAT  MATTER  ..  42 1 

XXIV.—  Concerning  the  Tartars  of  the  Ponent  and  their 

Lords  . 421 

Notes. — 1.  The  Comanians ;  the  Alans ;  Majar  ;  Zic ;  the  Goths 
of  the  Crimea;  Gazaria.  2.  The  Khans  of  Kipchak  or  the 
Golden  Horde ;  errors  in  Polo's  list.  Extent  of  their  Empire. 

XXV.—  Of  the  War  that  arose  between  Alau  and  Barca, 

and  the  Battles  that  they  fought  .  424 

( Extracts  and  Substance.) 

Notes. —  1.  Verbal.  2.  The  Sea  of  Sarai.  3.  The  War  here  spoken 
of.  Wassdfs  rigmarole. 

XXVI. —  fHow  Barca  and  his  Army  advanced  to  meet 

Alau . 425 

f  Of  chapters  so  marked  nothing  is  given  but  the  substance  in  brief 


Chap.  Page 


XXVIII. —  f  Of  the  Great  Battle  between  Alau  and  Barca  426 

XXIX. —  How  Totamangu  was  Lord  of  the  Tartars  of  the 


Notes. _ i.  Confusions  in  the  Text.  Historical  circumstances  con¬ 

nected  with  the  Persons  spoken  of.  Toktai  and  Noghai  Khan. 
Symbolic  Messages. 

XXX.— f Of  the  Second  Message  that  Toctai  sent  to 

Nogai  . 429 

XXXI.— f  How  Toctai  marched  against  Nogai .  429 

XXXII. —  fHow  Toctai  and  Nogai  address  their  People, 


XXXIII.— f  The  Valiant  Feats  and  Victory  of  King  Nogai  430 
XXXIV.  and  Last.  Conclusion .  430 


A.  Genealogy  of  the  House  of  Chinghiz  to  the  End  of  the  Thirteenth 

Century  . . 435 

B.  The  Polo  Families  : — 

(I.)  Genealogy  of  the  Family  of  Marco  Polo  the  Traveller  ..  436 
(II.)  The  Polos  of  San  Geremia . 437 

C.  Calendar  of  Documents  relating  to  Marco  Polo  and  his  Family  ..  438 

D.  Comparative  Specimens  of  the  Different  Recensions  of  Polo’s 

T  ext . 445 

E.  Preface  to  Pipino’s  Latin  Version . 448 

F.  List  of  MSS.  of  Marco  Polo’s  Book,  so  far  as  known . 449 

G.  Diagram  showing  Filiation  of  Chief  MSS.  and  Editions  of  Marco 

Polo  . 463 

"f  Of  chapters  so  marked  nothing  is  given  but  the  substance  in  brief. 



H.  Bibliography  : — 

(I.)  Principal  Editions  of  Marco  Polo’s  Book  . 464 

(II.)  Titles  of  Sundry  Books  and  Papers  treating  of  Marco 

Polo  and  his  Book . 465 

I.  Titles  of  Books  quoted  by  Abbreviated  References  in  this  Work  ..  469 

K.  Values  of  Certain  Moneys,  Weights,  and  Measures  occurring  in 

this  Book . 471 

L.  Alleged  Invention  of  Movable  Types  by  Panfilo  Castaldi  of  Feltre  473 

M.  Supplementary  Notes  to  the  Book  of  Marco  Polo.  Char  chan , 

Pein ,  and  Bolor.  List  of  Indian  Provinces  . 475 

Index . 477 



.  .  ( In  a  \  The  Rue’s  Egg.  Measured  and  drawn  by  the  Editor  from  the 

rontisptece  ^oc^j  Egg  Gf  Aepyornis  maximns  in  the  British  Museum. 

To  face  page  16.  The  Celebrated  Christian  Inscription  of  Singanfu.  Photo- 
lithographed  from  a  rubbing  of  the  original  stone,  given  to 
the  Editor  by  William  Lockhart ,  Esq . 

,,  ,,  73.  The  City  of  Mien,  with  the  Gold  and  Silver  Towers.  From  a 

drawing  by  the  Editor,  based  upon  his  sketches  of  the  remains 
of  the  City  so  called  by  Marco  Polo,  viz,,  Pagan,  the  medieval 
capital  of  Burma. 

,,  ,,  92.  Itineraries  of  Marco  Polo.  No.  V.  The  Indo-Chinese  Coun¬ 


,,  ,,  145.  Plan  of  the  City  of  Hangchau,  from  Chinese  sources.  This  was 

chiefly  taken  from  a  Chinese  Map  of  the  City,  belonging  to 
Dr.  Lockhart,  but  with  some  particulars  also  from  a  Plan  of 
the  City,  and  another  of  the  Lake  Si-hu,  in  the  Chinese  Topo¬ 
graphical  History  called  Hang-chau-fu-Chi,  in  the  British 

,,  ,,  192.  Itineraries  of  Marco  Polo.  No.  VI.  The  Journey  through 

Kiangnan,  Chekiang,  and  Fokien. 

[1.  Map  to  illustrate  Marco  Polo’s  Chapters  on  the  Malay 

,,  ,,  250.]  Countries. 

(2.  Map  to  illustrate  his  Chapters  on  Southern  India. 

1.  Sketch  showing  the  Position  of  Kayal  in  Tinnevelly,  the 
Cail  of  Marco  Polo. 

2.  Map  to  illustrate  the  position  of  the  Kingdom  of  Ely  in 


Page  2.  The  Bridge  of  Pulisanghin,  the  Lu  kyu  kiao  of  the  Chinese.  Reduced 
from  a  large  Chinese  Engraving  in  the  Geographical  Work  called  Ki- 
fou-thoung-tcJu\  in  the  Paris  Library.  For  the  indication  of  the  exist¬ 
ence  of  this,  and  of  the  Portrait  of  Kublai  Kaan  in  vol.  i.,  I  am  in¬ 
debted  to  notes  in  M.  Pauthier’s  edition. 

,,  15.  Plan  of  Kychau.  After  Duhalde. 

,,  51.  The  Sangmiau  Tribe,  of  Kweichau,  with  the  Crossbow.  From  a  coloured 

drawing  in  a  Chinese  Work  on  the  Aboriginal  Tribes  belonging  to 

W.  Lockhart ,  Esq. 

,,  75.  The  Palace  at  Amarapura  in  1855.  Borrowed  from  Fergusson’s  H.  of 

Architecture  (but  Mr.  Fergusson’s  cut  is  taken  from  a  drawing  by  the 
present  Editor). 



Page  87. 

»  93- 



„  135- 

,  139- 


„  194- 

,,  202. 

, ,  206. 

,,  216. 

»  233. 


The  Koloman.  After  a  Chinese  drawing  in  the  Book  belonging  to 
W.  Lockhart,  Esq. 

Incised  Cross  at  the  top  of  the  celebrated  Christian  Inscription  of  Sin- 
ganfu,  dating  from  A.D.  781.  From  a  photographic  copy  of  a  pencil 
rubbing  made  on  the  original  by  the  Rev.  J.  Lees.  The  copy  was  taken 
by  Mr.  A.  Wylie,  and  lent  by  him  to  the  Editor. 

Medieval  Artillery  Engines.  Figs.  1,  2,  3,  4,  and  5  are  Chinese.  The 
first  four  are  from  the  Encyclopaedia  San-Thsai-Thou-hoei  (Paris  Li¬ 
brary),  the  last  from  Amyot ,  vol.  viii. 

Figs.  6,  7,  8  are  Saracen.  6  and  7  are  taken  from  the  work  of 
Reinaud  and  Fave ,  Du  Feu  Gregeois ,  and  by  them  from  the  Arabic  MS. 
of  Hassan  al  Raumah  (Arad.  Anc.  Fonds ,  No.  1127).  Fig.  8  is  from 
Lord  Munster's  Arabic  Catalogue  of  Military  Works,  and  by  him  from 
a  MS.  of  RashiduddirC s  History. 

The  remainder  are  European.  Fig.  9  is  from  Pertz,  Scriplores, 
vol.  xviii.,  and  by  him  from  a  figure  of  the  Siege  of  Arbicella,  1227, 
in  a  MS.  of  Genoese  Annals  (No.  773>  Supp.  Lat.  of  Bib.  Imp.).  Fig.  10 
from  Shaw's  Dresses  and  Decorations  of  the  Middle  Ages,  vol.  i.  No.  21, 
after  B.  Mus.  MS.  Reg.  16,  G.  vi.  Fig.  11  from  Pertz  as  above,  under 
a.d.  1182.  Fig.  12  from  Valturius  de  Re  Militari,  Verona,  1483. 
Figs.  13  and  14  from  the  Poliorceticon  of  Justus  Lipsius.  Fig.  15  is  after 
the  Bodleian  MS.  of  the  Romance  of  Alexander  (a.d.  1338),  but  is 
taken  from  the  Gentleman  s  Magazine ,  3rd  ser.  vol.  vii.  p.  467.  Fig. 
16  from  Lacroix’s  Art  au  Moyen  Age,  after  a  miniature  of  13th  cent, 
in  the  Paris  Library.  Figs.  17  and  18  from  the  Emperor  Napoleon’s 
Etudes  de  V Ar tiller ie,  and  by  him  taken  from  the  MS.  of  Paulus  San- 
tinus  (Lat.  MS.  7329  in  Paris  Library).  Fig.  19  from  Professor  Moseley’s 
restoration  of  a  Trebuchet,  after  the  data  in  the  Medieval  Note-book  of 
Villars  de  Honcourt,  in  Gentleman' s  Magazine  as  above.  Figs.  20  and 

.  21  from  the  Emperor’s  Book.  Fig.  22  from  a  German  MS.  in  the  Bern 
Library,  the  Chronicle  of  Justinger  and  Schilling. 

Coin  from  a  Treasure  hidden  at  Siangyang  during  the  siege  described  by 
Marco  Polo,  and  recently  discovered.  From  the  original  in  the  pos¬ 
session  of  Mr.  Wylie.  The  inscribed  characters  are  ‘ 4  Ching-Ho  ” 
(Designation  of  Epoch,  a.d.  1100-1125)  and  “  Tung-Paou"  (“Current 

Island  Monasteries  in  the  Yangtse  Kiaiig.  The  first  is  the  “Little  Orphan 
Rock,”  after  a  cut  in  Oliphant's  Narrative ;  the  second  is  the  “  Golden 
Island,”  after  Fisher's  China;  the  third,  “Silver  Island,”  after  Mr. 
Lindley’s  book  on  the  Taipings.  By  an  accidental  error  the  Golden 
Island  has  been  reversed. 

The  West  Gate  of  Chinkiangfu.  From  an  engraving  in  Fisher's  China, 
after  a  sketch  made  during  the  first  Chinese  War  by  Capt.  Stod- 
dart,  R.N. 

The  Kaan’s  Fleet  leaving  the  Port  of  Zayton.  The  landscape  is  from  an 
engraving  in  Fisher's  China ,  after  a  sketch  by  Capt.  Stoddart  of  the 
Mouth  of  the  River  of  Chinchau,  i.  e.,  of  Zayton. 

The  Kaan’s  Fleet  passing  through  the  Indian  Archipelago.  From  a 
drawing  by  the  Editor. 

Ancient  Japanese  Emperor.  From  a  native  drawing.  Borrowed  from 
the  Tour  du  Monde. 

Ancient  Japanese  Archer.  From  a  native  drawing.  Borrowed  from  the 
Tour  du  Monde. 

“  Java. —  Ceste  Ysle  est  de  moult  grant  richesse."  From  a  sketch  of  the  slopes 
of  the  Gedeh  Volcano,  taken  by  the  Editor  in  i860. 

The  Three  Asiatic  Rhinoceroses.  Adapted  from  a  proof  of  a  woodcut 
given  to  the  Editor  for  the  purpose  by  Mr.  Edward  Blyth,  the  eminent 

11.  b 


Page  234. 

,,  265. 

,,  273. 

,,  292. 









Zoologist.  It  is  not  known  to  the  present  Editor  whether  the  cut  has. 
appeared  in  any  publication. 

Monoceros  and  the  Maiden.  From  a  medieval  drawing  engraved  in 
Cahier  et  Martin ,  Melanges  d' Archeologie,  II.  PI.  30. 

Teeth  of  Buddha.  1.  The  Tooth  at  Candy,  after  Tennent's  Ceylon.  2. 

Tooth  at  Fuchau,  from  Fortune's  Wanderings. 

Chinese  Pagoda  (so-called)  at  Negapatam.  From  a  sketch  taken  in  1846 
by  Sir  Walter  Elliott,  K.C.S.I. 

Pagoda  at  Tanjore.  Borrowed  from  Fergusson's  H.  of  Architecture. 

The  Little  Mount  near  Madras ;  the  site  of  the  Ancient  Church,  and  tra¬ 
ditionally  of  St.  Thomas’s  martyrdom.  After  Daniel  (II.  PL  X.). 

N.B.— The  Editor  with  some  trouble  procured  from  India  a  photo¬ 
graph  of  the  Church  as  it  stands ;  but  the  buildings  having  been  reno¬ 
vated,  apparently  on  the  standard  pattern  of  a  barrack  guard-room,  it 
became  necessary  to  fall  back  upon  Daniel  for  a  juster  illustration. 

Cape  Comorin.  From  an  original  sketch  by  Mr.  Foote  of  the  Geological 
Survey  of  India. 

The  lofty  mountain  represented  in  Daniel’s  Views  (IV.  PI.  I.)  as  Cape 
Comorin  is  not  really  the  Cape  (as  indeed  his  Text  explains),  though 
perhaps  called  so  by  seamen. 

Mount  d’Ely,  from  the  sea. 

This  is  taken  from  a  chart  view  of  last  century  by  J.  Lindley,  as  all 
endeavours  to  obtain  a  more  recent  and  satisfactory  drawing  had  failed. 
After  this  had  been  engraved  the  Editor  received  from  his  friend  Mr. 
Oldham,  as  in  the  last  case,  a  good  drawing  of  Mount  D’Ely  by  Mr. 
Foote.  Though  unfortunately  too  late  to  be  made  use  of,  it  confirms 
the  general  truth  of  the  present  engraving. 

The  Rukh,  after  a  Persian  drawing.  Borrowed  from  Lane's  Arabian 
Nights.  Search  has  been  made  in  vain,  at  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society’s 
Library,  for  the  original  drawing  from  which  Mr.  Lane  had  this  engrav¬ 
ing  made. 

The  Ethiopian  Sheep.  From  an  original  sketch  by  Miss  Catharine 

View  of  Aden.  From  a  drawing  in  the  Library  of  the  Royal  Geographical 
Society,  made  by  Dr.  Kirk  in  1840. 

A  Persian  Badgir  or  Wind-Tower.  From  a  drawing  in  the  Atlas  to 

Hommaire  de  Hell. 

A  Medieval  Russian  Church  (viz.  near  Tzarkoe  Selo).  Borrowed  from 

Fergusson' s  H.  of  Architecture. 

Two  Oriental  Warriors,  circa  1300.  From  a  drawing  in  the  Fragmentary 
MS.  of  Rashiduddin’s  History,  in  the  Library  of  the  Royal  Asiatic 
Society,  which  is  believed  to  date  from  the  Author’s  own  day.  The 
kind  of  mail  worn  by  one  of  these  warriors  corresponds  to  the  descrip¬ 
tions,  in  Carpini  and  others,  of  that  worn  by  the  Tartar  Chiefs;  and  the 
figures  probably  give  a  more  authentic  representation  than  is  elsewhere 
to  be  had  of  the  costume  of  the  warriors  commemorated  in  the  latter 
chapters  of  Polo’s  work. 

BOOK  SECOND—  continued. 


vol.  n 






Here  begins  the  Description  of  the  Interior  of  Cathay  ;  and 


Now  you  must  know  that  the  Emperor  sent  the  aforesaid 
Messer  Marco  Polo,  who  is  the  author  of  this  whole  story, 
on  business  of  his  into  the  Western  Provinces.  On  that 
occasion  he  travelled  from  Cambaluc  a  good  four  months’ 
journey  towards  the  west.  And  so  now  I  will  tell  you  all 
that  he  saw  on  his  travels  as  he  went  and  returned. 

When  you  leave  the  City  of  Cambaluc  and  have  ridden 
ten  miles,  you  come  to  a  very  large  river  which  is  called 
Pulisanghin,  and  flows  into  the  ocean,  so  that  merchants 
with  their  merchandize  ascend  it  from  the  sea.  Over  this 
River  there  is  a  very  fine  stone  bridge,  so  fine  indeed  that 
it  has  very  few  equals.  The  fashion  of  it  is  this :  it  is  300 
paces  in  length,  and  it  must  have  a  good  eight  paces  of 
width,  for  ten  mounted  men  can  ride  across  it  abreast. 
It  has  24  arches  and  as  many  water-mills,  and ’tis  all  of  very 

b  2 



Book  II. 

fine  marble,  well  built  and  firmly  founded.  Along  the 
top  of  the  bridge  there  is  on  either  side  a  parapet  of  marble 
slabs  and  columns,  made  in  this  way.  At  the  beginning  of 
the  bridge  there  is  a  marble  column,  and  under  it  a  marble 
lion,  so  that  the  column  stands  upon  the  lion’s  loins,  whilst 
on  the  top  of  the  column  there  is  a  second  marble  lion, 
both  being  of  great  size  and  beautifully  executed  sculpture. 
At  the  distance  of  a  pace  from  this  column  there  is  another 
precisely  the  same,  also  with  its  two  lions,  and  the  space 
between  them  is  closed  with  slabs  of  grey  marble  to  prevent 
people  from  falling  over  into  the  water.  And  thus  the 
columns  run  from  space  to  space  along  either  side  of 
the  bridge,  so  that  altogether  it  is  a  beautiful  object.1 

The  Bridge  of  Pulisanghin  (reduced  from  a  Chinese  original). 

Note  1. — Piil-i-Scmgin ,  the  name  which  Marco  gives  the  River , 
means  in  Persian  simply  (as  Marsden  noticed)  “  The  Stone  Bridge.”  In 
a  very  different  region  the  same  name  often  occurs  in  the  history  of 
Timur  applied  to  a  certain  bridge — I  suspect  a  natural  one  of  which 
Edrisi  speaks— in  the  country  north  of  Badakhshan  over  the  Waksh 
branch  of  the  Oxus.  And  the  Turkish  admiral  Sidi  ’Ali,  travelling  that 
way  from  India  in  the  16th  century,  applies  the  name,  as  it  is  applied 

Chap.  XXXV. 



here,  to  the  river ;  for  his  journal  tells  us  that  beyond  Kulab  he  crossed 
“ the  River  Rulisangin” 

We  may  easily  suppose,  therefore,  that  near  Cambaluc  also,  the 
Bridge  first,  and  then  the  River,  came  to  be  known  to  the  Persian-speak¬ 
ing  foreigners  of  the  court  and  city  by  this  name.  This  supposition  is 
however  a  little  perplexed  by  the  circumstance  that  Rashiduddin  calls 
the  River  the  Sangin ,  and  that  Sanghan-Ho  appears  from  the  maps  or 
citations  of  Martini,  Klaproth,  Neumann,  and  Pauthier  to  have  been 
one  of  the  Chinese  names  of  the  river.  Possibly,  however,  this  Sangkan 
was  a  name  which  the  Chinese  took  up  from  the  foreign  Sangin ,  and 
that  again  merely  an  abridgment  of  Rulisangin. 

The  River  is  that  which  appears  in  the  maps  as  the  Hwen  Ho  or  Yong- 
ting  Ho,  flowing  about  io  miles  west  of  Peking  towards  the  south-east 
and  joining  the  Pe-Ho  at  Tientsin ;  and  the  Bridge  is  that,  adjoining  the 
town  of  Fencheu,  which  has  been  known  for  ages  as  the  Lu-kyu-Kiao  or 
Bridge  of  Lukyu.  It  is  described  both  by  Magaillans  and  Lecomte, 
with  some  curious  discrepancies,  whilst  each  affords  particulars  corrobo¬ 
rative  of  Polo’s  account  of  the  character  of  the  bridge.  The  former  calls 
it  the  finest  bridge  in  China.  Lecomte’s  account  says  the  bridge  was 
the  finest  he  had  yet  seen.  “It  is  above  170  geometrical  paces  in 
length.  The  arches  are  small,  but  the  rails  or  side-walls  are  made  of  a 
hard  whitish  stone  resembling  marble.  These  stones  are  more  than 
5  feet  long,  3  feet  high,  and  7  or  8  inches  thick ;  supported  at  each  end 
by  pilasters  adorned  with  mouldings  and  bearing  the  figures  of  lions.  .  .  . 
The  bridge  is  paved  with  great  flat  stones,  so  well  joined  that  it  is  even 
as  a  floor.” 

Magaillans  thinks  Polo’s  memory  partially  misled  him,  and  that  his 
description  applies  more  correctly  to  another  bridge  on  the  same  road, 
but  some  distance  further  west,  over  the  Lieu-li  Ho.  For  the  bridge 
over  the  Hwen-Ho  had  really  but  thirteeji  arches,  whereas  that  on  the 
Lieu-li  had,  as  Polo  specifies,  twenty-four.  The  engraving  which  we 
give  of  the  Lu-kyu  Kiao  from  a  Chinese  work  confirms  this  statement,  for 
it  shows  but  thirteen  arches.  And  what  Polo  says  of  the  navigation  of 
the  river  is  almost  conclusive  proof  that  Magaillans  is  right,  and  that 
our  traveller’s  memory  confounded  the  two  bridges.  For  the  navigation 
of  the  Hwen-Ho,  even  when  its  channel  is  full,  is  impracticable  on 
account  of  rapids,  whilst  the  Lieu-li  Ho,  or  “  Glass  River,”  is,  as  its  name 
implies,  smooth  and  navigable.  The  road  crosses  the  latter  about  two 
leagues  from  Cho-chau  (see  next  chapter). 

The  Bridge  of  Lukyu  is  mentioned  more  than  once  in  the  history 
of  the  conquest  of  North  China  by  Chinghiz.  It  was  the  scene  of  a 
notable  mutiny  of  the  troops  of  the  Kin  Dynasty  in  1215,  which  induced 
Chinghiz  to  break  a  treaty  just  concluded,  and  led  to  his  capture  of 

This  bridge  was  begun  according  to  Klaproth  in  1189,  and  was  five 
years  a-building.  On  the  17th  August,  1688,  as  Magaillans  tells  us,  a 



Book  II. 

great  flood  carried  away  two  arches  of  the  bridge,  and  the  remainder 
soon  fell.  The  bridge  was  renewed,  but  with  only  nine  arches  instead 
of  thirteen,  as  appears  from  the  following  note  of  personal  observation 
with  which  Dr.  Lockhart  has  favoured  me  : 

“At  27  li  from  Peking,  by  the  western  road  leaving  the  gate  of  the 
Chinese  city  called  Kwang-’an-man,  after  passing  the  old  walled  town  of 
Fencheu,  you  reach  the  bridge  of  Lo-Ku-Kiao.  As  it  now  stands  it  is 
a  very  long  bridge  of  nine  arches  (real  arches )  spanning  the  valley  of  the 
Hwan  Ho,  and  surrounded  by  beautiful  scenery.  The  bridge  is  built 
of  green  sandstone,  and  has  a  good  balustrade  with  short  square  pilasters 
crowned  by  small  lions.  It  is  in  very  good  repair,  and  has  a  ceaseless 
traffic,  being  on  the  road  to  the  coal-mines  which  supply  the  city. 
There  is  a  pavilion  at  each  end  of  the  bridge  with  inscriptions,  the  one 
recording  that  Kanghi  (1662-1723)  huilt  the  bridge,  and  the  other  that 
Kienlung  (1736-1796)  repaired  it.”  These  circumstances  are  strictly 
consistent  with  Magaillans’  account  of  the  destruction  of  the  medieval 

{P.  de  la  Croix ,  II.  11,  &c.  ;  Er shine's  Baber ,  p.  xxxiii. ;  Timour's  In¬ 
stitutes,  70;  JAs.  IX.  205  ;  Cathay ,  260  ;  Magaillans ,  14-18,  35  ;  Lecomte 
in  Astley,  III.  529;  J.  As.  ser.  2,  tom.  i.  97-8  ;  D' Ohsson,  I.  144.) 


Account  of  the  City  of  Juju. 

When  you  leave  the  Bridge,  and  ride  towards  the  west, 
finding  all  the  way  excellent  hostelries  for  travellers,  with 
fine  vineyards,  fields,  and  gardens,  and  springs  of  water, 
you  come  after  30  miles  to  a  fine  large  city  called  Juju, 
where  there  are  many  convents,  and  the  people  live  by  trade 
and  manufactures.  They  weave  cloths  of  silk  and  gold, 
and  very  fine  taffetas.1  Here  too  there  are  many  hostelries 
for  travellers.2 

After  riding  a  mile  beyond  this  city  you  find  two 
roads,  one  of  which  goes  west  and  the  other  south-east. 
The  westerly  road  is  that  through  Cathay,  and  the  south¬ 
easterly  one  goes  towards  the  province  of  Manzid 

Taking  the  westerly  one  through  Cathay,  and  travelling 
by  it  for  ten  days,  you  find  a  constant  succession  of  cities 

Chap.  XXXVI. 



and  boroughs,  with  numerous  thriving  villages,  all  abound¬ 
ing  with  trade  and  manufactures,  besides  the  fine  fields  and 
vineyards  and  dwellings  of  civilized  people  ;  but  nothing 
occurs  worthy  of  special  mention  ;  and  so  I  will  only  speak 
of  a  kingdom  called  Taianfu. 

Note  1. — The  word  is  sendaus  (Pauthier),  pi.. of  sendal '  and  in  G.  T. 
sandal.  It  does  not  seem  perfectly  known  what  this  silk  texture  was, 
but  as  banners  were  made  of  it,  and  linings  for  richer  stuffs,  it  appears 
to  have  been  a  light  material,  and  is  generally  rendered  taffetas.  In 
‘  Richard  Coeur  de  Lion  ’  we  find 

“  Many  a  pencel  of  sykelatoun 
And  off  sendel  grene  and  broun,” 

and  also  pavilions  of  sendel ;  and  in  the  Anglo-French  ballad  of  the 
death  of  William  Earl  of  Salisbury  in  St.  Lewis’s  battle  on  the  Nile — 

“  Le  Meister  du  Temple  brace  les  chivaux 
Et  le  Count  Long-Espee  depli  les  sandauxd 

The  oriflamme  of  France  was  made  of  cendal.  Chaucer  couples  taffetas 
and  sendal.  His  ‘  Doctor  of  Physic  ’ 

“  In  sanguin  and  in  perse  clad  was  alle, 

Lined  with  taffata  and  with  sendalle.” 

The  origin  of  the  word  seems  also  somewhat  doubtful.  The  word 
occurs  in  Constant.  Porphyrog.  de  Ceremoniis  (Bonn,  ed.  I.  468),  and  this 
looks  like  a  transfer  of  the  Arabic  Sandas  or  Sundus ,  which  is  applied 
by  Bakui  to  the  silk  fabrics  of  Yezd  (Not.  et  Ext.  II.  469).  Reiske 
thinks  this  is  the  origin  of  the  Frank  word,  and  connects  its  etymology 
with  Sind.  Others  think  that  sendal  and  the  other  forms  are  modifi¬ 
cations  of  the  ancient  Sindon,  and  this  is  Mr.  Marsh’s  view  (see  also 
Fr.- Michel,  Recherches,  &=c.,  I.  212;  Diet,  des  Tissus ,  II.  171,  seqq.). 

Note  2. — Juju  is  precisely  the  name  given  to  this  city  by  Rashid- 
uddin,  who  notices  the  vineyards.  Juju  is  Cho-chau,  just  at  the  dis¬ 
tance  specified  from  Peking,  viz.  40  miles,  and  30  from  Pulisangin  or 
Lu  Kyu  Kiao.  The  name  of  the  town  is  printed  Chechow  in  a  late 
Report  of  a  journey  by  Consul  Oxenham.  He  calls  it  “a  large  town  of 
the  second  order,  situated  on  the  banks  of  a  small  river  flowing  towards 
the  south-east.  It  had  the  appearance  of  being  a  place  of  considerable 
trade,  and  the  streets  were  crowded  with  people.”  (Reports  of  Journeys 
in  Chma  and  Japan ,  &c.  Presented  to  Parliament,  1869,  p.  9.)  The 
place  is  called  Juju  also  in  the  Persian  itinerary  given  by  ’Izzat  Ullah  in 
J.  R.  A.  S.  VII.  308. 

Note  3. — “About  a  li  from  the  southern  suburbs  of  this  town,  the 



Book  II. 

great  road  to  Shantung  and  the  south-east  diverged,  causing  an  imme¬ 
diate  diminution  in  the  number  of  carts  and  travellers”  ( Oxenham ). 
This  bifurcation  of  the  roads  is  a  notable  point  in  Polo’s  book.  For 
after  following  the  western  road  through  Cathay,  i.e.  the  northern 
provinces  of  China,  to  the  borders  of  Tibet  and  the  Indo-Chinese 
regions,  our  traveller  will  return,  whimsically  enough,  not  to  the  capital 
to  take  a  fresh  departure,  but  to  this  bifurcation  outside  of  Chochau, 
and  thence  carry  us  south  with  him  to  Manzi,  or  China  south  of  the 
Yellow  River. 


The  Kingdom  of  Taianfu. 

After  riding  then  those  ten  days  from  the  city  of  Juju, 
you  find  yourself  in  a  kingdom  called  Taianfu,  and  the 
city  at  which  you  arrive,  which  is  the  capital,  is  also  called 
Taianfu,  a  very  great  and  fine  city.  [But  at  the  end  of 
five  days’  journey  out  of  those  ten,  they  say  there  is  a  city 
unusually  large  and  handsome  called  Acbaluc,  whereat 
terminate  in  this  direction  the  hunting  preserves  of  the 
Emperor,  within  which  no  one  dares  to  sport  except 
the  Emperor  and  his  family,  and  those  who  are  on  the 
books  of  the  Grand  Falconer.  Beyond  this  limit  any  one 
is  at  liberty  to  sport,  if  he  be  a  gentleman.  The  Great 
Kaan,  however,  scarcely  ever  went  hunting  in  this  direction, 
and  hence  the  game  had  increased  and  multiplied  to  such 
an  extent,  particularly  the  hares,  that  all  the  crops  of  the 
Province  were  destroyed.  The  Great  Kaan  being  informed 
of  this,  proceeded  thither  with  all  his  Court,  and  the  game 
that  was  taken  was  past  counting.]1 

Taianfu  2  is  a  place  of  great  trade  and  great  industry, 
for  here  they  manufacture  a  large  quantity  of  the  most 
necessary  equipments  for  the  army  of  the  Emperor.  There 
grow  here  many  excellent  vines,  supplying  great  plenty  of 
wine ;  and  in  all  Cathay  this  is  the  only  place  where  wine 
is  produced.  It  is  carried  hence  all  over  the  country.3 

Chap.  XXXVII. 



There  is  also  a  great  deal  of  silk  here,  for  the  people  have 
great  quantities  of  mulberry-trees  and  silkworms. 

From  this  city  of  Taianfu  you  ride  westward  again  for 
seven  days  through  fine  districts  with  plenty  of  towns  and 
boroughs,  all  enjoying  much  trade,  and  practising  various 
kinds  of  industry.  Out  of  these  districts  go  forth  not  a 
few  great  merchants,  who  travel  to  India  and  other  foreign 
regions,  buying  and  selling  and  getting  gain.  After  those 
seven  days’  journey  you  arrive  at  a  city  called  Pianfu,  a 
large  and  important  place,  with  a  number  of  traders  living 
by  commerce  and  industry.  It  is  a  place  too  where  silk  is 
largely  produced.4 

So  we  will  leave  it  and  tell  you  of  a  great  city  called 
Cachanfu.  But  stay — first  let  us  tell  you  about  the  noble 
castle  called  Caichu. 

Note  1. — Marsden  translates  the  commencement  of  this  passage, 
which  is  peculiar  to  Ramusio,  and  runs  “  E  in  capo  di  cinque  giornate 
delle  predette  died?  by  the  words  “  At  the  end  of  five  days’  journey 
beyond  the  ten,”  but  this  is  clearly  wrong.*  The  place  best  suiting  in 
position,  as  halfway  between  Chochau  and  Thai-yuanfu,  would  be  Ching- 
tingfu,  and  I  have  little  doubt  that  this  is  the  place  intended.  The 
title  of  Ak-Baligh  in  Turki,  or  Chaghan  Bulghassun  in  Mongol,  meaning 
“White  City,”  was  applied  by  the  Tartars  to  Royal  Residences;  and 
possibly  Chingtingfu  may  have  had  such  a  claim,  for  I  observe  in  the 
Annales  de  la  Prop,  de  la  Foi  (xxxiii.  387)  that  in  1862  the  Chinese 
Government  granted  to  the  R.  C.  Vicar-Apostolic  of  Pecheli,  the  ruined 
Imperial  Palace  at  Chingtingfu  for  his  cathedral  and  other  mission 
establishments.  Moreover,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  Rashiduddin’s  account 
of  Chinghiz’s  campaign  in  northern  China  in  1214,  speaks  of  the  city 
of  “  Chaghan  Balghassun  which  the  Chinese  call  Jintzinful  This  is 
almost  exactly  the  way  in  which  the  name  of  Chingtingfu  is  represented 
in  Tzzat  Ullah’s  Persian  Itinerary  ( Jigdzinfu ,  evidently  a  clerical  error 
for  Jingdzinfu),  so  I  think  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  Chingtingfu  is 
the  place  intended.  The  city  is  described  by  Consul  Oxenham  as  being 
now  in  a  decayed  and  dilapidated  condition,  consisting  of  only  two 
long  streets  crossing  at  right  angles.  It  is  noted  for  the  manufacture  of 
images  of  Buddha  from  Shansi  iron.  (Consular  Reports,  p.  10  ;  Erdmann , 

*  And  I  see  Ritter  understood  the  passage  as  I  do  (IV.  515). 


Book  II. 

Note  2. — Taianfu  is,  as  Magaillans  pointed  out,  Thaiyuan-fu,  the 
capital  of  the  Province  of  Shansi,  and  Shansi  is  the  “  Kingdom.”  The 
city  was  however  the  capital  of  the  great  Thang  dynasty  for  a  time  in 
the  8th  century,  and  is  probably  the  Tajah  or  Taiunah  of  old  Arab 
writers.  The  Rev.  Mr.  Williamson,  who  has  visited  it  recently,  speaks  of 
it  as  a  very  pleasant  city  at  the  north  end  of  a  most  fertile  valley.  It  was 
a  residence,  he  says,  also  of  the  Ming  princes,  and  is  laid  out  in  Peking 
fashion.  There  is  an  Imperial  factory  of  artillery,  matchlocks,  &c. ; 
and  fine  carpets  like  those  of  Turkey  are  also  manufactured  ( Cathay , 
xcvii,  cxiii,  cxciv. ;  Rennie ,  II.  265  ;  Notes  on  North  China  in  J.  N.  C.  B. 
of  R.  A.  S.  for  1866,  p.  46-7).  The  district  is  much  noted  for  cutlery 
and  hardware,  iron  as  well  as  coal  being  abundantly  produced  in  Shansi. 
Apparently  the  present  Birmingham  of  the  province  is  a  town  called 
Hwai-lu,  about  20  miles  west  of  Chingting-fu.  ( Oxenham ,  u.  s.  n  ; 
Klaproth  in  /.  As.  ser.  2,  tom.  i.  100  ;  Izzat  Ullatis  Pers.  Itin.  in  /. 
R.  A.  S.  VII.  307). 

Note  3. — Martini  observes  that  the  grapes  in  Shansi  were  very 
abundant  and  the  best  in  China.  The  Chinese  used  them  only  as 
raisins,  but  wine  was  made  there  for  the  use  of  the  Missions.  Klaproth 
however  tells  us  that  the  wine  of  Thaiyuan-fu  was  celebrated  in  the  days 
of  the  Thang  dynasty,  and  used  to  be  sent  in  tribute  to  the  Emperors. 
Under  the  Mongols  the  use  of  this  wine  spread  greatly.  The  founder 
of  the  Ming  accepted  the  offering  of  wine  of  the  vine  from  Thaiyuan  in 
1373,  but  prohibited  its  being  presented  again  (J  As.  u.  s.). 

Note  4.  —  Pianfu  is  undoubtedly,  as  Magaillans  again  notices, 
P’ingyang-fu.  It  is  the  Bikan  of  Shah  Rukh’s  ambassadors.  It  is 
said  to  have  been  the  residence  of  the  primitive  and  mythical  Chinese 
Emperor  Yao.  A  great  college  for  the  education  of  the  Mongols  was 
instituted  at  P’ing-yang  by  Yeliu  Chutsai,  the  enlightened  Minister  of 
Okkodai  Kaan.  The  city  suffered  much  from  the  Taeping  rebels,  but 
it  is  reviving.  It  is  now  noted  for  its  large  paper  factories.  ( Cathay , 
ccxi.  ;  Ritter ,  IV.  516;  D’Ohsson,  II.  70;  Williamson ,  u.  s.) 


Concerning  the  Castle  of  Caichu. 

On  leaving  Pianfu  you  ride  two  days  westward,  and  come 
to  the  noble  castle  of  Caichu,  which  was  built  in  time  past 
by  a  king  of  that  country,  whom  they  used  to  call  the 
Golden  King,  and  who  had  there  a  great  and  beautiful 

Chap.  XXXVIII. 



palace.  There  is  a  great  hall  of  this  palace,  in  which  are 
pourtrayed  all  the  ancient  kings  of  the  country,  done  in 
gold  and  other  fine  colours,  and  a  very  fine  sight  they 
make.  Each  king  in  succession  as  he  reigned  added  to 
those  pictures.1 

[This  Golden  King  was  a  great  and  potent  Prince,  and 
during  his  stay  at  this  place  there  used  to  be  in  his  service 
none  but  beautiful  girls,  of  whom  he  had  a  great  number 
in  his  Court.  When  he  went  to  take  the  air  about  the 
Fortress,  these  girls  used  to  draw  him  about  in  a  little 
carriage  which  they  could  easily  move,  and  they  would  also 
be  in  attendance  on  the  King  for  everything  pertaining  to 
his  convenience  or  pleasured] 

Now  I  will  tell  you  a  pretty  passage  that  befel  between 
this  Golden  King  and  Prester  John,  as  it  was  related  by 
the  people  of  the  Castle. 

It  came  to  pass,  as  they  told  the  tale,  that  this  Golden 
King  was  at  war  with  Prester  John.  And  the  King  held  a 
position  so  strong  that  Prester  John  was  not  able  to  get  at 
him  or  to  do  him  any  scathe  ;  wherefore  he  was  in  great 
wrath.  So  seventeen  gallants  belonging  to  Prester  John’s 
Court  came  to  him  in  a  body  and  said  that,  an  he  would, 
they  were  ready  to  bring  him  the  Golden  King  alive.  His 
answer  was  that  he  desired  nothing  better,  and  would  be 
much  bounden  to  them  if  they  would  do  so. 

So  when  they  had  taken  leave  of  their  Lord  and  Master 
Prester  John,  they  set  off  together,  this  goodly  company 
of  gallants,  and  went  to  the  Golden  King,  and  presented 
themselves  before  him,  saying  that  they  had  come  from 
foreign  parts  to  enter  his  service.  And  he  answered  by 
telling  them  that  they  were  right  welcome,  and  that  he  was 
glad  to  have  their  service,  never  imagining  that  they  had 
any  ill  intent.  And  so  these  mischievous  squires  took 
service  with  the  Golden  King ;  and  served  him  so  well  that 
he  grew  to  love  them  dearly. 

And  when  they  had  abode  with  that  King  nearly  two 



Book  II. 

years,  conducting  themselves  like  persons  who  thought  of 
anything  but  treason,  they  one  day  accompanied  the  King 
on  a  pleasure  party  when  he  had  very  few  else  along  with 
him ;  for  in  those  gallants  the  King  had  perfect  trust,  and 
thus  kept  them  immediately  about  his  person.  So  after 
they  had  crossed  a  certain  river  that  is  about  a  mile  from 
the  castle,  and  saw  that  they  were  alone  with  the  King,  they 
said  one  to  another  that  now  was  the  time  to  achieve  that 
they  had  come  for.  Then  they  all  incontinently  drew, 
and  told  the  King  that  he  must  go  with  them  and  make  no 
resistance,  or  they  would  slay  him.  The  King  at  this  was 
in  alarm  and  great  astonishment,  and  said:  “How  then, 
good  my  sons,  what  thing  is  this  ye  say?  and  whither 
would  ye  have  me  go?”  They  answered,  and  said:  “You 
shall  come  with  us,  will  ye  nill  ye,  to  Prester  John  our 

Note  1. — The  name  of  the  castle  is  very  doubtful.  But  of  that  and 
the  geography,  which  in  this  part  is  tangled,  we  shall  speak  further  on. 

Whilst  the  original  French  texts  were  unknown,  the  king  here  spoken 
of  figured  in  the  old  Latin  versions  as  King  Darius ,  and  in  Ramusio  as 
Re  Dor.  It  was  a  most  happy  suggestion  of  Marsden’s,  in  absence  of 
all  knowledge  of  the  fact  that  the  original  narrative  was  French ,  that 
this  Dor  represented  the  Emperor  of  the  Kin  or  Golden  Dynasty, 
called  by  the  Mongols  Altun  Khan ,  of  which  Roi  D  Or  is  a  literal 

Of  the  legend  itself  I  can  find  no  trace.  Rashiduddin  relates  a  story 
of  the  grandfather  of  Aung  Khan  (Polo’s  Prester  John),  Merghuz 
Boiruk  Khan,  being  treacherously  made  over  to  the  King  of  the  Churche 
(the  Kin  sovereign),  and  put  to  death  by  being  nailed  to  a  wooden 
ass.  But  the  same  author  tells  us  that  Aung  Khan  got  his  title  of  Aung 
(Ch.  Wang)  or  king  from  the  Kin  emperor  of  his  day,  so  that  no  here¬ 
ditary  feud  seems  deduceable. 

Note  2. — The  history  of  the  Tartar  conquerors  of  China,  whether 
Khitan,  Churche,  Mongol  or  Manchu,  has  always  been  the  same.  For 
one  or  two  generations  the  warlike  character  and  manly  habits  were 
maintained ;  and  then  the  intruders,  having  adopted  Chinese  manners, 
ceremonies,  literature,  and  civilization,  sank  into  more  than  Chinese  effe¬ 
minacy  and  degradation.  We  see  the  custom  of  employing  only  female 
attendants  ascribed  in  a  later  chapter  (lxxvii.)  to  the  Sung  Emperors 
at  Kinsay ;  and  the  same  was  the  custom  of  the  later  Ming  emperors, 


1 1 

in  whose  time  the  imperial  palace  was  said  to  contain  5000  women. 
Indeed,  the  precise  custom  which  this  passage  describes  was  in  our  own 
day  habitually  reported  of  the  Taiping  sovereign  during  his  reign  at 
Nanking  :  “None  but  women  are  allowed  in  the  interior  of  the  Palace, 
and  he  is  drawn  to  the  audience-chamber  in  a  gilded  sacred  dragon-car  by 
the  ladies."  (. Blakiston ,  p.  42;  see  also  Wilson’s  Ever- Victorious  Army, 
p.  41.) 


How  Prester  John  treated  the  Golden  King  his  Prisoner. 

And  on  this  the  Golden  King  was  so  sorely  grieved  that 
he  was  like  to  die.  And  he  said  to  them :  “  Good,  my 
sons,  for  God’s  sake  have  pity  and  compassion  upon  me. 
Ye  wot  well  what  honourable  and  kindly  entertainment  ye 
have  had  in  my  house  ;  and  now  ye  would  deliver  me  into 
the  hands  of  mine  enemy!  In  sooth,  if  ye  do  what  ye  say, 
ye  will  do  a  very  naughty  and  disloyal  deed,  and  a  right 
villainous.”  But  they  answered  only  that  so  it  must  be, 
and  away  they  had  him  to  Prester  John  their  Lord. 

And  when  Prester  John  beheld  the  King  he  was  right 
glad,  and  greeted  him  with  something  like  a  malison.* 
The  King  answered  not  a  word,  as  if  he  wist  not  what  it 
behoved  him  to  say.  So  Prester  John  ordered  him  to  be 
taken  forth  straightway,  and  to  be  put  to  look  after  cattle, 
but  to  be  well  looked  after  himself  also.  So  they  took 
him  and  set  him  to  keep  cattle.  This  did  Prester  John 
of  the  grudge  he  bore  the  King,  to  heap  contumely  on 
him,  and  to  show  what  a  nothing  he  was,  compared  to 

And  when  the  King  had  thus  kept  cattle  for  two  years, 
Prester  John  sent  for  him,  and  treated  him  with  honour, 

VOL.  11. 

*  “  Lui  (list  que  il  feust  le  mal  venuz.” 




Book  II. 

and  clothed  him  in  rich  robes,  and  said  to  him :  “  Now 
Sir  King,  art  thou  satisfied  that  thou  wast  in  no  way  a  man 
to  stand  against  me?”  “Truly,  my  good  Lord,  I  know 
well  and  always  did  know  that  I  was  in  no  way  a  man  to 
stand  against  thee.”  And  when  he  had  said  this  Prester 
John  replied :  “  I  ask  no  more ;  but  henceforth  thou 
shalt  be  waited  on  and  honourably  treated.”  So  he  caused 
horses  and  harness  of  war  to  be  given  him,  with  a  goodly 
train,  and  sent  him  back  to  his  own  country.  And  after 
that  he  remained  ever  friendly  to  Prester  John,  and  held 
fast  by  him. 

So  now  I  will  say  no  more  of  this  adventure  of  the 
Golden  King,  but  I  will  proceed  with  our  subject. 


Concerning  the  Great  River  Caramoran  and  the  City  of 


When  you  leave  the  castle,  and  travel  about  20  miles  west¬ 
ward,  you  come  to  a  river  called  Caramoran,  so  big  that 
no  bridge  can  be  thrown  across  it ;  for  it  is  of  immense 
width  and  depth,  and  reaches  to  the  Great  Ocean  that  en¬ 
circles  the  Universe, — I  mean  the  whole  earth.1  On  this 
river  there  are  many  cities  and  walled  towns,  and  many  mer¬ 
chants  too  therein,  for  much  traffic  takes  place  upon  the 
river,  there  being  a  great  deal  of  ginger  and  a  great  deal  of 
silk  produced  in  the  country. 

Game  birds  here  are  in  wonderful  abundance,  insomuch 
that  you  may  buy  at  least  three  pheasants  for  a  Venice 
groat  of  silver.  I  should  say  rather  for  an  asper ,  which  is 
worth  a  little  more.2 

[On  the  lands  adjoining  this  river  there  grow  vast 
quantities  of  great  canes,  some  of  which  are  a  foot  or  a 

Chap.  XLI. 



foot  and  a  half  (in  girth),  and  these  the  natives  employ  for 
many  useful  purposes.] 

After  passing  the  river  and  travelling  two  days  west¬ 
ward  you  come  to  the  noble  city  of  Cachanfu,  which  we 
have  already  named.  The  inhabitants  are  all  Idolaters. 
And  I  may  as  well  remind  you  again  that  all  the  people 
of  Cathay  are  Idolaters.  It  is  a  city  of  great  trade  and  of 
work  in  gold-tissues  of  many  sorts,  as  well  as  other  kinds  of 

There  is  nothing  else  worth  mentioning,  and  so  we  will 
proceed  and  tell  you  of  a  noble  city  which  is  the  capital  of 
a  kingdom,  and  is  called  Kenjanfu. 

Note  1. — Karci-Muren ,  or  Black  River,  is  one  of  the  names  applied 
by  the  Mongols  to  the  Hoang  Ho,  or  Yellow  River,  of  the  Chinese, 
and  that  which  we  find  used  by  all  the  medieval  western  writers,  e.g., 
Odoric,  John  Marignolli,  Rashiduddin. 

Note  2. — The  asper  or  akche  (both  meaning  “  white,”)  of  the  Mongols 
at  Tana  or  Azov  I  have  elsewhere  calculated  from  Pegolotti’s  data 
(Cathay,  p.  298),  to  have  contained  about  os.  2 ‘8 d.  worth  of  silver,  which 
is  less  than  the  grosso  ;  but  the  name  may  have  had  a  loose  application 
to  small  silver  coins  in  other  countries  of  Asia.  Possibly  the  money 
intended  may  have  been  the  50  isien  note  (see  note  1,  ch.  xxiv.  supra). 


Concerning  the  City  of  Kenjanfu. 

And  when  you  leave  the  city  of  Cachanfu  of  which  I  have 
spoken,  and  travel  eight  days  westward,  you  meet  with 
cities  and  boroughs  abounding  in  trade  and  industry,  and 
quantities  of  beautiful  trees,  and  gardens,  and  fine  plains 
planted  with  mulberries,  which  are  the  trees  on  the  leaves 
of  which  the  silkworms  do  feed.  The  people  are  ah 
Idolaters.  There  is  also  plenty  of  game  of  all  sorts,  both 
of  beasts  and  birds. 

c  2 



Book  II. 

And  when  you  have  travelled  those  eight  days’  journey, 
you  come  to  that  great  city  which  I  mentioned,  called 
Kenjanfu.1  A  very  great  and  fine  city  it  is,  and  the 
capital  of  the  kingdom  of  Kenjanfu,  which  in  old  times 
was  a  noble,  rich,  and  powerful  realm,  and  had  many  great 
and  wealthy  and  puissant  kings.2  But  now  the  king  there¬ 
of  is  a  prince  called  Mangalai,  the  son  of  the  Great  Kaan, 
who  hath  given  him  this  realm,  and  crowned  him  king 
thereof.3  It  is  a  city  of  great  trade  and  industry.  They 
have  great  abundance  of  silk,  from  which  they  weave  cloths 
of  silk  and  gold  of  divers  kinds,  and  they  also  manufacture 
all  sorts  of  equipments  for  an  army.  They  have  every 
necessary  of  man’s  life  very  cheap.  The  city  lies  towards 
the  west ;  the  people  are  idolaters ;  and  outside  the  city  is 
the  palace  of  the  Prince  Mangalai,  crowned  king  and  son 
of  the  Great  Kaan,  as  I  told  you  before. 

This  is  a  fine  palace  and  a  great,  as  I  will  tell  you.  It 
stands  in  a  great  plain  abounding  in  lakes  and  streams  and 
springs  of  water.  Round  about  it  is  a  massive  and  lofty 
wall,  five  miles  in  compass,  well  built,  and  all  garnished 
with  battlements.  And  within  this  wall  is  the  king’s  palace, 
so  great  and  fine  that  no  one  could  imagine  a  finer.  There 
are  in  it  many  great  and  splendid  halls,  and  many  chambers, 
all  painted  and  embellished  with  work  in  beaten  gold. 
This  Mangalai  rules  his  realm  right  well  with  justice  and 
equity,  and  is  much  beloved  by  his  people.  The  troops 
are  quartered  round  about  the  palace,  and  enjoy  the  sport 
(that  the  royal  demesne  affords). 

So  now  let  us  quit  this  kingdom,  and  I  will  tell  you  of 
a  very  mountainous  province  called  Cuncun,  which  you 
reach  by  a  road  right  wearisome  to  travel. 

Note  1. — Having  got  to  sure  ground  again  at  Kenjanfu,  which  is, 
as  we  shall  explain  presently,  the  city  of  Singanfu,  capital  of  Shensi, 
let  us  look  back  at  the  geography  of  the  route  from  P’ingyanfu.  Its 
difficulties  are  great. 

Chap.  XLI. 



The  traveller  carries  us  two  days’  journey  from  P’ingyanfu  to  his 
castle  of  the  Golden  King.  This  is  called  in  the  G.  Text  and  most 
other  MSS.  Caicui,  Caytui ,  or  the  like,  but  in  Ramusio  alone  Thaigin, 
He  then  carries  us  20  miles  further  to  the  Caramoran;  he  crosses  this 
river,  travels  two  days  further,  and  reaches  the  great  city  Kachanfu ; 
eight  days  more  (or  as  in  Ramusio  seven )  bring  him  to  Singanfu. 

There  seems  scarcely  room  for  doubt  that  Kachanfu  is  the  Ho- 
changfu  of  those  days,  now  called  P’uchaufu,  close  to  the  great  elbow 
of  the  Hoang  Ho  {Klaproth).  But  this  city,  instead  of  being  two  days 
west  of  the  great  river,  stands  on  or  near  its  eastern  bank. 

Klaproth,  adopting  Ramusio’s  name  for  the  castle,  identifies  it  with 
one  in  those  days  called  Taikhing,  afterwards  P'ntsin ,  which  lay  on  the 
Hoangho  to  the  west  of  P’uchaufu  ;  Pauthier  adds,  on  the  west  hank  of 
the  river.  Now  Polo’s  expressions  seem  distinctly  to  describe  the  for¬ 
tress  as  lying  20  miles  to  the  east  of  the  river. 

Not  maintaining  the  infallibility  of  our  traveller’s  memory,  we  might 
conceive  it  to  have  got  confused  here,  between  the  recollections  of  his 
journey  westward  and  those  of  his  return ;  but  this  would  not  remove 
all  the  difficulties. 

It  is,  as  we  have  seen,  very  uncertain  that  Thaigin  is  the  right  read¬ 
ing.  That  of  the  MSS.  seems  to  point  rather  to  some  name  like  Kai- 
chau.  The  hypothesis  which  seems  to  me  to  call  for  least  correction  in 

the  text  is  that  the  castle  was  at  the  Kychau  of  the  maps,  nearly  due 
west  of  P’ingyang-fu,  and  just  about  20  miles  from  the  Hoang  Ho  ;  that 
the  river  was  crossed  in  that  vicinity,  and  that  the  traveller  then  de- 

1 6 


Book  II 

scended  the  valley  to  opposite  P’uchaufu,  or  possibly  embarked  and 
descended  the  river  itself  to  that  point.  This  last  hypothesis  would 
mitigate  the  apparent  disproportion  in  the  times  assigned  to  the  different 
parts  of  the  journey,  and  would,  I  think,  clear  the  text  of  error.  But  it 
is  only  a  hypothesis.  Whether  there  is  any  such  historic  castle  at 
Kychau  I  know  not ;  the  plan  of  that  place  in  Duhalde,  however,  has 
the  aspect  of  a  strong  position. 

The  most  notable  fortress  of  the  Kin  sovereigns  was  that  of 
T’ungkwan,  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  a  little  south  of  P’uchaufu, 
and  closing  the  passage  between  the  river  and  the  mountains.  It  was 
constantly  the  turning-point  of  the  Mongol  campaigns  against  that 
dynasty,  and  held  a  prominent  place  in  the  dying  instructions  of 
Chingniz  for  the  prosecution  of  the  conquest  of  Cathay.  This  fortress 
must  have  continued  famous  to  Polo’s  time,  but  I  see  no  way  of 
reconciling  its  position  with  his  narrative.  The  name  in  Ramusio’s 
form  might  be  merely  that  of  the  dynasty,  viz.,  Tai-Kin  =  Great 

Note  2. — Kenjanfu  is,  as  we  have  indicated,  Singan-fu,  or  as  it 
was  called  in  the  days  of  its  greatest  fame,  Changgan,  probably  the  most 
celebrated  city  in  Chinese  history,  and  the  capital  of  several  of  the  most 
potent  dynasties.  It  was  the  metropolis  of  Shi  Hoangti  of  the  Thsin 
dynasty,  the  great  emperor  whose  conquests  almost  intersected  those  of 
his  contemporary  Ptolemy  Euergetes.  It  was,  perhaps,  the  Thinae  of 
Claudius  Ptolemy,  as  it  was  certainly  the  Khumdan  of  the  early  Ma- 
homedans,  and  the  site  of  flourishing  Christian  Churches  in  the  7  th  cen¬ 
tury,  as  well  as  of  the  remarkable  monument,  the  discovery  of  which  a 
thousand  years  later  disclosed  their  forgotten  existence. #  Kingchao-fu 
was  the  name  which  the  city  bore  when  the  Mongol  invasions  brought 
China  into  communication  with  the  west,  and  Klaproth  supposes  that 
this  was  modified  by  the  Mongols  into  Kenjanfu.  Under  the  latter 
name  it  is  mentioned  by  Rashiduddin  as  the  seat  of  one  of  the  Twelve 
Sings  or  great  provincial  administrations,  and  we  find  it  still  known  by 
this  name  in  Sharffuddin’s  history  of  Timur.  The  same  name  is  trace¬ 
able  in  the  Kansan  of  Odoric,  which  he  calls  the  second  best  province 
in  the  world,  and  the  best  populated. 

Martini  speaks,  apparently  from  personal  knowledge,  of  the  splen¬ 
dour  of  the  city,  as  regarded  both  its  public  edifices  and  its  site,  sloping 
gradually  up  from  the  banks  of  the  River  Wei,  so  as  to  exhibit  its  walls 
and  palaces  at  one  view  like  the  interior  of  an  amphitheatre.  West  of 

*  I  am  happy  to  be  able  to  present  a  reduced  facsimile  of  a  rubbing  in  my  possession 
from  this  famous  inscription,  which  I  owe  to  the  generosity  of  Dr.  Lockhart.  The  tail¬ 
piece  to  this  Part  (p.  93)  represents  the  incised  cross  at  the  head  of  the  inscription,  from 
a  copy  of  a  pencil  rubbing  made  by  the  Rev.  J.  Lees.  The  copy  was  printed  on 
photographic  paper  by  Mr.  A.  Wylie,  and  was  also  lent  me  by  Dr.  Lockhart. 

Chap.  XLII. 


1 7 

the  city  was  a  sort  of  Water  Park,  enclosed  by  a  wall  30  li  in  circum¬ 
ference,  full  of  lakes,  tanks,  and  canals  from  the  Wei,  and  within  which 
were  seven  fine  palaces  and  a  variety  of  theatres  and  other  places  of 
public  diversion.  To  the  S.E.  of  the  city  was  an  artificial  lake  with 
palaces,  gardens,  park,  &c.,  originally  formed  by  the  Emperor  Hiaowu 
(b.c.  i  00),  and  to  the  south  of  the  city  was  another  considerable  lake 
called  Fan.  This  may  be  the  Fan  chan  Lake,  beside  which  Rashid  says 
that  A’nanda,  the  son  of  Mangalai,  built  his  palace. 

Singanfu  and  the  adjoining  districts  are  now  the  seat  of  a  large 
Musulman  population,  which  in  1861-62  rose  in  revolt  against  the 
Chinese  authority,  and  for  a  time  was  successful  in  resisting  it.  The 
chief  seat  of  the  Mahomedans  is  a  place  which  they  call  Salar,  which, 
as  well  as  I  can  make  out,  is  the  city  of  Hwai-chau,  east  of  the  capital. 
Singanfu  has  been  recently  visited  by  Mr.  Williamson,  accompanied  by 
Mr.  Lees.  He  says  that  the  site  of  the  palace  of  the  Thang  emperors 
is  still  to  be  seen ;  and  he  saw  the  celebrated  Christian  inscription 
which  stands  in  a  ruined  temple  outside  the  west  gate  of  the  city,  and  is 
still  perfect,  though  all  around  is  desolation.  {Martini ;  Cathay ,  148,  269 ; 
Petis  de  la  Croix ,  III.  218;  Russian  paper  on  the  Dungen,  see  supra, 
vol.  i.  p.  256;  Williamson! s  Notes  on  North  China ,  u.  s.,  p.  47.) 

Note  3. — Mangalai ,  Kublai’s  third  son,  who  governed  the  provinces 
of  Shensi  and  Ssechuen,  with  the  title  of  Wang  or  king  {supra,  ch.  ix. 
note  2),  died  in  1280,  a  circumstance  which  limits  the  date  of  Polo’s 
journey  to  the  west.  It  seems  unlikely  that  Marco  should  have  re¬ 
mained  ten  years  ignorant  of  his  death,  yet  he  seems  to  speak  of  him  as 
still  governing. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Cuncun,  which  is  right  wearisome 


On  leaving  the  Palace  of  Mangalai,  you  travel  westward 
for  three  days,  finding  a  succession  of  cities  and  boroughs 
and  beautiful  plains,  inhabited  by  people  who  live  by  trade 
and  industry,  and  have  great  plenty  of  silk.  At  the  end  of 
those  three  days  you  reach  the  great  mountains  and  valleys 
which  belong  to  the  province  of  Cuncun.1  There  are 
towns  and  villages  in  the  land,  and  the  people  live  by 



Book  II. 

tilling  the  earth,  and  by  hunting  in  the  great  woods ;  for 
the  region  abounds  in  forests  wherein  are  many  wild  beasts, 
such  as  lions,  bears,  lynxes,  bucks  and  roes,  and  sundry 
other  kinds,  so  that  many  are  taken  by  the  people  of  the 
country  who  make  a  great  profit  thereof.2  So  this  way 
you  travel  over  mountains  and  valleys,  finding  a  succession 
of  towns  and  villages,  and  many  great  hostelries  for  the 
entertainment  of  travellers,  interspersed  among  extensive 

Note  1. — The  region  intended  must  necessarily  be  some  part  of  the 
southern  district  of  the  province  of  Shensi,  called  Hanchung,  the  axis 
of  which  is  the  River  Han,  closed  in  by  exceedingly  mountainous  and 
woody  country  to  north  and  south,  dividing  it  on  the  former  quarter 
from  the  rest  of  Shensi,  and  on  the  latter  from  Ssechuen.  According  to 
Pauthier,  the  name  of  the  district  in  the  Mongol  age  was  Hingyuen; 
but  there  is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  it  had  popularly  lost  that  of  Han¬ 
chung,  which  was  its  official  title  at  both  an  earlier  and  a  later  date. 
Polo’s  C  frequently  expresses  an  H,  especially  the  guttural  H  of  Chinese 
names,  yet  Cuncun  is  not  quite  satisfactory  as  the  expression  of  Han¬ 

The  country  was  so  rugged  that  in  ancient  times  travellers  from 
Singanfu  had  to  make  a  long  circuit  eastward  by  the  frontier  of  Honan 
to  reach  Hanchung ;  but  a  road  was  made  across  the  mountains  by  a 
Chinese  general,  circa  200  b.c.  This  work,  with  its  difficulties  and 
boldness,  extending  often  for  great  distances  on  viaducts  and  on  timber 
corbels  inserted  in  the  rock,  is  vividly  described  by  Martini.  Villages 
and  rest-houses  were  established  at  convenient  distances.  It  received 
from  the  Chinese  the  name  of  Chien-tao ,  or  the  “  Pillar  Road.”  It  com¬ 
menced  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Wei,  opposite  Paoki-hien,  100  miles 
west  of  Singanfu,  and  ended  near  the  town  of  Paoching-hien,  some  15 
or  20  miles  N.W.  from  Hanchung.  Martini’s  description  of  the  road 
probably  applies  to  its  state  in  his  own  day.  The  original  construction 
must  have  long  gone  to  wreck ;  and,  indeed,  we  are  told  that  it  was  re¬ 
constructed  by  the  first  Ming  Emperor  in  1392  ;  and  I  presume  it  con¬ 
tinued  in  a  fair  state  down  to  recent  times,  for  a  writer  in  the  Chinese 
Repository  says,  that  “those  who  have  travelled  the  great  Hanchung 
road  have  pronounced  it  not  inferior  to  the  Simplon,  though  the  elevation 
is  not  so  great.” 

It  is  probable  that  this  work  had  no  efficient  existence  in  our  tra¬ 
veller’s  day,  for  we  find  that  Tului,  the  son  of  Chinghiz,  when  directing 
his  march  against  Honan  in  1231  by  this  very  line  from  Paoki,  had  to 
make  a  road  with  great  difficulty.  The  same  route  was  followed  by 

Chap.  XLIII. 



Okkodai’s  son  Kutan,  in  marching  to  attack  the  Sung  Empire  in  1235, 
and  again  by  Mangu  Kaan  on  his  last  campaign  in  1258.  These  cir¬ 
cumstances,  showing  that  the  road  from  Paoki  was  in  that  age  the  usual 
route  into  Hanchung  and  Ssechuen,  are  in  favour  of  its  being,  in  whole 
or  in  part,  the  line  taken  by  Marco.  (See  Martini  in  Blaeu  ;  Chine 
Anciemie,  p.  234;  Ritter ,  IV.  520;  D'  Ohs  son,  II.  22,  80,  328;  Lecomte , 
II.  95  ;  Chin.  Rep.  XIX.  225.) 

Note  2. — “  In  this  province  (Hanchung)  you  often  fall  in  with  herds 

of  red-deer  and  fallow-deer  even  on  the  roads ;  bears  also . are 

common,  whose  feet  the  Chinese  reckon  a  great  dainty.”  (Martini,  42.) 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Acbalec  Manzi. 

After  you  have  travelled  those  20  days  through  the 
mountains  of  Cuncun  that  I  have  mentioned,  then  you 
come  to  a  province  called  Acbalec  Manzi,  which  is  all 
level  country,  with  plenty  of  towns  and  villages,  and  belong¬ 
ing  to  the  Great  Kaan.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  live 
by  trade  and  industry.  I  may  tell  you  that  in  this  province 
there  grows  such  a  great  quantity  of  ginger,  that  it  is 
carried  all  over  the  region  of  Cathay,  and  it  affords  a  main¬ 
tenance  to  all  the  people  of  the  province,  who  get  great 
gain  thereby.  They  have  also  wheat  and  rice,  and  other 
kinds  of  corn  in  great  plenty  and  cheapness ;  in  fact  the 
country  abounds  in  all  useful  products.  The  capital  city 
is  called  Acbalec  Manzi  [which  signifies  “  the  White  City 
of  the  Manzi  Frontier”].1 

This  plain  extends  for  two  days’  journey,  throughout 
which  it  is  as  fine  as  I  have  told  you,  with  towns  and 
villages  as  numerous.  After  those  two  days  you  again 
come  to  great  mountains  and  valleys,  and  extensive  forests, 
and  you  continue  to  travel  westward  through  this  kind  of 
country  for  20  days,  finding  however  numerous  towns  and 



Book  II. 

villages.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  live  by  agriculture, 
by  cattle-keeping,  and  by  the  chase,  for  there  is  much 
game.  And  among  other  kinds,  there  are  the.  animals  that 
produce  the  musk  in  great  numbers.2 

Note  1.— Though  the  termini  of  the  route  described  in  these  two 
chapters  are  undoubtedly  Singanfu  and  Chingtufu,  there  are  serious 
difficulties  attending  the  determination  of  the  line  actually  followed. 

The  time  according  to  all  the  MSS.,  so  far  as  I  know,  except  those 
of  one  type,  is  as  follows  : — 

In  the  plain  of  Kenjanfu  .  3  days. 

In  the  mountains  of  Cuncun  . 20  ,, 

In  the  plain  of  Acbalec .  2  ,, 

In  mountains  again . 20  ,, 

45  » 

It  seems  to  me  almost  impossible  to  doubt  that  the  Plain  of  Acbalec 
represents  some  part  of  the  river-valley  of  the  Han,  interposed  between  the 
two  ranges  of  mountains  called  in  maps  Thsing-Ling  and  Kiu-long.  But 
the  time,  as  just  stated,  is  extravagant  for  anything  like  a  direct  journey 
between  the  two  termini. 

Mr.  Wylie,  to  whom  I  am  indebted  for  most  valuable  information  on 
this  subject,  travelled  in  1868  from  Chingtu-fu  to  Mien  on  the  Upper 
Han,  following  so  far  what  has  been  for  ages  the  chief  road  to  Singanfu. 
This  distance  amounted  to  1150  li,  and  was  travelled  in  17  days.  The 
remaining  distance .  from  Mien  to  Singanfu  was  not  travelled  by  Mr. 
Wylie  (who  descended  the  Han  River),  but  he  states  it  to  be  7  or  8 
marches.  This  would  give  the  total  distance  as  25  marches  instead 
of  45. 

But  Pauthier’s  MS.  C  (and  its  double  the  Bern  MS.)  has  viii.  marches 
instead  of  xx.  through  the  mountains  of  Cuncun.  This  reduces  the  time 
to  33  days,  and  though  a  lower  rate  of  progress  than  Mr.  Wylie’s  is  thus 
implied,  in  the  ratio  of  about  22J  miles  to  17  for  the  average  march, 
the  latter  seems  quite  an  admissible  rate.* 

So  far  then,  provided  we  admit  the  reading  of  the  MS.  C,  there  is 
no  ground  for  hesitating  to  adopt  the  usual  route  between  the  two  cities, 
via  Mien. 

But  the  key  to  the  exact  route  is  evidently  the  position  of  Acbalec 
Manzi,  and  on  this  there  is  no  satisfactory  light. 

*  Add  that  I  do  not  think  Mr.  Wylie’s  assumed  8  days  from  Mien  to  Singanfu 
can  apply  to  the  route  by  Paoki.  By  Mr.  Wylie’s  own  scale  of  travel  the  distance 
from  Mien  to  Paoki  alone  would  demand  8  days. 



For  the  name  of  the  province,  Pauthier’s  text  has  Acbalec  Manzi, 
for  the  name  of  the  city  Acmalec  simply.  The  G.  T.  has  in  the  former 
case  Acbalec  Mangi ,  in  the  latter  “  Acmelic  Mangi  qe  vaut  dire  le  une  de  le 
confine  dou  Mangi.”  This  is  followed  literally  by  the  Geographic  Latin, 
which  has  “  Achalec  Mangi  et  est  dictum  in  lingua  nostra  unus  ex  confini- 
bus  Mangi”  So  also  the  Crusca ;  whilst  Ramusio  has  “ Achbaluch 
Mangi ,  eke  vuol  dire  Citth  Bianca  de’  confini  di  Mangi.”  It  is  clear  that 
Ramusio  alone  has  here  preserved  the  genuine  reading. 

Pauthier  will  have  Acbalec  (“The  White  City”)  to  be  Pe-Kung- 
ching  (“White  Prince  Town”),  an  extinct  town  which  stood  near  Yang, 
some  30  or  40  miles  eastward  of  Hanchung,  urging  the  reading  Acmalec ; 
Malik  being  Arabic  for  a  Prince  or  King.  This  seems  to  me  fanciful. 
Acmalec  and  Acbalec  are  merely  different  ways  of  writing  the  same  name 
caught  by  ear,  as  in  the  Geog.  Text  we  have  (p.  263)  a  Melic  or  Prince 
of  the  Persian  Court  called  Belie,  and  as  in  Pegolotti  we  find  Khan- 
balik  itself  written  Gamalec. 

Klaproth  again  had  identified  Acbalec  conjecturally  with  the  town 
of  Pe-ma-ching  or  “White-Horse-Town,”  a  place  also  now  extinct,  and 
which  was  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  Mien.  “  The  great  plain 
in  which  Mien-hien  stands,”  says  Klaproth,  “is  that  of  which  Marco  Polo 
speaks ;  it  begins  in  the  east  at  the  post-station  of  Hwang-sha-ji,  and 
extends  as  far  as  that  of  Thsing-yang-ji,  where  the  road  re-enters  the 

It  seems  so  likely  that  the  latter  part  of  the  name  /V-Maching 
might  have  been  confounded  by  foreigners  with  Machin  and  Manzi 
(which  in  Persian  parlance  were  identical)  that  I  should  be  disposed  to 
overlook  the  difficulty  that  we  have  no  evidence  produced  to  show  that 
Pemaching  was  a  place  of  any  consequence,  if  we  could  find  corrobora¬ 
tion  as  to  the  great  plain  of  Mien,  of  which  Klaproth  speaks.  Mr.  Wylie 
(without  any  reference  to  Klaproth)  writes  :  “  After  passing  the  city  of 
Meen,  in  descending  the  Han,  I  found  the  hills  gradually  receding  till 
they  left  a  level  valley  on  both  sides  of  the  river  of  considerable  width, 
perhaps  8  or  10  miles,  which  continued  to  the  city  of  Hanchung;  and  to 
the  end  of  our  first  day’s  journey  beyond  we  were  still  travelling  over 
level  ground,  say  165  li  in  all  from  west  to  east.”  Here  is  a  plain  no 
doubt  of  good  two  days’  journey  in  length,  though  the  part  of  it  traversed 
by  Polo  would  be  only  from  Paoching  to  Mien,  or  some  12  to  14  miles. 

Mr.  Wylie  (Proc.  P.  G.  S.  XIV.)  has  suggested  a  new  view  of  the 
position  of  Acbalec,  proposing  to  identify  it  with  Pe-ma-Kivan  (“  White- 
Horse-Fort”),  an  abandoned  town  which  he  passed  only  two  days  from 
Chingtu,  and  at  which  a  traveller  from  the  north  first  comes  in  sight  of 
the  great  plain  of  Chingtu.  He  builds  in  part  on  this  being  just  22  or 
23  days’  journey  from  Singanfu  according  to  the  usual  readings.  I  have 
not  room  for  all  that  Mr.  Wylie  urges,  but  his  arguments  have  not  con¬ 
vinced  me  that  there  is  ground  for  proposing  the  great  changes  in  the  text 
which  this  identification  would  involve. 



Book  II. 

It  is  possible  that  the  name  Acbalec  may  have  been  given  by  the 
Tartars  without  any  reference  to  Chinese  etymologies.  We  have  already 
twice  met  with  the  name  or  its  equivalent  (. Acbaluc  in  ch.  xxxvii.  of  this 
Book,  and  Chagan  Balgassun  in  note  2  to  Bk.  I.  ch.  lx.),  whilst  Strahl- 
enberg  tells  us  that  the  Tartars  call  all  great  residences  of  princes  by 
this  name  (Amst.  ed.  1757,  I.  p.  7).  It  may  be  that  Hanchung  itself  was 
so  named  by  the  Tartars.  But  it  is  also  possible  that  we  should  look 
further  down  the  Han  towards  the  frontier  of  Honan,  where  the  chief 
place  is  Hing-ngan.  This  was  in  ancient  days  the  capital  of  the  state  of 
Tsin.  Is  it  possible  that  a  tradition  of  this  was  expressed  in  the  name 
“  White  City  of  Machin  or  Manzi  ”  ?  There  is  a  much  frequented  high¬ 
way  from  Singanfu  to  Hing-ngan,  and  there  is  a  plain  there  on  the  south 
side  of  the  Han,  estimated  at  about  20  miles  in  length. 

Lastly,  some  30  miles  below  Hing-ngan,  and  on  the  immediate 
boundary  between  Shensi  and  Hupe  (which  might  fairly  be  called  confine 
dou  Mangi)  stands  the  district  city  of  Peho  (“  White  River  ”)  the  position 
of  which  must  have  been  very  important  when  the  Mongols  were  medi¬ 
tating  the  invasion  of  the  latter  province.  Here  I  leave  the  question 
with  the  remark  that  the  most  satisfactory  solution  would  be  the  identi¬ 
fication  of  Hanchung  with  the  White  City. 

Note  2. — Polo’s  journey  now  continues  through  the  lofty  moun¬ 
tainous  region  in  the  north  of  Ssechuen,  whether  from  the  direction  of 
Hing-ngan  as  just  suggested,  or  from  that  of  Hanchung  through  Pao- 
ningfu.  Martini  notes  the  mountains  above  the  latter  town  as  abounding 
in  musk-deer. 


Concerning  the  Province  and  City  of  Sindafu. 

When  you  have  travelled  those  20  days  westward  through 
the  mountains,  as  I  have  told  you,  then  you  arrive  at  a 
plain  belonging  to  a  province  called  Sindafu,  which  still  is 
on  the  confines  of  Manzi,  and  the  capital  city  of  which 
is  (also)  called  Sindafu.  This  city  was  in  former  days 
a  rich  and  noble  one,  and  the  Kings  who  reigned  there 
were  very  great  and  wealthy.  It  is  a  good  twenty  miles  in 
compass,  but  it  is  divided  in  the  way  that  I  shall  tell  you. 

You  see  the  King  of  this  Province,  in  the  days  of  old, 
when  he  found  himself  drawing  near  to  death,  leaving  three 



sons  behind  him,  commanded  that  the  city  should  be 
divided  into  three  parts,  and  that  each  of  his  three  sons 
should  have  one.  So  each  of  these  three  parts  is  separately 
walled  about,  though  all  three  are  surrounded  by  the  com¬ 
mon  wall  of  the  city.  Each  of  the  three  sons  was  King, 
having  his  own  part  of  the  city,  and  his  own  share  of 
the  kingdom,  and  each  of  them  in  fact  was  a  great  and 
wealthy  King.  But  the  Great  Kaan  conquered  the  king¬ 
dom  of  these  three  Kings,  and  stripped  them  of  their 

Through  the  midst  of  this  great  city  runs  a  large  river, 
in  which  they  catch  a  great  quantity  of  fish.  It  is  a  good 
half  mile  wide,  and  very  deep  withal,  and  so  long  that  it 
reaches  all  the  way  to  the  Ocean  Sea,— a  very  long  way, 
equal  to  80  or  100  days’  journey.  And  the  name  of  the 
River  is  Kian-suy.  The  multitude  of  vessels  that  navigate 
this  river  is  so  vast,  that  no  one  who  should  read  or  hear  the 
tale  would  believe  it.  The  quantities  of  merchandize  also 
which  merchants  carry  up  and  down  this  river  are  past 
all  belief.  In  fact,  it  is  so  big,  that  it  seems  to  be  a  Sea 
rather  than  a  River ! 2 

Let  us  now  speak  of  a  great  Bridge  which  crosses  this 
River  within  the  city.  This  bridge  is  of  stone ;  it  is  seven 
paces  in  width  and  half  a  mile  in  length  (the  river  being 
that  much  in  width  as  I  told  you) ;  and  all  along  its  length 
on  either  side  there  are  columns  of  marble  to  bear  the  roof, 
for  the  bridge  is  roofed  over  from  end  to  end  with  timber, 
and  that  all  richly  painted.  And  on  this  bridge  there  are 
houses  in  which  a  great  deal  of  trade  and  industry  is  carried 
on.  But  these  houses  are  all  of  wood  merely,  and  they  are 
put  up  in  the  morning  and  taken  down  in  the  evening. 
Also  there  stands  upon  the  bridge  the  Great  Kaan’s  Co- 
mercque ,  that  is  to  say,  his  custom-house,  where  his  toll  and 
tax  are  levied. j  And  I  can  tell  you  that  the  dues  taken  on 
this  bridge  bring  to  the  Lord  a  thousand  pieces  of  fine 
gold  every  day  and  more.  The  people  are  all  Idolaters.4 



Book  II. 

When  you  leave  this  city  you  travel  for  five  days  across 
a  country  of  plains  and  valleys,  finding  plenty  of  villages 
and  hamlets,  and  the  people  of  which  live  by  husbandry. 
There  are  numbers  of  wild  beasts,  lions,  and  bears,  and 
such  like. 

I  should  have  mentioned  that  the  people  of  Sindu  itself 
live  by  manufactures,  for  they  make  fine  sendals  and  other 

After  travelling  those  five  days’  march,  you  reach  a 
province  called  Tebet,  which  has  been  sadly  laid  waste ;  we 
will  now  say  something  of  it. 

Note  1. — We  are  on  firm  ground  again,  for  Sindafu  is  certainly 
Chingtufu,  the  capital  of  Ssechuen.  Here  again  Pauthier’s  text  calls 
the  province  Sardansu  and  the  city  Syndifu ,  and  that  editor  tries  to  find 
reason  in  the  former  name.  But  I  doubt  not  it  is  a  mere  clerical  error. 
No  such  distinction  exists  in  the  G.  T.  or  in  Ramusio  ;  whilst  the  Crusca 
puts  Sindafa  for  the  province,  and  Sardafu  for  the  city  !  Probably  the 
name  used  by  Polo  was  Sindu-fu ,  as  we  find  Sindu  in  the  G.  T.  near  the 
end  of  the  chapter.  But  the  same  city  is,  I  observe,  called  Thindafu 
by  one  of  the  Nepalese  embassies,  whose  itineraries  Mr.  Hodgson  has 
given  in  the  /  A.  S.  3.  XXV.  488. 

The  modern  French  missions  have  a  bishop  in  Chingtufu ;  and  MM. 
Hue  and  Gabet  were  detained  there  a  fortnight.  But  Hue’s  account  is 
singularly  vague,  as  it  always  is  found  to  be  when  geographical  light  is 
what  we  look  for.  He  merely  tells  us  of  its  position  in  a  rich  and  irri¬ 
gated  plain,  of  its  fine  paved  streets  exceptionally  clean,  and  of  its 
handsome  shops  and  buildings.  Mr.  Cooper  was  at  Chingtufu  in  1868, 
on  his  attempt  to  penetrate  to  India,  and  gives  a  similar  account,  but 
not  more  detail.  The  city  has  still  more  recently  been  visited  by  Mr. 
A.  Wylie,  who  has  kindly  favoured  me  with  the  following  note  : — “  My 
notice  all  goes  to  corroborate  Marco  Polo.  The  covered  bridge  with 

the  stalls  is  still  there,  the  only  difference 
being  the  absence  of  the  toll-house.  I  did 
not  see  any  traces  of  a  tripartite  division 
of  the  city,  nor  did  I  make  any  inquiries  on 
the  subject  during  the  3  or  4  days  I  spent 
there,  as  it  was  not  an  object  with  me  at 
the  time  to  verify  Polo’s  account.  The  city 
is  indeed  divided,  but  the  division  dates  more 

b.  The  fide  City.  than  a  thousand  years  back.  It  is  something 

c.  The  imperial  City.  like  this,  I  should  say  [see  diagram]. 



“  The  Imperial  City  ( Hwang  Ching ),  was  the  residence  of  the  monarch 
Lew  Pe  during  the  short  period  of  the  ‘Three  Kingdoms’  (3rd  century), 
and  some  relics  of  the  ancient  edifice  still  remain.  I  was  much  inte¬ 
rested  in  looking  over  it.  It  is  now  occupied  by  the  Public  Examination 
Hall  and  its  dependencies.” 

I  suspect  Marco’s  story  of  the  Three  Kings  arose  from  a  misunder¬ 
standing  about  this  historical  period  of  the  San-Kwe ,  or  Three  King¬ 
doms  (a.d.  222-264).  And  his  tripartite  division  of  the  city  may  have 
been  merely  that  which  we  see  to  exist  at  present. 

Note  2. — Ramusio  is  more  particular :  “  Through  the  city  flow  many 
great  rivers,  which  come  down  from  distant  mountains,  and  run  winding 
about  through  many  parts  of  the  city.  These  rivers  vary  in  width  from 
half  a  mile  to  200  paces,  and  are  very  deep.  Across  them  are  built 
many  bridges  of  stone,”  &c.  “And  after  passing  the  city  these  rivers 
unite  and  form  one  immense  river  called  Kian,”  &c.  Here  we  have 
the  Great  River  or  Kiang,  Kian  (Quian)  as  in  Ramusio,  or  Kiang- 
shui,  “Waters  of  the  Kiang”  as  in  the  text.  So  Pauthier  explains. 
Though  our  Geographies  give  the  specific  names  of  Wen  and  Min  to 
the  great  branch  which  flows  by  Chingtufu,  and  treat  the  Tibetan  branch, 
which  flows  through  northern  Yunan  under  the  name  of  Kinsha  or 
“  Goldensand,”  as  the  main  river,  the  Chinese  seem  always  to  have 
regarded  the  former  as  the  true  Kiang ;  as  may  be  seen  in  Ritter  (IV. 
650)  and  Martini  (p.  12).  The  latter  describes  the  city  as  quite  insu¬ 
lated  by  the  ramifications  of  the  river,  from  which  channels  and  canals 
pass  all  about  it,  adorned  with  many  quays  and  bridges  of  stone. 

Note  3. — (G.  T.)  “  Hi  est  le  couiereque  dou  Grant  Sire,  ce  est  cilz 
qe  recevent  la  rente  dou  Seignor.”  Pauthier  has  couvert.  Both  are,  I 
doubt  not,  misreadings  or  misunderstandings  of  comereque  or  comerc. 
This  word,  founded  on  the  Latin  commercium,  was  widely  spread  over 
the  East  with  the  meaning  of  customs-duty  or  custom-house.  In  Low 
Greek  it  appeared  as  Kop.p,£pKiov  and  Kov/xepKLov,  now  Kop^lpKi',  in  Arabic 
and  Turkish  as  oj-cj  and  ( kumruk  and  gyumruk,  still  in  use) ;  in 

Italian  dialects  as  comerchio ,  comerho ,  comergio ,  &c. 

Note  4. — The  word  in  Pauthier’s  text  which  I  have  rendered  pieces 
of  gold  is  pois ,  probably  equivalent  to  saggi  or  miskals.  The  G.  T.  has 
“  is  well  worth  1000  bezants  of  gold,”  no  doubt  meaning  daily ,  though 
not  saying  so.  Ramusio  has  “  100  bezants  daily.”  The  term  Bezant 
may  be  taken  as  synonymous  with  Dinar ,  and  the  statement  in  the  text 
would  make  the  daily  receipt  of  custom  upwards  of  500/.,  that  in  Ra¬ 
musio  upwards  of  50/.  only. 

Note  5. — I  have  recast  this  passage  which  has  got  muddled,  pro¬ 
bably  in  the  original  dictation,  for  it  runs  in  the  G.  Text :  “  Et  de  ceste 
cite  se  part  l’en  et  chevauche  cinq  jornee  por  plain  et  por  valee,  et  treve- 
l’en  castiaus  et  casaus  assez.  Les  homes  vivent  dou  profit  qu’il  traient 

2  6 


Book  II. 

de  la  terre.  II  hi  a  bestes  sauvajes  assez,  lions  et  orses  et  autres  bestes. 
II  vivent  d'ars :  car  it  hi  se  laborent  des  biaus  sendal  et  autres  dr  as.  II 
sunt  de  Sindu  meismel  I  take  it  that  in  speaking  of  Chingtufu,  Marco 
has  forgotten  to  fill  up  his  usual  formula  as  to  the  occupation  of  the 
inhabitants ;  he  is  reminded  of  this  when  he  speaks  of  the  occupation  of 
the  peasantry  on  the  way  to  Tibet,  and  reverts  to  the  citizens  in  the 
words  which  I  have  quoted  in  Italics.  We  see  here  Sindu  applied  to 
the  city,  suggesting  Sindu-fu  for  the  reading  at  the  beginning  of  the 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Tebet. 

After  those  five  days’  march  that  I  spoke  of,  you  enter  a 
province  which  has  been  sorely  ravaged ;  and  this  was  done 
in  the  wars  of  Mongu  Kaan.  There  are  indeed  towns  and 
villages  and  hamlets,  but  all  harried  and  destroyed.1 

In  this  region  you  find  quantities  of  canes,  full  three 
palms  in  girth  and  fifteen  paces  in  length,  with  some  three 
palms  interval  between  the  joints.  And  let  me  tell  you 
that  merchants  and  other  travellers  through  that  country  are 
wont  at  nightfall  to  gather  these  canes  and  make  fires  of 
them ;  for  as  they  burn  they  make  such  loud  reports  that 
the  lions  and  bears  and  other  wild  beasts  are  greatly  fright¬ 
ened,  and  make  off  as  fast  as  possible ;  in  fact  nothing  will 
induce  them  to  come  nigh  a  fire  of  that  sort.  So  you  see 
the  travellers  make  those  fires  to  protect  themselves  and 
their  cattle  from  the  wild  beasts  which  have  so  greatly 
multiplied  since  the  devastation  of  the  country.  And  ’tis 
this  great  multiplication  of  the  wild  beasts  that  prevents 
the  country  from  being  reoccupied.  In  fact  but  for  the 
help  of  these  canes,  which  make  such  a  noise  in  burning 
that  the  beasts  are  terrified  and  kept  at  a  distance,  no  one 
would  be  able  even  to  travel  through  the  land. 

I  will  tell  you  how  it  is  that  the  canes  make  such  a 
noise.  The  people  cut  the  green  canes,  of  which  there  are 
vast  numbers,  and  set  fire  to  a  heap  of  them  at  once.  After 

Chap.  XLV. 



they  have  been  awhile  burning  they  burst  asunder,  and 
this  makes  such  a  loud  report  that  you  might  hear  it 
ten  miles  off.  In  fact  any  one  unused  to  this  noise,  who 
should  hear  it  unexpectedly,  might  easily  go  into  a  swoon 
or  die  of  fright.  But  those  who  are  used  to  it  care  nothing 
about  it.  Hence  those  who  are  not  used  to  it  stuff  their 
ears  well  with  cotton,  and  wrap  up  their  heads  and  faces 
with  all  the  clothes  they  can  muster ;  and  so  they  get  along 
until  they  have  become  used  to  the  sound.  ’Tis  just  the 
same  with  horses.  Those  which  are  unused  to  these  noises 
are  so  alarmed  by  them  that  they  break  away  from  their 
halters  and  heel-ropes,  and  many  a  man  has  lost  his  beasts 
in  this  way.  So  those  who  would  avoid  losing  their  horses 
take  care  to  tie  all  four  legs  and  peg  the  ropes  down 
strongly,  and  to  wrap  the  heads  and  eyes  and  ears  of  the 
animals  closely,  and  so  they  save  them.  But  horses  also, 
when  they  have  heard  the  noise  several  times,  cease  to  mind 
it.  I  tell  you  the  truth,  however,  when  I  say  that  the  first 
time  you  hear  it  nothing  can  be  more  alarming.  And  yet, 
in  spite  of  all,  the  lions  and  bears  and  other  wild  beasts 
will  sometimes  come  and  do  great  mischief ;  for  their  num¬ 
bers  are  great  in  those  tracts.2 

You  ride  for  20  days  without  finding  any  inhabited 
spot,  so  that  travellers  are  obliged  to  carry  all  their  pro¬ 
visions  with  them,  and  are  constantly  falling  in  with  those 
wild  beasts  which  are  so  numerous  and  so  dangerous.  After 
that  you  come  at  length  to  a  tract  where  there  are  towns 
and  villages  in  considerable  numbers.3  The  people  of  those 
towns  have  a  strange  custom  in  regard  to  marriage  which 
I  will  now  relate. 

No  man  of  that  country  would  on  any  consideration 
take  to  wife  a  girl  who  was  a  maid  ;  for  they  say  a  wife  is 
nothing  worth  unless  she  has  been  used  to  consort  with 
men.  And  their  custom  is  this,  that  when  travellers  come 
that  way,  the  old  women  of  the  place  get  ready,  and  take 
their  unmarried  daughters  or  other  girls  related  to  them, 

VOL.  11.  d 



Book  II. 

and  go  to  the  strangers  who  are  passing,  and  make  over  the 
young  women  to  whomsoever  will  accept  them ;  and  the 
travellers  take  them  accordingly  and  do  their  pleasure ; 
after  which  the  girls  are  restored  to  the  old  women  who 
brought  them,  for  they  are  not  allowed  to  follow  the 
strangers  away  from  their  home.  In  this  manner  people 
travelling  that  way,  when  they  reach  a  village  or  hamlet  or 
other  inhabited  place,  shall  find  perhaps  20  or  30  girls  at 
their  disposal.  And  if  the  travellers  lodge  with  those  people 
they  shall  have  as  many  young  women  as  they  could  wish 
coming  to  court  them !  You  must  know  too  that  the  tra¬ 
veller  is  expected  to  give  the  girl  who  has  been  with  him  a 
ring  or  some  other  trifle,  something  in  fact  that  she  can 
show  as  a  lover’s  token  when  she  comes  to  be  married. 
And  it  is  forMhis  in  truth  and  for  this  alone  that  they 
follow  that  custom  ;  for  every  girl  is  expected  to  obtain  at 
least  20  such  tokens  in  the  way  I  have  described  before  she 
can  be  married.  And  those  who  have  most  tokens,  and  so 
can  show  they  have  been  most  run  after,  are  in  the  highest 
esteem,  and  most  sought  in  marriage,  because  they  say  the 
charms  of  such  an  one  are  greatest.4  But  after  marriage 
these  people  hold  their  wives  very  dear^  and  would  consider 
it  a  great  villainy  for  a  man  to  meddle  with  another’s  wife ; 
and  thus  though  the  wives  have  before  marriage  acted  as 
you  have  heard,  they  are  kept  with  great  care  from  light 
conduct  afterwards. 

Now  I  have  related  to  you  this  marriage  custom  as 
a  good  story  to  tell,  and  to  show  what  a  fine  country  that 
is  for  young  fellows  to  go  to ! 

The  people  are  Idolaters  and  an  evil  generation,  holding 
it  no  sin  to  rob  and  maltreat ;  in  fact  they  are  the  greatest 
brigands  on  earth.  They  live  by  the  chase,  as  well  as  on 
their  cattle  and  the  fruits  of  the  earth. 

I  should  tell  you  also  that  in  this  country  there  are 
many  of  the  animals  that  produce  musk,  which  are  called 
in  the  Tartar  language  Gudderi.  Those  rascals  have  great 

Chap.  XLV. 



numbers  of  large  and  fine  dogs,  which  are  of  great  service 
in  catching  the  musk-beasts,  and  so  they  procure  great 
abundance  of  musk.  They  have  none  of  the  Great  Kaan’s 
paper  money,  but  use  salt  instead  of  money.  They  are 
very  poorly  clad,  for  their  clothes  are  only  of  the  skins  of 
beasts,  and  of  canvass,  and  of  buckram.5  They  have  a  lan¬ 
guage  of  their  own,  and  they  are  called  Tebet.  And  this 
country  of  Tebet  forms  a  very  great  province,  of  which 
I  will  give  you  a  brief  account. 

Note  1.- — The  present  boundary  between  China  Proper  and  Tibet  is 
to  the  west  of  Bathang  and  the  Kinsha  Kiang,  but  till  the  beginning  of 
last  century  it  lay  much  further  east,  near  Tathsianlu ,  or,  as  the  Tibetans 
appear  to  call  it,  Tachindo ,  which  a  Chinese  Itinerary  given  by  Ritter 
makes  to  be  920  li  or  11  marches  from  Chingtufu.  Hue  was  twelve 
days  on  the  road,  and  Hodgson’s  Nepalese  embassy  ten.  In  Marco’s 
time  we  must  suppose  that  Tibet  was  considered  to  extend  several 
marches  further  east  still,  or  to  the  verge  of  the  plains.  Mr.  Cooper’s 
Journal  describes  the  country  entered  on  the  $th  march  from  Chingtu 
as  very  mountainous,  many  of  the  neighbouring  peaks  being  capped 
witKsnow.  And  he  describes  the  people  as  speaking  a  language  mixt 
with  Tibetan  for  some  distance  east  of  Tathsianlu.  (Ritter,  IV.  190 
seqq. ;  J.  A.  S.  B.  XXV.  494-5.) 

Tibet  was  always  reckoned  as  a  part  of  the  Empire  of  the  Mongol 
Kaans  in  the  period  of  their  greatness,  but  it  is  not  very  clear  how  it 
came  under  subjection  to  them.  No  conquest  of  Tibet  by  their  armies 
appears  to  be  related  by  either  the  Mahomedan  or  the  Chinese  historians. 
Yet  it  is  alluded  to  by  Plano  Carpini,  who  ascribes  the  achievement  to 
an  unnamed  son  of  Chinghiz,  and  narrated  by  Sanang  Setzen,  who  says 
that  the  King  of  Tibet  submitted  without  fighting  when  Chinghiz  in¬ 
vaded  his  country  in  the  year  of  the  Panther  (1206).  During  the  reign 
of  Mangu  Kaan,  indeed,  Uriangkadai,  an  eminent  Mongol  general,  who 
had  accompanied  Prince  Kublai  in  1253  against  Yunnan,  did  in  the 
following  year  direct  his  arms  against  the  Tibetans.  But  this  campaign, 
that  no  doubt  to  which  the  text  alludes  as  “  the  wars  of  Mangu  Kaan,” 
appears  to  have  occupied  only  a  part  of  one  season,  and  was  certainly 
confined  to  the  parts  of  Tibet  on  the  frontiers  of  Yunnan  and  Ssechuen. 
Koeppen  seems  to  consider  it  certain  that  there  was  no  actual  conquest 
of  Tibet,  and  that  Kublai  extended  his  authority  over  it  only  by  diplo¬ 
macy  and  the  politic  handling  of  the  spiritual  potentates  who  had  for 
several  generations  in  Tibet  been  the  real  rulers  of  the  country.  It  is 
certain  that  Chinese  history  attributes  the  organization  of  civil  adminis¬ 
tration  in  Tibet  to  Kublai.  Mati  Dhwaja,  a  young  and  able  member  of 

D  2 



Book  II. 

the  family  which  held  the  hereditary  primacy  of  the  Satya  convent,  and 
occupied  the  most  influential  position  in  Tibet,  was  formally  recognized 
by  the  Emperor  as  the  head  of  the  Lamaite  Church  and  as  the  tributary 
Ruler  of  Tibet.  He  is  the  same  person  that  we  have  already  (vol.  i. 
p.  28)  mentioned  as  the  Passepa  or  Baspa  Lama,  the  inventor  of 
Kublai’s  official  alphabet.  ( Carpini ,  658,  709;  D'Avezac,  564;  .S'. 
Setzen ,  89;  Ld  Ohs  son,  II.  317;  Koeppen ,  II.  96;  Amyot,  XIV.  128.) 

With  the  caution  that  Marco’s  Travels  in  Tibet  were  limited  to  the 
same  mountainous  country  on  the  frontier  of  Ssechuen,  we  defer  further 
geographical  comment  till  he  brings  us  to  Yunnan. 

Note  2. — I  suppose  Marco  to  exaggerate  a  little  about  the  bamboos, 
but  before  gunpowder  became  familiar,  no  sharp  explosive  sounds  of 
this  kind  were  known  to  ordinary  experience,  and  exaggeration  was 
natural.  I  have  been  close  to  a  bamboo  jungle  on  fire.  There  was  a 
great  deal  of  noise  comparable  to  musketry ;  but  the  bamboos  were 
not  of  the  large  kind  here  spoken  of.  The  Hon.  Robert  Lindsay  de¬ 
scribing  his  elephant-catching  in  Silhet,  says  :  “  At  night  each  man 
lights  a  fire  at  his  post,  and  furnishes  himself  with  a  dozen  joints  of  the 
large  bamboo,  one  of  which  he  occasionally  throws  into  the  fire,  and  the 
air  it  contains  being  rarefied  by  the  heat,  it  explodes  with  a  report  as 
loud  as  a  musket.”  (Lives  of  the  Lindsays,  III.  191.) 

Bamboos  of  three  palms  in  girth  (28  to  30  inches)  exist,  but  are  not 
ordinary,  I  should  suppose,  even  in  Ssechuen.  In  1855  I  took  some 
pains  to  procure  in  Pegu  a  specimen  of  the  largest  attainable  bamboo. 
It  was  ten  inches  in  diameter. 

Note  3. — M.  Gabriel  Durand,  a  missionary  priest,  thus  describes 
his  journey  in  1861  to  Kiangka,  via  Tathsianlu,  approximately  the  line 
of  country  which  we  suppose  Polo  to  be  traversing :  “  Every  day  we 
made  a  journey  of  nine  or  ten  leagues,  and  halted  for  the  night  in  a 
Kung-kuan.  These  are  posts  dotted  at  intervals  of  about  ten  leagues 
along  the  road  to  Hlassa,  and  usually  guarded  by  three  soldiers,  though 
the  more  important  posts  have  twenty.  With  the  exception  of  some 
Tibetan  houses,  few  and  far  between,  these  are  the  only  habitations  to 
be  seen  on  this  silent  and  deserted  road.  .  .  .  Lytang  was  the  first  col¬ 
lection  of  houses  that  we  had  seen  in  ten  days’  march.”  (Ann.  de  la 
Propag.  de  la  Foi,  XXXV.  352  seqq.) 

Note  4. — Such  practices  are  ascribed  to  many  nations.  Martini 
quotes  something  similar  from  a  Chinese  author  about  tribes  in  Yunnan. 
Even  of  the  Mongols  themselves  and  kindred  races,  Pallas  asserts  that 
the  young  women  regard  a  number  of  intrigues  rather  as  a  credit  and 
recommendation  than  otherwise.  Japanese  ideas  seem  to  be  not  very 
different.  In  old  times  HUlian  gives  much  the  same  account  of  the 
Lydian  women.  Herodotus’s  Gindanes  of  Lybia  afford  a  perfect  parallel, 
“  whose  women  wear  on  their  legs  anklets  of  leather.  Each  lover  that 
a  woman  has  gives  her  one ;  and  she  who  can  show  most  is  the  best 

Chap.  XLVI. 



esteemed,  as  she  appears  to  have  been  loved  by  the  greatest  number  of 
men.”  (Martini,  142  ;  Pall.  Samml.  II.  235  ;  PEL  Var.  Hist.  III.  1 ; 
Pawl.  Herod.  Bk.  IV.  ch.  clxxvi.) 

Mr.  Cooper’s  Journal,  when  on  the  banks  of  the  Kinsha  Kiang,  west 
of  Bathang,  affords  a  startling  illustration  of  the  persistence  of  manners 
in  this  region:  “At  i2h.  30m.  we  arrived  at  a  road-side  house, 
near  which  was  a  grove  of  walnut-trees ;  here  we  alighted,  when  to  my 
surprise  I  was  surrounded  by  a  group  of  young  girls  and  two  elderly 
women,  who  invited  me  to  partake  of  a  repast  spread  under  the  trees. 

. I  thought  I  had  stumbled  on  a  pic-nic  party,  of  which  the 

Tibetans  are  so  fond.  Having  finished,  I  lighted  my  pipe  and  threw 
myself  on  the  grass  in  a  state  of  castle-building.  I  had  not  lain  thus 
many  seconds  when  the  maidens  brought  a  young  girl  about  15  years 
old,  tall  and  very  fair,  placed  her  on  th  grasse  beside  me,  and  forming  a 
ring  round  us,  commenced  to  sing  and  dance.  The  little  maid  beside 
me  however  was  bathed  in  tears.  All  this,  I  must  confess,  a  little 
puzzled  me,  when  Philip  (the  Chinese  servant)  with  a  long  face  came  to 
my  aid,  saying,  ‘  Well,  Sir,  this  is  a  bad  business,  .  .  .  they  are  marrying 
you.’  Good  Heavens !  how  startled  I  was.”  For  the  honourable  con¬ 
clusion  of  this  Anglo-Tibetan  idyll  I  must  refer  to  Mr.  Cooper’s  Journal 
when  published. 

Note  5. — All  that  we  have  here  is  clearly  meant  to  apply  only  to 
the  rude  people  towards  the  Chinese  frontier.  The  passage  about  the 
musk  animal,  both  in  Pauthier  and  in  the  G.  T.  ascribes  the  word  Gud- 
deri  to  the  language  of  that  people,  i.e.  of  the  Tibetans.  The  Geog. 
Latin,  however,  has  “  lingua  Tartarica and  this  is  the  fact.  Klaproth 
informs  us  that  Guderi  is  the  Mongol  word.  And  it  will  be  found 
(Kuderi)  in  Kovalevski’s  Dictionary,  No.  2594. 


Further  Discourse  concerning  Tebet. 

This  province,  called  Tebet,  is  of  very  great  extent.  The 
people,  as  I  have  told  you,  have  a  language  of  their  own, 
and  they  are  Idolaters,  and  they  border  on  Manzi  and  sun¬ 
dry  other  regions.  Moreover,  they  are  very  great  thieves. 

The  country  is,  in  fact,  so  great  that  it  embraces  eight 
kingdoms,  and  a  vast  number  of  cities  and  villages.1  It 



Book  II. 

contains  in  several  quarters  rivers  and  lakes,  in  which  gold- 
dust  is  found  in  great  abundance.2  Cinnamon  also  grows 
there  in  great  plenty.  Coral  is  in  great  demand  in  this 
country  and  fetches  a  high  price,  for  they  delight  to  hang 
it  round  the  necks  of  their  women  and  of  their  idols.5 
They  have  also  in  this  country  plenty  of  fine  woollens  and 
other  stuffs,  and  many  kinds  of  spices  are  produced  there 
which  are  never  seen  in  our  country. 

Among  this  people,  too,  you  find  the  best  enchanters 
and  astrologers  that  exist  in  all  that  quarter  of  the  world ; 
they  perform  such  extraordinary  marvels  and  sorceries  by 
diabolic  art,  that  it  astounds  one  to  see  or  even  hear  of 
them.  So  I  will  relate  none  of  them  in  this  book  of  ours; 
people  would  be  amazed  if  they  heard  them,  but  it  would 
serve  no  good  purpose.4 

These  people  of  Tebet  are  an  ill-conditioned  race. 
They  have  mastiff  dogs  as  big  as  donkeys,  which  are  capital 
at  seizing  wild  beasts  [and  in  particular  the  wild  oxen  which 
are  called  Beyamini ,  very  great  and  fierce  animals].  They 
have  also  sundry  other  kinds  of  sporting  dogs,  and  excel¬ 
lent  lanner  falcons  [and  sakers],  swift  in  flight  and  well- 
trained,  which  are  got  in  the  mountains  of  the  country.5 

Now  I  have  told  you  in  brief  all  that  is  to  be  said 
about  Tebet,  and  so  we  will  leave  it,  and  tell  you  about 
another  province  that  is  called  Caindu. 

As  regards  Tebet,  however,  you  should  understand  that 
it  is  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  So,  likewise,  all  the  other 
kingdoms,  regions,  and  provinces  which  are  described  in 
this  book  are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan  ;  nay,  even  those 
other  kingdoms,  regions,  and  provinces  of  which  I  had 
occasion  to  speak  at  the  beginning  of  the  book  as  belong¬ 
ing  to  the  son  of  Argon,  the  Lord  of  the  Levant,  are  also 
subject  to  the  Emperor ;  for  the  former  holds  his  dominion 
of  the  Kaan,  and  is  his  liegeman  and  kinsman  of  the  blood 
Imperial.  So  you  must  know  that  from  this  province  for¬ 
ward  all  the  provinces  mentioned  in  our  book  are  subject 

Chap.  XLVI. 



to  the  Great  Kaan ;  and  even  if  this  be  not  specially  men¬ 
tioned,  you  must  understand  that  it  is  so. 

Now  let  us  have  done  with  this  matter,  and  I  will  tell 
you  about  the  Province  of  Caindu. 

Note  1. — Here  Marco  at  least  shows  that  he  knew  Tibet  to  be 
much  more  extensive  than  the  small  part  of  it  that  he  had  seen.  But 
beyond  this  his  information  amounts  to  little. 

Note  2. — “  Or  de  paliolle ,”  “  Oro  di  pagliuola  ”  ( pagliuola ,  “  a 
spangle  ”),  must  have  been  the  technical  phrase  for  what  we  call  gold- 
dust,  and  the  French  now  call  or  en  paillettes ,  a  phrase  used  by  a  French 
missionary  in  speaking  of  this  very  region  (An.  de  la  Foi ,  XXXVII.  427). 
Yet  the  only  example  of  this  use  of  the  word  cited  in  the  Voc.  Ital. 
Universale  is  from  this  passage  of  the  Crusca  MS.  ;  and  Pipino  seems 
not  to  have  understood  it,  translating  “  aurum  quod  dicitur  Deplaglola.” 
Pegolotti  uses  argento  in  pagliuola  (p.  219).  A  Barcelona  tariff  of  1271 
sets  so  much  on  every  mark  of  Fallola.  And  the  old  Portuguese  navi¬ 
gators  seem  always  to  have  used  the  same  expression  for  the  gold-dust 
of  Africa,  ouro  de pajola.  (See  Major's  Prince  Henry,  pp.  in,  112,  116; 
Capmany ,  Memorias,  & c.,  II.  App.  p.  73.) 

Note  3. — The  cinnamon  must  have  been  the  coarser  cassia  pro¬ 
duced  in  the  lower  parts  of  this  region  (see  note  to  next  chapter.).  We 
have  already  (Book  I.  ch.  xxxi.)  quoted  Tavernier’s  testimony  to  the 
rage  for  coral  among  the  Tibetans  and  kindred  peoples.  Mr.  Cooper 
notices  the  eager  demand  for  coral  at  Bathang. 

Note  4. — See  supra ,  Book  I.  chap.  lxi.  note  9. 

Note  5. — The  big  Tibetan  mastiffs  are  now  well  known.  Mr. 
Cooper,  at  Tathsianlu,  notes  that  the  people  of  Tibetan  race  “keep  very 
large  dogs,  as  large  as  Newfoundlands.”  And  he  mentions  a  pack  of 
dogs  of  another  breed,  tan  and  black,  “  fine  animals  of  the  size  of 
setters.”  The  missionary  M.  Durand  also,  in  a  letter  from  the  region 
in  question,  says,  speaking  of  a  large  leopard  :  “  Our  brave  watch-dogs 
had  several  times  beaten  him  off  gallantly,  and  one  of  them  had  even  in 
single  combat  with  him  received  a  blow  of  the  paw  which  had  laid  his 
skull  open.”  (An.  de  la  Foi,  XXXVII.  314.) 

The  “wild  oxen  called  Beyamini ”  are  probably  some  such  species 
as  the  Gaur.  Beyamini  I  suspect  to  be  no  Oriental  word,  but  to  stand 
for  Buemini,  i.e.  Bohemian,  a  name  which  may  have  been  given  by  the 
Venetians  to  either  the  bison  or  urus.  Polo’s  contemporary,  Brunetto 
Latini,  seems  to  speak  of  one  of  these  as  still  existing  in  his  day  in 
Germany :  “  Autre  buef  naissent  en  Alemaigne  qui  out  grans  cors,  et 
sont  bons  por  sommier  et  por  vin  porter.”  (Paris  ed.,  p.  228  ;  see  also 
Lubbock ,  296-7.) 



Book  II. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Caindu. 

Caindu  is  a  province  lying  towards  the  west,1  and  there  is 
only  one  king  in  it.  [The  chief  city  is  also  called  Caindu, 
and  stands  at  the  upper  end  of  the  province.]  The  people 
are  Idolaters,  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  they  have 
plenty  of  towns  and  villages.  There  is  a  lake  in  the  country 
in  which  are  found  pearls  [which  are  white  but  not  round] . 
But  the  Great  Kaan  will  not  allow  them  to  be  fished,  for 
if  people  were  to  take  as  many  as  they  could  find  there, 
the  supply  would  be  so  vast  that  pearls  would  lose  their 
value,  and  come  to  be  worth  nothing.  Only  when  it  is 
his  pleasure  they  take  from  the  lake  so  many  as  he  may 
desire ;  but  any  one  attempting  to  take  them  on  his  own 
account  would  be  incontinently  put  to  death. 

There  is  also  a  mountain  in  this  country  wherein  they 
find  a  kind  of  stone  called  turquoise,  in  great  abundance ; 
and  it  is  a  very  beautiful  stone.  These  also  the  Emperor 
does  not  allow  to  be  extracted  without  his  special  order.2 

I  must  tell  you  of  a  custom  that  they  have  in  this 
country  regarding  their  women.  No  man  considers  him¬ 
self  wronged  if  a  foreigner,  or  any  other  man,  dishonour 
his  wife,  or  daughter,  or  sister,  or  any  woman  of  his  family, 
but  on  the  contrary  he  deems  such  intercourse  a  piece  of 
good  fortune.  And  they  say  that  it  brings  the  favour  of 
their  gods  and  idols,  and  great  increase  of  temporal 
prosperity.  For  this  reason  they  bestow  their  wives  on 
foreigners  and  other  people  as  I  will  tell  you. 

When  they  fall  in  with  any  stranger  in  want  of  a 
lodging  they  are  all  eager  to  take  him  in.  And  as  soon  as 
he  has  taken  up  his  quarters  the  master  of  the  house  goes 
forth,  telling  him  to  consider  everything  at  his  disposal, 
and  after  saying  so  he  proceeds  to  his  vineyards  or  his 
fields,  and  comes  back  no  more  till  the  stranger  has  de- 

Chap.  XLV1I. 



parted.  The  latter  abides  in  the  caitifF s  house,  be  it  three 
days  or  be  it  four,  enjoying  himself  with  the  fellow’s  wife 
or  daughter  or  sister,  or  whatsoever  woman  of  the  family 
it  best  likes  him ;  and  as  long  as  he  abides  there  he  leaves 
his  hat  or  some  other  token  hanging  at  the  door,  to  let 
the  master  of  the  house  know  that  he  is  still  there.  As 
long  as  the  wretched  fellow  sees  that  token,  he  must  not  go 
in.  And  such  is  the  custom  over  all  that  province.3 

The  money  matters  of  the  people  are  conducted  in  this 
way.  They  have  gold  in  rods  which  they  weigh,  and  they 
reckon  its  value  by  its  weight  in  saggi ,  but  they  have  no 
coined  money.  Their  small  change  again  is  made  in  this 
way.  They  have  salt  which  they  boil  and  set  in  a  mould 
[flat  below  and  round  above],4  and  every  piece  from  the 
mould  weighs  about  half  a  pound.  Now,  80  moulds  of 
this  salt  are  worth  one  saggio  of  fine  gold,  which  is  a 
weight  so  called.  So  this  salt  serves  them  for  small 

The  musk  animals  are  very  abundant  in  that  country, 
and  thus  of  musk  also  they  have  great  store.  They  have 
likewise  plenty  of  fish  which  they  catch  in  the  lake  in 
which  the  pearls  are  produced.  Wild  animals,  such  as  lions, 
bears,  wolves,  stags,  bucks  and  roes,  exist  in  great  numbers  ; 
and  there  are  also  vast  quantities  of  fowl  of  every  kind. 
Wine  of  the  vine  they  have  none,  but  they  make  a  wine 
of  wheat  and  rice  and  sundry  good  spices,  and  very  good 
drink  it  is.  There  grows  also  in  this  country  a  quantity 
of  clove.  The  tree  that  bears  it  is  a  small  one,  with  leaves 
like  laurel  but  longer  and  narrower,  and  with  a  small  white 
flower  like  the  clove.6  They  have  also  ginger  and  cin¬ 
namon  in  great  plenty,  besides  other  spices  which  never 
reach  our  countries,  so  we  need  say  nothing  about  them. 

Now  we  may  leave  this  province,  as  we  have  told  you 
all  about  it.  But  let  me  tell  you  first  of  this  same  country 
of  Caindu  that  you  ride  through  it  [fifteen]  days,  con¬ 
stantly  meeting  with  towns  and  villages,  with  people  of  the 



Book  II. 

same  description  that  I  have  mentioned.  After  riding  those 
[fifteen]  days  you  come  to  a  river  called  Brius,  which  ter¬ 
minates  the  province  of  Caindu.  In  this  river  is  found 
much  gold-dust,  and  there  is  also  much  cinnamon  on  its 
banks.  It  flows  to  the  Ocean  Sea. 

There  is  no  more  to  be  said  about  this  river,  so  I  will 
now  tell  you  about  another  province  called  Carajan,  as  you 
shall  hear  in  what  follows. 

Note  1. — Ramusio’s  version  here  enlarges  :  “  Don’t  suppose  from 
my  saying  towards  the  zvest  that  these  countries  really  lie  in  what  we 
call  the  west ,  but  only  that  we  have  been  travelling  from  regions  in  the 
east-north-east  towards  the  west,  and  hence  we  speak  of  the  countries 
we  come  to  as  lying  towards  the  west.” 

Note  2. — We  have  found  no  mention  elsewhere  of  the  pearls  here 
spoken  of.  But  Chinese  authorities  quoted  by  Ritter  mention  mother-d- 
pearl  as  a  product  of  Lithang  in  this  quarter.  The  same  authorities 
speak  of  turquoises  as  found  in  Djaya  to  the  west  of  Bathang,  also  in 
this  region  (Ritter,  IV.  235-6).  Arnyot  states  that  pearls  are  found  in  a 
certain  river  of  Yunnan.  (See  Trans.  R.  A.  Soc.  II.  91.) 

Note  3. — This  alleged  practice,  like  that  mentioned  in  the  last 
chapter  but  one,  is  ascribed  to  a  variety  of  people  in  different  parts  of 
the  world.  Both,  indeed,  have  a  curious  double  parallel  in  the  story  of 
two  remote  districts  of  the  Himalya  which  was  told  to  Bernier  by  an 
old  Kashmiri  (see  Amst.  ed.  II.  304-5).  Polo  has  told  nearly  the  same 
story  already  of  the  people  of  Kamul  (Book  I.  ch.  xli.).  It  is  related  by 
Strabo  of  the  Massagetae ;  by  Elphinstone  of  the  Hazaras ;  by  Men¬ 
doza  of  the  Ladrone  Islanders ;  by  other  authors  of  the  Nairs  of  Mala¬ 
bar,  and  of  some  of  the  aborigines  of  the  Canary  Islands.  (Caubut,  I. 
209;  Mendoza ,  II.  254;  Muller's  Strabo ,  p.  439;  Major's  Pr.  Henry, 
p.  213.) 

Note  4. — Ramusio  has  here  :  “  as  big  as  a  twopenny  loaf,”  and  adds, 
“  on  the  money  so  made  the  Prince’s  mark  is  printed ;  and  no  one  is 
allowed  to  make  it  except  the  royal  officers.  .  .  .  And  merchants  take 
this  currency  and  go  to  those  tribes  that  dwell  among  the  mountains  of 
those  parts  in  the  wildest  and  most  unfrequented  quarters ;  and  there 
they  get  a  saggio  of  gold  for  60,  or  50,  or  40  pieces  of  this  salt  money, 
in  proportion  as  the  natives  are  more  barbarous  and  more  remote  from 
towns  and  civilized  folk.  For  in  such  positions  they  cannot  dispose  at 
pleasure  of  their  gold  and  other  things,  such  as  musk  and  the  like,  for 
want  of  purchasers ;  and  so  they  give  them  cheap.  .  .  .  And  the  mer- 

Chap.  XLVII. 



chants  travel  also  about  the  mountains  and  districts  of  Tebet,  disposing 
of  this  salt  money  in  like  manner  to  their  own  great  gain.  For  those 
people,  besides  buying  necessaries  from  the  merchants,  want  this  to 
use  in  their  food ;  whilst  in  the  towns  only  broken  fragments  are  used 
in  food,  the  whole  cakes  being  kept  to  use  as  money.”  Lieut.  Bower, 
in  his  account  of  Major  Sladen’s  mission,  says  that  at  Momien  the  salt, 
which  is  a  government  monopoly,  is  “  made  up  in  rolls  of  one  and  two 
viss  ”  (a  Rangoon  viss  is  3  lbs.  5  ozs.  5J  drs.),  “and  stamped”  (p.  120). 

M.  Desgodins,  a  missionary  in  this  part  of  Tibet,  gives  some  curious 
details  of  the  way  in  which  the  civilized  traders  still  prey  upon  the 
simple  hill-folks  of  that  quarter ;  exactly  as  the  Hindu  Banyas  prey  upon 
the  simple  forest-tribes  of  India.  He  states  one  case  in  which  the 
account  for  a  pig  had  with  interest  run  up  to  2127  bushels  of  corn! 
(Ann.  de  la  Foi ,  XXXVI.  320.) 

This  exchange  of  salt  cakes  for  gold  forms  a  curious  parallel  to  the 
like  exchange  in  the  heart  of  Africa,  narrated  by  Cosmas  in  the  6th 
century,  and  by  Aloisio  Cadamosto  in  the  15  th.  (See  Cathay ,  p.  clxx- 
clxxi.)  Gold  is  said  still  to  be  very  plentiful  in  the  mountains  called 
Gulan-Sigong,  to  the  N.W.  of  Yunnan,  adjoining  the  great  eastern  branch 
of  the  Irawadi,  and  the  Chinese  traders  go  there  to  barter  for  it.  (See 
J.  A.  S.  B.  VI.  272-) 

Note  5. — On  the  continued  existence  of  the  use  of  salt  currency  in 
regions  of  the  same  frontier,  I  have  been  favoured  with  the  following 
note  by  M.  Francis  Garnier,  the  distinguished  leader  of  the  great 
Kamboja  River  expedition  in  its  latter  part  :  “  Salt  currency  has  a  very 
wide  diffusion  from  Muang  Yong  [in  the  Burman-Shan  country,  about 
lat.  210  4']  to  Sheu-pin  [in  Yunan,  about  lat.  230  43'].  In  the  Shan 
markets,  especially  within  the  limits  named,  all  purchases  are  made  with 
salt.  At  Seumao  and  Pouheul  \Esmok  and  Pner  of  some  of  our  maps], 
silver  weighed  and  cut  in  small  pieces  is  in  our  day  tending  to  drive 
out  the  custom ;  but  in  former  days  it  must  have  been  universal  in  the 
tract  of  which  I  am  speaking.  The  salt  itself,  prime  necessity  as  it  is, 
has  there  to  be  extracted  by  condensation  from  saline  springs  of  great 
depth,  a  very  difficult  affair.  The  operation  consumes  enormous  quan¬ 
tities  of  fuel,  and  to  this  is  partly  due  the  denudation  of  the  country.” 
Marco’s  somewhat  rude  description  of  the  process,  “  II prennent  la  set  e 
la  font  cuire ,  et  puis  la  gitent  en  forme”  points  to  the  manufacture  spoken 
of  in  this  note. 

Note  6. — M.  Pauthier  will  have  it  that  Marco  was  here  the  discoverer 
of  Assam  tea.  Assam  is,  indeed,  far  out  of  our  range,  but  his  notice  of 
this  plant,  with  the  laurel-like  leaf  and  white  flower,  was  brought  strongly 
to  my  recollection  in  reading  Mr.  Cooper’s  repeated  notices,  in  this  very 
region,  of  the  large-leaved  tea-tree ,  with  its  white  flowers ;  and,  again,  of 
“  the  hills  covered  with  tea-oil  trees,  all  white  with  flowers.”  And  a  hill 
between  Bathang  and  the  Kinsha  Kiang  is  called  the  “  Hill  of  the  Tea- 



Book  II. 

Trees  ”  (Ritter,  IV.  201).  Still,  one  does  not  clearly  see  why  Polo  should 
give  tea-trees  the  name  of  cloves. 

Failing  explanation  of  this,  I  should  suppose  that  the  cloves  of  which 
the  text  speaks  were  cassia-buds ,  an  article  once  more  prominent  in 
commerce  (as,  indeed,  were  all  similar  aromatics)  than  now,  but  still 
tolerably  well  known.  I  was  at  once  supplied  with  them  at  a  drogheria, 
in  the  city  where  I  write  (Palermo),  on  asking  for  Fiori  di  Canella ,  the 
name  under  which  they  are  mentioned  repeatedly  by  Pegolotti  and 
Uzzano,  in  the  14th  and  15  th  centuries.  Friar  Jordanus,  in  speaking 
of  the  cinnamon  (or  cassia)  of  Malabar,  says,  “  it  is  the  bark  of  a  large 
tree  which  has  fruit  and  flowers  like  cloves  ”  (p.  28).  The  cassia-buds 
have  indeed  a  general  resemblance  to  cloves,  but  they  are  shorter, 
lighter  in  colour,  and  not  angular.  The  cinnamon,  mentioned  in  the 
•next  lines  as  abundantly  produced  in  the  same  region,  was  no  .doubt  one 
of  the  inferior  sorts  called  cassia-bark. 

Williams  says  :  “  Cassia  grows  in  all  the  southern  provinces  of  China, 
especially  Kwangsi  and  Yunnan,  also  in  Annam,  Japan,  and  the  Isles  of 
the  Archipelago.  The  wood,  bark,  buds,  seeds,  twigs,  pods,  leaves,  oil, 
are  all  objects  of  commerce.  .  .  .  The  buds  (kwei-td)  are  the  fleshy 
ovaries  of  the  seeds  ;  they  are  pressed  at  one  end,  so  that  they  bear 
some  resemblance  to  cloves  in  shape.”  Upwards  of  500  piculs  (about 
30  tons),  valued  at  30  dollars  each,  are  annually  exported  to  Europe  and 
India.  (Chin.  Commercial  Guide ,  113-114.) 

The  only  doubt  as  regards  this  explanation  will  probably  be  whether 
the  cassia  would  be  found  at  such  a  height  as  we  may  suppose  to  be 
that  of  the  country  in  question  above  the  sea-level.  I  know  that  cassia 
bark  is  gathered  in  the  Kasia  Hills  of  Eastern  Bengal  up  to  a  height  of 
about  4000  feet  above  the  sea,  and  the  valleys  at  least  of  “  Caindu  ”  are 
probably  not  too  elevated  for  this  product.  Indeed,  that  of  the  Kinsha 
or  Brius,  near  where  I  suppose  Polo  to  cross  it,  is  only  2600  feet. 
Positive  evidence  I  cannot  adduce.  No  cassia  or  cinnamon  was  met 
with  by  M.  Garnier’s  party  where  they  intersected  this  region. 

I  am  indebted  to  Lieut.  Gamier  for  a  note  as  to  the  ethnography  of 
the  region  with  which  we  are  now  dealing.  A  little  to  the  north  of 
Li-kiang  is  found  the  Tibetan  tribe,  called  by  the  Chinese  Sifan,  of 
whose  morals  tales  are  told,  such  as  Polo  tells  of  Tebet  and  Caindu. 
Towards  the  Lantsang  Kiang  are  the  Tibetan  tribes  called  Mosos, 
Lutseu ,  &c.  ;  the  former  of  whom  are  also  called  by  the  Chinese  Lama- 
jin.  About  the  confluence  of  the  Yalung  and  the  Kinsha  Kiang,  the 
Chinese  population  is  mixed  with  the  Lolo  tribes,  whom  the  Chinese 
distinguish  as  White  and  Black  Lolos,  Pa'i,  Lisu,  &c.  :  the  Pai  being 
most  closely  related  to  the  Shans.  On  the  left  bank  of  the  Kinsha, 
between  this  and  Siuchaufu,  are  the  wild  and  independent  tribes  of 
Man-tseu.  There  is  a  slight  notice  of  these  last  in  Blakiston’s  narrative. 




Concerning  the  Province  of  Carajan. 

When  you  have  passed  that  River  you  enter  on  the  pro¬ 
vince  of  Carajan,  which  is  so  large  that  it  includes  seven 
kingdoms.  It  lies  towards  the  west ;  the  people  are  Idolaters, 
and  they  are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  A  son  of  his, 
however,  is  there  as  King  of  the  country,  by  name  Essen- 
timur  ;  a  very  great  and  rich  and  puissant  Prince ;  and  he 
well  and  justly  rules  his  dominion,  for  he  is  a  wise  man  and 
a  valiant. 

After  leaving  the  river  that  I  spoke  of,  you  go  five 
days’  journey  towards  the  west,  meeting  with  numerous 
towns  and  villages.  The  country  is  one  in  which  excellent 
horses  are  bred,  and  the  people  live  by  cattle  and  agriculture. 
They  have  a  language  of  their  own  which  is  passing  hard 
to  understand.  At  the  end  of  those  five  days’  journey  you 
come  to  the  capital,  which  is  called  Yachi,  a  very  great  and 
noble  city,  in  which  are  numerous  merchants  and  crafts¬ 

The  people  are  of  sundry  kinds,  for  there  are  not  only 
Saracens  and  Idolaters,  but  also  a  few  Nestorian  Christians.2 
They  have  wheat  and  rice  in  plenty.  Howbeit  they  never 
eat  wheaten  bread,  because  in  that  country  it  is  unwhole¬ 
some.3  Rice  they  eat,  and  make  of  it  sundry  messes,  besides 
a  kind  of  drink  which  is  very  clear  and  good,  and  makes  a 
man  drunk  just  as  wine  does. 

Their  money  is  such  as  I  will  tell  you.  They  use  for 
the  purpose  certain  white  porcelain  shells  that  are  found  in 
the  sea,  such  as  are  sometimes  put  on  dogs’  collars ;  and 
80  of  these  porcelain  shells  pass  for  a  single  weight  of 
silver,  equivalent  to  two  Venice  groats,  i.e.  24  piccoli.  Also 
eight  such  weights  of  silver  count  equal  to  one  such  weight 
of  gold.4 

They  have  brine-wells  in  this  country  from  which  they 



Book  II. 

make  salt,  and  all  the  people  of  those  parts  make  a  living 
by  this  salt.  The  King,  too,  I  can  assure  you,  gets  a  great 
revenue  from  this  salt.5 

There  is  a  lake  in  this  country  of  a  good  hundred  miles 
in  compass,  in  which  are  found  great  quantities  of  the  best 
fish  in  the  world ;  fish  of  great  size,  and  of  all  sorts. 

They  reckon  it  no  matter  for  a  man  to  have  intimacy 
with  another’s  wife,  provided  the  woman  be  willing. 

Let  me  tell  you  also  that  the  people  of  that  country 
eat  their  meat  raw,  whether  it  be  of  mutton,  beef,  buffalo, 
poultry,  or  any  other  kind.  Thus  the  poor  people  will  go 
to  the  shambles  and  take  the  raw  liver  as  it  comes  from  the 
carcase  and  cut  it  small,  and  put  it  in  a  sauce  of  garlic  and 
spices,  and  so  eat  it ;  and  other  meat  in  like  manner,  raw, 
just  as  we  eat  meat  that  is  dressed.6 

Now  I  will  tell  you  about  a  further  part  of  the  Province 
of  Carajan,  of  which  I  have  been  speaking. 

Note  1. — We  have  now  arrived  at  the  great  province  of  Carajan, 
the  Kara jang  of  the  Mongols,  which  we  know  to  be  Yunnan,  and  at  its 
capital  Yachi,  which — I  was  about  to  add — we  know  to  be  Yunnan-fu. 
But  I  find  all  the  commentators  make  it  something  else.  Rashiduddin, 
in  his  detail  of  the  twelve  Sings  or  provincial  governments  of  China 
under  the  Mongols,  thus  speaks  :  “  ioth,  Kara  jang.  This  used  to  be  an 
independent  kingdom,  and  the  Sing  is  established  at  the  great  city  of 
Yachi.  All  the  inhabitants  are  Mahomedans.  The  chiefs  are  Nayan 
Takin  and  Yakub  Beg,  son  of  ’Ali  Beg,  the  Beluch.”  And  turning  to 
Pauthier’s  corrected  account  of  the  same  distribution  of  the  empire  from 
authentic  Chinese  sources  (p.  334),  we  find  :  “  8.  The  administrative 
province  of  Yunnan.  ...  Its  capital,  chief  town  also  of  the  canton  of 
the  same  name,  was  called  Chung-khing,  now  Yunnan-fu.”  Hence 
Yachi  was  Yunnan-fu. 

Yachi  was,  perhaps,  an  ancient  corruption  of  the  name  Yecheu ,  which 
the  territory  bore  (according  to  Martini  and  Biot)  under  the  Han ;  but 
more  probably  Yecheu  was  a  Chinese  transformation  of  the  real  name 
Yachi.  The  Shans  still  call  the  city  Muang  Chi ,  which  is  perhaps 
another  modification  of  the  same  name. 

We  have  thus  got  Chingtu-fu  as  one  fixed  point,  and  Yunnan-fu  as 
another,  and  we  have  to  track,  as  we  best  can,  the  traveller’s  itinerary 
between  the  two,  through  what  Ritter  calls  with  considerable  reason  a 



terra  incogjiita.  What  little  we  yet  know  of  this  region  comes  from  the 
Catholic  missionaries  ;  and  recently  from  the  French  Saigon  expedition, 
and  from  Mr.  Cooper’s  printed  but  unpublished  journal. 

Five  days  forward  from  Chingtu-fu  brought  us  on  Tibetan  ground. 
Five  days  backward  from  Yunnan-fu  should  bring  us  to  the  River  Brius, 
with  its  gold-dust  and  the  frontier  of  Caindu.  Wanting  a  local  scale  for 
a  distance  of  five  days,  I  find  that  our  next  point  in  advance,  Marco’s 
city  of  Carajan,  undisputedly  Tali-fu ,  is  said  by  him  to  be  ten  days 
from  Yachi.  The  direct  distance  between  the  cities  of  Yunan  and  Tali 
I  find  by  measurement  on  Keith  Johnston’s  map  to  be  133  Italian 
miles.  Taking  half  this  as  radius,  the  compasses,  swept  from  Yunan-fu 
as  centre,  intersect  near  its  most  southerly  elbow  the  great  upper  branch 
of  the  Kiang,  the  Kin-sha  Kiang  of  the  Chinese,  or  “  River  of  the 
Golden  Sands,”  the  Murus  Ussu  and  Brichu  of  the  Mongols  and 
Tibetans,  and  manifestly  the  auriferous  Brius  of  our  traveller.  Hence 
also  the  country  north  of  this  elbow  is  Caindu. 

To  define  Polo’s  route  with  greater  exactness  we  have  not  sufficient 
data,  either  in  the  information  he  affords  us  or  in  the  small  knowledge 
on  record  elsewhere  of  those  regions.  We  can  only  indicate  probabili¬ 
ties  which  seem  fairly  consistent  with  what  he  says. 

He  travels  five  days  through  the  low  lands  of  Ssechuen  to  the 
borders  of  Tibet.  He  then  travels  20  days  through  a  depopulated 
region  belonging  to  Tibet,  and  reaches  (25  days,  therefore,  from  Ching- 
tufu)  a  part  of  that  country  where  towns  and  villages  are  again  met 
with.  No  indication  is  given  of  any  extent  of  journey  through  this 
populated  part  of  Tibet ;  and  the  next  datum  for  the  itinerary  is  the 
distance  travelled  through  the  province  of  Caindu  to  the  passage  of  the 
Brius  River,  viz.,  15  days,  as  we  read  after  Ramusio ;  the  other  texts 
giving  10  only. 

The  only  road  in  this  direction  of  which  we  know  anything  is  the 
Chinese  military  road  to  Lhasa  by  Tathsianlu,  Lithang,  and  Bathang. 
The  itinerary  of  this  road  is  given  from  a  Chinese  work  by  Ritter, 
with  details  regarding  every  station.  The  number  of  stations  or 
(apparently)  of  days’ journeys*  between  Chingtu-fu  and  Bathang  is  25. 
If,  then,  we  suppose  that  the  devastated  country  extended  to  the 
vicinity  of  Bathang,  and  that  Polo  thence  turned  southwards  (or 
rather  south-eastwards)  towards  and  within  the  great  elbow  of  the 
Kinsha  Kiang,  I  think  we  shall  have  an  idea  of  his  route  approxi¬ 
mately  correct.  There  is  a  difficulty,  indeed,  about  putting  the  place 
where  he  entered  “  Caindu  ”  actually  at  Bathang,  because  by  the  data 

*  Ritter  doubts  whether  these  stations  can  represent  days’  journeys  because  of  the 
large  number  of  li  often  set  down.  But  probably  the  li  multiply  with  the  difficulties 
of  the  way.  For  on  comparing  his  Chinese  route  with  Mr.  Hodgson’s  Nepalese  one, 
it  is  not  difficult  to  recognize  their  correspondence  in  the  main  ;  and  the  Nepalese 
ambassador  does  not  make  more  than  26  or  27  days  from  Bathang  to  Chingtu. 



Book  II'.' 

such  place  must  be  within  20  days  of  Yachi  or  Yunnanfu,  and  Bathang 
is  certainly  more  than  this.  But  we  have  already  noticed  that  the 
traveller  seems  to  leave  the  distance  travelled  through  the  populated 
district  indefinite.  As  regards  the  name  of  Caindu  or  Gaindu,  I  think 
we  may  safely  recognize  in  the  last  syllable  the  do  which  is  so  frequent 
a  termination  of  Tibetan  names  (Tachindo,  Amdo,  Tsiamdo,  &c.) ; 
and  it  is  by  no  means  improbable  that  Tsiamdo  itself  gave  name  to 
the  province  in  question.  Tsiamdo,  called  by  the  Chinese  Changtu,  is 
written  Kiaomdo  by  Monsgr.  Thomine  des  Mazures,  late  Vicar  Apostolic 
in  Tibet  (see  Ann.  de  la  Prop,  de  la  Foi,  XXXIV.),  expressing  no 
doubt  the  local  pronunciation.  And  it  is  very  possible  that  the  name 
used  by  Polo  was  really  Ca7iidu  or  Gamdu-,  which  is  one  reading  of  the 
Bern  MS.  as  well  as  of  some  others.  In  one  of  the  Geographical 
Memoirs  translated  in  Amyot’s  collection,  we  find  that  the  gen'eralites 
known  by  the  name  of  Kam-u  occupied  just  the  position  which  we 
assign  to  Caindu,  viz.,  north  of  Likiangfu  and  west  of  the  Yalung  River. 
They  formerly  comprised  13  cities,  of  which  Bathang  was  the  capital. 
In  17 1 1  Kanghi  attached  Bathang  and  Lithang  to  Ssechuen,  and  the 
southern  part  of  the  territory  to  Yunnan  (Amyot,  XIV.  146). 

Turning  to  minor  particulars,  the  Lake  mentioned  by  Polo  as  exist¬ 
ing  in  the  territory  of  Yachi  is  no  doubt  the  Tic?i-chi ,  the  Great  Lake  on 
the  shore  of  which  the  city  of  Yunnan  stands,  and  from  which  boats 
make  their  way  by  canals  along  the  walls  and  streets.  Its  circumference 
according  to  Martini  is  500  IL  The  Lake  of  Caindu  in  which  the  pearls 
were  found  may  perhaps  be  the  large  lake  which  Martini  mentions  as 
lying  east  of  the  town  of  Yungningfu.  The  large  quantities  of  gold 
derived  from  the  Kinsha-Kiang,  and  the  abundance  of  musk  in  that 
vicinity,  are  testified  to  by  the  same  authority. 

Returning  now  to  the  Karajang  of  the  Mongols,  or  Carajan  as  Polo 
writes  it,  we  shall  find  that  the  latter  distinguishes  this  great  province, 
which  formerly,  he  says,  included  seven  kingdoms,  into  two  Mongol 
Governments,  the  seat  of  one  being  at  Yachi,  which  we  have  seen  to  be 
Yunnanfu,  and  that  of  the  other  at  a  city  to  which  he  gives  the  name  of 
the  Province,  and  which  we  shall  find  to  be  the  existing  Talifu.  Great 
confusion  has  been  created  in  most  of  the  editions  by  a  distinction  in 
the  form  of  the  name  as  applied  to  these  two  governments.  Thus 
Ramusio  prints  the  province  under  Yachi  as  Carajan ,  and  that  under 
Tali  as  Carazan ,  whilst  Marsden,  following  out  his  system  for  the  con¬ 
version  of  Ramusio’s  orthography,  makes  the  former  Karaian  and  the 
latter  Karazan.  Pauthier  prints  Caraian  all  through,  a  fact  so  far 
valuable  as  showing  that  his  texts  make  no  distinction  between  the 
names  of  the  two  governments,  but  which  impedes  the  recognition  of 
the  old  Mongol  nomenclature.  I  have  no  doubt  that  the  name  all  through 
should  be  read  Carajan ,  and  on  this  I  have  acted.  In  the  Geog.  Text  we 
find  the  name  given  at  the  end  of  chapter  xlvii.  Caragian ,  in  ch.  xlviii. 
as  Carajan ,  in  ch.  xlix.  as  Caraian ,  thus  just  reversing  the  distinction 
made  by  Marsden.  The  Crusca  has  Charagia{n)  all  through. 

Chap.  XLVIII. 



The  name  then  was  Kara-jang,  in  which  the  first  element  was  the 
Mongol  or  Turki  Kara ,  “  Black.”  For  we  find  in  another  passage  of 
Rashid  the  following  information  :*■ — To  the  south-west  of  Cathay  is  the 
country  called  by  the  Chinese  Dailiu  or  “  Great  Realm,”  and  by  the 
Mongols  Karajang,  in  the  language  of  India  and  Kashmir  Kandar ,  and 
by  us  Kandahar.  This  country,  which  is  of  vast  extent,  is  bounded  on 
one  side  by  Tibet  and  Tan  gut,  and  on  others  by  Mongolia,  Cathay,  and 
the  country  of  the  Gold  Teeth.  The  King  of  Karajang  uses  the  title  of 
Mahara ,  i.e.  Great  King.  The  capital  is  called  Yachi,  and  there  the 
council  of  administration  is  established.  Among  the  inhabitants  of  this 
country  some  are  black,  and  others  are  white ;  these  latter  are  called 
by  the  Mongols  “  Chaghan-jang ”  (“  White  Jang”).  Jang  has  not  been 
explained.  But  a  great  part  of  the  population  of  Western  Yunnan  are 
of  the  Shan  or  Laos  race,  and  the  kings  of  Nan-chao  as  the  dynasty  was 
called  by  the  Chinese,  who  ruled  Yunnan  at  the  time  of  the  Mongol 
invasion  belonged  to  that  race.f  Now  it  is  stated  by  several  modern 
travellers  that  the  people  of  Laos  are  classified  as  Black-bellies  and 
White-bellies,  according  as  they  are  tattooed  or  not.  The  Kara-jang 
and  Chaghan-jang  appear  to  correspond  also  to  the  U-man  and  Pe-man , 
or  Black  Barbarians  and  White  Barbarians,  who  are  mentioned  by 
Chinese  authorities  as  conquered  by  the  Mongols.  It  would  seem  from 
one  of  Pauthier’s  Chinese  quotations  (p.  388),  that  the  Chaghan-jang  were 
found  in  the  vicinity  of  Likiangfu.  ( U  Ohsson ,  II.  317  ;  J.  R.  Geog.  Soc. 
III.  294.) 

Regarding  Rashiduddin’s  application  of  the  name  Kandahar  or  Gan- 
dhara  to  Yunnan,  and  curious  points  connected  therewith,  I  must  refer  to 
a  paper  of  mine-in  the  J.  R.  A.  Society  for  1869. 

What  has  been  said  of  the  supposed  name  Caraian ,  disposes,  I  trust, 
of  the  fancies  which  have  connected  the  origin  of  the  Karens  of  Burma 
with  it.  More  groundless  still  is  M.  Pauthier’s  deduction  of  the  Talains 
of  Pegu  (as  the  Burmese  call  them)  from  the  people  of  Tali,  who  fled 
from  Kublai’s  invasion. 

Note  2. — The  existence  of  Nestorians  in  this  remote  province  is  very 
notable ;  and  also  the  early  prevalence  of  Mahomedanism,  which  Rashid- 
uddin  intimates  in  stronger  terms.  “All  the  inhabitants  of  Yachi,”  he 
says,  “  are  Mahomedans.”  This  was  no  doubt  an  exaggeration,  but  the 
Mahomedans  seem  always  to  have  continue4!!  to  be  an  important  body  in 
Yunnan  up  to  our  own  day.  In  1855  began  their  revolt  against  the 
imperial  authority,  which  has  for  the  present  resulted  in  the  establish- 

*  See  Quatremeri s  Rashiduddin,  p.  lxxxvi-xcvi.  My  quotation  is  made  up  from 
two  citations  by  Quatremere,  one  from  his  text  of  Rashiduddin,  and  the  other  from  the 
History  of  Benaketi,  which  Quatremere  shows  to  have  been  drawn  from  Rashiduddin, 
whilst  it  contains  some  particulars  not  existing  in  his  text  of  that  author. 

+  The  title  Chao  in  Nan-Chao  is  said  by  a  Chinese  author  (Pauthiei*,  p.  391)  to 
signify  King  in  the  language  of  those  barbarians.  This  is  evidently  the  Chao  which 
forms  an  essential  part  of  the  title  of  all  Siamese  and  Shan  princes, 

VOL.  II. 




Book  II. 

ment  of  their  independence  in  Western  Yunnan  under  a  chief  whom 
they  call  Sultan  Suleiman.  A  proclamation  in  remarkably  good  Arabic 
announcing  the  inauguration  of  his  reign  appears  to  have  been  circulated 
to  Mahomedans  in  foreign  states,  and  a  copy  of  it  some  years  ago  found 
its  way  through  the  Nepalese  agent  at  L’hasa  into  the  hands  of  Colonel 
Ramsay,  the  British  Resident  at  Katmandu. 

Note  3. — Wheat  grows  as  low  as  Ava,  but  there  also  it  is  not 
used  for  bread,  only  for  confectionary  and  the  like.  The  same  is  the 
case  in  Eastern  China  (see  ch.  xxvi.  note  4,  and  Middle  Kingdom , 
II.  43)- 

Note  4. — The  word  piccoli  is  supplied,  doubtfully,  in  lieu  of  an 
unknown  symbol.  If  correct,  then  we  sho’uld  read  “  24  piccoli  each ,”  for 
this  was  about  the  equivalent  of  a  grosso.  This  is  the  first  time  Polo 
mentions  cowries,  which  he  calls  porcellani .  This  might  have  been 
rendered  by  the  corresponding  vernacular  name  “  Pig-shells ,”  applied  to 
certain  shells  of  that  genus  ( Cypraea )  in  some  parts  of  England.  It 
is  worthy  of  note  that  as  the  name  porcellana  has  been  transferred  from 
these  shells  to  China-ware,  so  the  word  pig  has  been  in  Scotland  applied 
to  crockery ;  whether  the  process  has  been  analogous  I  cannot  say. 

Klaproth  states  that  Yunnan  is  the  only  country  of  China  in  which 
cowries  had  continued  in  use,  though  in  ancient  times  they  were  more 
generally  diffused.  According  to  him  80  cowries  were  equivalent  to 
6  cash ,  or  a  halfpenny.  About  1780  in  Eastern  Bengal  80  cowries  were 
worth  -J  of  a  penny,  and  some  40  years  ago  when  Prinsep  compiled 
his  tables  in  Calcutta  (where  cowries  were  still  in  use  a  few  years  ago,  if 
not  now)  80  cowries  were  worth  of  a  penny. 

The  most  comprehensive  employment  of  the  cowrie  currency  of 
which  I  have  ever  heard  is  that  described  by  the  Hon.  Robert  Lindsay 
as  existing  in  Eastern  Bengal  during  the  last  century.  When  that  gen¬ 
tleman  went  as  Resident  and  Collector  to  Silhet  about  1778,  cowries 
constituted  nearly  the  whole  currency  of  the  Province.  The  yearly 
revenue  amounted  to  250,000  rupees,  and  this  was  entirely  paid  in 
cowries  at  the  rate  of  5120  to  the  rupee.  It  required  large  warehouses 
to  contain  them,  and  when  the  year’s  collection  was  complete  a  large 
fleet  of  boats  to  transport  them  to  Dacca.  Before  Lindsay’s  time  it  had 
been  the  custom  to  count  the  whole  before  embarking  them  !  ( Lives  of 
the  Lindsays,  III.  169,  170.) 

Klaproth’s  statement  has  ceased  to  be  correct.  Lieut.  Gamier  found 
cowries  nowhere  in  use  north  of  Luang  Prabang ;  and  among  the  Kak- 
hyens  in  western  Yunnan  these  shells  are  used  only  for  ornament. 

Note  5. — See  chap,  xlvii.  note  4.  Martini  speaks  of  a  great  brine- 
well  to  the  N.E.  of  Yaogan  (W.N.W.  of  the  city  of  Yunnan),  which 
supplied  the  whole  country  round. 

Note  6.— Two  particulars  appearing  in  these  latter  paragraphs  are 
alluded  to  by  Rashiduddin  in  giving  a  brief  account  of  the  overland 

Chap.  XLIX. 



route  from  India  to  China,  which  is  unfortunately  very  obscure  :  “  Thence 
you  arrive  at  the  borders  of  Tibet,  where  they  eat  raw  meat  and  worship 
images,  and  have  no  shame  respecting  their  wives  ”  ( Elliot ,  p.  73). 


Concerning  a  further  part  of  the  Province  of  Carajan. 

After  leaving  that  city  of  Yachi  of  which  I  have  been 
speaking,  and  travelling  ten  days  towards  the  west,  you 
come  to  another  capital  city  which  is  still  in  the  province 
of  Carajan,  and  is  itself,  called  Carajan.  The  people  are 
Idolaters  and  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan  ;  and  the  King  is 
Cogachin,  who  is  a  son  of  the  Great  Kaan.1 

In  this  country  gold-dust  is  found  in  great  quantities ; 
that  is  to  say  in  the  rivers  and  lakes,  whilst  in  the  moun¬ 
tains  gold  is  also  found  in  pieces  of  larger  size.  Gold 
is  indeed  so  abundant  that  they  give  one  saggio  of  gold 
for  only  six  of  the  same  weight  in  silver.  And  for  small 
change  they  use  the  porcelain  shells  as  I  mentioned  before. 
These  are  not  found  in  the  country,  however,  but  are 
brought  from  India. 

In  this  province  are  found  snakes  and  great  serpents  of 
such  vast  size  as  to  strike  fear  into  those  who  see  them,  and 
so  hideous  that  the  very  account  of  them  must  excite  the 
wonder  of  those  to  hear  it.  I  will  tell  you  how  long  and 
big  they  are. 

You  may  be  assured  that  some  of  them  are  ten  paces  in 
length ;  some  are  more  and  some  less.  And  in  bulk  they 
!  are  equal  to  a  great  cask,  for  the  bigger  ones  are  about  ten 
palms  in  girth.  They  have  two  forelegs  near  the  head,  but 
I  for  foot  nothing  but  a  claw  like  the  claw  of  a  hawk  or  that 
of  a  lion.  The  head  is  very  big,  and  the  eyes  are  bigger 
than  a  great  loaf  of  bread.  The  mouth  is  large  enough  to 

4  6 


Book  II. 

swallow  a  man  whole,  and  is  garnished  with  great  [pointed] 
teeth.  And  in  short  they  are  so  fierce-looking  and  so 
hideously  ugly,  that  every  man  and  beast  must  stand  in  fear 
and  trembling  of  them.  There  are  also  smaller  ones,  such 
as  of  eight  paces  long,  and  of  five,  and  of  one  pace  only. 

The  way  in  which  they  are  caught  is  this.  You  must 
know  that  by  day  they  live  underground  because  of  the 
great  heat,  and  in  the  night  they  go  out  to  feed,  and 
devour  every  animal  they  can  catch.  They  go  also  to 
drink  at  the  rivers  and  lakes  and  springs.  And  their  weight 
is  so  great  that  when  they  travel  in  search  of  food  or  drink, 
as  they  do  by  night,  the  tail  makes  a  great  furrow  in  the 
soil  as  if  a  full  tun  of  liquor  had  been  dragged  along. 
Now  the  huntsmen  who  go  after  them  take  them  by  a 
certain  gyn  which  they  set  in  the  track  over  which  the 
serpent  has  past,  knowing  that  the  beast  will  come  back 
the  same  way.  They  plant  a  stake  deep  in  the  ground  and 
fix  on  the  head  of  this  a  sharp  blade  of  steel  made  like  a 
razor  or  a  lance-point,  and  then  they  cover  the  whole  with 
sand  so  that  the  serpent  cannot  see  it.  Indeed  the  hunts¬ 
man  plants  several  such  stakes  and  blades  on  the  track. 
On  coming  to  the  spot  the  beast  strikes  against  the  iron 
blade  with  such  force  that  it  enters  his  breast  and  rives  him 
up  to  the  navel,  so  that  he  dies  on  the  spot ;  [and  the  crows 
on  seeing  the  brute  dead  begin  to  caw,  and  then  the  hunts¬ 
men  know  that  the  serpent  is  dead  and  come  in  search 
of  him]. 

This  then  is  the  way  these  beasts  are  taken.  Those 
who  take  them  proceed  to  extract  the  gall  from  the  inside, 
and  this  sells  at  a  great  price ;  for  you  must  know  it 
furnishes  the  material  for  a  most  precious  medicine.  Thus 
if  a  person  is  bitten  by  a  mad  dog,  and  they  give  him  but 
a  small  pennyweight  of  this  medicine  to  drink,  he  is  cured 
in  a  moment.  Again  if  a  woman  is  hard  in  labour  they 
give  her  just  such  another  dose  and  she  is  delivered  at 
once.  Yet  again  if  one  has  any  disease  like  the  itch,  or  it 

Chap.  XLIX. 



may  be  worse,  and  applies  a  small  quantity  of  this  gall  he 
shall  speedily  be  cured.  So  you  see  why  it  sells  at  such 
a  high  price. 

They  also  sell  the  flesh  of  this  serpent,  for  it  is  excellent 
eating,  and  the  people  are  very  fond  of  it.  And  when  these 
serpents  are  very  hungry,  sometimes  they  will  seek  out  the 
lairs  of  lions  or  bears  or  other  large  wild  beasts,  and  devour 
their  cubs,  without  the  sire  and  dam  being  able  to  prevent 
it.  Indeed  if  they  catch  the  big  ones  themselves  they 
devour  them  too ;  they  can  make  no  resistance.2 

In  this  province  also  are  bred  large  and  excellent  horses 
which  are  taken  to  India  for  sale.  And  you  must  know 
that  the  people  dock  two  or  three  joints  of  the  tail  from 
their  horses,  to  prevent  them  from  flipping  their  riders, 
a  thing  which  they  consider  very  unseemly.  They  ride 
long  like  Frenchmen,  and  wear  armour  of  boiled  leather, 
and  carry  spears  and  shields  and  arblasts,  and  all  their 
quarrels  are  poisoned.*  [And  I  was  told  as  a  fact  that 
many  persons,  especially  those  meditating  mischief,  con¬ 
stantly  carry  this  poison  about  with  them,  so  that  if  by  any 
chance  they  should  be  taken,  and  be  threatened  with 
torture,  to  avoid  this  they  swallow  the  poison  and  so  die 
speedily.  But  princes  who  are  aware  of  this  keep  ready 
dog’s  dung,  which  they  cause  the  criminal  instantly  to 
swallow,  to  make  him  vomit  the  poison.  And  thus  they 
manage  to  cure  those  scoundrels.] 

I  will  tell  you  of  a  wicked  thing  they  used  to  do  before 
the  Great  Kaan  conquered  them.  If  it  chanced  that  a 
man  of  fine  person  or  noble  birth,  or  some  other  quality 
that  recommended  him,  came  to  lodge  with  those  people, 
then  they  would  murder  him  by  poison,  or  otherwise.  And 
this  they  did,  not  for  the  sake  of  plunder,  but  because  they 
believed  that  in  this  way  the  goodly  favour  and  wisdom 
and  repute  of  the  murdered  man  would  cleave  to  the  house 
where  he  was  slain.  And  in  this  manner  many  were  mur¬ 
dered  before  the  country  was  conquered  by  the  Great 



Book  II. 

Kaan.  But  since  his  conquest,  some  35  years  ago,  these 
crimes  and  this  evil  practice  has  prevailed  no  more ;  and 
this  through  dread  of  the  Great  Kaan  who  will  not  permit 
such  things.4 

Note  1. — There  can  be  no  doubt,  I  believe,  that  this  second  chief 
city  of  Carajan,  is  Tali-fu,  which  was  the  capital  of  the  Shan  Kingdom 
called  by  the  Chinese  Nan-Chao.  This  kingdom  had  subsisted  in  Yun¬ 
nan  since  738,  and  probably  had  embraced  the  upper  part  of  the  Irawadi 
Valley.  For  the  Chinese  tell  us  it  was  also  called  Mating, ,  and  it  pro¬ 
bably  was  identical  with  the  Shan  Kingdom  of  Moung  Maorong  or 
of  Pong, ;  of  which  Capt.  Pemberton  procured  a  Chronicle.  The  city  of 
Tali  was  taken  by  Kublai  in  1253-4.  The  circumstance  that  it  was 
known  to  the  invaders  (as  appears  from  Polo’s  statement)  by  the  name 
of  the  province  is  probably  an  indication  of  the  fact  that  it  was  the 
capital  of  Carajan  before  the  conquest.  The  distance  from  Yachi  to 
this  city  of  Karajang  is  ten  days,  and  this  corresponds  well  with  the 
distance  from  Yunnan-fu  to  Tali-fu.  For  we  find  that,  of  the  three  Burmese 
Embassies  whose  itineraries  are  given  by  Burney,  one  makes  7  marches 
between  those  cities,  specifying  2  of  them  as  double  marches,  therefore 
equal  to  9,  whilst  the  other  two  make  1 1  marches.  Tali-fu  is  a  small 
old  city  overlooking  its  large  lake  and  an  extensive  plain  devoid  of  trees. 
Lofty  mountains  rise  on  the  south  side  of  the  city.  The  Lake  appears 
to  communicate  with  the  Mekong,  and  the  story  goes,  no  doubt  fabulous, 
that  boats  have  come  up  to  Tali  from  the  Ocean. 

Tali-fu  is  now  the  capital  of  Sultan  Suleiman.  It  was  reached  by 
Lieut.  Gamier  in  a  daring  detour  by  the  north  of  Yunnan,  but  his 
party  were  obliged  to  leave  in  haste  on  the  2nd  day  after  their  arrival. 

We  see  that  Polo  says  the  King  ruling  for  Kublai  at  this  city  was 
a  son  of  the  Kaan,  called  Cogachin,  whilst  he  told  us  in  the  last  chapter 
that  the  King  reigning  at  Yachi  was  also  a  son  of  the  Kaan,  called  Essen- 
timur.  It  is  probably  a  mere  lapsus  or  error  of  dictation  calling  the 
latter  a  son  of  the  Kaan,  for  in  chap.  li.  infra ,  this  prince  is  correctly 
described  as  the  Kaan’s  grandson.  Relating  there  an  action  with  the 
Burmese  which  took  place  about  1277,  he  says  this  was  before  the  Kaan 
had  sent  any  of  his  sons  to  rule  the  province,  “  as  he  did  at  a  later  date, 
when  he  made  Sentemur  King  there,  the  son  of  one  of  his  sons  who 
was  dead.”  Rashiduddin  tells  us  that  Kublai  had  given  his  son  Hukaji 
(or  perhaps  Hogachi ,  i.e.  Cogachin)  the  government  of  Karajang,  and 
that  after  the  death  of  this  Prince  the  government  was  continued  to  his 
son  Isentimur.  Klaproth  gives  the  date  of  the  latter’s  nomination 
from  the  Chinese  Annals  as  1280.  It  is  not  easy  to  reconcile  Marco’s 
statements  perfectly  with  a  knowledge  of  these  facts;  but  we  may  suppose 
that  in  speaking  of  Cogachin  as  ruling  at  Karajang  (or  Tali-fu)  and  Esen- 

Chap.  XLIX. 



timur  at  Yachi,  he  describes  things  as  they  stood  when  his  visit  occurred, 
whilst  in  the  second  reference  to  “  Sentemur’s  ”  being  King  in  the  pro¬ 
vince  and  his  father  dead,  he  speaks  from  later  knowledge.  This  inter¬ 
pretation  would  confirm  what  has  been  already  deduced  from  other 
circumstances,  that  his  visit  to  Yunnan  was  prior  to  1280.  {Pembertod s 
Report  on  the  Eastern  Frontier,  108  seqq. ;  Quat.  Rashid,  p.  lxxxix-xc; 
Journ.  Asiat.  ser.  2,  vol.  i.) 

Note  2. — It  cannot  be  doubted,  I  think,  that  Marco’s  serpents  here 
are  alligators,  in  spite  of  his  strange  mistakes  about  their  having  only  two 
feet  and  one  claw  on  each,  and  his  imperfect  knowledge  of  their  aquatic 
habits.  He  may  have  seen  only  a  mutilated  specimen.  But  there  is  no 
mistaking  the  hideous  ferocity  of  the  countenance,  and  the  “  eyes  bigger 
than  a  fourpenny  loaf,”  as  Ramusio  has  it.  Though  the  actual  eye  of  the 
alligator  does  not  bear  this  comparison,  the  prominent  orbits  do,,  and 
form  one  of  the  most  repulsive  features  of  the  reptile’s  physiognomy. 
In  fact  its  presence  on  the  surface  of  an  Indian  river  is  often  recog¬ 
nizable  only  by  three  dark  knobs  rising  above  the  surface,  viz.  the  snout 
and  the  two  orbits.  And  there  is  some  foundation  for  what  our  author 
says  of  the  animal’s  habits,  for  the  alligator  does  sometimes  frequent 
holes  at  some  distance  from  water,  of  which  a  striking  instance  is  within 
my  own  recollection  (in  which  the  deep  furrowed  track  also  was  a 
notable  circumstance). 

The  Cochin  Chinese  are  very  fond  of  alligator’s  flesh,  and  there  is  or 
was  a  regular  export  of  this  dainty  for  their  use  from  Kamboja.  I  have 
known  it  eaten  by  certain  classes  in  India.  (f.  R.  G.  S.  XXX.  193.) 

The  term  serpent  is  applied  by  many  old  writers  to  crocodiles  and 
the  like,  e.g.  by  Odoric,  and  perhaps  allusively  by  Shakspeare  (“  Where's 
my  Serpent  of  Old  NileV).  Mr.  Fergusson  tells  me  he  was  once  much 
struck  with  the  snake-like  motion  of  a  group  of  alligators  hastily  descend¬ 
ing  to  the  water  from  a  high  sand-bank,  without  apparent  use  of  the  limbs, 
when  surprised  by  the  approach  of  a  boat. 

Matthioli  mentions  the  gall  of  the  crocodile  as  surpassing  all  medi¬ 
cines  for  the  removal  of  pustules  and  the  like  from  the  eyes.  Vincent 
of  Beauvais  mentions  the  same,  besides  many  other  medical  uses  of  the 
reptile’s  carcase,  including  a  very  unsavoury  cosmetic.  {Matt.  p.  245  ; 
Spec.  Natur.  Lib.  XVII.  c.  106,  108.) 

Note  3. — I  think  the  great  horses  must  be  an  error,  though  running 
through  all  the  texts,  and  that  grant  quantite  de  chevaus  was  probably 
intended.  Valuable  ponies  are  produced  in  those  regions,  but  I  have 
never  heard  of  large  horses,  and  Martini’s  testimony  is  to  like  effect 
(p.  1 41).  Nor  can  I  hear  of  any  race  in  those  regions  in  modern  times 
that  use  what  we  should  call  long  stirrups.  It  is  true  that  the  Tartars 
rode  very  short — “  brevissimas  habent  strep  as”  as  Carpini  says  (643). 
Both  Burmese  and  Shans  ride  what  we  should  call  short ;  and  Major 
Sladen  observes  of  the  people  on  the  western  border  of  Yunnan  :  “  Ka- 



Book  II. 

chyens  and  Shans  ride  on  ordinary  Chinese  saddles.  The  stirrups  are  of 
the  usual  average  length,  but  the  saddles  are  so  constructed  as  to  rise  at 
least  a  foot  above  the  pony’s  back.”  He  adds  with  reference  to  another 
point  in  the  text :  “  I  noticed  a  few  Shan  ponies  with  docked  tails.  But 
the  more  general  practice  is  to  loop  up  the  tail  in  a  knot,  the  object 
being  to  protect  the  rider,  or  rather  his  clothes,  from  the  dirt  with  which 
they  would  otherwise  be  spattered  from  the  flipping  of  the  animal’s  tail.” 
(MS.  Notes.) 

Armour  of  boiled  leather — “  armes  cuirac'es  de  cuir  bouilli;  ”  so  Pau- 
thier’s  text ;  the  material  so  often  mentioned  in  medieval  costume,  e.  g. 
in  the  leggings  of  Sir  Thopas  : — 

“  His  jambeux  were  of  cuirbouly, 

His  swerdes  sheth  of  ivory, 

His  helme  of  latoun  bright.” 

But  the  reading  of  the  G.  Text  which  is  “  cuir  de  bufal is  probably  the 
right  one.  Some  of  the  Miautse  of  Kweichau  are  described  as  wearing 
armour  of  buffalo-leather  overlaid  with  iron  plates  (Ritter,  IV.  768-776). 
Arblasts  or  crossbows  are  still  characteristic  weapons  of  many  of  the 
wilder  tribes  of  this  region ;  e.  g.  of  some  of  the  Singphos,  of  the  Mishmis 
of  Upper  Assam,  of  the  Lutze  of  the  valley  of  the  Lukiang,  of  tribes  of 
the  hills  of  Laos,  of  the  Stiens  of  Cambodia,  and  of  several  of  the  Miautse 
tribes  of  the  interior  of  China.  We  give  a  cut  copied  from  a  Chinese 
Work  on  the  Miautse  of  Kweichau  in  Dr.  Lockhart’s  possession,  which 
shows  three  little  men  of  the  Sang-Miau  tribe  of  Kweichau  combining 
to  bend  a  crossbow,  and  a  chief  with  armes  cuirac'es. 

Note  4. — I  have  nowhere  met  with  a  precise  parallel  to  this  remark¬ 
able  superstition,  but  the  following  piece  of  Folk-Lore  has  a  considerable 
analogy  to  it.  This  extraordinary  custom  is  ascribed  by  Ibn  Fozlan 
to  the  Bulgarians  of  the  Wolga :  “  If  they  find  a  man  endowed  with 
special  intelligence  then  they  say :  ‘  This  man  should  serve  our  Lord 
God and  so  they  take  him,  run  a  noose  round  his  neck  and  hang  him 
on  a  tree,  where  they  leave  him  till  the  corpse  falls  to  pieces.”  This  is 
precisely  what  Sir  Charles  Wood  did  with  the  Indian  Corps  of  Engineers ; 
— doubtless  on  the  same  principle  ! 

Archbishop  Trench,  in  a  fine  figure,  alludes  to  a  belief  prevalent 
among  the  Polynesian  Islanders,  “  that  the  strength  and  valour  of  the 
warriors  whom  they  have  slain  in  battle  passes  into  themselves,  as  their 
rightful  inheritance.”  (Fraehn,  Wolga- Bulgaren,  p.  50 ;  Studies  in  the 
Gospels ,  p.  22 ;  see  also  Lubbock,  457.) 



The  Sangmiau. Tribe  of  Kweichau,  with  the  Crossbow. 



Book  II. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Zardandan. 

When  you  have  left  Carajan  and  have  travelled  five  days 
westward,  you  find  a  province  called  Zardandan.  The 
people  are  Idolaters  and  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  The 
capital  city  is  called  Vochan. 

The  people  of  this  country  all  have  their  teeth  gilt ; 
or  rather  every  man  covers  his  teeth  with  a  sort  of  golden 
case  made  to  fit  them,  both  the  upper  teeth  and  the  under. 
The  men  do  this,  but  not  the  women.1  [The  men  also 
are  wont  to  gird  their  arms  and  legs  with  bands  or  fillets 
pricked  in  black,  and  it  is  done  thus  ;  they  take  five  needles 
joined  together,  and  with  these  they  prick  the  flesh  till  the 
blood  comes,  and  then  they  rub  in  a  certain  black  colouring 
stuff,  and  this  is  perfectly  indelible.  It  is  considered  a  piece 
of  elegance  and  the  sign  of  gentility  to  have  this  black 
band.]  The  men  are  all  gentlemen  in  their  fashion,  and 
do  nothing  but  go  to  the  wars,  or  go  hunting  and  hawking. 
The  ladies  do  all  the  business,  aided  by  the  slaves  who  have 
been  taken  in  war.2 

And  when  one  of  their  wives  has  been  delivered  of  a 
child,  the  infant  is  washed  and  swathed,  and  then  the  woman 
gets  up  and  goes  about  her  household  affairs,  whilst  the 
husband  takes  to  bed  with  the  child  by  his  side,  and  so 
keeps  his  bed  for  40  days  ;  and  all  the  kith  and  kin  come 
to  visit  him  and  keep  up  a  great  festivity.  They  do  this 
because,  say  they,  the  woman  has  had  a  hard  bout  of  it,  and 
’tis  but  fair  the  man  should  have  his  share  of  suffering.3 

They  eat  all  kinds  of  meat,  both  raw  and  cooked,  and 
they  eat  rice  with  their  cooked  meat  as  their  fashion  is. 
Their  drink  is  wine  made  of  rice  and  spices,  and  excellent  it 
is.  Their  money  is  gold,  and  for  small  change  they  use 
pig-shells.  And  I  can  tell  you  they  give  one  weight  of 
gold  for  only  five  of  silver ;  for  there  is  no  silver-mine 

Chap.  L. 



within  five  months’  journey.  And  this  induces  merchants 
to  go  thither  carrying  a  large  supply  of  silver  to  change 
among  that  people.  And  as  they  have  only  five  weights  of 
silver  to  give  for  one  of  fine  gold,  they  make  immense 
profits  by  their  exchange  business  in  that  country.4 

These  people  have  neither  idols  nor  churches,  but 
worship  the  progenitor  of  their  family,  “  for  ’tis  he,”  say 
they,  “  from  whom  we  have  all  sprung.”  5  They  have  no 
letters  or  writing ;  and  ’tis  no  wonder,  for  the  country  is 
wild  and  hard  of  access,  full  of  great  woods  and  mountains 
which  ’tis  impossible  to  pass,  the  air  is  so  impure  and 
unwholesome  ;  and  any  foreigners  attempting  it  would  die 
for  certain.  When  these  people  have  any  business  transac¬ 
tions  with  one  another,  they  take  a  piece  of  stick,  round  or 
square,  and  split  it,  each  taking  half.  And  on  either  half 
they  cut  two  or  three  notches.  And  when  the  account  is 
settled  the  debtor  receives  back  the  other  half  of  the  stick 
from  the  creditor.6 

And  let  me  tell  you  that  in  all  those  three  provinces 
that  I  have  been  speaking  of,  to  wit  Carajan,  Vochan,  and 
Yachi,  there  is  never  a  leech.  But  when  any  one  is  ill  they 
send  for  the  Devil-conjurors  who  are  the  keepers  of  their 
idols.  When  these  are  come  the  sick  man  tells  what  ails 
him,  and  then  the  conjurors  incontinently  begin  playing 
on  their  instruments  and  singing  and  dancing  ;  and  the 
conjurors  dance  to  such  a  pitch  that  at  last  one  of  them  will 
fall  to  the  ground  lifeless,  like  a  dead  man.  And  then  the 
devil  entereth  into  his  body.  And  when  his  comrades  see 
him  in  this  plight  they  begin  to  put  questions  to  him  about 
the  sick  man’s  ailment.  And  he  will  reply :  “  Such  or 
such  a  spirit  hatii  been  meddling  with  the  man,7  for  that  he 
hath  angered  the  spirit  and  done  it  some  despite.”  Then 
they  say  :  u  We  pray  thee  to  pardon  him,  and  to  take  of  his 
blood  or  of  his  goods  what  thou  wilt  in  consideration 
of  thus  restoring  him  to  health.”  And  when  they  have  so 
prayed,  the  malignant  spirit  that  is  in  the  body  of  the  pros- 



Book  II. 

trate  man  will  (mayhap)  answer :  “  The  sick  man  hath  also 
done  great  despite  unto  such  another  spirit,  and  that  one  is 
so  ill-disposed  that  it  will  not  pardon  him  on  any  account 
—  this  at  least  is  the  answer  they  get  if  the  patient  be  like  to 
die.  But  if  he  is  to  get  better  the  answer  will  be  that  they 
are  to  bring  two  sheep,  or  may  be  three  ;  and  to  brew  ten 
or  twelve  jars  of  drink,  very  costly  and  abundantly  spiced.8 
Moreover  it  will  be  announced  that  the  sheep  must  be  all 
black-faced,  or  of  some  other  particular  colour  as  it  may 
happen  ;  and  then  all  those  things  are  to  be  offered  in 
sacrifice  to  such  and  such  a  spirit  whose  name  is  given.9 
And  they  are  to  bring  so  many  conjurors,  and  so  many 
ladies,  and  the  business  is  to  be  done  with  a  great  singing  of 
lauds,  and  with  many  lights  and  store  of  good  perfumes. 
That  is  the  sort  of  answer  they  get  if  the  patient  is  to  get  well. 
And  then  the  kinsfolk  of  the  sick  man  go  and  procure  all 
that  has  been  commanded,  and  do  as  has  been  bidden,  and 
the  conjuror  who  had  uttered  all  that  gets  on  his  legs  again. 

So  they  fetch  the  sheep  of  the  colour  prescribed,  and 
slaughter  them,  and  sprinkle  the  blood  over  such  places  as 
have  been  enjoined,  in  honour  and  propitiation  of  the  spirit. 
And  the  conjurors  come,  and  the  ladies,  in  the  number 
that  was  ordered,  and  when  all  are  assembled  and  everything 
is  ready,  they  begin  to  dance  and  play  and  sing  in  honour 
of  the  spirit.  And  they  take  flesh-broth,  and  drink,  and 
lign-aloes,  and  a  great  number  of  lights,  and  go  about 
hither  and  thither,  scattering  the  broth  and  the  drink  and 
the  meat  also.  And  when  they  have  done  this  for  a  while, 
again  shall  one  of  the  conjurors  fall  flat  and  wallow  there 
foaming  at  the  mouth,  and  then  the  others  will  ask  if  he 
have  yet  pardoned  the  sick  man  ?  And  sometimes  he  shall 
answer  yes !  and  sometimes  he  shall  answer  no !  And  if 
the  answer  be  no,  they  shall  be  told  that  something  or  other 
has  to  be  done  all  over  again,  and  then  he  shall  be  pardoned  ; 
so  this  they  do.  And  when  all  that  the  spirit  has  com¬ 
manded  has  been  done  with  great  ceremony,  then  it  will  be 

Chap.  L. 



announced  that  the  man  is.  pardoned  and  shall  be  speedily 
cured.  So  when  they  at  length  receive  such  a  reply,  they 
announce  that  it  is  all  made  up  with  the  spirit,  and  that  he 
is  propitiated,  and  they  fall  to  eating  and  drinking  with 
great  joy  and  mirth,  and  he  who  had  been  lying  lifeless  on 
the  ground  gets  up  and  takes  his  share.  So  when  they  have 
all  eaten  and  drunken,  every  man  departs  home.  And  pre¬ 
sently  the  sick  man  gets  sound  and  well.10 

Now  that  I  have  told  you  of  the  customs  and  naughty 
ways  of  that  people,  we  will  have  done  talking  of  them  and 
their  province,  and  I  will  tell  you  about  others,  all  in 
regular  order  and  succession. 


Note  1. — Ramusio  says  that  both  men  and  women  use  this  gold  case. 
There  can  be  no  better  instance  of  the  accuracy  with  which  Polo  is 
generally  found  to  have  represented  Oriental  names,  when  we  recover  his 
real  representation  of  them,  than  this  name  Zardandan.  In  the  old 
Latin  editions  the  name  appeared  as  Ardandan ,  Arcladam ,  &c. ;  in 
Ramusio  as  Cardandan ,  correctly  enough,  only  the  first  letter  should 
have  been  printed  Q.  Marsden,  carrying  out  his  systematic  conversion 
of  the  Ramusian  spelling,  made  this  into  Kardandan ,  and  thus  the  name 
became  irrecognizable.  Klaproth,  I  believe,  first  showed  that  the  word 
was  simply  the  Persian  Zar-dandan  “Gold-Teeth,”  and  produced  quota¬ 
tions  from  Rashiduddin  mentioning  the  people  in  question  by  that 
identical  name.  Indeed  that  historian  mentions  them  several  times. 
Thus  :  “  North-west  of  China  is  the  frontier  of  Tibet,  and  of  the  Zar¬ 
dandan,  who  lie  between  Tibet  and  Karajang.  These  people  cover 
their  teeth  with  a  gold  case,  which  they  take  off  when  they  eat.”  They 
are  also  frequently  mentioned  in  the  Chinese  annals  about  this  period 
under  the  same  name,  viz.,  Kin-chi ,  “  Gold-Teeth,”  and  some  years  after 
Polo’s  departure  from  the  East  they  originated  a  revolt  against  the 
Mongol  yoke,  in  which  a  great  number  of  the  imperial  troops  were 
massacred.  (. Demailla ,  IX.  478-9.) 

Vochan  seems  undoubtedly  to  be,  as  Martini  pointed  out,  the  city 
called  by  the  Chinese  Yung-chang-fu.  Some  of  the  old  printed  editions 
read  Uriciam,  i.e.  Uncham  or  Unchan,  and  it  is  probable  that  either  this 
or  Vccian ,  i.e.  Vonchan  was  the  true  reading,  coming  very  close  to  the 
proper  name,  which  is  Wuntshen  (see  J.  A.  S.  B.  VI.  547).  This  city 
has  been  a  Chinese  one  for  several  centuries,  and  previous  to  the  late 
Mahomedan  revolt  its  population  was  almost  exclusively  Chinese,  with 
only  a  small  mixture  of  Shans.  It  is  now  noted  for  the  remarkable 
beauty  and  fairness  of  the  women.  But  it  is  mentioned  by  Chinese 



Book  II. 

authors  as  having  been  in  the  middle  ages  the  capital  of  the  Gold- 
Teeth.  These  people,  according  to  Martini,  dwelt  chiefly  to  the  north 
of  the  city.  They  used  to  go  to  worship  a  huge  stone,  ioo  feet  high,  at 
Nan-ngan,  and  to  cover  it  annually  with  gold-leaf.  Some  additional 
particulars  about  the  Kinchi,  in  the  time  of  the  Mongols,  will  be  found 
in  Pauthier’s  notes  (p.  398). 

It  has  not  been  determined  who  are  the  representatives  of  these 
Gold-Teeth,  who  were  evidently  distinct  from  the  Shans,  not  Buddhist, 
and  without  literature.  I  should  think  it  probable  that  they  were  either 
Kcikhyens  or  Singphos,  the  two  largest  tribes  apparently  in  that  quarter 
(and  closely  akin  to  each  other,  indeed  essentially  identical  in  race) ;  * 
probably  Singphos.  For  the  Kakhyens,  or  Kachyens  (as  I  observe 
Major  Sladen  calls  them),  are  probably  represented  by  the  Go-tchang  or 
Ho-tchang  of  Pauthier’s  extracts,  who  are  named  as  distinct  from 
the  Kinchi  (pp.  397,  41 1).  The  Singphos  have  now  extended  widely 
to  the  west  of  the  Upper  Irawadi  and  northward  into  Assam,  but  their 
traditions  bring  them  from  the  borders  of  Yunnan.  The  original  and  still 
most  populous  seat  of  the  Kakhyen  or  Singpho  race  is  pointed  out  by 
Col.  Hannay  in  the  Gulansigung  mountains  and  the  valley  of  the  eastern 
source  of  the  Irawadi.  This  agrees  with  Martini’s  indication  of  the  seat 
of  the  Kinchi  as  north  of  Yunchang.  One  of  Hannay’s  notices  of 
Singpho  customs  should  also  be  compared  with  the  interpolation  from 
Ramusio  about  tattooing :  “  The  men  tattoo  their  limbs  slightly,  and  all 
married  females  are  tattooed  on  both  legs  from  the  ankle  to  the  knee,  in 
broad  horizontal  circular  bands.  Both  sexes  also  wear  rings  below  the 
knee  of  fine  shreds  of  rattan  varnished  black  ”  (p.  18). 

The  only  other  wild  tribe  spoken  of  by  Major  Sladen  as  attending 
the  markets  on  the  frontier  is  that  of  the  Lisaus  (already  mentioned  by 
Lieut.  Gamier  supra ,  ch.  xlvii.  note  6).  The  latter  officer  also  mentions 
the  Mossos,  who  are  alleged  once  to  have  formed  an  independent 
kingdom  about  Likiangfu.  Possibly  further  knowledge  may  connect 
one  of  these  with  the  Gold-Teeth. 

The  characteristic  of  casing  the  teeth  in  gold  should  identify  the  tribe 
did  it  still  exist.  But  I  can  learn  nothing  of  the  continued  existence  of 
such  a  custom  among  any  tribe  of  the  Indo-Chinese  continent.  The  in¬ 
sertion  of  gold  studs  or  spots,  which  Biirck  confounds  with  it,  is  common 
enough  among  Indo-Chinese  races,  but  that  is  quite  a  different  thing. 
The  actual  practice  of  the  Zardandan  is  however  followed  by  some  of 
the  people  of  Sumatra,  as  both  Marsden  and  Raffles  testify :  “  The  great 

*  “  Singpho ,”  says  Colonel  Hannay,  “  signifies  in  the  Kakhyen  language  ‘  a  man,’ 
and  all  of  this  race  who  have  settled  in  Hookong  or  Assam  are  thus  designated  ;  the 
reason  of  their  change  of  name  I  could  not  ascertain,  but  so  much  importance  seems 
to  be  attached  to  it,  that  the  Singphos,  in  talking  of  their  eastern  and  southern 
neighbours,  call  them  Kakhyens  or  Kakoos,  and  consider  it  an  insult  to  be  called  so 
themselves.” — Sketch  of  the  Singphos ,  or  the  Kakhyens  of  Burma,  Calcutta,  1847, 
P-  3-4- 

Chap.  L. 



men  sometimes  set  their  teeth  in  gold,  by  casing  with  a  plate  of  that 
metal  the  under  row  ....  it  is  sometimes  indented  to  the  shape  of  the 
teeth,  but  more  usually  quite  plain.  They  do  not  remove  it  either  to 
eat  or  sleep.”  The  like  custom  is  mentioned  by  old  travellers  at  Macassar, 
and  with  the  substitution  of  silver  for  gold  by  a  modern  traveller  as 
existing  in  Timor ;  but  in  both,  probably,  it  was  a  practice  of  Malay 
tribes,  as  in  Sumatra.  (Marsderis  Sumatra,  3rd  ed.  p.  52  ;  Raffles’s  Java , 
I.  105  ;  Bickmords  I?id.  Archipelago .) 

Note  2. — This  is  precisely  the  account  which  Lt.  Gamier  gives  of  the 
people  of  Laos :  “  The  Laos  people  are  very  indolent,  and  when  they 
are  not  rich  enough  to  possess  slaves  they  make  over  to  their  women  the 
greatest  part  of  the  business  of  the  day ;  and  ’tis  these  latter  who  not 
only  do  all  the  work  of  the  house,  but  who  husk  the  rice,  work  in  the 
fields,  and  paddle  the  canoes.  Hunting  and  fishing  are  almost  the  only 
occupations  which  pertain  exclusively  to  the  stronger  sex.”  (. Notice  sur 
le  Voyage  d' Exploration,  & c.,  p.  34.) 

Note  3. — This  highly  eccentric  practice  has  been  ably  illustrated  and 
explained  by  Mr.  Tylor,  under  the  name  of  the  Couvade ,  or  “  Hatching,” 
by  which  it  is  known  in  some  of  the  Bearn  districts  of  the  Pyrenees,  in 
which  it  formerly  existed,  as  it  does  still  or  did  recently,  in  certain  parts 
of  Biscay.  “  In  certain  valleys  of  Biscay,”  says  Francisque-Michel,  “in 
which  the  popular  usages  carry  us  back  to  the  infancy  of  society, 
the  woman  immediately  after  her  delivery  gets  up  and  attends  to  the 
cares  of  the  household,  whilst  the  husband  takes  to  bed  with  the 
tender  fledgeling  in  his  arms,  and  so  receives  the  compliments  of  his 

The  nearest  people  to  the  Zardandan  of  whom  I  find  this  custom 
elsewhere  recorded,  is  one  called  Langszi ,  a  small  tribe  of  aborigines  in  the 
department  of  Weining,  in  Kweichau,  but  close  to  the  border  of  Yunnan  : 
“Their  manners  and  customs  are  very  extraordinary.  For  example, 
when  the  wife  has  given  birth  to  a  child,  the  husband  remains  in  the 
house  and  holds  it  in  his  arms  for  a  whole  month,  not  once  going  out  of 
doors.  The  wife  in  the  mean  time  does  all  the  work  in  doors  and  out, 
and  provides  and  serves  up  both  the  food  and  drink  for  the  husband,  she 
only  giving  suck  to  the  child.”  I  am  informed  also  that,  among  the 
Miris  on  the  Upper  Assam  border,  the  husband  on  such  occasions 
confines  himself  strictly  to  the  house  for  forty  days  after  the  event. 

The  custom  of  the  Couvade  has  been  found  among  the  Carib  aborigines 
of  the  West  Indies,  among  the  Abipones  of  Central  South  America,  among 
the  aborigines  of  California,  among  some  of  the  tribes  of  Guiana,  in  West 
Africa,  in  the  Island  of  Bouro  in  the  Indian  Archipelago,  &c.  According 
to  Diodorus  it  prevailed  in  ancient  Corsica,  according  to  Strabo  among 
the  Iberians  of  Northern  Spain  (where  we  have  seen  it  has  lingered  to 
recent  times),  according  to  Apollonius  Rhodius  among  the  Tibareni  of 
Pontus.  Modified  traces  of  a  like  practice,  not  carried  to  the  same 



Book  II. 

extent  of  oddity,  are  also  found  in  a  variety  of  countries  besides  those 
that  have  been  named,  as  in  Borneo,  in  Kamtchatka,  and  in  Greenland. 
In  nearly  all  cases  some  particular  diet,  or  abstinence  from  certain  kinds 
of  food  and  drink,  and  from  exertion,  is  prescribed  to  the  father ;  in  some, 
more  positive  and  trying  penances  are  inflicted. 

Butler  had  no  doubt  our  Traveller’s  story  in  his  head  when  he 
made  the  widow  in  Hudibras  allude  in  a  ribald  speech  to  the  supposed 
fact  that 

-  “  Chineses  go  to  bed 

And  lie  in,  in  their  ladies’  stead.” 

The  custom  is  humorously  introduced,  as  Pauthier  has  noticed,  in 
the  Medieval  Fabliau  of  Aucasin  and  Nicolete.  Aucasin  arriving  at  the 
castle  of  Torelore  asks  for  the  king  and  is  told  he  is  in  child-bed.  Where 
then  is  his  wife  ?  She  is  gone  to  the  wars  and  has  taken  all  the  people 
with  her.  Aucasin,  greatly  astonished,  enters  the  palace  and  wanders 
through  it  till  he  comes  to  the  chamber  where  the  king  lay 

“  En  le  canbre  entre  Aucasins 
Li  cortois  et  li  gentis  ; 

II  est  venus  dusqu’au  lit 
Alec  u  li  Rois  se  gist. 

Pardevant  lui  s’arestit 
Si  parla,  Oes  que  dist ; 

Diva  fau,  que  fais-tu  ci  ? 

Dist  le  Rois,  Je  gis  d’un  fil, 

Quant  mes  mois  sera  complis* 

Et  ge  serai  bien  garis, 

Dont  irai  le  messe  oi'r 
Si  comme  mes  ancessor  fist,”  &c. 

Aucasin  pulls  all  the  clothes  off  him,  and  cudgels  him  soundly,  making 
him  promise  that  never  a  man  shall  lie  in  again  in  his  country. 

This  strange  custom,  if  it  were  unique,  would  look  like  a  coarse  prac¬ 
tical  joke,  but  appearing  as  it  does  among  so  many  different  races  and 
in  every  quarter  of  the  world,  it  must  have  its  root  somewhere  deep  in 
the  psychology  of  the  uncivilized  man.  It  would  be  difficult  to  abridge 
Mr.  Tylor’s  interesting  remarks  on  the  rationale  of  the  custom ;  but  we 
may  say  briefly  that  he  traces  it  to  two  distinct  sentiments  found  to 
prevail  among  various  savage  nations  :  one,  that  which  assigns  the 
parentage  entirely  to  the  father,  leaving  the  mother  out  of  the  question ; 
the  other,  the  belief  “  that  the  connexion  between  father  and  child  is  not 
only,  as  we  think,  a  mere  relation  of  parentage,  affection,  duty,  but  that 
their  very  bodies  are  joined  by  a  physical  bond,  so  that  what  is  done 
to  the  one  acts  directly  upon  the  other.” 

(Tylor,  Researches  into  the  Early  History  of  Mankind,  288-296; 
Michel,  Le  Pays  Basque,  p.  201;  Sketches  of  the  Meau-tsze ,  transl.  by 
Dr.  Bridgman  in  J.  of  North  China  Br.  of  R.  As.  Soc.,  p.  277  ;  MS. 
Notes  by  Major  Sladen ;  LIudibras,  Pt.  III.,  canto  I.  707  ;  Fabliaus 

Chap.  L. 



et  Contes  par  Barbazan ,  ed.  Meon,  I.  408-9 ;  also  Legrand  d’ A  ussy,  III. 
App.  p.  21  seqq. ;  many  other  references  in  Tylor). 

Note  4. — “  The  abundance  of  gold  in  Yunnan  is  proverbial  in  China, 
so  that  if  a  man  lives  very  extravagantly  they  ask  if  his  father  is  governor 
of  Yunnan.”  [Martini,  p.  140.) 

Polo  has  told  us  that  in  Eastern  Yunnan  the  exchange  was  8  of  silver 
for  one  of  gold  (chap,  xlviii.),  that  in  the  Western  division  of  the  province 
it  was  6  of  silver  for  one  of  gold  (chap,  xlix.),  and  now  still  nearer  the 
borders  of  Ava  it  was  only  5  of  silver  for  one  of  gold.  Such  discrepancies 
within  15  days’  journey  would  be  inconceivable,  but  that  in  both  the 
latter  instances  at  least  he  appears  to  speak  of  the  rates  at  which  the 
gold  was  purchased  from  secluded,  ignorant,  and  uncivilized  tribes.  It  is 
difficult  to  reconcile  with  other  facts  the  reason  which  he  assigns  for  the 
high  value  put  on  silver  at  Vochan,  viz.,  that  there  was  no  silver- 
mine  within  five  months’  journey.  In  later  days  at  least  Martini  speaks 
of  many  silver-mines  in  Yunnan,  and  the  “  Great  Silver  Mine  ”  ( Bau-dwen 
Gyi  of  the  Burmese)  or  group  of  mines,  which  affords  a  chief  supply  to 
Burma  in  modern  times,  is  not  far  from  the  territory  of  our  Traveller’s 

In  another  work  I  have  remarked  at  some  length  on  the  relative 
values  of  gold  and  silver  about  this  time.  In  Western  Europe  these  seem 
to  have  been  as  12  to  1,  and  I  have  shewn  grounds  for  believing  that  in 
India,  and  generally  over  civilized  Asia,  the  ratio  was  10  to  1.  In  Pauthier’s 
extracts  from  the  Yuen-sse  or  Annals  of  the  Mongol  Dynasty  there 
is  an  incidental  but  precise  confirmation  of  this,  of  which  I  was  not  then 
aware.  This  states  (p.  321)  that  on  the  issue  of  the  paper  currency  of 
1287  the  official  instructions  to  the  local  treasuries  were  to  issue  notes  of 
the  nominal  value  of  two  strings,  i.e.,  2000  wen  or  cash,  for  every  ounce 
of  flowered  silver,  and  20,000  cash  for  every  ounce  of  gold.  10  to  1 
must  have  continued  to  be  the  relation  in  China  down  to  about  the  end 
of  the  17  th  century  if  we  may  believe  Lecomte ;  but  when  Milbume 
states  the  same  value  in  the  beginning  of  the  19th  he  must  have  fallen 
into  some  great  error.  In  1781  Sonnerat  tells  us  that  formerly  gold  had 
been  exported  from  China  with  a  profit  of  25  per  cent.,  but  at  that  time 
a  profit  of  18  to  20  per  cent,  was  made  by  importing  it.  At  present  the 
relative  values  are  about  the  same  as  in  Europe,  viz.,  1  to  15  J  or  1  to  16; 
but  in  Canton,  in  1844,  they  were  1  to  17;  and  Timkowski  states  that 
at  Pekin  in  1821  the  finest  gold  was  valued  as  at  18  to  1.  And  as 
regards  the  precise  territory  of  which  this  chapter  speaks  I  find  in  Lt. 
Bower’s  Commercial  Report  on  Sladen’s  Mission  that  the  price  of  pure 
gold  at  Momien  in  1868  was  13  times  its  weight  in  silver  (p.  122). 

Does  not  Shakespere  indicate  at  least  a  memory  of  10  to  1  as  the 
traditional  relation  of  gold  to  silver  when  he  makes  the  Prince  of  Morocco, 
balancing  over  Portia’s  caskets,  argue  : — 

VOL.  ir. 




Book  II. 

“  Or  shall  I  think  in  silver  she’s  immured, 

Being  ten  times  undervalued  to  tried  gold  ? 

O  sinful  thought !  ” 

In  Japan,  at  the  time  trade  was  opened,  we  know  from  Sir  R.  Alcock’s 
work  the  extraordinary  fact  that  the  proportionate  value  set  upon  gold 
and  silver  currency  by  authority  was  as  3  to  1. 

(Cathay,  & c.,  p.  ccl.  and  p.  442;  Lecomte ,  II.  91;  Milburne's 
Oriental  Commerce ,  II.  510;  Sonnerat ,  II.  17  ;  Hedde ,  Etude  Pratique, 
&c. ,  p.  14;  Williams ,  Chinese  Commercial  Guide ,  p.  129;  Timkowski, 
II.  202  ;  Alcock ,  I.  281,  II.  41 1,  & c.) 

Note  5. — Mr.  Lay  cites  from  a  Chinese  authority  a  notice  of  a  tribe 
of  “Western  Miautsze,”  who  “in  the  middle  of  autumn  sacrifice  to  the 
Great  Ancestor  or  Founder  of  their  Race.”  ( The  Chinese  as  they  are, 
P-  321-) 

Note  6. — “Whereas  before,”  says  Jack  Cade  to  Lord  Say,  “our 
forefathers  had  no  books  but  score  and  tally,  thou  hast  caused  printing 
to  be  used.”  The  use  of  such  tallies  for  the  record  of  contracts  among 
the  aboriginal  tribes  of  Kweichau  is  mentioned  by  Chinese  authorities, 
and  the  French  missionaries  of  Bonga  speak  of  the  same  as  in  use  among 
the  simple  tribes  in  that  vicinity.  But,  as  Marsden  notes,  the  use  of  such 
rude  records  was  to  be  found  in  his  day  in  higher  places  and  much 
nearer  home.  They  continued  to  be  employed  as  records  of  receipts  in 
the  British  Exchequer  till  1834,  “and  it  is  worthy  of  recollection  that 
the  fire  by  which  the  Houses  of  Parliament  were  destroyed  was  supposed 
to  have  originated  in  the  over-heating  of  the  flues  in  which  the  discarded 
tallies  were  being  burnt.”  I  remember  often  to  have  seen,  when  a  child, 
the  tallies  of  the  colliers  in  Scotland,  and  possibly  among  that  class  they 
may  survive.  They  appear  to  be  still  used  by  bakers  in  various  parts  of 
England  and  France,  in  the  Canterbury  hop-gardens,  and  locally  in  some 
other  trades.  ( Martini ,  135  ;  Bridgman ,  259,  262  ;  Eng.  Cyclop.,  sub  v. 
Tally ;  Notes  and  Queries ,  1st  ser.  X.  485.) 

“  In  illustration  of  this  custom  I  have  to  relate  what  follows.  In  the 
year  1863  the  Tsaubwa  (or  Prince)  of  a  Shan  Province  adjoining  Yunnan 
was  in  rebellion  against  the  Burmese  Government.  He  wished  to  enter 
into  communication  with  the  British  Government.  He  sent  a  messenger  to 
a  British  Officer  with  a  letter  tendering  his  allegiance,  and  accompanying 
this  letter  was  a  piece  of  bamboo  about  five  inches  long.  This  had  been 
split  down  the  middle,  so  that  the  two  pieces  fitted  closely  together, 
forming  a  tube  in  the  original  shape  of  the  bamboo.  A  notch  at  one 
end  included  the  edges  of  both  pieces,  showing  that  they  were  a  pair. 
The  messenger  said  that  if  the  reply  were  favourable  one  of  the  pieces 
was  to  be  returned  and  the  other  kept.  I  need  hardly  say  the  messenger 
received  no  written  reply,  and  both  pieces  of  bamboo  were  retained.” 
(MS.  note  by  Sir  Arthur  Phayre.) 

Note  7. — Compare  Mr.  Hodgson’s  account  of  the  sub-Himalayan 

Chap.  L. 


6 1 

Bodos  and  Dhimals  :  “  All  diseases  are  ascribed  to  supernatural  agency. 
The  sick  man  is  supposed  to  be  possessed  by  one  of  the  deities,  who 
racks  him  with  pain  as  a  punishment  for  impiety  or  neglect  of  the  god 
in  question.  Hence  not  the  mediciner,  but  the  exorcist,  is  summoned 
to  the  sick  man’s  aid.”  (J.  A.  S.  B.,  XVIII.  728.) 

Note  8. — Mr.  Hodgson  again:  “Libations  of  fermented  liquor 
always  accompany  sacrifice — because ,  to  confess  the  whole  truth,  sacrifice 
and  feast  are  commutable  words,  and  feasts  need  to  be  crowned  with 
copious  potations.”  (Ibid.) 

Note  9. — And  again  :  “The  god  in  question  is  asked  what  sacrifice 
ne  requires  ?  a  buffalo,  a  hog,  a  fowl,  or  a  duck,  to  spare  the  sufferer ; 

.  .  .  .  anxious  as  I  am  fully  to  illustrate  the  topic,  I  will  not  try  the 
patience  of  my  readers  by  describing  all  that  vast  variety  of  black  victims 
and  white,  of  red  victims  and  blue,  which  each  particular  deity  is  alleged 
to  prefer.”  (Ibid,  and  p.  732.) 

Note  10. — The  same  system  of  devil-dancing  is  prevalent  among 
the  tribes  on  the  Lu-Kiang,  as  described  by  the  R.  C.  Missionaries.  The 
conjurors  are  there  called  Mumos.  (An.  de  la  Foi ,  XXXVI.  323,  and 
XXXVII.  312-13.) 

“  Marco’s  account  of  the  exorcism  of  evil  spirits  in  cases  of  obstinate 
illness  exactly  resembles  what  is  done  in  similar  cases  by  the  Burmese, 
except  that  I  never  saw  animals  sacrificed  on  such  occasions.”  (Sir  A. 

Mouhot  says  of  the  wild  people  of  Cambodia  called  Stiens :  “  When 
any  one  is  ill  they  say  that  the  Evil  Spirit  torments  him ;  and  to  deliver 
him  they  set  up  about  the  patient  a  dreadful  din  which  does  not  cease 
night  or  day,  until  some  one  among  the  bystanders  falls  down  as  if  in  a 
syncope,  crying  out,  1 1  have  him, — he  is  in  me, — he  is  strangling  me!’ 
Then  they  question  the  person  who  has  thus  become  possessed.  They 
ask  him  what  remedies  will  save  the  patient ;  what  remedies  does  the 
Evil  Spirit  require  that  he  may  give  up  his  prey  ?  Sometimes  it  is 
an  ox  or  a  pig;  but  too  often  it  is  a  human  victim.”  (J.  R.  G.  S 
XXXII.  147.) 

I11  fact  these  strange  rites  of  Shamanism,  devil-dancing,  or  what  not, 
are  found  with  wonderful  identity  of  character  among  the  non-Aryan  races 
over  parts  of  the  earth  most  remote  from  one  another,  not  only  among 
the  vast  variety  of  Indo-Chinese  Tribes,  but  among  the  Tamulian  tribes 
of  India,  the  Veddahs  of  Ceylon,  the  races  of  Siberia,  and  the  red  nations 
of  North  and  South  America.  Hinduism  has  assimilated  these  “prior 
superstitions  of  the  sons  of  Tur”  as  Mr.  Hodgson  calls  them,  in  the 
form  of  Tantrika  mysteries,  whilst,  in  the  wild  performance  of  the 
Dancing  Dervishes  at  Constantinople,  we  see  perhaps  again  the  infec¬ 
tion  of  Turanian  blood  breaking  out  from  the  very  heart  of  Musulman 

Dr.  Caldwell  has  given  a  striking  account  of  the  practice  of  devil- 

F  2 



Book  II. 

dancing  among  the  Shanars  of  Tinnevelly,  which  forms  a  perfect  parallel 
in  modern  language  to  our  Traveller’s  description  of  a  scene  of  which  he 
also  had  manifestly  been  an  eye-witness :  “  When  the  preparations  are 
completed  and  the  devil-dance  is  about  to  commence,  the  music  is  at  first 
comparatively  slow;  the  dancer  seems  impassive  and  sullen,  and  he 
either  stands  still  or  moves  about  in  gloomy  silence.  Gradually,  as  the 
music  becomes  quicker  and  louder,  his  excitement  begins  to  rise.  Some¬ 
times,  to  help  him  to  work  himself  up  into  a  frenzy  he  uses  medicated 
draughts,  cuts  and  lacerates  himself  till  the  blood  flows,  lashes  himsdf 
with  a  huge  whip,  presses  a  burning  torch  to  his  breast,  drinks  the  blood 
which  flows  from  his  own  wounds,  or  drains  the  blood  of  the  sacrifice, 
putting  the  throat-of  the  decapitated  goat  to  his  mouth.  Then,  as  if  he 
had  acquired  new  life,  he  begins  to  brandish  his  staff  of  bells,  and  to 
dance  with  a  quick  but  wild  unsteady  step.  Suddenly  the  afflatus 
descends ;  there  is  no  mistaking  that  glare,  or  those  frantic  leaps.  He 
snorts,  he  stares,  he  gyrates.  The  demon  has  now  taken  bodily  posses¬ 
sion  of  him,  and  though  he  retains  the  power  of  utterance  and  motion, 
both  are  under  the  demon’s  control,  and  his  separate  consciousness  is  in 
abeyance.  The  bystanders  signalise  the  event  by  raising  a  long  shout, 
attended  with  a  peculiar  vibratory  noise,  caused  by  the  motion  of  the 
hand  and  tongue,  or  the  tongue  alone.  The  devil-dancer  is  now 
worshipped  as  a  present  deity,  and  every  bystander  consults  him  respect¬ 
ing  his  diseases,  his  wants,  the  welfare  of  his  absent  relatives,  the  offerings 
to  be  made  for  the  accomplishment  of  his  wishes,  and  in  short  everything 
for  which  superhuman  knowledge  is  supposed  to  be  available.”  (Hodgson, 
J.  R.  As.  Soc.  XVIII.  397  ;  The  Tinnevelly  Shanars ,  by  the  Rev .  R. 
Caldwell \  B.A. ,  Madras,  1849,  p.  19-20.) 


Wherein  is  related  how  the  King  of  Mien  and  Bangala 


But  I  was  forgetting  to  tell  you  of  a  famous  battle  that 
was  fought  in  the  kingdom  of  Vochan  in  the  Province  of 
Zardandan,  and  that  ought  not  to  be  omitted  from  our 
Book.  So  we  will  relate  all  the  particulars. 

You  see,  in  the  year  of  Christ,  1272/  the  Great  Kaan 
sent  a  large  force  into  the  kingdoms  of  Carajan  and  Vochan, 
to  protect  them  from  the  ravages  of  ill-disposed  people  ; 

Chap.  LI. 



and  this  was  before  he  had  sent  any  of  his  sons  to  rule  the 
country,  as  he  did  afterwards  when  he  made  Sentemur  king 
there,  the  son  of  a  son  of  his  who  was  deceased. 

Now  there  was  a  certain  king  called  the  king  of  Mien 
and  of  Bangala, who  was  a  very  puissant  prince,  with  much 
territory  and  treasure  and  people  ;  and  he  was  not  as  yet 
subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  though  it  was  not  long  after 
that  the  latter  conquered  him  and  took  from  him  both  the 
kingdoms  that  I  have  named.2  And  it  came  to  pass  that 
when  this  king  of  Mien  and  Bangala  heard  that  the  host  of 
the  Great  Kaan  was  at  Vochan,  he  said  to  himself  that  it 
behoved  him  to  go  against  them  with  so  great  a  force  as 
should  insure  his  cutting  off  the  whole  of  them,  insomuch 
that  the  Great  Kaan  would  be  very  sorry  ever  to  send  an 
army  again  thither  [to  his  frontier]. 

So  this  king  prepared  a  great  force  and  munitions  of  war  ; 
and  he  had,  let  me  tell  you,  2000  great  elephants,  on  each 
of  which  was  set  a  tower  of  timber,  well  framed  and  strong, 
and  carrying  from  twelve  to  sixteen  well-armed  fighting- 
mend  And  besides  these,  he  had  of  horsemen  and  of  foot¬ 
men  good  60,000  men.  In  short  he  equipped  a  fine  force, 
as  well  befitted  such  a  puissant  prince.  It  was  indeed  a 
force  capable  of  doing  great  things. 

And  what  shall  I  tell  you?  When  the  king  had  com¬ 
pleted  these  great  preparations  to  fight  the  Tartars,  he 
tarried  not,  but  straightway  marched  against  them.  And 
after  advancing  without  meeting  with  anything  worth 
mentioning,  they  arrived  within  three  days  of  the  Great 
Kaan’s  host,  which  was  then  at  Vochan,  in  the  territory  of 
Zardandan,  of  which  I  have  already  spoken.  So  there  the 
king  pitched  his  camp,  and  halted  to  refresh  his  army. 

Note  1. — This  date  is  no  doubt  corrupt.  See  note  2,  chap.  lii. 

Note  2. — Mien  is  the  name  by  which  the  kingdom  of  Burma  or  Ava 
was  and  is  known  to  the  Chinese.  M.  Gamier  informs  me  that  Mien- 
Kwe  or  Mien-tisong  is  the  name  always  given  in  Yunnan  to  that  kingdom, 



Book  II. 

whilst  the  Shans  at  Kiang  Hung  call  the  Burmese  Man  (pronounced 
like  the  English  word). 

The  title  given  to  the  sovereign  in  question  of  king  of  Bengal,  as 
well  as  of  Mien,  is  very  remarkable.  We  shall  see  reason  hereafter  to 
conceive  that  Polo  did  more  or  less  confound  Bengal  with  Pegu ,  which  was 
subject  to  the  Burmese  monarchy  up  to  the  time  of  the  Mongol  invasion. 
But  apart  from  any  such  misapprehension,  there  is  not  only  evidence 
of  rather  close  relations  between  Burma  and  Gangetic  India  in  the  ages 
immediately  preceding  that  of  our  author,  but  also  some  ground  for 
believing  that  he  may  be  right  in  his  representation,  and  that  the  king  of 
Burma  may  have  at  this  time  arrogated  the  title  of  “  king  of  Bengal  ” 
which  is  attributed  to  him  in  the  text. 

Anaurahta,  one  of  the  most  powerful  kings  in  Burmese  history  (1017- 
1059)  extended  his  conquests  to  the  frontiers  of  India,  and  is  stated 
to  have  set  up  images  within  that  country.  Pie  also  married  an  Indian 
princess,  the  daughter  of  the  king  of  Wethali  (i.e.  Vai$ali  in  Tirhut). 

There  is  also  in  the  Burmese  Chronicle  a  somewhat  confused  story 
regarding  a  succeeding  king,  Kyan-tsittha  (a.d.  1064),  who  desired 
to  marry  his  daughter  to  the  son  of  the  king  of  Patteik-Kard ,  a  part 
of  Bengal.*  The  marriage  was  objected  to  by  the  Burmese  nobles,  but 
the  princess  was  already  with  child  by  the  Bengal  prince ;  and  their  son 
eventually  succeeded  to  the  Burmese  throne  under  the  name  of  Alaung- 
tsi-thu.  When  king  he  travelled  all  over  his  dominions,  and  visited  the 
images  which  Anaurahta  had  set  up  in  India.  He  also  maintained 
intercourse  with  the  king  of  Patteik-Kara  and  married  his  daughter. 
Alaungtsi-thu  is  stated  to  have  lived  to  the  age  of  101  years,  and  to  have 
reigned  75.  Even  then  his  death  was  hastened  by  his  son  Narathu,  who 
smothered  him  in  the  temple  called  Shwe-Ku  (“  Golden  Cave  ”),  at 
Pagan,  and  also  put  to  death  his  Bengali  step-mother.  The  father  of  the 
latter  sent  eight  brave  men  disguised  as  Brahmans,  to  avenge  his 
daughter’s  death.  Having  got  access  to  the  royal  presence  through 
their  sacred  character,  they  slew  king  Narathu  and  then  themselves. 
Hence  king  Narathu  is  known  in  the  Burmese  history,  as  the  Kald-Kya 
Meng i  or  “  King  slain  by  the  Hindus.”  He  was  building  the  great 
Temple  at  Pagan  called  Dhammayangyi ,  at  the  time  of  his  death,  which 
occurred  about  the  year  1171.  The  great  grandson  of  this  king  was 
Narathihapade  (presumably  Narasingha  Pati )  the  king  reigning  at  the 
time  of  the  Mongol  invasion. 

All  these  circumstances  shew  tolerably  close  relations  between  Burma 
and  Bengal,  and  also  that  the  dynasty  then  reigning  in  Burma  was  descended 

*  Sir  A.  Phayre  thinks  this  may  have  been  Vikramptir ,  for  some  time  the  capital 
of  Eastern  Bengal  before  the  Mahomedan  conquest.  Vikrampur  was  some  miles  east 
of  Dacca,  and  the  dynasty  in  question  was  that  called  Vaidya  (see  Lassen ,  III.  749)* 
Patteik-Kard  is  apparently  an  attempt  to  represent  some  Hindi  name  such  as  Patthar- 
garh,  “  The  Stone-Fort.” 

Chap.  LI. 



from  a  Bengal  stock.  Sir  Arthur  Phayre,  after  noting  these  points  re¬ 
marks  :  “  From  all  these  circumstances,  and  from  the  conquests  attributed 
to  Anaurahta,  it  is  very  probable  that,  after  the  conquest  of  Bengal  by 
the  Mahomedans  in  the  13th  century,  the  kings  of  Burma  would  assume 
the  title  of  Kings  of  Bengal.  This  is  nowhere  expressly  stated  in  the 
Burmese  history,  but  the  course  of  events  renders  it  very  probable. 
We  know  that  the  claim  to  Bengal  was  asserted  by  the  kings  of  Burma  in 
long  after  years.  In  the  Journal  of  the  Marquis  of  Hastings,  under  the 
date  of  Sept.  6th,  1818,  is  the  following  passage :  ‘  The  king  of  Burma 
favoured  us  early  this  year  with  the  obliging  requisition  that  we  should 
cede  to  him  Moorshedabad  and  the  provinces  to  the  east  of  it,  which  he 
deigned  to  say  were  all  natural  dependencies  of  his  throne.’  And  at  the 
time  of  the  disputes  on  the  frontier  of  Arakan,  in  1823-24,  which  led 
to  the  war  of  the  two  following  years,  the  Governor  of  Arakan  made 
a  similar  demand.  We  may  therefore  reasonably  conclude  that  at  the 
close  of  the  13th  century  of  the  Christian  era  the  kings  of  Pagan  called 
themselves  kings  of  Burma  and  of  Bengala.”  (MS.  Note  by  Sir  Arthur 
Phayre;  see  also  his  paper  in  J.  A.  S.  B .,  vol.  XXXVII.  part  I.) 

Note  3. — It  is  very  difficult  to  know  what  to  make  of  the  repeated 
assertions  of  old  writers  as  to  the  numbers  of  men  carried  by  war- 
elephants,  or,  if  we  could  admit  those  numbers,  to  conceive  how  the 
animal  could  have  carried  the  enormous  structure  necessary  to  give  them 
space  to  use  their  weapons.  The  Third  Book  of  Maccabees  is  the  most 
astounding  in  this  way,  alleging  that  a  single  elephant  carried  32  stout 
men,  besides  the  Indian  Mahaut.  Bochart  indeed  supposes  the  number 
here  to  be  a  clerical  error  for  12,  but  even  this  would  be  extravagant. 
Friar  Jordanus  is  no  doubt  building  on  the  Maccabees  rather  than  on  his 
own  oriental  experience  when  he  says  that  the  elephant  “  carrieth  easily 
more  than  30  men.”  Philostratus,  in  his  Life  of  Apollonius,  speaks  of 
10  to  15  ;  Ibn  Batuta  of  about  20  ;  and  a  great  elephant  sent  by  Timur 
to  the  Sultan  of  Egypt  is  said  to  have  carried  20  drummers.  Christopher 
Barri  says  that  in  Cochin  China  the  elephant  did  ordinarily  carry  13  or 
14  persons,  6  on  each  side  in  two  tiers  of  3  each,  and  2  behind.  On 
the  other  hand,  among  the  ancients,  Strabo  and  Aelian  speak  of  three 
soldiers  only  in  addition  to  the  driver,  and  Livy,  describing  the  Battle  of 
Magnesia,  of  four.  These  last  are  reasonable  statements. 

( Bochart ,  Hierozoicon ,  ed.  3rd,  p.  266 ;  ford.,  p.  26 ;  Philost.  trad, 
par  A.  Chassaing,  liv.  II.  c.  ii. ;  Ibn.  Bat.  II.  223  ;  N.  and  E.  XIV.  510 ; 
Cochin  China,  &c.,  London,  1 633,  ed.  3  ;  Armandi,  Hist.  Militaire  des 
Elephants,  259  seqq.,  442.) 



Book  II. 


Of  the  Battle  that  was  fought  by  the  Great  Kaan’s  Host 
and  his  Seneschal,  against  the  King  of  Mien. 

And  when  the  Captain  of  the  Tartar  host  had  certain  news 
that  the  king  aforesaid  was  coming  against  him  with  so 
great  a  force,  he  waxed  uneasy,  seeing  that  he  had  with  him 
but  12,000  horsemen.  Natheless  he  was  a  most  valiant 
and  able  soldier,  of  great  experience  in  arms  and  an  excellent 
Captain ;  and  his  name  was  Nescradin.1  His  troops  too 
were  very  good,  and  he  gave  them  very  particular  orders  and 
cautions  how  to  act,  and  took  every  measure  for  his  own 
defence  and  that  of  his  army.  And  why  should  I  make 
a  long  story  of  it  ?  The  whole  force  of  the  Tartars,  con¬ 
sisting  of  1 2,000  well-mounted  horsemen,  advanced  to 
receive  the  enemy  in  the  Plain  of  Vochan,  and  there  they 
waited  to  give  them  battle.  And  this  they  did  through  the 
good  judgment  of  the  excellent  Captain  who  led  them  ;  for 
hard  by  that  plain  was  a  great  wood,  thick  with  trees.  And 
so  there  in  the  plain  the  Tartars  awaited  their  foe.  Let 
us  then  leave  discoursing  of  them  a  while ;  we  shall  come 
back  to  them  presently ;  but  meanwhile  let  us  speak  of 
the  enemy. 

After  the  King  of  Mien  had  halted  long  enough  to 
refresh  his  troops,  he  resumed  his  march,  and  came  to  the 
Plain  of  Vochan,  where  the  Tartars  were  already  in  order  of 
battle.  And  when  the  king’s  army  had  arrived  in  the 
plain,  and  was  within  a  mile  of  the  enemy,  he  caused  all 
the  castles  that  were  on  the  elephants  to  be  ordered  for 
battle,  and  the  fighting-men  to  take  up  their  posts  on  them, 
and  he  arrayed  his  horse  and  his  foot  with  all  skill,  like 
a  wise  king  as  he  was.  And  when  he  had  completed  all  his 
arrangements  he  began  to  advance  to  engage  the  enemy. 
The  Tartars,  seeing  the  foe  advance,  showed  no  dismay,  but 
came  on  likewise  with  good  order  and  discipline  to  meet 

Chap.  LI  I. 



them.  And  when  they  were  near  and  nought  remained  but 
to  begin  the  fight,  the  horses  of  the  Tartars  took  such 
fright  at  the  sight  of  the  elephants  that  they  could  not  be 
got  to  face  the  foe,  but  always  swerved  and  turned  back ; 
whilst  all  the  time  the  king  and  his  forces,  and  all  his 
elephants,  continued  to  advance  upon  them. 

And  when  the  Tartars  perceived  how  the  case  stood,  they 
were  in  great  wrath,  and  wist  not  what  to  say  or  do  ;  for 
well  enough  they  saw  that  unless  they  could  get  their  horses 
to  advance,  all  would  be  lost.  But  their  Captain  acted  like 
a  wise  leader  who  had  considered  everything  beforehand. 
He  immediately  gave  orders  that  every  man  should  dismount 
and  tie  his  horse  to  the  trees  of  the  forest  that  stood  hard 
by,  and  that  then  they  should  take  to  their  bows,  a  weapon 
that  they  know  how  to  handle  better  than  any  troops  in  the 
world.  They  did  as  he  bade  them,  and  plied  their  bows 
stoutly,  shooting  so  many  shafts  at  the  advancing  elephants 
that  in  a  short  space  they  had  wounded  or  slain  the  greater 
part  of  them  as  well  as  of  the  men  they  carried.  The 
enemy  also  shot  at  the  Tartars,  but  the  Tartars  had  the 
better  weapons,  and  were  the  better  archers  to  boot. 

And  what  shall  I  tell  you  ?  Understand  that  when  the 
elephants  felt  the  smart  of  those  arrows  that  pelted  them 
like  rain,  they  turned  tail  and  fled,  and  nothing  on  earth 
would  have  induced  them  to  turn  and  face  the  Tartars.  So 
off  they  sped  with  such  a  noise  and  uproar  that  you  would 
have  trowed  the  world  was  coming  to  an  end !  And  then 
too  they  plunged  into  the  wood  and  rushed  this  way  and 
that,  dashing  their  castles  against  the  trees,  bursting  their 
harness  and  smashing  and  destroying  everything  that  was 
on  them. 

So  when  the  Tartars  saw  that  the  elephants  had  turned 
tail  and  could  not  be  brought  to  face  the  light  again,  they 
got  to  horse  at  once  and  charged  the  enemy.  And  then  the 
battle  began  to  rage  furiously  with  sword  and  mace.  Right 
fiercely  did  the  two  hosts  rush  together,  and  deadly  were 



Book  II. 

the  blows  exchanged.  The  king’s  troops  were  far  more  in 
number  than  the  Tartars,  but  they  were  not  of  such  quality, 
nor  so  inured  to  war ;  otherwise  the  Tartars  who  were 
so  few  in  number  could  never  have  stood  against  them. 
Then  might  you  see  swashing  blows  dealt  and  taken  from 
sword  and  mace ;  then  might  you  see  knights  and  horses 
and  men-at-arms  go  down  ;  then  might  you  see  arms  and 
hands  and  legs  and  heads  hewn  off :  and  besides  the  dead 
that  fell,  many  a  wounded  man,  that  never  rose  again,  for 
the  sore  press  there  was.  The  din  and  uproar  were  so  great 
from  this  side  and  from  that,  that  God  might  have  thundered 
and  no  man  would  have  heard  it !  Great  was  the  medley, 
and  dire  and  parlous  was  the  fight  that  was  fought  on  both 
sides  ;  but  the  Tartars  had  the  best  of  it.2 

In  an  ill  hour  indeed,  for  the  king  and  his  people,  was 
that  battle  begun,  so  many  of  them  were  slain  therein.  And 
when  they  had  continued  fighting  till  midday  the  king’s 
troops  could  stand  against  the  Tartars  no  longer ;  but  felt 
that  they  were  defeated,  and  turned  and  fled.  And  when 
the  Tartars  saw  them  routed  they  gave  chase,  and  hacked 
and  slew  so  mercilessly  that  it  was  a  piteous  sight  to  see. 
But  after  pursuing  a  while  they  gave  up,  and  returned 
to  the  wood  to  catch  the  elephants  that  had  run  away,  and 
to  manage  this  they  had  to  cut  down  great  trees  to  bar  their 
passage.  Even  then  they  would  not  have  been  able  to 
take  them  without  the  help  of  the  king’s  own  men  who  had 
been  taken,  and  who  knew  better  how  to  deal  with  the 
beasts  than  the  Tartars  did.  The  elephant  is  an  animal  that 
hath  more  wit  than  any  other ;  but  in  this  way  at  last  they 
were  caught,  more  than  200  of  them.  And  it  was  from 
this  time  forth  that  the  Great  Kaan  began  to  keep  numbers 
of  elephants. 

So  thus  it  was  that  the  king  aforesaid  was  defeated  by 
the  sagacity  and  superior  skill  of  the  Tartars,  as  you  have 


Note  1. — Nescradin  for  Nesradin,  as  we  had  Baser  a  for  Basra. 
Perhaps  Neseradin  was  the  true  reading. 

This  Nasruddin  was  apparently  an  officer  of  whom  Rashiduddin 
speaks,  and  whom  he  calls  governor  (or  perhaps  commander)  in  Karajang. 
He  describes  him  as  having  succeeded  in  that  command  to  his  father 
the  Sayad  Ajil  of  Bokhara,  one  of  the  best  of  Kublai’s  chief  Ministers. 
Nasruddin  retained  his  position  in  Yunnan  till  his  death,  which  Rashid, 
writing  about  1300,  says  occurred  five  or  six  years  before.  His  son 
Bayan,  who  also  bore  the  grandfather’s  title  of  Sayad  Ajil,  was  Minister 
of  Finance  under  Kublai’s  successor;  and  another  son,  Hala,  is  also 
mentioned  as  one  of  the  governors  of  the  province  of  Fuchau  (see 
Cathay ,  p.  265,  268,  and  B'  Ohs  son ,  II.  507-8). 

Nasruddin  (. Nasulating )  is  also  frequently  mentioned  as  employed  on 
this  frontier  by  the  Chinese  authorities  whom  Pauthier  cites. 

Note  2. — We  are  indebted  to  Pauthier  for  very  interesting  illustrations 
of  this  narrative  from  the  Chinese  Annalists  (p.  410  seqq).  These  latter 
fix  the  date  to  the  year  1277,  and  it  is  probable  that  the  1272  or 
mcclxxii  of  the  Texts  was  a  clerical  error  for  mcclxxvii.  The 
Annalists  describe  the  people  of  Mien  as  irritated  at  calls  upon  them  to 
submit  to  the  Mongols  (whose  power  they  probably  did  not  appreciate,  as 
their  descendants  did  not  appreciate  the  British  power  in  1824),  and  as 
crossing  the  frontier  of  Yungchang  to  establish  fortified  posts.  The  force 
of  Mien,  they  say,  amounted  to  50,000  men,  with  800  elephants  and 
10,000  horses,  whilst  the  Mongol  Chief  had  but  seven  hundred  men. 
“  When  the  elephants  felt  the  arrows  (of  the  Mongols)  they  turned  tail 
and  fled  with  the  platforms  on  their  backs  into  a  place  that  was  set 
thickly  with  sharp  bamboo-stakes,  and  these  their  riders  laid  hold  of  to 
prick  them  with.”  This  threw  the  Burmese  army  into  confusion ;  they 
fled,  and  were  pursued  with  great  slaughter. 

The  Chinese  author  does  not  mention  Nasruddin  in  connexion  with 
this  battle.  He  names  as  the  chief  of  the  Mongol  force  Huthukh 
(Kutuka?),  commandant  of  Tali-fu.  Nasruddin  is  mentioned  as  advanc¬ 
ing,  a  few  months  later  (about  December,  1277),  with  nearly  4000  men 
to  Kiangtheu  (which  appears  to  have  been  on  the  Irawadi  somewhere 
near  Bamo,  and  is  perhaps  the  Kaungtaung  of  the  Burmese),  but  effecting 
little  (p.  415). 

These  affairs  of  the  battle  in  the  Yungchang  territory,  and  the 
advance  of  Nasruddin  to  the  Irawadi  are,  as  Polo  clearly  implies  in  the 
beginning  of  chap,  li.,  quite  distinct  from  the  invasion  and  conquest  of 
Mien  some  years  later  of  which  he  speaks  in  chapter  liv.  They  are  not 
mentioned  in  the  Burmese  Annals  at  all. 

Sir  Arthur  Phayre  is  inclined  to  reject  altogether  the  story  of  the 
battle  near  Yungchang  in  consequence  of  this  absence  from  the  Burmese 
Chronicle ,  and  of  its  inconsistency  with  the  purely  defensive  character 
which  that  record  assigns  to  the  action  of  the  Burmese  Government  in 
regard  to  China  at  this  time.  With  the  strongest  respect  for  my  friend’s 



Book  II. 

opinion  I  feel  it  impossible  to  assent  to  this.  We  have  not  only  the 
concurrent  testimony  of  Marco  and  of  the  Chinese  Official  Annals  of 
the  Mongol  Dynasty  to  the  facts  of  the  Burmese  provocation  and  of  the 
engagement  within  the  Yungchang  or  Voehan  territory,  but  we  have  in 
the  Chinese  narrative  a  consistent  chronology  and  tolerably  full  detail  of 
the  relations  between  the  two  countries. 

Between  1277  and  the  end  of  the  century  the  Chinese  Annals  record 
three  campaigns  or  expeditions  against  Mien;  viz.  (1)  that  which  Marco 
has  related  in  this  chapter ;  (2)  that  which  he  relates  in  chapter  liv. ;  and 
(3)  one  undertaken  in  1300  at  the  request  of  the  son  of  the  legitimate 
Burmese  King  who  had  been  put  to  death  by  an  usurper.  The  Burmese 
Annals  mention  only  the  two  latest,  but,  concerning  both  the  date  and 
the  main  circumstances  of  these  two,  Chinese  and  Burmese  Annals  are  in 
almost  entire  agreement.  Surely  then  it  can  scarcely  be  doubted  that 
the  Chinese  authority  is  amply  trustworthy  for  the  first  campaign  also, 
respecting  which  the  Burmese  book  is  silent ;  even  were  the  former  not 
corroborated  by  the  independent  authority  of  Marco. 

Indeed  the  mutual  correspondence  of  these  Annals,  especially  as  to 
chronology,  is  very  remarkable,  and  is  an  argument  for  greater  respect  to 
the  chronological  value  of  the  Burmese  Chronicle  and  other  Indo-Chinese 
records  of  like  character  than  we  should  otherwise  be  apt  to  entertain. 
Compare  the  story  of  the  expedition  of  1300  as  told  after  the  Chinese 
Annals  by  Demailla,  and  after  the  Burmese  Chronicle  by  Burney  and 
Phayre.  (See  Demailla ,  IX.  476  seqq. ;  and  J.  A.  S.  B.  vol.  VI. 
p.  1 2 1-2,  and  vol.  XXXVII.  Pt.  I.  p.  102  and  no.) 

CHAPTER  LI  1 1. 

Of  the  Great  Descent  that  leads  towards  the  Kingdom 

of  Mien. 

After  leaving  the  Province  of  which  I  have  been  speaking 
you  come  to  a  great  Descent.  In  fact  you  ride  for  two 
days  and  a  half  continually  down  hill.  On  all  this  descent 
there  is  nothing  worthy  of  mention  except  only  that  there 
is  a  large  place  there  where  occasionally  a  great  market  is 
held ;  for  all  the  people  of  the  country  round  come  thither 
on  fixed  days,  three  times  a  week,  and  hold  a  market  there. 
They  exchange  gold  for  silver ;  for  they  have  gold  in 
abundance ;  and  they  give  one  weight  of  fine  gold  for  five 


weights  of  fine  silver ;  so  this  induces  merchants  to  come 
from  various  quarters  bringing  silver  which  they  exchange 
for  gold  with  these  people ;  and  in  this  way  the  merchants 
make  great  gain.  As  regards  those  people  of  the  country 
who  dispose  of  gold  so  cheaply,  you  must  understand  that 
nobody  is  acquainted  with  their  places  of  abode,  for  they 
dwell  in  inaccessible  positions,  in  sites  so  wild  and  strong 
that  no  one  can  get  at  them  to  meddle  with  them.  Nor 
will  they  allow  anybody  to  accompany  them  so  as  to  gain  a 
knowledge  of  their  abodes.1 

After  you  have  ridden  those  two  days  and  a  half  down 
hill,  you  find  yourself  in  a  province  towards  the  south 
which  is  pretty  near  to  India,  and  this  province  is  called 
Amien.  You  travel  therein  for  fifteen  days  through  a 
very  unfrequented  country,  and  through  great  woods 
abounding  in  elephants  and  unicorns  and  numbers  of  other 
wild  beasts.  There  are  no  dwellings  and  no  people,  so  we 
need  say  no  more  of  this  wild  country,  for  in  sooth  there  is 
nothing  to  tell.  But  I  have  a  story  to  relate  which  you 
shall  now  hear.2 

Note  1. — In  all  the  Shan  towns  visited  by  Major  Sladen  on  this 
frontier  he  found  markets  held  every  fifth  day.  This  custom  he  says  is 
borrowed  from  China,  and  is  general  throughout  Western  Yunnan.  The 
Kakhyens  attend  in  great  crowds.  They  do  not  now  bring  gold  for  sale 
to  Momien,  though  it  is  found  to  some  extent  in  their  hills,  more  espe¬ 
cially  in  the  direction  of  Mogaung,  whence  it  is  exported  towards 

Major  Sladen  saw  a  small  quantity  of  nuggets  in  the  possession  of 
a  Kakhyen  who  had  brought  them  from  a  hill  two  days  north  of  Bamo. 
(MS.  Notes  by  Major  Sladen.) 

Note  2. — I  confess  that  the  indications  in  this  and  the  beginning  of  the 
following  chapter  are,  to  me,  full  of  difficulty.  According  to  the  general 
style  of  Polo’s  itinerary,  the  2\  days  should  be  reckoned  from  Yungchang ; 
the  distance  therefore  to  the  capital  city  of  Mien  would  be  17  J  days.  The 
real  capital  of  Mien  or  Burma  at  this  time  was  however  Pagan,  in  lat. 
210  13',  and  it  is  impossible  that  that  city  could  have  been  reached  by  a 
land  traveller  in  any  such  time.  We  shall  see  that  something  may  be 
said  in  behalf  of  the  supposition  that  the  point  reached  was  Tagaung  or 
Old  Pagan  on  the  Upper  Ira  wadi,  in  lat.  230  30'. 



Book  II. 

On  the  whole  however  I  incline  to  suppose  that  the  15  days’  journey 
extends  to  Pagan,  and  represents  a  journey  by  water.  Visdelou  gives  a 
curious  extract  from  the  story  of  a  large  body  of  Chinese  who  fled  from 
Yunnan  in  1687  in  consequence  of  the  Manchu  conquest,  and  sought 
refuge  in  Ava,  Pegu,  and  Siam.  This  party  went  from  Yungchang  to 
Teng-Yue  or  Momien  in  4  days,  and  in  5  days  more  to  a  village  on  the 
Burmese  frontier  where  they  embarked  and  descended  by  water  to  Ava. 
This  took  them  20  days ;  but  they  were  a  very  large  body ;  it  could 
certainly  have  been  done  in  much  less  time.  Their  first  embarcation,  if 
the  time  be  correct,  must  have  been  on  the  waters  of  the  Bamo  River 
near  Muang-La  or  Sanda.  I  should  rather  put  Polo’s  supposed  embarca¬ 
tion  on  the  Shweli ,  which  might  be  reached  in  2i  days  from  Yung¬ 
chang,  and  this  may  be  the  descent  of  which  he  speaks,  though  the  facf 
that  the  Sal  wen  river  and  valley  intervenes  between  Yungchang  and  the 
Shweli  is  a  difficulty.  We  do  not  know  the  height  of  Yungchang.  That 
of  Momien  is  estimated  in  Sladen’s  Report  at  5800  feet  above  the  sea. 

The  only  serious  difficulty  in  this  view  of  the  Itinerary  is  the  repre¬ 
sentation  of  the  country  travelled  through  as  so  wild  and  uninhabited, 
whilst  the  banks  of  the  Irawadi,  at  least  between  230  and  210,  are  the 
most  thickly  peopled  region  of  Burma.  The  Chinese  fugitives  of  1687 
say,  that  during  the  first  five  days  of  their  descent  of  the  rivers  “  they 
saw  only  desert  and  uninhabited  tracts,”  but  in  the  remaining  15  they 
passed  towns  and  villages.  (/.  A.  ser.  2,  tom.  x.  p.  422.) 


Concerning  the  City  of  Mien,  and  the  Two  Towers  that  are 


And  when  you  have  travelled  those  1 5  days  through  such 
a  difficult  country  as  I  have  described,  in  which  travellers 
have  to  carry  provision  for  the  road  because  there  are  no 
inhabitants,  then  you  arrive  at  the  capital  city  of  this 
Province  of  Mien,  and  it  also  is  called  Amien,  and  is  a  very 
great  and  noble  city.1  The  people  are  Idolaters  and  have  a 
peculiar  language,  and  are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan. 

And  in  this  city  there  is  a  thing  so  rich  and  rare  that 
I  must  tell  you  about  it.  You  see  there  was  in  former 
days  a  rich  and  puissant  king  in  this  city,  and  when  he 

Margo  Polo  b o o k  lie h ap i c 

The  City  of  Mien 

with  the  Gold  and  Silver  Towers. 



was  about  to  die  he  commanded  that  by  his  tomb  they 
should  erect  two  towers  [one  at  either  end]  one  of  gold 
and  the  other  of  silver,  in  such  fashion  as  I  shall  tell  you. 
The  towers  are  built  of  fine  stone ;  and  then  one  of  them 
has  been  covered  with  gold  a  good  finger  in  thickness,  so 
that  the  tower  looks  as  if  it  were  all  of  solid  gold ;  and  the 
other  is  covered  with  silver  in  like  manner  so  that  it  seems 
to  be  all  of  solid  silver.  Each  tower  is  a  good  ten  paces  in 
height  and  of  breadth  in  proportion.  The  upper  part  of 
these  towers  is  round,  and  girt  all  about  with  bells,  the  top 
of  the  gold  tower  with  gilded  bells  and  the  silver  tower 
with  silvered  bells,  insomuch  that  whenever  the  wind  blows 
among  these  bells  they  tinkle.  [The  tomb  likewise  was  plated 
partly  with  gold,  and  partly  with  silver.]  The  King  caused 
these  towers  to  be  erected  to  commemorate  his  magnifi¬ 
cence  and  for  the  good  of  his  soul ;  and  really  they  do 
form  one  of  the  finest  sights  in  the  world ;  so  exquisitely 
finished  are  they,  so  splendid  and  costly.  And  when  they 
I  are  lighted  up  by  the  sun  they  shine  most  brilliantly  and 
are  visible  from  a  vast  distance. 

Now  you  must  know  that  the  Great  Kaan  conquered 
the  country  in  this  fashion. 

You  see  at  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan  there  was  a 
great  number  of  gleemen  and  jugglers ;  and  he  said  to 
them  one  day  that  he  wanted  them  to  go  and  conquer  the 
aforesaid  province  of  Mien,  and  that  he  would  give  them  a 
good  Captain  to  lead  them  and  other  good  aid.  And  they 
replied  that  they  would  be  delighted.  So  the  Emperor 
I  caused  them  to  be  fitted  out  with  all  that  an  army  requires, 
and  gave  them  a  Captain  and  a  body  of  men-at-arms  to 
help  them ;  and  so  they  set  out,  and  marched  until  they 
came  to  the  country  and  province  of  Mien.  And  they  did 
conquer  the  whole  of  it !  And  when  they  found  in  the 
city  the  two  towers  of  gold  and  silver  of  which  I  have  been 
telling  you,  they  were  greatly  astonished,  and  sent  word 
thereof  to  the  Great  Kaan,  asking  what  he  would  have 



Book  II. 

them  do  with  the  two  towers,  seeing  what  a  great  quan¬ 
tity  of  wealth  there  was  upon  them.  And  the  Great  Kaan, 
being  well  aware  that  the  King  had  caused  these  towers  to 
be  made  for  the  good  of  his  soul,  and  to  preserve  his 
memory  after  his  death,  said  that  he  would  not  have  them 
injured,  but  would  have  them  left  precisely  as  they  were. 
And  that  was  no  wonder  either,  for  you  must  know  that  no 
Tartar  in  the  world  will  ever,  if  he  can  help  it,  lay  hand  on 
anything  appertaining  to  the  dead.2 

They  have  in  this  province  numbers  of  elephants  and 
wild  oxen  ;3  also  beautiful  stags  and  deer  and  roe,  and  other 
kinds  of  large  game  in  plenty. 

Now  having  told  you  about  the  province  of  Mien, 
I  will  tell  you  about  another  province  which  is  called  Ban- 
gala,  as  you  shall  hear  presently. 

Note  1.- — The  name  of  the  city  appears  as  Amien  both  in  Pauthier’s 
text  here,  and  in  the  G.  Text  in  the  preceding  chapter.  In  the  Bern 
MS.  it  is  Acimien .  Perhaps  some  form  like  Amien  was  that  used  by  the 
Mongols  and  Persians.  I  fancy  it  may  be  traced  in  the  Arman  or 
Uman  of  Rashiduddin,  probably  corrupt  readings  (in  Elliot ,  I.  72). 

Note  2. — M.  Pauthier’s  extracts  are  here  again  very  valuable.  We 
gather  from  them  that  the  first  Mongol  communication  with  the  King  of 
Mien  or  Burma  took  place  in  1271,  when  the  Commandant  of  Tali-fu 
sent  a  deputation  to  that  sovereign  to  demand  an  acknowledgment  of  the 
supremacy  of  the  Emperor.  This  was  followed  by  various  negotiations 
and  acts  of  offence  on  both  sides,  which  led  to  the  campaign  of  1277, 
already  spoken  of.  For  a  few  years  no  further  events  appear  to  be 
recorded,  but  in  1282,  in  consequence  of  a  report  from  Nasruddin  of  the 
ease  with  which  Mien  could  be  conquered,  an  invasion  was  ordered 
under  a  Prince  of  the  Blood  called  Siangtaur.  This  was  probably  Singtur , 
great  grandson  of  one  of  the  brothers  of  Chinghiz,  who  a  few  years  later 
took  part  in  the  insurrection  of  Nayan  (see  H  Oksson,  II.  461).  The 
army  started  from  Yunnanfu,  then  called  Chungkhing,  (and  in  my  view 
the  Yacki  of  Polo)  in  the  autumn  of  1283.  We  are  told  that  the  army 
made  use  of  boats  to  descend  the  River  lOho  (perhaps  the  Bhamo 
River,  called  by  the  Kakhyens  Ta -Khokha)  to  the  fortified  city  of  Kiang- 
theu  (see  supra ,  note  2,  chap,  lii.)  which  they  took  and  sacked ;  and  as 
the  King  still  refused  to  submit,  they  then  advanced  to  the  “  primitive 
capital,”  Taikung,  which  they  captured.  Here  Pauthier’s  details  stop 
(pp.  405,  416;  see  also  U Ohsson,  II.  444). 



It  is  curious  to  compare  these  narratives  with  that  from  the  Burmese 
Royal  Annals  given  by  Col.  Burney,  and  again  by  Sir  A.  Phayre  in  the 
J  A.  S.  B.  (IV.  401,  and  XXXVII.  Pt.  I.  p.  toi).  Those  annals  afford 

The  Palace  of  the  King  of  Mien  in  1855. 


no  mention  of  transactions  with  the  Mongols  previous  to  1281.  In  that 
I  year  they  relate  that  a  mission  of  ten  nobles  and  1000  horse  came  from 
the  Emperor  to  demand  gold  and  silver  vessels  as  symbols  of  homage,  on 
VOL.  II.  G 



Book  II. 

the  ground  of  an  old  precedent.  The  envoys  conducted  themselves 
disrespectfully  (the  tradition  was  that  they  refused  to  take  off  their  boots, 
an  old  grievance  at  the  Burmese  court)  and  the  King  put  them  all  to 
death.  The  Emperor  of  course  was  very  wroth,  and  sent  an  army  of 
6  millions  of  horse  and  20  millions  of  foot  (!)  to  invade  Burma.  The 
Burmese  generals  had  their  point  d’appui  at  the  city  of  Nga-tshaung- 
gyan ,  apparently  somewhere  near  the  mouth  of  the  Bamo  River,  and 
after  a  protracted  resistance  on  that  river  they  were  obliged  to  retire. 
They  took  up  a  new  point  of  defence  on  the  Hill  of  Male,  which  they 
had  fortified.  Here  a  decisive  battle  was  fought,  and  the  Burmese  were 
entirely  routed.  The  King  on  hearing  of  their  retreat  from  Bamo  at 
first  took  measures  for  fortifying  his  capital  Pagan,  and  destroyed  6000 
temples  of  various  sizes  to  furnish  material.  But  after  all  he  lost  heart 
and  embarking  with  his  treasure  and  establishments  on  the  Irawadi  fled 
down  that  river  to  Bassein  in  the  Delta.  The  Chinese  continued  the 
pursuit  long  past  Pagan  till  they  reached  the  place  now  called  Tarok- 
mau  or  “  Chinese  Point,”  30  miles  below  Prome.  Here  they  were  forced 
by  want  of  provisions  to  return.  The  Burmese  Annals  place  the  aban¬ 
donment  of  Pagan  by  the  King  in  1284,  a  most  satisfactory  synchronism 
with  the  Chinese  record.  It  is  a  notable  point  in  Burmese  history,  for 
it  marked  the  fall  of  an  ancient  dynasty  which  was  speedily  followed  by 
its  extinction,  and  the  abandonment  of  the  capital.  The  King  is  known 
in  the  Burmese  Annals  as  Tarok-py'e-Me?ig, ;  “  The  King  who  fled  from 
the  Tar  ok?* 

In  Dr.  Mason’s  abstract  of  the  Pegu  Chronicle  we  find  the  notable 
statement  with  reference  to  this  period  that  “  the  Emperor  of  China, 
having  subjugated  Pagdn,  his  troops  with  the  Burmese  entered  Pegu 
and  invested  several  cities.” 

We  see  that  the  Chinese  annals,  as  quoted,  mention  only  the  “  capi- 
tale  primitive  ”  Taikung,  which  I  have  little  doubt  Pauthier  is  right  in 
identifying  with  Tagaung, \  traditionally  the  most  ancient  royal  city  of 
Burma,  and  the  remains  of  which  stand  side  by  side  with  those  of  Old 
Pagan,  a  later  but  still  very  ’ancient  capital,  on  the  east  bank  of  the 
Irawadi  in  about  lat.  230  28'.  The  Chinese  extracts  give  no  idea  of  the 
temporary  completeness  of  the  conquest,  nor  do  they  mention  Great 
Pag^n  (Lat.  210  13'),  a  city  whose  vast  remains  I  have  endeavoured 
partially  to  describe,  t  Sir  Arthur  Phayre,  from  a  careful  perusal  of  the 
Burmese  Chronicle,  assures  me  that  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  was 
at  the  time  in  question  the  Burmese  Royal  Residence,  and  the  city 
alluded  to  in  the  Burmese  narrative.  M.  Pauthier  is  mistaken  in  sup¬ 
posing  that  Tarok-Mau,  the  turning-point  of  the  Chinese  Invasion,  lay 
north  of  this  city ;  he  has  not  unnaturally  confounded  it  with  Tarok -Myo 

*  This  is  the  name  now  applied  in  Burma  to  the  Chinese.  Sir  A.  Phayre  supposes 
it  to  be  Ttirk,  in  which  case  its  use  probably  began  at  this  time, 
f  In  the  Narrative  of  Phayre’s  Mission,  chap.  ii. 



or  “  China-Town,”  a  district  not  far  below  Ava.  Moreover  Male,  the 
position  of  the  decisive  victory  of  the  Chinese,  is  itself  much  to  the 
south  of  Tagaung  (about  220  55'). 

Both  Pagan  and  Male  are  mentioned  in  a  remarkable  Chinese  notice 
extracted  in  Amyot’s  Memoires  (XIV.  292) :  “  Mien-Tien  ....  had  five 
chief  towns,  of  which  the  first  was  Kiangtheu  (supra,  pp.  69,  74),  the 
second  Taikung, ;  the  third  Malai ,  the  fourth  Ngan-cheng-kwe  (?  perhaps  the 
Nga-tshaung gy an  of  the  Burmese  Annals),  the  fifth  Pukan  Mien-Wang 
(Pagan  of  the  Mien  King  ?).  The  Yuen  carried  war  into  this  country, 
particularly  during  the  reign  of  Shunti,  the  last  Mongol  Emperor,  who, 
after  subjugating  it,  erected  at  Pukan-Mien-Wang  a  tribunal  styled 
Hwen-wei-she-se ,  the  authority  of  which  extended  over  Pang-ya  and  all 
its  dependencies.”  This  is  evidently  founded  on  actual  knowledge,  for 
Panya  was  the  capital  of  Burma  during  part  of  the  14th  century,  between 
the  decay  of  Pagan  and  the  building  of  Ava.  But  none  of  the  translated 
extracts  from  the  Burmese  Chronicle  afford,  corroboration.  From  San- 
germano’s  abstract,  however,  we  learn  that  the  King  of  Panya  from 
1323  to  1343  was  the  son  of  a  daughter  of  the  Emperor  of  China  (p.  42). 
I  may  also  refer  to  Pemberton’s  abstract  of  the  Chronicle  of  the  Shan 
State  of  Pong  in  the  Upper  Irawadi  valley,  which  relates  that  about  the 
middle  of  the  14th  century  the  Chinese  invaded  Pong  and  took  Maung 
Maorong  the  capital.  The  Shan  King  and  his  son  fled  to  the  King  of 
Burma  for  protection,  but  the  Burmese  surrendered  them  and  they  were 
carried  to  China.  (Report  on  E.  Frontier  of  Bengal,  p.  112.) 

I  see  no  sufficient  evidence  as  to  whether  Marco  himself  visited  the 
“  city  of  Mien.”  I  think  it  is  quite  clear  that  his  account  of  the  conquest , 
is  from  the  merest  hearsay,  not  to  say  gossip.  Of  the  absurd  story  of 
the  jugglers  we  find  no  suggestion  in  the  Chinese  extracts.  We  learn  from 
them  that  Nasruddin  had  represented  the  conquest  of  Mien  as  a  very 
easy  task,  and  Kublai  may  have  in  jest  asked  his  gleemen  if  they  would 
undertake  it.  The  haziness  of  Polo’s  account  of  the  conquest  contrasts 
strongly  with  his  graphic  description  of  the  rout  of  the  elephants  at 
Vochan.  Of  the  latter  he  heard  the  particulars  on  the  spot  (I  conceive) 
shortly  after  the  event ;  whilst  the  conquest  took  place  some  years  later 
than  his  mission  to  that  frontier.  His  description,  however,  of  the  gold 
and  silver  pagodas  with  their  canopies  of  tinkling  bells  (the  Burmese 
Hti),  certainly  looks  like  a  sketch  from  the  life  and  it  is  quite  possible 
that  some  negotiations  between  1277  and  1281  may  have  given  him  the 
opportunity  of  visiting  Burma. 

It  is  worthy  of  note  that  the  unfortunate  King  then  reigning  in 

*  Compare  the  old  Chinese  Pilgrims  Hwui  Seng  and  Seng  Yun,  in  their  admi¬ 
ration  of  a  vast  pagoda  erected  by  the  great  King  Kanishka  in  Gandhara  (at  Peshawur 
in  fact):  “At  sunrise  the  gilded  disks  of  the  vane  are  lit  up  with  dazzling  glory, 
whilst  the  gentle  breeze  of  morning  causes  the  precious  bells  to  tinkle  with  a  pleasing 
sound  ”  {Beal,  p.  204). 

G  2 



Book  II. 

Pagan,  had  in  1274  finished  a  magnificent  Pagoda  called  Mengala-dzedi 
(Manga/a  Chaityci )  respecting  which  ominous  prophecies  had  been 
diffused.  I11  this  pagoda  were  deposited,  besides  holy  relics,  golden 
images  of  the  Disciples  of  Buddha,  golden  models  of  the  holy  places, 
golden  images  of  the  King’s  5 1  predecessors  in  Pagdn,  and  of  the  King 
and  his  Family.  It  is  easy  to  suspect  a  connexion  of  this  with  Marco’s 
story.  “  It  is  possible  that  the  King’s  ashes  may  have  been  intended 
to  be  buried  near  those  relics,  though  such  is  not  now  the  custom ;  and 
Marco  appears  to  have  confounded  the  custom  of  depositing  relics  of 
Buddha  and  ancient  holy  men  in  pagodas  with  the  supposed  custom  of 
the  burial  of  the  dead.  Still,  even  now,  monuments  are  occasionally 
erected  over  the  dead  in  Burma,  although  the  practice  is  considered  a 
vain  folly.  I  have  known  a  miniature  pagoda  with  a  hti  complete, 
erected  over  the  ashes  of  a  favourite  disciple  by  a  P'hungyi  or  Buddhist 
monk.”  {Notes  by  Sir  A,  Phayre ;  J.  A.  S.  B.  IV.  as  above,  also  V. 
164,  VI.  251  ;  Mason's  Burmah ,  2d  ed.  p.  26.) 

Note  3. — The  Gaur — Bos  Gaurus ,  or  B.  {Bibos)  Cavifrons  of 
Hodgson — exists  in  certain  forests  of  the  Burmese  territory  ;  and,  in  the 
south  at  least,  a  wild  ox  nearer  the  domestic  species,  Bos  Sojidaicus. 
Mr.  Gouger,  in  his  book  The  Prisoner  in  Burma ,  describes  the  rare 
spectacle  which  he  once  enjoyed  in  the  Tenasserim  forests  of  a  herd  of 
wild  cows  at  graze.  He  speaks  of  them  as  small  and  elegant,  without 
hump  and  of  a  light  reddish  dun  colour  (p.  326-7). 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Bangala. 

Bangala  is  a  Province  towards  the  south,  which  up  to  the 
year  1290,  when  the  aforesaid  Messer  Marco  Polo  was  still 
at  the  Court  of  the  Great  Kaan,  had  not  yet  been  conquered  ; 
but  his  armies  had  gone  thither  to  make  the  conquest. 
You  must  know  that  this  province  has  a  peculiar  language, 
and  that  the  people  are  wretched  Idolaters.  They  are 
tolerably  close  to  India.  There  are  numbers  of  eunuchs 
there,  insomuch  that  all  the  Barons  who  keep  them  get 
them  from  that  Province.1 

The  people  have  oxen  as  tall  as  elephants,  but  not  so 
big.2  They  live  on  flesh  and  milk  and  rice.  They  grow 

Chap.  LV. 



cotton,  in  which  they  drive  a  great  trade,  and  also  spices 
such  as  spikenard,  galingale,  ginger,  sugar,  and  many  other 
sorts.  And  the  people  of  India  also  come  thither  in  search 
of  the  eunuchs  that  I  mentioned,  and  of  slaves,  male  and 
female,  of  which  there  are  great  numbers,  taken  from  other 
provinces  with  which  those  of  the  country  are  at  war ;  and 
these  eunuchs  and  slaves  are  sold  to  the  Indian  and  other 
merchants  who  carry  them  thence  for  sale  about  the  world. 

There  is  nothing  more  to  mention  about  this  country, 
so  we  will  quit  it,  and  I  will  tell  you  of  another  province 
called  Caugigu. 

Note  1. — I  do  not  think  it  probable  that  Marco  even  touched  at  any 
port  of  Bengal  on  that  mission  to  the  Indian  Seas  of  which  we  hear  in 
the  prologue  ;  but  he  certainly  never  reached  it  from  the  Yunnan  side,  and 
he  had,  as  we  shall  presently  see  {infra,  chap.  lix.  note  6),  a  wrong 
notion  as  to  its  position.  Indeed,  if  he  had  visited  it  at  all,  he  would 
I  have  been  aware  that  it  was  essentially  a  part  of  India,  whilst  in  fact  he 

5  evidently  regarded  it  as  an  Indo-Chinese  region  like  Zardandan,  Mien, 

and  Caugigu. 

There  is  no  notice,  I  believe,  in  any  history,  Indian  or  Chinese,  of  an 
attempt  by  Kublai  to  conquer  Bengal.  The  only  such  attempt  by  the 
Mongols  that  we  hear  of  is  one  mentioned  by  Firishta,  as  made  by 
way  of  Cathay  and  Tibet,  during  the  reign  of  Alauddin  Musa’ud  king  oF 
Dehli,  in  1244,  and  stated  to  have  been  defeated  by  the  local  officers  in 
Bengal.  But  Mr.  Edward  Thomas  tells  me  he  has  most  distinctly 
ascertained  that  this  statement,  which  has  misled  every  historian  “  from 
Badauni  and  Firishtah  to  Briggs  and  Elphinstone,”  is  founded  purely  on 
an  erroneous  reading. 

The  date  1290  in  the  text  would  fix  the  period  of  Polo’s  final 
departure  from  Peking,  if  the  dates  were  not  so  generally  corrupt. 

The  subject  of  the  last  part  of  this  paragraph,  recurred  to  in  the 
next,  has  been  misunderstood  and  corrupted  in  Pauthier’s  text,  and 
partially  in  Ramusio’s.  These  make  the  escuilles  or  escoilliez  (vide 
Ducange  in  v.  Escodatus ,  and  Raynouard,  Lex.  Rom.  VI.  1 1)  into  scholars 
and  what  not.  But  on  comparison  of  the  passages  in  those  two  editions 
with  the  Geographic  Text  one  cannot  doubt  the  correct  reading.  As 
to  the  fact  that  Bengal  had  an  evil  notoriety  for  this  traffic,  especially 
the  province  of  Silhet,  see  the  Ayeen  Akbery,  II.  9-1 1,  Barbosa! s  chapter 
on  Bengal,  and  De  Barr  os  {Ramusio  I.  316  and  391). 

On  the  cheapness  of  slaves  in  Bengal,  see  Ibn  Batuta ,  IV.  211-12. 



Book  II. 

He  says  people  from  Persia  used  to  call  Bengal  Duzakh pur -i  ni'amat , 
“  a  hell  crammed  with  good  things.” 

Note  2. — “  Big  as  elephants  ”  is  only  a  fa$on  de  parler ,  but  Marsden 
quotes  modern  exaggerations  as  to  the  height  of  the  Arna  or  wild 
buffalo,  more  specific  and  extravagant.  The  unimpeachable  authority 
of  Mr.  Hodgson  tells  us  that  the  Arna  in  the  Nepal  Tarai  sometimes 
does  reach  a  height  of  6  ft.  6  in.  at  the  shoulder,  with  a  length  of 
io  ft.  6  in.  (excluding  tail),  and  horns  of  6  ft.  6  in.  (f.  A.  S.  B.,  XVI. 
710).  Marco,  however,  seems  to  be  speaking  of  domestic  cattle.  Some 
of  the  breeds  of  Upper  India  are  very  tall  and  noble  animals,  far  sur¬ 
passing  in  height  any  European  oxen  known  to  me ;  but  in  modern 
times  these  are  rarely  seen  in  Bengal,  where  the  cattle  are  poor  and 
stunted.  The  Ain  Akbari,  however,  speaks  of  Sharifabad  in  Bengal, 
which  appears  to  have  corresponded  to  modern  Burdwan,  as  producing 
very  beautiful  white  oxen  of  great  size,  and  capable  of  carrying  a  load 
of  15  mans ,  which  at  Prinsep’s  estimate  of  Akbar’s  man  would  be  about 
600  lbs. 


Discourses  of  the  Province  of  Caugigu. 

Caugigu  is  a  province  towards  the  east,  which  has  a  king.1 
The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  have  a  language  of  their  own. 
They  have  made  their  submission  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and 
send  him  tribute  every  year.  And  let  me  tell  you  their 
king  is  so  given  to  luxury  that  he  hath  at  the  least  300 
wives  ;  for  whenever  he  hears  of  any  beautiful  woman  in 
the  land,  he  takes  and  marries  her. 

They  find  in  this  country  a  good  deal  of  gold,  and 
they  also  have  great  abundance  of  spices.  But  they  are 
such  a  long  way  from  the  sea  that  the  products  are  of 
little  value,  and  thus  their  price  is  low.  They  have 
elephants  in  great  numbers,  and  other  cattle  of  sundry 
kinds,  and  plenty  of  game.  They  live  on  flesh  and  milk 
and  rice,  and  have  wine  made  of  rice  and  good  spices. 
The  whole  of  the  people,  or  nearly  so,  have  their  skin 
marked  with  the  needle  in  patterns  representing  lions, 

Chap.  LVI. 


8 1 

dragons,  birds,  and  what  not,  done  in  such  a  way  that  it 
can  never  be  obliterated.  This  work  they  cause  to  be 
wrought  over  face  and  neck  and  chest,  arms  and  hands, 
and  belly,  and,  in  short,  the  whole  body ;  and  they  look 
on  it  as  a  token  of  elegance,  so  that  those  who  have  the 
largest  amount  of  this  embroidery  are  regarded  with  the 
greatest  admiration. 

Note  1. — No  province  mentioned  by  Marco  has  given  rise  to  wider 
and  wilder  conjectures  than  this,  Caugigu  as  it  has  been  generally 
printed.  John  de  Barros  shows  some  acumen  in  identifying  it  with  “  the 
country  of  the  Gueoni,  a  people  who  are  found  to  the  north  of  the  Laos  ” 
(Dec.  III.  1.  ii.  cap.  5).  Guion  is  however,  according  to  the  Abbe  Des- 
godins  of  the  French  missions,  the  Tibetan  name  of  the  Mossos ,  a  people 
who  formerly  had  an  independent  kingdom  about  Likiangfu. 

M.  Pauthier,  who  sees  in  it  Laos,  or  rather  one  of  the  states  of 
Laos,  which  is  called  in  the  Chinese  histories  Papesifu ,  seems  to  have 
formed  the  most  probable  opinion  hitherto  propounded  by  any  editor 
of  Polo.  I  have  no  doubt  that  Laos  or  some  part  of  that  region  is 
meant  to  be  described, and  that  Pauthier  is  right  regarding  the  general 
direction  of  the  course  here  taken  as  being  through  the  regions  east  of 
Burma,  in  a  north-easterly  direction  up  into  Kwei-chau.  But  we  shall 
be  able  to  review  the  geography  of  this  tract  better,  as  a  whole,  at  a 
point  more  advanced.  I  shall  then  speak  of  the  name  Caugigu,  and 
why  I  prefer  this  reading  of  it. 

I  do  not  believe,  for  reasons  which  will  also  appear  further  on,  that 
Polo  is  now  following  a  route  which  he  had  traced  in  person,  unless  it 
be  in  the  latter  part  of  it. 

M.  Pauthier,  from  certain  indications  in  a  Chinese  work,  fixes  on 
Chiangmai  or  Kiang-mai,  the  Zimme  of  the  Burmese  (in  about  Latitude 
1 8°  48'  and  Long.  990  30')  as  the  capital  of  the  Papesifu  and  of  the 
Caugigu  of  our  text.  It  can  scarcely  however  be  the  latter,  unless  we 
throw  over  entirely  all  the  intervals  stated  in  Polo’s  itinerary ;  and  M. 
Gamier  informs  me  that  he  has  evidence  that  the  capital  of  the  Papesifu 
at  this  time  was  Muang-  Yong,  a  little  to  the  south-east  of  Kiang-Tung, 
where  he  has  seen  its  ruins.*  That  the  people  called  by  the  Chinese 
Papesifu  were  of  the  great  race  of  Laotians,  Shans,  or  Thai ,  is  very  certain 
from  the  vocabulary  of  their  language  published  by  Klaproth. 

Pauthier’s  Chinese  authority  gives  a  puerile  interpretation  of  Papesifu 

*  Indeed  documents  in  Klaproth’s  Asia  Polyglotia  show  that  the  Pape  state  was 
also  called  Muang  Yong  (p.  364-5).  I  observe  that  the  River  running  to  the  east  of 
Pu-eul  and  Ssemao  (Puer  and  Esmok)  is  called  Papien- Kiang. 



Book  II. 

as  signifying  “  the  kingdom  of  the  800  wives/’  and  says  it  was  called  so 
because  the  Prince  maintained  that  establishment.  This  may  be  an  indi¬ 
cation  that  there  were  popular  stories  about  the  numerous  wives  of  the 
King  of  Laos,  such  as  Polo  had  heard ;  but  the  interpretation  is  doubtless 
rubbish,  like  most  of  the  so-called  etymologies  of  proper  names  applied  by 
the  Chinese  to  foreign  regions.  At  best  these  seem  to  be  merely  a  kind 
of  Memoria  Technica ,  and  often  probably  bear  no  more  relation  to  the 
name  in  its  real  meaning  than  Swift’s ‘  A ll-eggs-under-the-grate  bears  to 
Alexander  Magnus.  How  such  “  etymologies”  arise  is  obvious  from  the 
nature  of  the  Chinese  system  of  writing.  If  we  also  had  to  express 
proper  names  by  combining  monosyllabic  words  already  existing  in 
English,  we  should  in  fact  be  obliged  to  write  the  name  of  the  Macedo¬ 
nian  hero  much  as  Swift  travestied  it.  As  an  example  we  may  give  the 
Chinese  name  of  Java,  Kwawa,  which  signifies  “  gourd-sound,”  and  was 
given  to  that  Island,  we  are  told,  because  the  voice  of  its  inhabitants  is 
very  like  that  of  a  dry  gourd  rolled  upon  the  ground  !  The  explanation 
that  Tungking  was  called  Kiaochi ,  meaning  “  crossed-toes,”  because  the 
people  exhibited  that  phenomenon,  is  probably  equally  puerile.  As 
another  example,  less  ridiculous  but  not  more  true,  Chin-tan ,  represent¬ 
ing  the  Indian  name  of  China,  Chmasthdna ,  is  explained  to  mean 
“Eastern-Dawn”  (Aurore  Orientate .)  (Amyot,  XIV.  10 1 ;  Klapr.  Mem. 
III.  2 68.) 

The  states  of  Laos  are  shut  out  from  the  sea  in  the  manner  indicated; 
they  abound  in  domestic  elephants  to  an  extraordinary  extent :  and  the 
people  do  tattoo  themselves  in  various  degrees,  most  of  all  (as  M.  Gamier 
tells  me)  about  Kiang  Hung.  The  style  of  tattooing  which  the  text 
describes  is  quite  that  of  the  Burmese,  in  speaking  of  whom  Polo  has 
omitted  to  mention  the  custom  :  “  Every  male  Burman  is  tattooed  in  his 
boyhood  from  the  middle  to  the  knees ;  in  fact  he  has  a  pair  of  breeches 
tattooed  on  him.  The  pattern  is  a  fanciful  medley  of  animals  and  arab¬ 
esques,  but  it  is  scarcely  distinguishable,  save  as  a  general  tint,  except  on 
a  fair  skin.”  ( Mission  to  Av a,  15 1.) 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Anin. 

Anin  is  a  Province  towards  the  east,  the  people  of  which 
are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  are  Idolaters.  They  live 
by  cattle  and  tillage,  and  have  a  peculiar  language.  The 
women  wear  on  the  legs  and  arms  bracelets  of  gold  and 
silver  of  great  value,  and  the  men  wear  such  as  are  even  yet 

Chap.  LVII. 



more  costly.  They  have  plenty  of  horses  which  they  sell 
in  great  numbers  to  the  Indians,  making  a  great  profit 
thereby.  And  they  have  also  vast  herds  of  buffaloes  and 
oxen,  having  excellent  pastures  for  these.  They  have  like¬ 
wise  all  the  necessaries  of  life  in  abundance.1 

Now  you  must  know  that  between  Anin  and  Caugigu, 
which  we  have  left  behind  us,  there  is  a  distance  of  [25] 
days’  journey;2  and  from  Caugigu  to  Bangala,  the  third 
province  in  our  rear,  is  30  days’  journey.  We  shall  now 
leave  Anin  and  proceed  to  another  province  which  is  some 
8  days’  journey  further,  always  going  eastward. 

Note  1. — Ramusio,  the  printed  text  of  the  Soc.  de  Geographic,  and 
most  editions  have  Amu ;  Pauthier  reads  Aniu ,  and  considers  the  name 
to  represent  Tungking  or  Annam,  called  also  Nan-yue.  The  latter 
word  he  supposes  to  be  converted  into  Anyu'e ,  Aniu .  And  accordingly 
he  carries  the  traveller  to  the  capital  of  Tungking. 

Leaving  the  name  for  the  present,  according  to  the  scheme  of  the 
route  as  I  shall  try  to  explain  it  below,  I  should  seek  for  Amu  or  Aniu 
or  Anin  in  the  extreme  south-east  of  Yunnan.  A  part  of  this  region  has 
for  the  first  time  been  traversed  by  the  officers  of  the  recent  French 
expedition  up  the  Mekong,  who  visited  Sheu-ping,  Lin-ngan  and  the 
upper  valley  of  the  River  of  Tungking  on  their  way  to  Yunnan-fu.  To 
my  question  whether  the  description  in  the  text,  of  Aniu  or  Anin  and  its 
fine  pastures,  applied  to  the  tract  just  indicated,  Lieut.  Gamier  replied 
on  the  whole  favourably  (see  further  on),  proceeding  :  “  The  population 
about  Sheuping  is  excessively  mixt.  On  market  days  at  that  town  one 
sees  a  gathering  of  wild  people  in  great  number  and  variety,  and  whose 
costumes  are  highly  picturesque,  as  well  as  often  very  rich.  There  are  the 
Pa-is  who  are  also  found  again  higher  up,  the  Ho-nhi ,  the  Khato ,  the 
Lope,  the  Shentseu.  These  tribes  appear  to  be  allied  in  part  to  the  Lao¬ 
tians,  in  part  to  the  Kakhyens . The  wilder  races  about  Sheuping 

are  remarkably  handsome,  and  you  see  there  types  of  women  exhibiting 
an  extraordinary  regularity  of  feature,  and  at  the  same  time  a  complexion 
surprisingly  white.  The  Chinese  look  quite  an  inferior  race  beside 

them . I  may  add  that  all  these  tribes,  especially  the  Ho-nhi  and 

the  Pai,  wear  large  amounts  of  silver  ornament ;  great  collars  of  silver 
round  the  neck,  as  well  as  on  the  legs  and  arms.” 

Though  the  whiteness  of  the  people  of  Anin  is  not  noticed  by  Polo, 
the  distinctive  manner  in  which  he  speaks  in  the  next  chapter  of  the 
dark  complexion  of  the  tribes  described  therein  seems  to  indicate  the 
probable  omission  of  the  opposite  trait  here. 



Book  II. 

The  prominent  position  assigned  in  M.  Garnier’s  remarks  to  a  race 
called  Honhi  first  suggested  to  me  that  the  reading  of  the  text  should  be 
Anin  instead  of  Aniu.  And  as  a  matter  of  fact  this  seems  to  my  eyes 
to  be  clearly  the  reading  of  the  Paris  Livre  des  Merveilles  (Pauthier’s 
MS.  B),  while  the  Paris  No.  5631  (Pauthier’s  A)  has  Auin,  and  what  may 
be  either  Aniu  or  Anin.  Anyn  is  also  found  in  the  Latin  Brandenburg 
MS.  of  Pipino’s  version  collated  by  Andrew  Muller,  to  which  however 
we  cannot  ascribe  much  weight..  But  the  two  words  are  so  nearly  iden¬ 
tical  in  medieval  writing,  and  so  little  likely  to  be  discriminated  by 
scribes  who  had  nothing  to  guide  their  discrimination,  that  one  need  not 
hesitate  to  adopt  that  which  is  supported  by  argument.  In  reference  to 
the  suggested  identity  of  Anin  and  Honhi ,  M.  Gamier  writes  again : 
“  All  that  Polo  has  said  regarding  the  country  of  Aniu,  though  not  con¬ 
taining  anything  very  characteristic,  may  apply  perfectly  to  the  different 
indigenous  tribes,  at  present  subject  to  the  Chinese,  which  are  dispersed 
over  the  country  from  Talon  to  Sheuping  and  Lin-ngan.  These  tribes 
bearing  the  names  (given  above)  relate  that  they  in  other  days  formed 
an  independent  state,  to  which  they  give  the  name  of  Muang  Shung. 
Where  this  Muang  was  situated  there  is  no  knowing.  These  tribes 
have  langage  par  euls  as  Marco  Polo  says,  and  silver  ornaments  are 
worn  by  them  to  this  day  in  extraordinary  profusion ;  more  however  by 
the  women  than  the  men.  They  have  plenty  of  horses,  buffaloes  and 
oxen,  and  of  sheep  as  well.  It  was  the  first  locality  in  which  the  latter 
were  seen.  The  plateau  of  Lin-ngan  affords  pasture-grounds  which  are 
exceptionally  good  for  that  part  of  the  world. 

“  Beyond  Lin-ngan  we  find  the  Honhi,  properly  so  called,  no  longer. 
But  ought  one  to  lay  much  stress  on  mere  names  which  have  undergone 
so  many  changes,  and  of  which  so  many  have  been  borne  in  succession 
by  all  those  places  and  peoples?  ....  I  will  content  myself  with 
reminding  you  that  the  town  of  Homi-cheu  near  Lin-ngan  in  the  days  of 
the  Yuen  bore  the  name  of  Ngo-ning.” 

Notwithstanding  M.  Garnier’s  caution,  I  am  strongly  inclined  to 
believe  that  Anin  represents  either  Honhi  or  Ngoning,  if  indeed  these 
names  be  not  identical.  For  on  reference  to  Biot  I  see  that  the  first 
syllable  of  the  modern  name  of  the  town  which  M.  Gamier  writes  Ho mi7 
is  expressed  by  the  same  character  as  the  first  syllable  of  Ngo ning. 

Note  2. — All  the  French  MSS.  and  other  texts  except  Ramusio’s 
read  15.  We  adopt  Ramusio’s  reading,  25,  for  reasons  which  will 
appear  below. 

Chap.  LVIII. 




Concerning  the  Province  of  Coloman. 

Coloman  is  a  province  towards  the  east,  the  people  of 
which  are  Idolaters  and  have  a  peculiar  language,  and  are 
subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  They  are  a  [tall  and]  very 
handsome  people,  though  in  complexion  brown  rather  than 
white,  and  are  good  soldiers.1  They  have  a  good  many 
towns,  and  a  vast  number  of  villages,  among  great  moun¬ 
tains,  and  in  strong  positions.2 

When  any  of  them  die,  the  bodies  are  burnt,  and  then 
they  take  the  bones  and  put  them  in  little  chests.  These 
are  carried  high  up  the  mountains,  and  placed  in  great 
caverns,  where  they  are  hung  up  in  such  wise  that  neither 
man  nor  beast  can  come  at  them. 

A  good  deal  of  gold  is  found  in  the  country,  and  for 
petty  traffic  they  use  porcelain  shells  such  as  I  have  told 
you  of  before.  All  these  provinces  that  I  have  been  speak¬ 
ing  of,  to  wit  Bangala  and  Caugigu  and  Anin,  employ  for 
currency  porcelain  shells  and  gold.  There  are  merchants 
in  this  country  who  are  very  rich  and  dispose  of  large 
quantities  of  goods.  The  people  live  on  flesh  and  rice  and 
milk,  and  brew  their  wine  from  rice  and  excellent  spices. 

Note  1. — The  only  MSS.  that  afford  the  reading  Coloman  or  Cholo- 
man  instead  of  Toloman  or  Tholoman ,  are  the  Bern  MS.,  which  has  Colo¬ 
man  in  the  initial  word  of  the  chapter,  Paris  MS.  5649  (Pauthier’s  C) 
which  has  Coloman  in  the  Table  of  Chapters,  but  not  in  the  text,  the 
Bodleian,  and  the  Brandenburg  MS.  quoted  in  the  last  note.  These  vari 
ations  in  themselves  have  little  weight.  But  the  confusion  between  c  and 
t  in  medieval  MSS.  when  dealing  with  strange  names  is  so  constant  that  I 
have  ventured  to  make  the  correction,  in  strong  conviction  that  it  is  the 
right  reading.  M.  Pauthier  indeed,  after  speaking  of  tribes  called  Lo  on  the 
south-west  of  China  adds,  “on  les  nommait  To-lomian  (‘  les  nombreux  Bar- 
bares  Lo’).”  Were  this  latter  statement  founded  on  actual  evidence  we 
might  retain  that  form  which  is  the  usual  reading.  But  I  apprehend  from 
the  manner  in  which  M.  Pauthier  produces  it,  without  corroborative  quo- 



Book  II. 

tation,  that  he  is  rather  hazarding  a  conjecture  than  speaking  with  autho¬ 
rity.  Be  that  as  it  may,  it  is  impossible  that  Polo’s  Toloman  or  Coloman 
should  have  been  in  the  south  of  Kwangsi  where  Pauthier  locates  it. 

On  the  other  hand  we  find  tribes  of  both  Kolo  and  Kihlau  Barbarians 
(i.e.  Man ,  whence  Kolo-man  or  Kihlau-mdn)  very  numerous  on  the 
frontier  of  Kweichau  (see  Bridgman's  transl.  of  Tract  on  Meautsze,  pp. 
265,  269,  270,  272,  273,  274,  275,  278,  279,  280).  Among  these  the 
Kolo ,  described  as  No.  38  in  that  Tract,  appear  to  me  from  various  par¬ 
ticulars  to  be  the  most  probable  representatives  of  the  Coloman  of  Polo, 
notwithstanding  the  sentence  with  which  the  description  opens  :  “  Kolo 
originally  called  Luluh ;  the  modem  designation  Kolo  is  incorrect.”* 
They  are  at  present  found  in  the  prefecture  of  Tating  (one  of  the 
departments  of  Kweichau  towards  the  Yunnan  side).  “  They  are  tall ,  of 
a  dark  complexion ,  with  sunken  eyes,  aquiline  nose,  wear  long  whiskers, 
and  have  the  beard  shaved  off  above  the  mouth.  They  pay  great 
deference  to  demons,  and  on  that  account  are  sometimes  called  ‘  Dragons 
of  Lo.’  ....  At  the  present  time  these  Kolo  are  divided  into  48  clans, 
the  elders  of  which  are  called  Chieftains  (lit.  ‘  Head-and-Eyes  ’)  and  are 

of  nine  grades . The  men  bind  their  hair  into  a  tuft  with  blue  cloth 

and  make  it  fast  on  the  forehead  like  a  horn.  Their  upper  dresses  are 
short,  with  large  sleeves,  and  their  lower  garments  are  fine  blue.  When 
one  of  the  chieftains  dies,  all  that  were  under  him  are  assembled  together 
clad  in  armour  and  on  horseback.  Having  dressed  his  corpse  in  silk 
and  woollen  robes,  they  burn  it  in  the  open  country ;  then,  invoking  the 
departed  spirit,  they  inter  the  ashes.  Their  attachment  to  him  as  their 
sole  master  is  such  that  nothing  can  drive  or  tempt  them  from  their 
allegiance.  Their  large  bows,  long  spears,  and  sharp  swords,  are  strong 
and  well-wrought.  They  train  excellent  horses,  love  archery  and  hunt¬ 
ing  ;  and  so  expert  are  they  in  tactics  that  their  soldiers  rank  as  the  best 
among  all  the  uncivilized  tribes.  There  is  this  proverb  :  ‘  The  Lo 
Dragons  of  Shwui-si  rap  the  head  and  strike  the  tail  ’  which  is  intended 
to  indicate  their  celerity  in  defence.”  ( Bridgman ,  p.  272-3.) 

The  character  Lo,  here  applied  in  the  Chinese  Tract  to  these  people, 
is  the  same  as  that  in  the  name  of  the  Kwangsi  Lo  of  M.  Pauthier. 

I  append  a  cut  (next  page)  from  the  drawing  representing  these 
Kolo-man  in  the  original  work  from  which  Bridgman  translated,  which 
is  in  the  possession  of  Dr.  Lockhart. 

Note  2. — Magaillans,  speaking  of  the  semi-independent  tribes  of 
Kweichau  and  Kwangsi  says  :  “  Their  towns  are  usually  so  girt  by  high 
mountains  and  scarped  rocks  that  it  seems  as  if  nature  had  taken  a 
pleasure  in  fortifying  them  ”  (p.  43). 

*  On  the  other  hand  M.  Gamier  writes  :  “I  do  not  know  any  name  at  all  like 
Kolo,  except  Lolo ,  the  generic  name  given  by  the  Chinese  to  the  wild  tribes  of  Yunnan.” 
Does  not  this  look  as  if  Kolo  were  really  the  old  name,  Luluh  or  Lolo  the  later  ? 

Chap.  LVIII 



The  Koloman,  after  a  Chinese  drawing. 



Book  II. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Cuiju. 

Cuiju  is  a  province  towards  the  East.  After  leaving  Co¬ 
lo  man  you  travel  along  a  river  for  1 2  days,  meeting  with  a 
good  number  of  towns  and  villages,  but  nothing  worthy  of 
particular  mention.  After  you  have  travelled  those  twelve 
days  along  the  river  you  come  to  a  great  and  noble  city 
which  is  called  Fungul.1 

The  people  are  Idolaters  and  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan, 
and  live  by  trade  and  handicrafts.  You  must  know  they 
manufacture  stuffs  of  the  bark  of  certain  trees  which  form 
very  fine  summer  clothing.2  They  are  good  soldiers,  and 
have  paper-money.  For  you  must  understand  that  hence¬ 
forward  we  are  in  the  countries  where  the  Great  Kaan’s 
paper-money  is  current. 

The  country  swarms  with  lions  to  that  degree  that 
no  man  can  venture  to  sleep  outside  his  house  at  nightd 
Moreover  when  you  travel  on  that  river,  and  come  to  a  halt 
at  night,  unless  you  keep  a  good  way  from  the  bank  the 
lions  will  spring  on  the  boat  and  snatch  one  of  the  crew 
and  make  off  with  him  and  devour  him.  And  but  for  a 
certain  help  that  the  inhabitants  enjoy,  no  one  could 
venture  to  travel  in  that  province,  because  of  the  multitude 
of  those  lions,  and  because  of  their  strength  and  ferocity. 

But  you  see  they  have  in  this  province  a  large  breed  of 
dogs,  so  fierce  and  bold  that  two  of  them  together  will 
attack  a  lion.4  So  every  man  who  goes  a  journey  takes 
with  him  a  couple  of  those  dogs,  and  when  a  lion  appears 
they  have  at  him  with  the  greatest  boldness,  and  the  lion 
turns  on  them,  but  can’t  touch  them  for  they  are  very 
deft  at  eschewing  his  blows.  So  they  follow  him,  per¬ 
petually  giving  tongue,  and  watching  their  chance  to  give 
him  a  bite  in  the  rump  or  in  the  thigh,  or  wherever  they 
may.  The  lion  makes  no  reprisal  except  now  and  then  to 

Chap.  LIX. 



turn  fiercely  on  them,  and  then  indeed  were  he  to  catch  the 
dogs  it  would  be  all  over  with  them,  but  they  take  good  care 
that  he  shall  not.  So,  to  escape  the  dogs’  din,  the  lion  makes 
off,  and  gets  into  the  wood,  where  mayhap  he  stands  at  bay 
against  a  tree  to  have  his  rear  protected  from  their  annoy¬ 
ance.  And  when  the  travellers  see  the  lion  in  this  plight  they 
take  to  their  bows,  for  they  are  capital  archers,  and  shoot  their 
arrows  at  him  till  he  falls  dead.  And  ’tis  thus  that  travellers 
in  those  parts  do  deliver  themselves  from  those  lions. 

They  have  a  good  deal  of  silk  and  other  products 
which  are  carried  up  and  down,  by  the  river  of  which  we 
spoke,  into  various  quarters.5 

You  travel  along  the  river  for  twelve  days  more,  find¬ 
ing  a  good  many  towns  all  along,  and  the  people  always 
Idolaters,  and  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  with  paper-money 
current,  and  living  by  trade  and  handicrafts.  There  are 
also  plenty  of  fighting  men.  And  after  travelling  those 
1 2  days  you  arrive  at  the  city  of  Sindafu  of  which  we  spoke 
in  this  book  some  time  ago.6 

From  Sindafu  you  set  out  again  and  travel  some  70 
days  through  the  provinces  and  cities  and  towns  which  we 
have  already  visited,  and  all  which  have  been  already 
particularly  spoken  of  in  our  Book.  At  the  end  of  those 
70  days  you  come  to  Juju  where  we  were  before. 

From  Juju  you  set  out  again  and  travel  four  days 
towards  the  south,  finding  many  towns  and  villages.  The 
people  are  great  traders  and  craftsmen,  are  all  Idolaters, 
and  use  the  paper  money  of  the  Great  Kaan  their  Sovereign. 
At  the  end  of  those  four  days  you  come  to  the  city  of 
Cacanfu  belonging  to  the  province  of  Cathay,  and  of  it  I 
shall  now  speak. 

Note  1. — In  spite  of  difficulties  which  beset  the  subject  (see  note  6 
below)  the  view  of  Pauthier,  suggested  doubtingly  by  Marsden,  that  this 
is  the  province  of  Kweichau,  seems  the  only  admissible  one.  As  the 
latter  observes,  the  reappearance  of  paper-money  shows  that  we  have  got 
back  into  a  province  of  China  Proper.  Such,  Yunnan,  recently  conquered 
from  a  Shan  prince,  could  not  be  considered. 



Book  II. 

The  city  of  Fungul  is  by  Pauthier  identified  with  one  which  stood 
about  30  m.  north  of  Kweiyangfu  the  present  capital,  and  which  was 
the  head  of  a  district  called  Tawankolo,  of  which  he  supposes  Fungul 
to  be  a  corruption. 

The  name  is,  however,  even  more  suggestive  of  Phungan ,  which 
under  the  Mongols  was  the  head  of  a  district  called  Phungan-lu.  It 
was  founded  by  that  dynasty,  and  was  regarded  as  an  important  position 
for  the  command  of  the  three  provinces  Kwei-chau,  Kwangsi  and 
Yunnan.  (Biot,  p.  168;  Martini,  p.  137.) 

Note  2. — Several  Chinese  plants  afford  a  fibre  from  the  bark,  and 
some  of  these  are  manufactured  into  what  we  call  grass-cloths .  The 
light  smooth  textures  so  called  are  termed  by  the  Chinese  Hiapu  or 
“  summer  cloths.”  Kweichau  produces  such.  But  perhaps  that  specially 
intended  is  a  species  of  hemp  ( Urtica  Nivea  T)  of  which  M.  Perny  of  the 
R.  C.  Missions  says,  in  his  notes  on  Kweichau  :  “  It  affords  a  texture 
which  may  be  compared  to  batiste.  This  has  the  notable  property  of 
keeping  so  cool  that  many  people  cannot  wear  it  even  in  the  hot 
weather.  Generally  it  is  used  only  for  summer  clothing.”  (Diet,  des 
Tissus,  VII.  404;  Chin.  Repos.  XVIII.  217  and  529:  Ann.  de  la  Prop, 
de  la  Foi,  XXXI.  137.) 

Note  3. — Tigers  of  course  are  meant  (see  supra ,  vol.  i.  p.  352). 
M.  Perny  speaks  of  Tigers  in  the  mountainous  parts  of  Kweichau. 
(Ibid.  139.) 

Note  4. — These  great  dogs  were  noticed  by  Lieut,  (now  General) 
Macleod,  in  his  journey  to  Kiang  Hung  on  the  great  River  Mekong,  as 
accompanying  the  caravans  of  Chinese  traders  on  their  way  to  the 
Siamese  territory  (see  Macleod’ s  Journal,  p.  66). 

Note  5. — Martini  says  silk  is  not  produced  in  Kweichau.  But  M. 
Perny  writes  that  the  trade  in  silk  is  an  important  branch  of  commerce 
in  Upper  Kweichau  ;  it  is  however  the  silk  of  the  oak-leaf  silkworm 
(u.  s.  136). 

Note  6. — We  have  now  got  back  to  Sindafu,  i.e.  Chingtufu  in 
Ssechuen,  and  are  better  able  to  review  the  geography  of  the  track  we 
have  been  following.  I  do  not  find  it  possible  to  solve  all  its  difficulties. 

The  different  provinces  treated  of  in  the  chapters  from  lv.  to  lix.  are 
strung  by  Marco  upon  an  easterly,  or,  as  we  must  interpret,  north-easterly 
line  of  travel,  real  or  hypothetical.  Their  names  and  intervals  are  as 
follows  :  (1)  Bangala;  whence  30  marches  to  (2)  Caugigu ;  25  marches 
to  (3)  Anin ;  8  marches  to  (4)  Toloman  or  Coloman ;  12  days  along  a 
river  to  the  city  of  Fungul,  Sinugul  (or  what  not)  in  (5)  Cuiju  ;  12  days, 
further,  on  or  along  the  same  river,  to  (6)  Chiligtufu.  Total  from  Ban- 
gala  to  Chingtufu  87  days. 

I  have  said  that  the  line  of  travel  is  real  or  hypothetical,  for  no  doubt 
a  large  part  of  it  was  only  founded  on  hearsay.  We  last  left  our  traveller 

Chap.  LIX. 



at  Mien,  or  on  the  frontier  of  Yunnan  and  Mien.  Bangala  is  reached 
per  saltum  with  no  indication  of  the  interval,  and  its  position  is  entirely 
misapprehended.  Marco  conceives  of  it,  not  as  in  India,  but  as  being, 
like  Mien,  a  province  on  the  confines  of  India,  as  being  under  the  same 
King  as  Mien,  as  lying  to  the  south  of  that  kingdom,  and  as  being  at  the 
(south)  western  extremity  of  a  great  traverse  line  which  runs  (north) 
east  into  Kweichau  and  Ssechuen.  All  these  conditions  point  consistently 
to  one  locality;  that  however  is  not  Bengal  but  Pegu.  On  the  other 
hand  the  circumstances  of  manners  and  products,  so  far  as  they  go,  do 
belong  to  Bengal.  I  conceive  that  Polo’s  information  regarding  these 
was  derived  from  persons  who  had  really  visited  Bengal  by  sea,  but  that 
he  had  confounded  what  he  so  heard  of  the  Delta  of  the  Ganges  with 
what  he  heard  on  the  Yunnan  frontier  of  the  Delta  of  the  Irawadi.  It 
is  just  the  same  kind  of  error  that  is  made  about  those  great  Eastern 
Rivers  by  Fra  Mauro  in  his  Map.  And  possibly  the  name  of  Pegu 
(in  Burmese  Bagoh)  may  have  contributed  to  his  error,  as  well  as  the 
probable  fact  that  the  Kings  of  Burma  did  at  this  time  claim  to  be 
Kings  of  Bengal,  whilst  they  actually  were  Kings  of  Pegu. 

Caugigu. — We  have  seen  reason  to  agree  with  M.  Pauthier  that  the 
description  of  this  region  points  to  Laos,  though  we  cannot  with  him 
assign  it  to  Kiang-mai.  Even  if  it  be  identical  with  the  Papesifu  of  the 
Chinese,  we  have  seen  that  the  centre  of  that  state  may  be  placed  at 
Muang  Yong  not  far  from  the  Mekong.  But  I  am  not  convinced  of 
this  identity,  and  possibly  Caugigu  is  to  be  placed  still  nearer  the  Chinese 
and  Tungking  territory,  say  at  Kiang  Hung. 

As  regards  the  name,  it  is  possible  that  it  may  represent  some  specific 
name  of  the  Upper  Laos  territory.  But  I  am  inclined  to  believe  that 
we  are  dealing  with  a  case  of  erroneous  geographical  perspective  like 
that  of  Bangala ;  and  that  whilst  the  circumstances  belong  to  Upper  Laos, 
the  natne ,  read  as  I  read  it  Caugigu  (or  Cavgigu),  is  no  other  than  the 
Kafchikue  of  Rashiduddin,  the  name  applied  by  him  to  Tungking,  and 
representing  the  Kiaochi-kwe  of  the  Chinese.  D’Anville’s  Atlas  brings 
Kiaochi  up  to  the  Mekong  in  immediate  contact  with  Cheli  or  Kiang 
Hung.  I  had  come  to  the  conclusion  that  Caugigu  was  probably  the 
correct  reading  before  I  was  aware  that  it  is  an  actual  reading  of  the 
Geog.  Text  more  than  once,  of  Pauthier’s  A  more  than  once,  of  Pau- 
thier’s  C  at  least  once  and  possibly  twice,  and  of  the  Bern  MS. ;  all  which 
I  have  ascertained  from  personal  examination  of  those  manuscripts.* 

Anin  or  Aniu. — I  have  already  pointed  out  that  I  seek  this  in  the 
territory  about  Lin-ngan  and  Homi.  In  relation  to  this  M.  Gamier 
writes  :  “  In  starting  from  M.  Yong,  or  even  if  you  prefer  it  from  Xieng 
Hung  (Kiang  Hung  of  our  Maps)  ....  it  would  be  physically  impos¬ 
sible  in  25  days  to  get  beyond  the  arc  which  I  have  laid  down  on.  your 
map  (viz.,  extending  a  few  miles  N.E.  of  Homi).  There  are  scarcely 

*  A  passing  suggestion  of  the  identity  of  Kafche  Kue  and  Caugigu  is  made  by 
D’Ohsson,  and  I  formerly  objected  (see  Cathay,  p.  272). 

VOL.  II. 




Book  II. 

any  roads  in  those  mountains,  and  easy  lines  of  communication  begin 
only  after  you  have  got  to  the  Lin-ngan  territory.  In  Marco  Polo’s 
days  things  were  certainly  not  better,  but  the  reverse.  All  that  has  been 
done  of  consequence  in  the  way  of  roads,  posts,  and  organisation  in  the 
part  of  Yunnan  between  Lin-ngan  and  Xieng  Hung,  dates  in  some 
degree  from  the  Yuen,  but  in  a  far  greater  degree  from  Kanghi.”  Hence 
even  with  the  Ramusian  reading  of  the  itinerary  we  cannot  place  Anin 
much  beyond  the  position  indicated  already. 

Koloman. — We  have  seen  that  the  position  of  this  region  is  probably 
near  the  western  frontier  of  Kweichau.  Adhering  to  Homi  as  the  repre¬ 
sentative  of  Anin,  and  to  the  8  days’  journey  of  the  text,  a  probable 
position  of  Koloman  would  be  about  Lo-fiing, ,  which  according  to  Peter- 
mann’s  map  lies  about  ioo  English  miles  in  a  straight  line  N.E.  from 
Homi.  The  first  character  of  the  name  here  is  again  the  same  as  the 
Lo  of  the  Kolo  tribes. 

Beyond  this  point  the  difficulties  of  devising  an  interpretation,  con¬ 
sistent  at  once  with  facts  and  with  the  text  as  it  stands,  become  very 
serious,  perhaps  insuperable. 

The  narrative  demands  that  from  Koloman  we  should  reach  Fungul , 
the  chief  city  of  Cuiju ,  by  travelling  12  days  along  a  river,  and  that 
Fungul  should  be  within  12  days’  journey  of  Chingtufu,  along  the  same 
river,  or  at  least  along  rivers  connected  with  it. 

It  does  not  seem  possible  to  reconcile  M.  Pauthier’s  Tawankolo, 
which  otherwise  has  a  good  deal  to  recommend  it,  with  these  conditions. 

Having  referred  the  difficulty  to  M.  Gamier,  that  officer  favoured  me 
with  a  note,  in  which  he  fully  discusses  the  question,  and  rejects  the  route 
by  the  U-kiang  or  River  of  Kweichau  as  impossible  in  the  time  stated. 
He  then  proceeds  :  “  There  are  three  navigable  rivers  to  the  west  of  the 
U-kiang.  That  one  which  enters  the  Kiang  a  little  above  Siu-cheu-fu, 
the  River  of  Lowatong ,  which  was  descended  by  our  party,  has  a  branch 
to  the  eastward  which  is  navigable  up  to  about  the  latitude  of  Chao-tong. 
Is  not  this  probably  Marco  Polo’s  route  ?  It  is  to  this  day  a  line  much 
frequented,  and  one  on  which  great  works  have  been  executed  ;  among 
others  two  iron  suspension  bridges,  works  truly  gigantic  for  the  country 
in  which  we  find  them. 

“To  allow  of  this  solution  we  must  indeed  ....  suppose  that  the 
journey  from  Toloman  to  Fungul  is  not  by  the  river,  and  that  only  some 
little  way  after  leaving  the  latter  point  the  traveller  falls  in  with  the 
eastern  branch  of  the  Lowatong  River.  The  ramifications  of  the  rivers 
between  Weining,  Loping,  and  Kweiyang  are  very  obscure.  That  space 
includes  lakes,  rivers  which  lose  themselves  and  reappear,  and  a  table¬ 
land  of  considerable  extent  above  Weining.  Water  travelling  is  often 
easy,  and  even  when  interrupted  can  be  resumed  after  a  single  day’s 
journey  or  less.  Marco  Polo’s  12  days’  journey  might  be  of  this  kind.” 

An  extract  from  a  Chinese  Itinerary  of  this  route,  which  M.  Gamier 
has  since  communicated  to  me,  shows  that  at  a  point  4  days  from 

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F,."Well>T .  Lithog'i 

Chap.  LIX. 



Weining  the  traveller  may  embark  and  continue  his  voyage  to  any 
point  on  the  great  Kiang. 

In  this  direction  then  it  is  probable  that  Polo’s  route  to  Chingtufu 
should  be  sought.  And  I  may  point  out  another  river  (Ngiu  Lan  Kiang) 
to  the  west  of  Weining,  which  M.  Gamier  states  to  be  navigable,  and  which 
would  afford  a  still  more  direct  route  to  the  Kinsha  Kiang.  The  latter 
indeed  is  not  now  navigated  in  that  quarter,  but  this  is  I  believe  owing  to 
no  natural  obstacle,  but  to  the  dread  of  the  savage  tribes  upon  the  banks. 

My  theory  of  Polo’s  actual  journey  would  be  that  he  returned  from 
Yunnanfu  to  Chingtufu  through  some  part  of  the  province  of  Kweichau, 
perhaps  only  its  western  extremity,  but  that  he  spoke  of  Caugigu,  and 
probably  of  Anin,  as  he  did  of  Bangala,  from  report  only.  And,  in 
recapitulation,  I  would  identify  provisionally  the  localities  spoken  of  in 
this  difficult  itinerary  as  follows :  Caugigu  with  Kiang  Hung ;  Anin  with 
Homi ;  Coloman  with  Loping ;  Fungul  with  Phungan-lu  on  the  western 
border  of  Kweichau,  which  is  Cuiju . 

Note  7.  Here  the  Traveller  gets  back  to  the  road-bifurcation  near 
Juju,  i.e.  Chochau  {ante,  p.  4),  and  thence  commences  to  travel  south¬ 

H  2 

BOOK  II.  — continued. 



Concerning  the  Cities  of  Cacanfu  and  of  Changlu. 

Cacanfu  is  a  noble  city.  The  people  are  Idolaters  and 

burn  their  dead ;  they  have  paper-money,  and  live  by 

trade  and  handicrafts.  For  they  have  plenty  of  silk  from 

which  they  weave  stuffs  of  silk  and  gold,  and  sendals  in 

large  quantities.  [There  are  also  certain  Christians  at  this 

place,  who  have  a  church.]  And  the  city  is  at  the  head  / 

of  an  important  territory  containing  numerous  towns  and 

villages.  [A  great  river  passes  through  it,  on  which  much 

merchandize  is  carried  to  the  city  of  Cambaluc,  for  by 

many  channels  and  canals  it  is  connected  therewith.1] 

We  will  now  set  forth  again,  and  travel  three  days 
towards  the  south,  and  then  we  come  to  a  town  called 
Changlu.  This  is  another  great  city  belonging  to  the 
Great  Kaan,  and  to  the  province  of  Cathay.  The  people 
have  paper-money,  and  are  Idolaters  and  burn  their  dead. 

And  you  must  know  they  make  salt  in  great  quantities  at 
this  place  ;  I  will  tell  you  how  ’tis  done.2 

A  kind  of  earth  is  found  there  which  is  exceedingly 
salt.  This  they  dig  up  and  pile  in  great  heaps.  Upon 
these  heaps  they  pour  water  in  quantities  till  it  runs  out 
at  the  bottom  ;  and  then  they  take  up  this  water  and  boil  it 
well  in  great  iron  cauldrons,  and  as  it  cools  it  deposits  a 
fine  white  salt  in  very  small  grains.  This  salt  they  then 



Book  II. 

carry  about  for  sale  to  many  neighbouring  districts,  and 
get  great  profit  thereby. 

There  is  nothing  else  worth  mentioning,  so  let  us  go 
forward  five  days’  journey,  and  we  shall  come  to  a  city 
called  Chinangli. 

Note  1. — In  the  greater  part  of  the  journey  which  occupies  the 
remainder  of  Book  II.,  Pauthier  is  a  chief  authority,  owing  to  his 
industrious  Chinese  reading  and  citation.  Most  of  his  identifications 
seem  well  founded,  though  sometimes  we  shall  be  constrained  to  dissent 
from  them  widely.  A  considerable  number  have  been  anticipated  by 
former  editors,  but  even  in  such  cases  he  is  often  able  to  bring  forward 
new  grounds. 

Cacanfu  is  Hokianfu  in  Pecheli,  52  m.  in  a  direct  line  south  by 
east  of  Chochau.  This  is  recognized  by  Marsden  and  Murray.  It 
was  the  head  of  one  of  the  Lu  or  circuits  into  which  the  Mongols 
divided  China.  {Pauthier.) 

Note  2. — Marsden  and  Murray  have  identified  Changlu  with 
Thsang-chau  in  Pecheli,  about  30  m.  east  by  south  of  Hokianfu.  This 
seems  substantially  right,  but  Pauthier  shows  that  there  was  an  old 
town  actually  called  Changlu,  separated  from  Thsang-chau  only  by  the 
great  canal. 

The  manner  of  obtaining  salt  described  in  the  text  is  substantially 
the  same  as  one  described  by  Duhalde,  and  by  one  of  the  missionaries, 
as  being  employed  near  the  mouth  of  the  Yangtse-kiang.  There  is  a 
town  of  the  third  order  some  miles  south-east  of  Thsang-chau,  called 
Yen-shan  or  “salt-hill,”  and  according  to  Pauthier  Thsang-chau  is  the 
mart  for  salt  produced  there.  {Duhalde  in  Astley ,  IV.  310;  Lettres 
Edif.  XI.  267  seqq. ;  Biot ,  p.  283.) 

Polo  here  introduces  a  remark  about  the  practice  of  burning  the 
dead,  which  with  the  notice  of  the  idolatry  of  the  people,  and  their  use 
of  paper-money,  constitutes  a  formula  which  he  repeats  all  through  the 
Chinese  provinces  with  wearisome  iteration. 

A  great  change  seems  to  have  come  over  Chinese  custom  since  the 
middle  ages,  in  regard  to  the  disposal  of  the  dead.  Cremation  seems 
to  be  now  entirely  disused  except  in  two  cases  ;  one,  that  of  the  obse¬ 
quies  of  a  Buddhist  priest,  and  the  other  that  in  which  the  coffin  instead 
of  being  buried  has  been  exposed  in  the  fields,  and  in  the  lapse  of  time 
has  become  decayed.  But  it  is  impossible  to  reject  the  evidence  that 
it  was  a  common  practice  in  Polo’s  age.  He  repeats  the  assertion  that 
it  was  the  custom  at  every  stage  of  his  journey  through  Eastern  China ; 
though  perhaps  his  taking  absolutely  no  notice  of  the  practice  of  burial 
is  an  instance  of  that  imperfect  knowledge  of  strictly  Chinese  pecu¬ 
liarities  which  has  been  elsewhere  ascribed  to  him.  It  is  the  case,  how- 

Chap.  LXI. 



ever,  that  the  author  of  the  Book  of  the  Estate  of  the  Great  Kaan  (circa 
I33°)  also  speaks  of  cremation  as  the  usual  Chinese  practice,  and  that 
Ibn  Batuta  says  positively :  “  The  Chinese  are  infidels  and  idolaters, 
and  they  burn  their  dead  after  the  manner  of  the  Hindus.”  This  is  all 
the  more  curious,  because  the  Arab  Relations  of  the  9th  century  say 
distinctly  that  the  Chinese  buried  their  dead,  though  they  often  kept  the 
body  long  (as  they  do  still)  before  doing  so ;  and  there  is  no  mistaking 
the  description  which  Conti  (15  th  century)  gives  of  the  Chinese  mode 
of  sepulture.  Mendoza,  in  the  16th  century,  alludes  to  no  disposal  of 
the  dead  except  by  burial,  but  Semedo  in  the  early  part  of  the  17  th  says 
that  bodies  were  occasionally  burnt,  especially  in  Ssechuen. 

And  it  is  very  worthy  of  note  that  the  Chinese  envoy  to  Chinla 
(Kamboja)  in  1295,  an  individual  who  may  have  personally  known  Marco 
Polo,  in  speaking  of  the  custom  prevalent  there  of  exposing  the  dead, 
adds:  “  There  are  some  however  who  burn  their  dead.  These  are  all 
descendants  of  Chinese  emigrants .” 

(. Doolittle ,  190;  jDeguignes ,  I.  69;  Cathay ,  p.  247,  479;  Reinaud, 
I.  56 ;  India  in  XVth  Century ,  p.  23  ;  Semedo ,  p.  95 ;  Rem.  Mel.  Asiat. 
I.  128.) 


Concerning  the  City  of  Chinangli,  and  that  of  Tadinfu,  and 
the  Rebellion  of  Litan. 

Chinangli  is  a  city  of  Cathay  as  you  go  south,  and  it 
belongs  to  the  Great  Kaan  ;  the  people  are  Idolaters,  and 
have  paper-money.  There  runs  through  the  city  a  great 
and  wide  river,  on  which  a  large  traffic  in  silk  goods  and 
spices  and  other  costly  merchandize  passes  up  and  down. 

When  you  travel  south  from  Chinangli  for  five  days, 
you  meet  everywhere  with  fine  towns  and  villages,  the 
people  of  which  are  all  Idolaters,  and  burn  their  dead,  and 
are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  have  paper-money,  and 
live  by  trade  and  handicrafts,  and  have  all  the  necessaries 
of  life  in  great  abundance.  But  there  is  nothing  particular 
to  mention  on  the  way  till  you  come,  at  the  end  of  those 
five  days,  to  Tadinfu.1 

This,  you  must  know,  is  a  very  great  city,  and  in  old 
times  was  the  seat  of  a  great  kingdom  ;  but  the  Great 

98  MARCO  POLO.  Book  II. 

Kaan  conquered  it  by  force  of  arms.  Nevertheless  it  is 
still  the  noblest  city  in  all  those  provinces.  There  are  very 
great  merchants  here,  who  trade  on  a  great  scale,  and  the 
abundance  of  silk  is  something  marvellous.  They  have 
also  most  charming  gardens  abounding  with  fruit  of  large 
size.  This  city  of  Tadinfu  hath  also  under  its  rule  eleven 
imperial  cities  of  great  importance,  all  of  which  enjoy  a 
large  and  profitable  trade,  owing  to  that  immense  produce 
of  silk.2 

Now  you  must  know  that  in  the  year  of  Christ  1273 
the  Great  Kaan  had  sent  a  certain  Baron  called  Liytan 
Sang  on,5  with  some  80,000  horse,  to  this  province  and  city 
to  garrison  them.  And  after  the  said  captain  had  tarried 
there  a  while,  he  formed  a  disloyal  and  traitorous  plot,  and 
stirred  up  the  great  men  of  the  province  to  rebel  against 
the  Great  Kaan.  And  so  they  did ;  for  they  broke  into 
revolt  against  their  sovereign  lord,  and  refused  all  obedience 
to  him,  and  made  this  Liytan,  whom  their  sovereign  had 
sent  thither  for  their  protection,  to  be  the  chief  of  their 

When  the  Great  Kaan  heard  thereof  he  straightway 
despatched  two  of  his  Barons,  one  of  whom  was  called 
Aguil  and  the  other  Mongotay  ;4  giving  them  100,000 
horse  and  a  great  force  of  infantry.  But  the  affair  was  a 
serious  one,  for  the  Barons  were  met  by  the  rebel  Liytan 
with  all  those  whom  he  had  collected  from  the  province, 
mustering  more  than  100,000  horse  and  a  large  force  of 
foot.  Nevertheless  in  the  battle  Liytan  and  his  party  were 
utterly  routed,  and  the  two  Barons  whom  the  Emperor  had 
sent  won  the  victory.  When  the  news  came  to  the  Great 
Kaan  he  was  right  well  pleased,  and  ordered  that  all  the 
chiefs  who  had  rebelled,  or  excited  others  to  rebel,  should 
be  put  to  a  cruel  death,  but  that  those  of  lower  rank  should 
receive  a  pardon.  And  so  it  was  done.  The  two  Barons 
had  ail  the  leaders  of  the  enterprise  put  to  a  cruel  death, 
and  all  those  of  lower  rank  were  pardoned.  And  thence- 

Chap.  LXI. 



forward  they  conducted  themselves  with  loyalty  towards 
their  lord.5 

Now  having  told  you  all  about  this  affair,  let  us  have 
done  with  it,  and  I  will  tell  you  of  another  place  that  you 
come  to  in  going  south,  which  is  called  Sinju-matu. 

Note  1. — There  seems  to  be  no  solution  to  the  difficulties  attaching 
to  the  account  of  these  two  cities  (Chinangli  and  Tadinfu)  except  that 
the  two  have  been  confounded,  either  by  a  lapse  of  memory  on  the 
traveller’s  part  or  by  a  misunderstanding  on  that  of  Rusticiano. 

The  position  and  name  of  Chinangli  point,  as  Pauthier  has  shown, 
to  Thsinan-fu,  the  chief  city  of  Shantung.  The  second  city  is  called 
in  the  G.  Text  and  Pauthier’s  MSS.  Candinfu,  Condinfu ,  and  Cundinfu , 
names  which  it  has  not  been  found  possible  to  elucidate.  But  adopting 
the  reading  Tadinfu  of  some  of  the  old  printed  editions  (supported  by 
the  Tudinfu  of  Ramusio  and  the  Tandifu  of  the  Riccardian  MS.), 
Pauthier  shows  that  the  city  now  called  Yenchau  bore  under  the  Kin  the 
name  of  Taitingfu,  which  may  fairly  thus  be  recognized. 

It  was  not  however  Yencheu,  but  Thsinanfu ,  which  was  “  the  noblest 
city  in  all  those  provinces,”  and  had  been  “  in  old  times  the  seat  of  a 
kingdom,”  as  well  as  recently  the  scene  of  the  episode  of  Litan’s  rebel¬ 
lion.  Thsinan-fu  lies  in  a  direct  line  86  miles  south  of  Thsangchau 
( Changlu ),  near  the  banks  of  the  Tathsing-ho,  a  large  river  which  com¬ 
municates  with  the  great  canal  near  Thsiningchau,  and  which  was,  no 
doubt,  of  greater  importance  in  Polo’s  time  than  in  the  last  six  centuries. 
For  up  nearly  to  the  origin  of  the  Mongol  power  it  appears  to  have 
been  one  of  the  main  discharges  of  the  Hoang-Ho.  The  recent  changes 
in  that  river  have  again  brought  its  main  stream  into  the  same  channel, 
and  the  “  New  Yellow  River”  passes  three  or  four  miles  to  the  north  of 
the  city.  Thsinanfu  has  only  recently  been  revisited  by  European 
travellers,  who  report  it  as  still  a  place  of  importance,  with  a  consider¬ 
able  display  of  life,  several  fine  temples,  and  all  the  furniture  of  a  pro¬ 
vincial  capital.  (Rev.  A .  Williamson  in  J.  N.  China  Br.  R.  As.  Soc.  for 
Dec.  1867,  p.  58.) 

Note  2. — The  older  modern  accounts  speak  only  of  the  wild  silk 
of  Shantung.  But  Mr.  Williamson  points  out  that  there  is  an  extensive 
produce  from  the  genuine  mulberry  silkworm,  and  anticipates  a  very 
important  trade  in  Shantung  silk.  The  Chinese  annals  more  than  2000 
years  b.c.  speak  of  silk  as  an  article  of  tribute  from  Shantung.  Evidently 
in  the  middle  ages  it  was  one  of  the  provinces  most  noted  for  that 
article.  Compare  the  quotation  in  note  on  next  chapter  from  Friar 
Odoric.  ( Williamson  in  J.  N.  Ch.  Br.  R.  A.  Y.,  Dec.  1866,  p.  24.) 

Note  3.—- The  title  Sangon  is,  as  Pauthier  points  out,  the  Chinese 



Book  II. 

Tsangkiun ,  “a  general  of  division. ”  John  Bell  calls  an  officer  bearing 
the  same  title  “  Merin  Sanguin.” 

Note  4. — Agul  was  the  name  of  a  distant  cousin  of  Kublai,  who  was 
the  father  of  Nayan  (supra,  ch.  ii.  and  Genealogy  of  the  House  of  Chinghiz 
in  Appendix  A.).  Mangkutai,  under  Kublai,  held  the  command  of 
the  third  Hazara  of  the  right  wing,  in  which  he  had  succeeded  his 
father  Jedi  Noyan.  He  was  greatly  distinguished  in  the  invasion  of 
South  China  under  Bayan.  (Erdmann's  Temudschin ,  p.  220,  455  ; 
Gaubil \  p.  160.) 

Note  5. — Litan,  a  Chinese  of  high  military  position  and  reputa¬ 
tion  under  the  Mongols,  in  the  early  part  of  Kublai’s  reign  commanded 
the  troops  in  Shantung  and  the  conquered  parts  of  Kiangnan.  In  the 
beginning  of  1262  he  carried  out  a  design  that  he  had  entertained  since 
Kublai’s  accession,  declared  for  the  Sung  Emperor  to  whom  he  gave  up 
several  important  places,  put  detached  Mongol  garrisons  to  the  sword, 
and  fortified  Thsinan  and  Thsingchau.  Kublai  despatched  Prince  Apiche 
and  the  General  Ssetienche  against  him.  Litan,  after  some  partial 
success,  was  beaten  and  driven  into  Thsinan,  which  the  Mongols  imme¬ 
diately  invested.  After  a  blockade  of  four  months  the  garrison  was 
reduced  to  extremities.  Litan  in  despair  put  his  women  to  death  and 
threw  himself  into  a  lake  adjoining  the  city ;  but  he  was  taken  out 
alive  and  executed.  Thsingchau  then  surrendered.  ( Gaubil ,  13  9-1 40  ; 
Demailla ,  IX.  298  seqq. ;  D'  Ohsson,  II.  381.) 

Pauthier  gives  greater  detail  from  the  Chinese  Annals,  which  con¬ 
firm  the  amnesty  granted  to  all  but  the  chiefs  of  the  rebellion.  It  will 
be  seen  that  the  names  of  the  generals  sent  by  Kublai  do  not  corre¬ 
spond  with  those  in  the  text. 

The  date  in  the  text  is  wrong  or  corrupt  as  is  generally  the  case. 

CHAPTER  L  X 1 1. 

Concerning  the  noble  City  of  Sinjumatu. 

On  leaving  Tadinfu  you  travel  three  days  towards  the 
south,  always  finding  numbers  of  noble  and  populous 
towns  and  villages  flourishing  with  trade  and  manufactures. 
There  is  also  abundance  of  game  in  the  country,  and  every¬ 
thing  in  profusion. 

When  you  have  travelled  those  three  days  you  come 
to  the  noble  city  of  Sinjumatu,  a  rich  and  fine  place. 

Chap.  LXII. 



with  great  trade  and  manufactures.  The  people  are  Idola¬ 
ters  and  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan,  and  have  paper- 
money,  and  they  have  a  river  which  I  can  assure  you 
brings  them  great  gain,  and  I  will  tell  you  about  it. 

You  see  the  river  in  question  flows  from  the  south  to 
this  city  of  Sinjumatu.  And  the  people  of  the  city  have 
divided  this  larger  river  in  two,  making  one  half  of  it  flow 
east  and  the  other  half  flow  west ;  that  is  to  say,  the  one 
branch  flows  towards  Manzi  and  the  other  towards  Cathay. 
And  it  is  a  fact  that  the  number  of  vessels  at  this  city  is 
what  no  one  would  believe  without  seeing  them.  The 
quantity  of  merchandize  also  which  these  vessels  transport 
to  Manzi  and  Cathay  is  something  marvellous ;  and  then 
they  return  loaded  with  other  merchandize,  so  that  the 
amount  of  goods  borne  to  and  fro  on  those  two  rivers  is 
quite  astonishing.1 

Note  1. — Friar  Odoric,  proceeding  by  water  northward  to  Cam- 
baluc  about  1324-5,  says:  “As  I  travelled  by  that  river  towards  the 
east,  and  passed  many  towns  and  cities,  I  came  to  a  certain  city  which 
is  called  Sunzumatu,  which  hath  a  greater  plenty  of  silk  than  perhaps 
any  place  on  earth,  for  when  silk  is  at  the  dearest  you  can  still  have 
40  lbs.  for  less  than  eight  groats.  There  is  in  the  place  likewise  great 
store  of  merchandize,”  &c.  When  commenting  on  Odoric  I  was  inclined 
to  identify  this  city  with  Linthsingchau,  but  its  position  with  respect  to 
the  two  last  cities  in  Polo’s  itinerary  renders  this  inadmissible;  and 
Murray  and  Pauthier  seem  to  be  right  in  identifying  it  with  Thsining- 
chau.  The  affix  Matu  (Ma-theu,  a  jetty,  a  place  of  river  trade)  might 
easily  attach  itself  to  the  name  of  such  a  great  depot  of  commerce  on 
the  canal  as  Marco  here  describes,  though  no  Chinese  authority  has 
been  produced  for  its  being  so  styled.  The  only  objection  to  the 
identification  with  Thsiningchau  is  the  difficulty  of  making  three  days’ 
journey  of  the  short  distance  between  Yenchau  and  that  city. 

Polo,  according  to  the  route  supposed,  comes  first  upon  the  artificial 
part  of  the  Great  Canal  here.  The  rivers  Wen  and  Sse  united  flow 
from  the  side  of  Shantung,  striking  the  canal  line  at  right  angles  on  the 
water-shed  near  Thsiningchau,  and  have  been  thence  diverted  north-west 
and  south-east  so  as  to  form  the  canal.  There  is  a  little  confusion  in 
Polo’s  account  owing  to  his  describing  the  river  as  coming  from  the  south , 
which  according  to  his  orientation  would  be  the  side  towards  Honan. 



Book  II. 

In  this  respect  his  words  would  apply  more  accurately  to  the  Wei  river 
at  Linthsing  (see  Biot  in  J.  As.  ser.  3,  tom.  xiv.  194,  and  J.  N.  C.  B. 
R.  A.  S.,  1866,  p.  11).  Duhalde  calls  Thsiningchau  “  one  of  the  most 
considerable  cities  of  the  empire;”  and  Nieuhoff  speaks  of  its  large 
trade  and  population. 

CHAPTER  L  X 1 1 1. 

Concerning  the  Cities  of  Linju  and  Piju. 

On  leaving  the  city  of  Sinju-matu  you  travel  for  eight 
days  towards  the  south,  always  coming  to  great  and  rich 
towns  and  villages  flourishing  with  trade  and  manufactures. 
The  people  are  all  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan,  use  paper- 
money,  and  burn  their  dead.  At  the  end  of  those  eight 
days  you  come  to  the  city  of  Linju,  in  a  province  of  the 
same  name  of  which  it  is  the  capital.  It  is  a  rich  and 
noble  city,  and  the  men  are  good  soldiers,  natheless  they 
carry  on  great  trade  and  manufactures.  There  is  great 
abundance  of  game  in  both  beasts  and  birds,  and  all  the 
necessaries  of  life  are  in  profusion.  The  place  stands  on 
the  river  of  which  I  told  you  above.  And  they  have  here 
great  numbers  of  vessels,  even  greater  than  those  of  which 
I  spoke  before,  and  these  transport  a  great  amount  of 
costly  merchandize.1 

So,  quitting  this  province  and  city  of  Linju,  you  travel 
three  days  more  towards  the  south,  constantly  finding 
numbers  of  rich  towns  and  villages.  These  still  belong  to 
Cathay  ;  and  the  people  are  all  Idolaters,  burning  their  dead, 
and  using  paper-money,  that  I  mean  of  their  Lord  the  Great 
Kaan,  whose  subjects  they  are.  This  is  the  finest  country 
for  game,  whether  in  beasts  or  birds,  that  is  anywhere  to 
be  found,  and  all  the  necessaries  of  life  are  in  profusion. 

At  the  end  of  those  three  days  you  find  the  city  of 
Piju,  a  great,  rich,  and  noble  city,  with  large  trade  and 
manufactures,  and  a  great  production  of  silk.  This  city 
stands  at  the  entrance  to  the  great  province  of  Manzi,  and 

Chap.  LXIV. 



there  reside  at  it  a  great  number  of  merchants  who  despatch 
carts  from  this  place  loaded  with  great  quantities  of  goods 
to  the  different  towns  of  Manzi.  The  city  brings  in  a 
great  revenue  to  the  Great  Kaan.2 

Note  1. — There  is  a  difficulty  about  this  Linju  or  Linchau  (Lingiu). 
Pauthier  will  have  it  to  be  I-chan ,  which  at  one  time  bore  the  name  of 
Lin-i ,  and  suits  as  to  distance.  But  Ichau  is  far  from  the  canal,  which 
Polo  appears  to  intend  by  the  river  of  Sinjumatu  ;  it  seems  to  be  out  of 
his  way;  nor  is  there  evidence  of  its  great  trade.  Lecomte  and  his 
party  seem  to  speak  of  it  as  a  place  of  small  importance. 

Murray  suggests  that  Lingiu  is  a  place  which  appears  in  Arrow- 
smith’s  map  (also  in  those  of  Berghaus  and  Keith  Johnston)  as  Linching- 
hien.  It  does  not  appear  either  in  D’Anville’s  map  or  in  Klaproth’s, 
nor  can  I  find  it  in  Biot.  The  position  assigned  to  it,  however,  on  the 
west  bank  of  the  canal,  nearly  under  the  35th  degree  of  latitude,  would 
agree  fairly  with  Polo’s  data. 

In  any  case  I  imagine  Lingiu  (of  which,  perhaps,  Lingin  may  be  the 
correct  reading)  to  be  the  Lenzin  of  Odoric,  which  he  reached  in  travelling 
by  water  from  the  south,  before  arriving  at  Sinjumatu  ( Cathay ,  p.  125). 

Note  2. — There  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  is  Peichau  on  the  east 
bank  of  the  canal.  The  abundance  of  game  about  here  is  noticed  by 
Nieuhoff  (in  Ast/ey,  III.  417). 


Concerning  the  City  of  Siju,  and  the  Great  River  Caramoran. 

When  you  leave  Piju  you  travel  towards  the  south  for 
two  days,  through  beautiful  districts  abounding  in  every¬ 
thing,  and  in  which  you  find  quantities  of  all  kinds  of 
game.  At  the  end  of  those  two  days  you  reach  the  city 
of  Siju,  a  great,  rich,  and  noble  city,  flourishing  with  trade 
and  manufactures.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  burn  their 
dead,  use  paper  money,  and  are  subjects  of  the  Great 
Kaan.  They  possess  extensive  and  fertile  plains  producing 
abundance  of  wheat  and  other  grain.1  But  there  is  nothing 



Book  II. 

else  to  mention,  so  let  us  proceed  and  tell  you  of  the 
countries  further  on. 

On  leaving  Siju  you  ride  south  for  three  days,  con¬ 
stantly  falling  in  with  fine  towns  and  villages  and  hamlets 
and  farms,  with  their  cultivated  lands.  There  is  plenty  of 
wheat  and  other  corn,  and  of  game  also ;  and  the  people 
are  all  Idolaters  and  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan. 

At  the  end  of  those  three  days  you  reach  the  great 
river  Caramoran,  which  flows  hither  from  Prester  John’s 
country.  It  is  a  great  river,  and  more  than  a  mile  in 
width,  and  so  deep  that  great  ships  can  navigate  it.  It 
abounds  in  fish,  and  very  big  ones  too.  You  must  know 
that  in  this  river  there  are  some  1 5,000  vessels,  all  belong¬ 
ing  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  kept  to  transport  his  troops  to 
the  Indian  Isles  whenever  there  may  be  occasion  ;  for  the 
sea  is  only  one  day  distant  from  the  place  we  are  speaking 
of.  And  each  of  these  vessels,  taking  one  with  another, 
will  require  20  mariners,  and  will  carry  1 5  horses  with  the 
men  belonging  to  them,  and  their  provision,  arms,  and 

Hither  and  thither,  on  either  bank  of  the  river,  stands 
a  town ;  the  one  facing  the  other.  The  one  is  called 
Coiganju  and  the  other  Caiju  ;  the  former  is  a  large  place, 
and  the  latter  a  little  one.  And  when  you  pass  this  river 
you  enter  the  great  province  of  Manzi.  So  now  I  must 
tell  you  how  this  province  of  Manzi  was  conquered  by  the 
Great  KaanJ 

Note  I. — Siju  can  scarcely  be  other  than  Su-thsian  ( Sootsin  of 
Keith  Johnston’s  map),  as  Murray  and  Pauthier  have  said.  The  latter 
states  that  one  of  the  old  names  of  the  place  was  Si-chau ,  which  corre¬ 
sponds  to  that  given  by  Marco.  Biot  does  not  give  this  name. 

The  town  stands  on  the  flat  alluvial  of  the  Hoang-Ho,  and  is 
approached  by  high  embanked  roads.  (Asf/ey,  III.  524-5.) 

Note  2. — We  have  again  arrived  on  the  banks  of  the  Hoang-Ho, 
which  was  crossed  higher  up  on  our  traveller’s  route  to  Karajang. 

No  accounts,  since  China  became  known  to  modern  Europe,  at- 



tribute  to  the  Hoang-Ho  the  great  utility  for  navigation  which  Polo 
here  and  elsewhere  ascribes  to  it.  Indeed,  we  are  told  that  its  current 
is  so  rapid  that  its  navigation  is  scarcely  practicable.  This  rapidity 
also,  bringing  down  vast  quantities  of  soil,  has  so  raised  the  bed  that 
in  recent  times  the  tide  has  not  entered  the  river,  as  it  probably  did  in 
our  traveller’s  time,  when,  as  it  would  appear  from  his  account,  sea¬ 
going  craft  used  to  ascend  to  the  ferry  north  of  Hwainganfu,  or  there¬ 
abouts.  Another  indication  of  change  is  his  statement  that  the  passage 
just  mentioned  was  only  one  day’s  journey  from  the  sea,  whereas  it  is 
now  about  50  miles  in  a  direct  line.  But  the  river  has  of  late  years 
undergone  changes  much  more  material. 

In  the  remotest  times  of  which  the  Chinese  have  any  record,  the 
Hoang-Ho  discharged  its  waters  into  the  Gulf  of  Pecheli  by  two 
branches,  the  most  northerly  of  which  appears  to  have  followed  the 
present  course  of  the  Pei-ho  below  Tientsing.  In  the  time  of  the  Shang 
Dynasty  (ending  b.c.  1078)  a  more  southerly  branch  flowed  towards 
Thsining,  and  combined  with  the  Thsi  river,  which  flowed  by  Tsinanfu, 
the  same  in  fact  that  was  till  recently  called  the  Ta-thsing.  In  the  time 
of  Confucius  we  first  hear  of  a  branch  being  thrown  off  south-east  to¬ 
wards  the  Hwai  flowing  north  of  Hwaingan,  in  fact  towards  the  embou¬ 
chure  which  our  maps  still  display  as  that  of  the  Hoang  Ho.  But  up 
to  the  Mongol  era  or  nearly  so,  the  mass  of  the  waters  of  this  great 
river  continued  to  flow  into  the  Gulf  of  Pecheli.  They  then  changed 
their  course  bodily  towards  the  Hwai,  and  followed  that  general  direc¬ 
tion  to  the  sea  which  they  had  adopted  by  the  time  of  our  traveller, 
and  which  they  retained  till  a  very  recent  period. 

During  the  reign  of  the  last  Mongol  emperor  a  project  was  adopted 
for  restoring  the  Hoang-Ho  to  its  former  channel,  discharging  into  the 
Gulf  of  Pecheli ;  and  discontents  connected  with  this  scheme  promoted 
the  movement  for  the  expulsion  of  the  dynasty  (1368). 

A  river  whose  regimen  was  liable  to  such  vast  changes  was  necessa¬ 
rily  a  constant  source  of  danger,  insomuch  that  the  Emperor  Kiaking  in 
his  will  speaks  of  it  as  having  been  “  from  the  remotest  ages  China’s 
sorrow.”  Some  idea  of  the  enormous  works  maintained  for  the  control 
of  the  river  may  be  obtained  from  the  following  description  of  their 
character  on  the  north  bank,  some  distance  to  the  west  of  Kaifungfu  : 

“  In  a  village,  apparently  bounded  by  an  earthen  wall  as  large  as 
that  of  the  Tartar  city  of  Peking,  was  reached  the  first  of  the  outworks 
erected  to  resist  the  Hwang-ho,  and  on  arriving  at  the  top  that  river 
and  the  gigantic  earthworks  rendered  necessary  by  its  outbreaks  burst 
on  the  view.  On  a  level  with  the  spot  on  which  I  was  standing  stretched 
a  series  of  embankments,  each  one  about  70  feet  high,  and  of  breadth 
sufficient  for  four  railway  trucks  to  run  abreast  on  them.  The  mode  of 
their  arrangement  was  on  this  wise  :  one  long  bank  ran  parallel  to  the 
direction  of  the  stream ;  half  a  mile  distant  from  it  ran  a  similar  one ; 
these  two  embankments  were  then  connected  by  another  series  exactly 

io  6 


Book  II. 

similar  in  size,  height,  and  breadth,  and  running  at  right  angles  to 
them  right  down  to  the  edge  of  the  water.” 

About  the  years  1851-3  the  Hoang-Ho  burst  its  embankments  nearly 
30  miles  to  the  east  of  Kaifungfu,  and  after  six  centuries  resumed  the 
ancient  direction  of  its  discharge  into  the  Gulf  of  Pecheli.  Soon  after 
leaving  its  late  channel  it  at  present  spreads,  without  defined  banks,  over 
the  very  low  lands  of  South-Western  Shantung,  till  it  reaches  the  Great 
Canal,  and  then  enters  the  Ta-thsing  channel,  passing  north  of  Thsinan  to 
the  sea.  The  old  channel  crossed  by  Polo  in  the  present  journey  is  quite 
deserted.  The  greater  part  of  the  bed  is  there  cultivated ;  it  is  dotted 
with  numerous  villages;  and  the  vast  trading  town  of  Chinkiangpu  is 
extending  so  rapidly  from  the  southern  bank  that  a  recent  traveller  says 
he  expects  that  in  two  years  it  will  have  reached  the  northern  bank. 

The  same  change  has  destroyed  the  Grand  Canal  as  a  navigable 
channel,  for  many  miles  south  of  Linthsingchau.  (J  R.  G.  S.,  XXVIII. 
294-5  ;  Escayrac  de  Lauture,M'em.  sur  la  Chine ;  Cathay ,  p.  125  ;  Reports 
of  Journeys  in  China ,  &  c.  [by  Consuls  Alabaster,  Oxenham,  &c.,  Pari.  Blue 
Book,  1869],  pp.  4-5,  14 ;  Mr.  Elias  in  Proc.  R.  G.  S.,  XIV.  20  seqq. ) 

Note  3. — Coiganju  will  be  noticed  below.  Caiju  does  not  seem  to 
be  traceable,  having  probably  been  carried  away  by  the  changes  in  the 
river.  But  it  would  seem  to  have  been  at  the  mouth  of  the  canal  on  the 
north  side  of  the  Hoang-Ho,  and  the  name  is  the  same  as  that  given 
below  (ch.  lxxii.)  to  the  town  (Kwachau)  occupying  the  corresponding 
position  on  the  Kiang. 

“  Khatai,”  says  Rashiduddin,  “  is  bounded  on  one  side  by  the  country 
of  Machin,  which  the  Chinese  call  Manzi.  ...  In  the  Indian  language 
Southern  China  is  called  Maha-chm,  i.e.  ‘  Great  China,’  and  hence  we 
derive  the  word  Machin.  The  Mongols  call  the  same  country  Nangiass. 
It  is  separated  from  Khatai  by  the  river  called  Karamoran,  which 
comes  from  the  mountains  of  Tibet  and  Kashmir,  and  which  is  never 
fordable.  The  capital  of  this  kingdom  is  the  city  of  Khingsai ,  which  is 
40  days’  journey  from  Khanbalik.”  ( Quat \  Rashid,  xci-xciii.) 

Manzi  (or  Mangi)  is  a  name  used  for  Southern  China,  or  more 
properly  for  the  territory  which  constituted  the  dominion  of  the  Sung 
Dynasty  at  the  time  when  the  Mongols  conquered  Cathay  or  Northern 
China  from  the  Kin,  not  only  by  Marco,  but  by  Odoric  and  John 
Marignolli,  as  well  as  by  the  Persian  writers,  who  however  more  commonly 
call  it  Machin.  I  imagine  that  some  confusion  between  the  two  words 
led  to  the  appropriation  of  the  latter  name  also  to  Southern  China. 
The  term  Mantzu  or  Mantze  signifies  “  Barbarians  ”  (“  Sons  of  Bar¬ 
barians  ”),  and  was  applied,  it  is  said,  by  the  Northern  Chinese  to  their 
neighbours  on  the  south,  whose  civilization  was  of  later  date.  The  name 
is  now  specifically  applied  to  a  wild  race  on  the  banks  of  the  Upper  Kiang. 

Though  both  Polo  and  Rashiduddin  call  the  Karamoran  the 
boundary  between  Cathay  and  Manzi,  it  was  not  so  for  any  great 
distance.  Honan  belonged  essentially  to  Cathay. 

Chap.  LXV. 




How  the  Great  Kaan  conquered  the  Province  of  Manzi. 

You  must  know  that  there  was  a  king  and  sovereign  lord 
of  the  great  territory  of  Manzi  who  was  styled  Facfur, 
so  great  and  puissant  a  prince,  that  for  vastness  of  wealth 
and  number  of  subjects  and  extent  of  dominion,  there  was 
hardly  a  greater  in  all  the  earth  except  the  Great  Kaan 
himself.1  But  the  people  of  his  land  were  anything  rather 
than  warriors ;  all  their  delight  was  in  women,  and  nought 
but  women ;  and  so  it  was  above  all  with  the  king  himself, 
for  he  took  thought  of  nothing  else  but  women,  unless  it 
were  of  charity  to  the  poor. 

In  all  his  dominion  there  were  no  horses  ;  nor  were  the 
people  ever  inured  to  battle  or  arms,  or  military  service  of 
any  kind.  Yet  the  province  of  Manzi  is  very  strong  by 
nature,  and  all  the  cities  are  encompassed  by  sheets  of 
water  of  great  depth,  and  more  than  an  arblast  shot  in 
width ;  so  that  the  country  never  would  have  been  lost, 
had  the  people  but  been  soldiers.  But  that  is  just  what 
they  were  not ;  so  lost  it  was.* 

Now  it  came  to  pass,  in  the  year  of  Christ’s  incarnation, 
1268,  that  the  Great  Kaan,  the  same  that  now  reigneth, 
despatched  thither  a  Baron  of  his  whose  name  was  Bayan 
Chincsan,  which  is  as  much  as  to  say  u  Bayan  Hundred- 
Eyes.”  And  you  must  know  that  the  King  of  Manzi  had 
found  in  his  horoscope  that  he  never  should  lose  his  king¬ 
dom  except  through  a  man  that  had  an  hundred  eyes ;  so 
he  held  himself  assured  in  his  position,  for  he  qould  not 
believe  that  any  man  in  existence  could  have  an  hundred 
eyes.  There,  however,  he  deluded  himself,  in  his  ignorance 
of  the  name  of  Bayand 

This  Bayan  had  an  immense  force  of  horse  and  foot 
entrusted  to  him  by  the  Great  Kaan,  and  with  these  he 
entered  Manzi,  and  he  had  also  a  great  number  of  boats  to 

VOL.  11. 




Book  II. 

carry  both  horse  and  foot  when  need  should  be.  And 
when  he,  with  all  his  host,  entered  the  territory  of  Manzi 
and  arrived  at  this  city  of  Coiganju, — whither  we  now  are 
got,  and  of  which  we  shall  speak  presently, — he  summoned 
the  people  thereof  to  surrender  to  the  Great  Kaan  ;  but 
this  they  flatly  refused.  On  this  Bayan  went  on  to  another 
city,  with  the  same  result,  and  then  still  went  forward ; 
acting  thus  because  he  was  aware  that  the  Great  Kaan  was 
despatching  another  great  host  to  follow  him  up.4 

What  shall  I  say  then  ?  He  advanced  to  five  cities  in 
succession,  but  got  possession  of  none  of  them ;  for  he  did 
not  wish  to  engage  in  besieging  them,  and  they  would  not 
give  themselves  up.  But  when  he  came  to  the  sixth  city 
he  took  that  by  storm,  and  so  with  a  second,  and  a  third, 
and  a  fourth,  until  he  had  taken  twelve  cities  in  succession. 
And  when  he  had  taken  all  these  he  advanced  straight 
against  the  capital  city  of  the  kingdom,  which  was  called 
Kinsay,  and  which  was  the  residence  of  the  King  and 

And  when  the  King  beheld  Bayan  coming  with  all  his 
host,  he  was  in  great  dismay,  as  one  unused  to  see  such 
sights.  So  he  and  a  great  company  of  his  people  got  on 
board  a  thousand  ships  and  fled  to  the  islands  of  the  Ocean 
Sea,  whilst  the  Queen  who  remained  behind  in  the  city  took 
all  measures  in  her  power  for  its  defence,  like  a  valiant 

Now  it  came  to  pass  that  the  Queen  asked  what  was 
the  name  of  the  captain  of  the  host,  and  they  told  her 
that  it  was  Bayan  Hundred-Eyes.  So  when  she  wist  that 
he  was  styled  Hundred- Eyes,  she  called  to  mind  how  their 
astrologers  had  foretold  that  a  man  of  an  hundred  eyes 
should  strip  them  of  the  kingdom.5  Wherefore  she  gave 
herself  up  to  Bayan,  and  surrendered  to  him  the  whole 
kingdom  and  all  the  other  cities  and  fortresses,  so  that  no 
resistance  was  made.  And  in  sooth  this  was  a  goodly  con¬ 
quest,  for  there  was  no  realm  on  earth  half  so  wealthy.6 

Chap.  LXV.  CONQUEST  OF  MANZI.  109 

The  amount  that  the  King  used  to  expend  was  perfectly 
marvellous  ;  and  as  an  example  I  will  tell  you  somewhat 
of  his  liberal  acts. 

In  those  provinces  they  are  wont  to  expose  their  new-  • 
born  babes  ;  I  speak  of  the  poor,  who  have  not  the  means 
of  bringing  them  up.  But  the  King  used  to  have  all  those 
foundlings  taken  charge  of,  and  had  note  made  of  the 
signs  and  planets  under  which  each  was  born,  and  then  put 
them  out  to  nurse  about  the  country.  And  when  any  rich 
man  was  childless  he  would  go  to  the  King  and  obtain  from 
him  as  many  of  these  children  as  he  desired.  Or,  when  the 
children  grew  up,  the  King  would  make  up  marriages 
among  them,  and  provide  for  the  couples  from  his  own 
purse.  In  this  manner  he  used  to  provide  for  some  20,000 
boys  and  girls  every  year.7 

I  will  tell  you  another  thing  this  King  used  to  do.  If 
he  was  taking  a  ride  through  the  city  and  chanced  to  see 
a  house  that  was  very  small  and  poor  standing  among 
other  houses  that  were  fine  and  large,  he  would  ask  why 
it  was  so,  and  they  would  tell  him  it  belonged  to  a  poor 
man  who  had  not  the  means  to  enlarge  it.  Then  the  King 
would  himself  supply  the  means.  And  thus  it  came  to 
pass  that  in  all  the  capital  of  the  kingdom  of  Manzi, 
Kinsay  by  name,  you  should  not  see  any  but  fine  houses. 

This  King  used  to  be  waited  on  by  more  than  a  thou¬ 
sand  young  gentlemen  and  ladies,  all  clothed  in  the  richest 
fashion.  And  he  ruled  his  realm  with  such  justice  that  no 
malefactors  were  to  be  found  therein.  The  city  in  fact 
was  so  secure  that  no  man  closed  his  doors  at  night,  not 
even  in  houses  and  shops  that  were  full  of  all  sorts  of  rich 
merchandize.  No  one  could  do  justice  in  the  telling  to 
the  great  riches  of  that  country,  and  to  the  good  disposi¬ 
tion  of  the  people.  Now  that  I  have  told  you  about  the 
kingdom,  I  will  go  back  to  the  Queen. 

You  must  know  that  she  was  conducted  to  the  Great 
Kaan,  who  gave  her  an  honourable  reception,  and  caused 

1  2 



Book  II. 

her  to  be  served  with  all  state,  like  a  great  lady  as  she  was. 
But  as  for  the  King  her  husband,  he  never  more  did  quit 
the  isles  of  the  sea  to  which  he  had  fled,  but  died  there. 
So  leave  we  him  and  his  wife  and  all  their  concerns,  and 
let  us  return  to  our  story,  and  go  on  regularly  with  our 
account  of  the  great  province  of  Manzi  and  of  the  manners 
and  customs  of  its  people.  And,  to  begin  at  the  beginning, 
we  must  go  back  to  the  city  of  Coiganju,  from  which  we 
diverged  to  tell  you  about  the  conquest  of  Manzi. 

Note  1. — Faghfur  or  Baghh'ir  was  a  title  applied  by  old  Persian 
and  Arabic  writers  to  the  Emperor  of  China,  much  in  the  way  that  we 
used  to  speak  of  the  Great  Mogul ’  and  our  fathers  of  the  Sophy.  It  is, 
as  Neumann  points  out,  an  old  Persian  translation  of  the  Chinese  title 
Tien-tse ,  “Son  of  Heaven ” ;  Bagh-Pur  =  “The  Son  of  the  Divinity,”  as 
Sapor  or  Shah-Pur  —  “  The  Son  of  the  King.” 

Faghfur  seems  to  have  been  used  as  a  proper  name  in  Turkestan 
(see  Baber ,  423). 

There  is  a  similar  word  Takfur ,  applied  by  the  Mahomedans  to  the 
Greek  emperors  both  of  Byzantium  and  Trebizond  (and  also  to  the 
Kings  of  Cilician  Armenia),  which  was  perhaps  adopted  as  a  jingling 
match  to  the  former  term ;  Faghfur,  the  great  infidel  king  in  the  East ; 
Takfur,  the  great  infidel  king  in  the  West.  Redhouse  thinks  it  is  a  cor¬ 
ruption  of  tov  KvpLov,  but  Defremery  says  it  is  Armenian,  Tagavor ,  “  a 
king.”  (I.  B.  II.  393,  427.) 

Note  2.— Nevertheless  the  history  of  the  conquest  shows  instances 
of  extraordinary  courage  and  self-devotion  on  the  part  of  Chinese 
officers,  especially  in  the  defence  of  fortresses. 

Note  3. — Bayan  (signifying  “  great  ”  or  “  noble  ”)  is  a  name  of  very 
old  renown  among  the  Nomade  nations,  for  we  find  it  as  that  of  the 
Khagan  of  the  Avars  in  the  6th  century.  The  present  Bayan,  Kublai’s 
most  famous  lieutenant,  was  of  princely  birth,  in  the  Mongol  tribe  called 
Barin.  In  his  youth  he  served  in  the  West  under  Hulaku.  According 
to  Rashiduddin,  about  1265  he  was  sent  to  Cathay  with  certain  ambas¬ 
sadors  of  the  Kaan’s  who  were  returning  thither.  He  was  received 
with  great  distinction  by  Kublai,  who  was  greatly  taken  with  his  pre¬ 
possessing  appearance,  and  ability,  and  a  command  was  assigned  him. 
In  1273,  after  the  capture  of  Siang-Yang  ( infra ,  chap,  lxx.),  the  Kaan 
named  him  to  the  chief  command  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war  against 
the  Sung  dynasty.  Whilst  Bayan  was  in  the  full  tide  of  success,  Kublai, 
alarmed  by  the  ravages  of  Kaidu  on  the  Mongolian  frontier,  recalled 


him  to  take  the  command  there,  but  on  the  general’s  remonstrance  he 
gave  way,  and  made  him  a  minister  of  state  (Chingsiang).  The 
essential  part  of  his  task  was  completed  by  the  surrender  of  the  capital 
King-sse  (Linggan,  now  Hangchau)  to  his  arms  in  the  beginning  of  1276. 
He  was  then  recalled  to  court,  and  immediately  despatched  to  Mon¬ 
golia,  where  he  continued  in  command  for  1 7  years,  his  great  business 
being  to  keep  down  the  restless  Kaidu. 

In  1293  enemies  tried  to  poison  the  emperor’s  ear  against  Bayan, 
and  they  seemed  to  have  succeeded  ;  for  Kublai  despatched  his  heir 
the  Prince  Teimur  to  supersede  him  in  the  frontier  command.  Bayan 
beat  Kaidu  once  more,  and  then  made  over  his  command  with  character¬ 
istic  dignity.  On  his  arrival  at  court  Kublai  received  him  with  the 
greatest  honour,  and  named  him  chief  minister  of  state  and  commandant 
of  his  guards  and  the  troops  about  Cambaluc.  The  emperor  died  in 
the  beginning  of  the  next  year  (1294),  and  Bayan’s  high  position  enabled 
him  to  take  decisive  measures  for  preserving  order,  and  maintaining 
Kublai’s  disposition  of  the  succession.  Bayan  was  raised  to  still  higher 
dignities,  but  died  at  the  age  of  59,  within  less  than  a  year  of  the  master 
whom  he  had  served  so  well  for  30  years  (about  January,  1295).  After 
his  death,  according  to  the  peculiar  Chinese  fashion,  he  received  yet 
further  accessions  of  dignity. 

The  language  of  Chinese  historians  in  speaking  of  this  great  man  is 
thus  rendered  by  Demailla ;  it  is  a  noble  eulogy  of  a  Tartar  warrior, 
and  might  have  been  written,  in  great  part,  as  the  character  of  a  soldier 
of  our  own  day.  I  need  not  name  him  ;  all  readers  who  know  the  man 
will  recognize  the  likeness  : — 

“  He  was  endowed  with  a  lofty  genius,  and  possessed  in  the  highest 
measure  the  art  of  handling  great  bodies  of  troops.  When  he  marched 
against  the  Sung,  he  directed  the  movements  of  200,000  men  with  as 
much  ease  and  coolness  as  if  there  had  been  but  one  man  under  his 
orders.  All  his  officers  looked  up  to  him  as  a  prodigy;  and  having 
absolute  trust  in  his  capacity,  they  obeyed  him  with  entire  submission. 
Nobody  knew  better  how  to  deal  with  soldiers,  or  to  moderate  their 
ardour  when  it  carried  them  too  far.  He  was  never  seen  sad  except 
when  forced  to  shed  blood,  for  he  was  sparing  even  of  the  blood  of  his 
enemy.  .  .  .  His  modesty  was  not  inferior  to  his  ability.  .  .  .  He 
would  attribute  all  the  honour  to  the  conduct  of  his  officers,  and  he 
was  ever  ready  to  extol  their  smallest  feats.  He  merited  the  praises  of 
Chinese  as  well  as  Mongols,  and  both  nations  long  regretted  the  loss 
of  this  great  man.”  Demailla  gives  a  different  account  from  Rashiduddin 
and  Gaubil,  of  the  manner  in  which  Bayan  first  entered  the  Kaan’s 
service.  ( Gaubil \  145,  159,  169,  179,  183,  221,  223-4 ;  Erdmann,  222-3; 
Demailla,  IX.  335,  458,  461-3.) 

Note  4. — As  regards  Bayan  personally,  and  the  main  body  under 
his  command,  this  seems  to  be  incorrect.  His  advance  took  place  from 
Siangyang  along  the  lines  of  the  Han  River  and  of  the  Great  Kiang. 

1 1 2 


Book  II. 

Another  force  indeed  advanced  direct  upon  Yangchau,  and  therefore 
probably  by  Hwainganchau ;  and  it  is  noted  that  Bayan’s  orders  to  the 
generals  of  this  force  were  to  spare  bloodshed.  ( Gaubi l,  159  ;  D’Ohsson, 

Note  5. — So  in  our  own  age  ran  the  Hindu  prophecy  that  Bhartpur 
should  never  fall  till  there  came  a  great  alligator  against  it ;  and  when 
it  fell  to  the  English  assault,  the  Brahmans  found  that  the  name  of  the 
leader  was  Combermere  =  Kumhir-Mir ,  the  Crocodile  Lord  ! 

-  “  Be  those  juggling  fiends  no  more  believed 

That  palter  with  us  in  a  double  sense  ; 

That  keep  the  word  of  promise  to  our  ear 
And  break  it  to  our  hope  !  ” 

It  would  seem  from  the  expression,  both  in  Pauthier’s  text  and  in  the 
G.  T.,  as  if  Polo  intended  to  say  that  Chincsan  (Cinqsan)  meant  “  One 
Hundred  Eyes  •”  and  if  so  we  could  have  no  stronger  proof  of  his 
ignorance  of  Chinese.  It  is  P e-yen ,  the  Chinese  form  of  Bayan ,  that 
means,  or  rather  may  be  punningly  rendered,  “  One  Hundred  Eyes.” 
Chincsan,  i.e.  Chingsiang ;  was  the  title  of  the  superior  ministers  of  state 
at  Khanbalik,  as  we  have  already  seen.  The  title  occurs  pretty  fre¬ 
quently  in  the  Persian  histories  of  the  Mongols,  and  frequently  as  a 
Mongol  title  in  Sanang  Setzen.  We  find  it  also  disguised  as  Chyansam 
in  a  letter  from  certain  Christian  nobles  at  Khanbalik,  which  Wadding 
quotes  from  the  Papal  archives  (see  Cathay ,  p.  314-15). 

But  it  is  right  to  observe  that  in  the  Ramusian  version  the  mis¬ 
translation  which  we  have  noticed  is  not  so  indubitable  :  “  Volendo 
sapere  come  avea  nome  il  Capitano  nemico,  le  fu  detto,  Chinsambaian , 
cioe  Cent occhi” 

A  kind  of  corroboration  of  Marco’s  story,  but  giving  a  different  form 
to  the  pun,  has  been  recently  found  by  Mr.  W.  F.  Mayers,  of  the  Con¬ 
sular  Department  in  China,  in  a  Chinese  compilation  dating  from  the 
latter  part  of  the  14th  century.  Under  the  heading,  “A  Kiangman 
Prophecy ,”  this  book  states  that  prior  to  the  fall  of  the  Sung  a  prediction 
ran  through  Kiang-nan  :  “If  Kiang-nan  fall,  a  hundred  wild  geese  (Pe- 
yen )  will  make  their  appearance.”  This,  it  is  added,  was  not  understood 
till  the  generalissimo  Peyen  Chingsiang  made  his  appearance  on  the 
scene.  “  Punning  prophecies  of  this  kind  are  so  common  in  Chinese 
history,  that  the  above  is  only  worth  noticing  in  connexion  with  Marco 
Polo’s  story.”  (N.  and  Q.  China  and  Japan ,  vol.  ii.  p.  162.) 

But  I  should  suppose  that  the  Persian  historian  Wassaf  had  also 
heard  a  bungled  version  of  the  same  story,  which  he  tells  in  a  pointless 
manner  of  the  fortress  of  Sindfur  (evidently  a  clerical  error  for  Saianfu , 
see  below,  chap,  lxx.) :  “  Payan  ordered  this  fortress  to  be  assaulted. 
The  garrison  had  heard  how  the  capital  of  China  had  fallen,  and  the 
army  of  Payan  was  drawing  near.  The  commandant  was  an  experienced 
veteran  who  had  tasted  all  the  sweets  and  bitters  of  fortune,  and  had 

Chap.  LXV. 


1 13 

borne  the  day’s  heat  and  the  night’s  cold ;  he  had,  as  the  saw  goes, 
milked  the  world’s  cow  dry.  So  he  sent  word  to  Payan  :  ‘  In  my  youth 
(here  we  abridge  Wassafs  rigmarole)  I  heard  my  father  tell  that  this 
fortress  should  be  taken  by  a  man  called  Payan,  and  that  all  fencing 
and  trenching,  fighting  and  smiting,  would  be  of  no  avail.  You  need 
not  therefore  bring  an  army  hither ;  we  give  in ;  we  surrender  the  for¬ 
tress  and  all  that  is  therein.’  So  they  opened  the  gates  and  came 
down.”  {Wassaf,  Hammer’s  ed.,  p.  41.) 

Note  6. — There  continues  in  this  narrative,  with  a  general  truth  as 
to  the  course  of  events,  a  greater  amount  of  error  as  to  particulars  than 
we  should  have  expected.  The  Sung  Emperor  Tutsong,  a  debauched 
and  effeminate  prince,  to  whom  Polo  seems  to  refer,  had  died  in  1274, 
leaving  young  children  only.  Chaohien,  the  second  son,  a  boy  of  four 
years  of  age,  was  put  on  the  throne,  with  his  grandmother  Siechi  as 
regent.  The  approach  of  Bayan  caused  the  greatest  alarm ;  the  Sung 
Court  made  humble  propositions,  but  they  were  not  listened  to.  The 
brothers  of  the  young  emperor  were  sent  off  by  sea  into  the  southern 
provinces;  the  empress  regent  was  also  pressed  to  make  her  escape 
with  the  young  emperor,  but  after  consenting  she  changed  her  mind  and 
would  not  move.  The  Mongols  arrived,  and  the  empress  sent  the  great 
seal  of  the  empire  to  Bayan.  He  entered  the  city  without  resistance  in 
the  third  month  (say  April),  1276,  riding  at  the  head  of  his  whole  staff 
with  the  standard  of  the  general-in-chief  before  him.  It  is  remarked  that 
he  went  to  look  at  the  tide  in  the  river  Tsien  Tang,  which  is  noted  for 
its  Bore.  He  declined  to  meet  the  regent  and  her  grandson,  pleading 
that  he  was  ignorant  of  the  etiquettes  proper  to  such  an  interview. 
Before  his  entrance  Bayan  had  nominated  a  joint  commission  of  Mongol 
and  Chinese  officers  to  the  government  of  the  city,  and  appointed  a 
committee  to  take  charge  of  all  the  public  documents,  maps,  drawings, 
records  of  courts,  and  seals  of  all  public  offices,  and  to  plant  sentinels 
at  necessary  points.  The  emperor,  his  mother,  and  the  rest  of  the  Sung 
princes  and  princesses,  were  despatched  to  the  Mongol  capital.  A  des¬ 
perate  attempt  was  made  at  Kwachau  {infra,  chap,  lxxii.)  to  recapture  the 
young  emperor,  but  it  failed.  On  their  arrival  at  Tatu,  Kublai’s  chief 
queen  Jamui  Khatun  treated  them  with  delicate  consideration.  This 
amiable  lady,  on  being  shown  the  spoils  that  came  from  Linggan,  only 
wept  and  said  to  her  husband,  “  So  also  shall  it  be  with  the  Mongol 
empire  one  day !  ”  The  eldest  of  the  two  boys  who  had  escaped  was 
proclaimed  emperor  by  his  adherents  at  Fuchau,  in  Fokien,  but  they 
were  speedily  driven  from  that  province,  and  the  young  emperor  died 
on  a  desert  island  off  the  Canton  coast  in  1278.  His  younger  brother 
took  his  place,  but  a  battle  in  the  beginning  of  1279  finally  extinguished 
these  efforts  of  the  expiring  dynasty,  and  the  minister  jumped  with  his 
young  lord  into  the  sea.  It  is  curious  that  Rashiduddin,  with  all  his 
opportunities  of  knowledge,  writing  at  least  20  years  later,  was  not 
aware  of  this,  for  he  speaks  of  the  Prince  of  Manzi  as  still  a  fugitive  in 


Book  II. 

1 14 

the  forests  between  Zayton  and  Canton.  (Gaubil ;  D'Ohsson ;  Demailla; 
Cathay ,  p.  272.) 

Note  7. — There  is  much  about  the  exposure  of  children  and  about 
Chinese  foundling  hospitals  in  the  Lettres  Edifiantesy  especially  in 
Recueil  xv.  83  seqq.  It  is  there  stated  that  frequently  a  person  not  in 
circumstances  to  pay  for  a  wife  for  his  son,  would  visit  the  foundling 
hospital  to  seek  one.  The  childless  rich  also  would  sometimes  get 
children  there  to  pass  off  as  their  own,  adopted  children  being  excluded 
from  certain  valuable  privileges. 


Concerning  the  City  of  Coiganju. 

Coiganju  is,  as  I  have  told  you  already,  a  very  large  city 
standing  at  the  entrance  to  Manzi.  The  people  are  Idolaters 
and  burn  their  dead,  and  are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan. 
They  have  a  vast  amount  of  shipping,  as  I  mentioned  before 
in  speaking  of  the  River  Caramoran.  And  an  immense 
quantity  of  merchandize  comes  hither,  for  the  city  is  the 
seat  of  government  for  this  part  of  the  country.  Owing  to 
its  being  on  the  river,  many  cities  send  their  produce  thither 
to  be  again  thence  distributed  in  every  direction.  A  great 
amount  of  salt  also  is  made  here,  furnishing  some  forty 
other  cities  with  that  article,  and  bringing  in  a  great  revenue 
to  the  Great  Kaan.1 

Note  1. — Coiganju  is  Hwai-ngan-chau,  now  - Fu ,  on  the  canal,  some 
miles  south  of  the  channel  of  the  Hoang-Ho ;  but  apparently  in  Polo’s 
time  the  great  river  passed  close  to  it.  Indeed  the  city  takes  its  name 
from  the  river  Pfwai,  into  which  the  Hoang-Ho  sent  a  branch  when  it 
first  began  to  seek  a  discharge  further  south  than  the  Gulf  of  Pecheli. 

The  city  extends  for  about  three  miles  along  the  canal  and  much 
below  its  level  (see  Davis ,  I.  120). 

The  head-quarters  of  the  salt  manufacture  of  Hwaingan  is  a  place 
called  Yen-ching  (“  Salt-Town  ”)  some  distance  to  the  S.  of  the  former 
city  (see  Pauthier  in  loco). 

Chap.  LX VI I. 


1 15 


Of  the  Cities  of  Paukin  and  Cayu. 

When  you  leave  Coiganju  you  ride  south-east  for  a  day 
along  a  causeway  laid  with  fine  stone,  which  you  find 
at  this  entrance  to  Manzi.  On  either  hand  there  is  a  great 
expanse  of  water,  so  that  you  cannot  enter  the  province 
except  along  this  causeway.  At  the  end  of  the  day’s 
journey  you  reach  the  fine  city  of  Paukin.  The  people 
are  Idolaters,  burn  their  dead,  are  subject  to  the  Great 
Kaan,  and  use  paper  money.  They  live  by  trade  and  manu¬ 
factures  and  have  great  abundance  of  silk,  whereof  they 
weave  a  great  variety  of  fine  stuffs  of  silk  and  gold.  Of 
all  the  necessaries  of  life  there  is  great  store. 

When  you  leave  Paukin  you  ride  another  day  to 
the  south-east,  and  then  you  arrive  at  the  city  of  Cayu. 
The  people  are  Idolaters  (and  so  forth).  They  live  by 
trade  and  manufactures  and  have  great  store  of  all  neces¬ 
saries,  including  fish  in  great  abundance.  There  is  also 
much  game,  both  beast  and  bird,  insomuch  that  for  a 
Venice  groat  you  can  have  three  good  pheasants.1 

Note  1. — Paukin  is  PAO-YNG-Hien;  Cayu  is  KAO-YU-chau,  both 
cities  on  the  east  side  of  the  canal.  At  Kao-yu  the  country  east  of  the 
canal  lies  some  20  feet  below  the  canal  level ;  so  low  indeed  that  the 
walls  of  the  city  are  not  visible  from  the  further  bank  of  the  canal.  To 
the  west  is  the  Kao-yu  Lake,  one  of  the  expanses  of  water  spoken  of  by 
Marco,  and  which  threatens  great  danger  to  the  low  country  on  the  east 
(see  Mr.  Alabaster's  Journey  in  the  Consular  Reports  above  quoted, 
P-  5)- 


Book  II. 

1 1 6 


Of  the  Cities  of  Tiju,  Tinju,  and  Yanju. 

When  you  leave  Cayu,  you  ride  another  day  to  the  south¬ 
east  through  a  constant  succession  of  villages  and  fields  and 
fine  farms  until  you  come  to  Tiju,  which  is  a  city  of  no 
great  size  but  abounding  in  everything.  The  people  are 
Idolaters  (and  so  forth).  There  is  a  great  amount  of  trade, 
and  they  have  many  vessels.  And  you  must  know  that  on 
your  left  hand,  that  is  towards  the  east,  and  three  days’ 
journey  distant,  is  the  Ocean  Sea.  At  every  place  between 
the  sea  and  the  city  salt  is  made  in  great  quantities.  And 
there  is  a  rich  and  noble  city  called  Tinju,  at  which  there 
is  produced  salt  enough  to  supply  the  whole  province,  and 
I  can  tell  you  it  brings  the  Great  Kaan  an  incredible 
revenue.  The  people  are  Idolaters  and  subject  to  the 
Kaan.  Let  us  quit  this,  however,  and  go  back  to  Tiju.1 

Again,  leaving  Tiju,  you  ride  another  day  towards  the 
south-east,  and  at  the  end  of  your  journey  you  arrive  at 
the  very  great  and  noble  city  of  Yanju,  which  has  seven- 
and-twenty  other  wealthy  cities  under  its  administration ; 
so  that  this  Yanju  is,  you  see,  a  city  of  great  importance.2 
It  is  the  seat  of  one  of  the  Great  Kaan’s  Twelve  Barons, 
for  it  has  been  chosen  to  be  one  of  the  Twelve  Sings. 
The  people  are  Idolaters  and  use  paper-money,  and  are 
subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  And  Messer  Marco  Polo 
himself,  of  whom  this  book  speaks,  did  govern  this  city 
for  three  full  years,  by  the  order  of  the  Great  Kaand  The 
people  live  by  trade  and  manufactures,  for  a  great  amount 
of  harness  for  knights  and  men-at-arms  is  made  there. 
And  in  this  city  and  its  neighbourhood  a  large  number 
of  troops  are  stationed  by  the  Kaan’s  orders. 

There  is  no  more  to  say  about  it.  So  now  I  will  tell 
you  about  two  great  provinces  of  Manzi  which  lie  towards 
the  west.  And  first  of  that  called  Nanghin. 


II 7 

Note  1.- — Though  the  text  would  lead  us  to  look  for  Tiju  on  the 
direct  line  between  Kaoyu  and  Yangchau,  and  like  them  on  the  canal 
bank  (indeed  one  MS.,  C.  ofPauthier,  specifies  its  standing  on  the  same 
river  as  the  cities  already  passed,  i.e.  on  the  canal)  we  seem  constrained 
to  admit  the  general  opinion  that  this  is  Tai-chau,  a  town  lying  some 
five-and-twenty  miles  at  least  to  the  eastward  of  the  Canal.  Though  our 
maps  do  not  show  that  navigation  extends  to  Taichau,  it  probably  does 
so,  for  there  are  many  branches  of  the  canal  not  shown  in  our  maps. 

Tinju  or  Chinju  (for  both  the  G.  T.  and  Ramusio  read  Cingui) 
cannot  be  identified  with  certainty.  But  I  should  think  it  likely  from 
Polo’s  “  geographical  style,”  that  when  he  spoke  of  the  sea  as  three  days 
distant  he  had  this  city  in  view,  and  that  it  is  probably  Tung-chau  on 
the  northern  shore  of  the  estuary  of  the  Yangtse,  which  might  be  fairly 
described  as  three  days  from  Tai-chau.  Mr.  Kingsmill  identifies  it  with 
Ichin-hien,  the  great  port  on  the  Kiang  for  the  export  of  the  Yangchau 
salt.  This  is  possible ;  but  Ichin  lies  west  of  the  canal,  and  though 
the  form  Chinju  would  really  represent  Ichin  as  then  named,  such  a 
position  seems  scarcely  compatible  with  the  way,  vague  as  it  is,  in  which 
Tinju  or  Chinju  is  introduced.  Moreover  we  shall  see  that  Ichin  is 
spoken  of  hereafter.  (Kingsmill,  in  dV.  and  Q.  Ch.  and  Japan ,  I.  53.) 

Note  2. — Happily  there  is  no  doubt  that  this  is  Yangchau,  one  of 
the  oldest  and  most  famous  great  cities  of  China.  Some  five-and-thirty 
years  after  Polo’s  departure  from  China,  Friar  Odoric  found  at  this  city 
a  House  of  his  own  Order  (Franciscans),  and  three  Nestorian  churches. 
The  city  also  appears  in  the  Catalan  Map  as  Iangio.  Yangchau  suffered 
greatly  in  the  Taeping  rebellion,  but  its  position  is  an  “  obligatory  point  ” 
for  commerce,  and  it  appears  to  be  rapidly  recovering  its  prosperity.  It 
is  the  head-quarters  of  the  salt  manufacture,  and  it  is  also  now  noted  for  a 
great  manufacture  of  sweetmeats  (see  Alabaster's  Report  as  above,  p.  6). 

Note  3. — What  I  have  rendered  “Twelve  Sings”  is  in  the  G.  T. 
“  douze  sajes,”  and  in  Pauthier’s  text  “  sieges.”  It  seems  to  me  a  reason¬ 
able  conclusion  that  the  original  word  was  Sings  (see  note  1  to  chap, 
xxv.  supra)  ;  anyhow  that  was  the  proper  term  for  the  thing  meant. 

In  his  note  on  this  chapter  Pauthier  produces  evidence  that  Yang¬ 
chau  was  the  seat  of  a  Sing  or  government-general,  but  only  for  the  first 
year  after  the  conquest  of  the  Sung  territory,  viz.  1276-77,  and  he  seems 
(for  his  argument  is  obscure)  to  make  from  this  the  unreasonable  deduc¬ 
tion  that  at  this  period  Kublai  placed  Marco  Polo — who  could  not  be 
more  than  23  years  of  age,  and  had  been  but  two  years  in  Cathay — 
in  charge  either  of  the  general  government,  or  of  an  important  district 
government  in  the  most  important  province  of  the  empire. 

In  a  later  note  M.  Pauthier  speaks  of  1284  as  the  date  at  which  the 
Sing  of  the  province  of  Kiang-che  was  transferred  from  Yangchau  to 
Kingsse  or  Hangchau ;  and  this  is  probably  to  be  taken  as  a  correction 
of  the  former  citations.  It  also  justifies  Polo’s  statement  to  a  much 
greater  degree  than  they  had  done  (see  Pauthier ,  pp.  467,  492). 



Book  II. 

I  do  not  think  it]  is]  certain  or  even  probable  that  we  are  to  regard 
Marco  as  having  held  at  any  time  the  important  post  of  Governor-general 
of  Kiang-che.  The  expressions  in  the  G.  T.  are:  “ Meser  Marc  Pol 
meisme ,  celui  de  cni  trate  ceste  livre ,  seingneurie  ceste  cite  pour  trois  anz.” 
Pauthier’s  MS.  A  appears  to  read  :  “  Et  ot  seigneurie  Marc  Pol '  en  ceste 
cite .  trois  arts''  These  expressions  need  not  point  to  more  than  the 
government  of  the  city  alone,  just  as  we  find  in  chapter  lxxiii.  another 
Christian,  Mar  Sarghis,  mentioned  as  Governor  of  Chinkiang-fu  for  the 
same  term  of  years ;  and  it  is  remarkable  that  in  Pauthier’s  MS.  C, 
which  often  contains  readings  of  peculiar  value,  the  passage  runs  (and 
also  in  the  Bern  MS.) :  “  Et  si  vous  dy  que  ledit  Messire  Marc  Pol ,  cellui 
meisme  de  qui  nostre  livre  parle ,  sejourna  en  ceste  cite  de  Janguy  iii  ans 
accompliz , par  le  commandemetit  du  Grant  Kaan”  in  which  the  nature  of 
his  employment  is  not  indicated  at  all  (though  sejourna  may  be  an  error 
for  seigneura ).  The  impression  of  his  having  been  Governor- general  of 
the  province  is  mainly  due  to  the  Ramusian  version,  which  says  distinctly 
indeed  that  “  M.  Marco  Polo  di  commissione  del  Gran  Can  ri  ebbe  il 
governo  tre  anni  continui  in  luogo  di  un  dei  detti  Baroni,”  but  it  is  very 
probable  that  this  is  a  gloss  of  the  translator.  I  should  conjecture  his 
tenure  of  office  at  Yangchau  to  have  been  between  1282,  when  we  know 
he  was  at  the  capital  (vol.  i.  p.  375),  and  1287-8,  when  he  must  have 
gone  on  his  first  expedition  to  the  Indian  Seas. 


Concerning  the  City  of  Nanghin. 

Nanghin  is  a  very  noble  Province  towards  the  west.  The 
people  are  Idolaters  (and  so  forth)  and  live  by  trade  and 
manufactures.  They  have  silk  in  great  abundance,  and  they 
weave  many  fine  tissues  of  silk  and  gold.  They  have  all 
sorts  of  corn  and  victuals  very  cheap,  for  the  province  is 
a  most  productive  one.  Game  also  is  abundant,  and  lions 
too  are  found  there.  The  merchants  are  great  and  opulent, 
and  the  Emperor  draws  a  large  revenue  from  them,  in  the 
shape  of  duties  on  the  goods  which  they  buy  and  sell.1 

And  now  I  will  tell  you  of  the  very  noble  city  of 
Saianfu,  which  well  deserves  a  place  in  our  book,  for  there 
is  a  matter  of  great  moment  to  tell  about  it. 

Chap.  LXX. 


1 19 

Note  1. — Though  the  attributes  of  this  district  are  the  merest  gene¬ 
ralities,  the  name  and  direction  from  Yangchau  are  probably  sufficient 
to  indicate  (as  Pauthier  has  said),  that  it  is  Nganking  on  the  Kiang,  the 
capital  of  the  modern  province  of  Ngan-hwai.  The  more  celebrated 
city  of  Nanking  did  not  bear  that  name  in  our  traveller’s  time. 

Nganking  was  the  scene  of  a  frightful  massacre  by  the  Imperialists 
in  1861,  when  they  recovered  it  from  the  Taiping.  They  are  said  to 
have  left  neither  man,  woman,  nor  child  alive  in  the  unfortunate  city. 
(Blakiston,  p.  55.) 


Concerning  the  very  noble  City  of  Saianfu,  and  how  its 
Capture  was  effected. 

Saianfu  is  a  very  great  and  noble  city,  and  it  rules  over 
twelve  other  large  and  rich  cities,  and  is  itself  a  seat  of 
great  trade  and  manufacture.  The  people  are  Idolaters 
(and  so  forth).  They  have  much  silk,  from  which  they 
weave  fine  silken  stuffs ;  they  have  also  a  quantity  of  game, 
and  in  short  the  city  abounds  in  all  that  it  behoves  a  noble 
city  to  possess. 

Now  you  must  know  that  this  city  held  out  against  the 
Great  Kaan  for  three  years  after  the  rest  of  Manzi  had 
surrendered.  The  Great  Kaan’s  troops  made  incessant 
attempts  to  take  it,  but  they  could  not  succeed  because 
of  the  great  and  deep  waters  that  were  round  about  it,  so 
that  they  could  approach  from  one  side  only,  which  was 
the  north.  And  I  tell  you  they  never  would  have  taken  it, 
but  for  a  circumstance  that  I  am  going  to  relate. 

You  must  know  that  when  the  Great  Kaan’s  host  had 
lain  three  years  before  the  city  without  being  able  to  take 
it,  they  were  greatly  chafed  thereat.  Then  Messer  Nicolo 
Polo  and  Messer  Maffeo  and  Messer  Marco  said:  “  We 
could  find  you  a  way  of  forcing  the  city  to  surrender 
speedily ;  ”  whereupon  those  of  the  army  replied,  that  they 
would  be  right  glad  to  know  how  that  should  be.  All  this 



Book  II. 

talk  took  place  in  the  presence  of  the  Great  Kaan.  For 
messengers  had  been  despatched  from  the  camp  to  tell 
him  that  there  was  no  taking  the  city  by  blockade,  for  it 
continually  received  supplies  of  victual  from  those  sides 
which  they  were  unable  to  invest ;  and  the  Great  Kaan 
had  sent  back  word  that  take  it  they  must,  and  find  a  way 
how.  Then  spoke  up  the  two  brothers  and  Messer  Marco 
the  son,  and  said  ;  “  Great  Prince,  we  have  with  us  among 
our  followers  men  who  are  able  to  construct  mangonels 
which  shall  cast  such  great  stones  that  the  garrison  will 
never  be  able  to  stand  them,  but  will  surrender  inconti¬ 
nently,  as  soon  as  the  mangonels  or  trebuchets  shall  have 
shot  into  the  town.”  1 

The  Kaan  bade  them  with  all  his  heart  have  such  man¬ 
gonels  made  as  speedily  as  possible.  Now  Messer  Nicolo 
and  his  brother  and  his  son  immediately  caused  timber  to 
be  brought,  as  much  as  they  desired,  and  fit  for  the  work 
in  hand.  And  they  had  two  men  among  their  followers, 
a  German  and  a  Nestorian  Christian,  who  were  masters  of 
that  business,  and  these  they  directed  to  construct  two  or 
three  mangonels  capable  of  casting  stones  of  300  lbs. 
weight.  Accordingly  they  made  three  fine  mangonels,  each 
of  which  cast  stones  of  300  lbs.  weight  and  more.2  And 
when  they  were  complete  and  ready  for  use,  the  Emperor 
and  the  others  were  greatly  pleased  to  see  them,  and  caused 
several  stones  to  be  shot  in  their  presence  ;  whereat  they 
marvelled  greatly  and  greatly  praised  the  work.  And  the 
Kaan  ordered  that  the  engines  should  be  carried  to  his 
army  which  was  at  the  leaguer  of  Saianfu.3 

And  when  the  engines  were  got  to  the  camp  they  were 
forthwith  set  up,  to  the  great  admiration  of  the  Tartars. 
And  what  shall  I  tell  you  ?  When  the  engines  were  set  up 
and  put  in  gear,  a  stone  was  shot  from  each  of  them  into 
the  town.  These  took  effect  among  the  buildings,  crashing 
and  smashing  through  everything  with  huge  din  and  com¬ 
motion.  And  when  the  townspeople  witnessed  this  new 

Chap.  LXX. 


1 2  I 

and  strange  visitation  they  were  so  astonished  and  dismayed 
that  they  wist  not  what  to  do  or  say.  They  took  counsel 
together,  but  no  counsel  could  be  suggested  how  to  escape 
from  these  engines,  for  the  thing  seemed  to  them  to  be 
done  by  sorcery.  They  declared  that  they  were  all  dead 
men  if  they  yielded  not,  so  they  determined  to  surrender 
on  such  conditions  as  they  could  get.4  Wherefore  they 
straightway  sent  word  to  the  commander  of  the  army  that 
they  were  ready  to  surrender  on  the  same  terms  as  the  other 
cities  of  the  province  had  done,  and  to  become  the  subjects 
of  the  Great  Kaan ;  and  to  this  the  captain  of  the  host 

So  the  men  of  the  city  surrendered,  and  were  received 
to  terms  ;  and  this  all  came  about  through  the  exertions  of 
Messer  Nicolo,  and  Messer  MafFeo,  and  Messer  Marco ; 
and  it  was  no  small  matter.  For  this  city  and  province  is 
one  of  the  best  that  the  Great  Kaan  possesses,  and  brings 
him  in  great  revenues.5 

Note  1. — Pauthier’s  MS.  C  here  says:  “When  the  Great  Kaan, 
and  the  Barons  about  him,  and  the  messengers  from  the  camp,  .... 
heard  this,  they  all  marvelled  greatly;  for  I  tell  you  that  in  all  those 
parts  they  know  nothing  of  mangonels  or  trebuchets  ;  and  they  were  so 
far  from  being  accustomed  to  employ  them  in  their  wars  that  they  had 
never  even  seen  them,  nor  knew  what  they  were.”  The  MS.  in  question 
has  in  this  narrative  several  statements  peculiar  to  itself,*  as  indeed  it 
has  in  various  other  passages  of  the  book ;  and  these  often  look  very 
like  the  result  of  revision  by  Polo  himself.  Yet  I  have  not  introduced 
the  words  just  quoted  into  our  text,  because  they  are,  as  we  shall  see 
presently,  notoriously  contrary  to  fact. 

Note  2. — The  same  MS.  has  here  a  passage  which  I  am  unable  to 
understand.  After  the  words  “  300  lbs.  and  more,”  it  goes  on  :  “  Et  la 
veoit  Pen  voler  moult  loing,  desquelles  pierres  il  en  y  avoit  plus  de  lx 
routes  qui  tant  montoit  Pune  comme  l  autre  P  The  Bern  has  the  same. 

Note  3. — I  propose  here  to  enter  into  some  detailed  explanation 
regarding  the  military  engines  that  were  in  use  in  the  Middle  Ages.f 

*  And  to  the  Bern  MS.  which  seems  to  be  a  copy  of  it,  as  is  also  I  think  (in 
substance)  the  Bodleian. 

f  In  this  note  I  am  particularly  indebted  to  the  Emperor  Napoleon’s  researches 
on  this  subject. 



Book  II. 

None  of  these  depended  for  their  motive  force  on  torsion  like  the  chief 
engines  used  in  classic  times.  However  numerous  the  names  applied 
to  them,  with  reference  to  minor  variations  in  construction  or  differences 
in  power,  they  may  all  be  reduced  to  two  classes,  viz.  great  slings  and 
great  crossbows.  And  this  is  equally  true  of  all  the  three  great  branches 
of  medieval  civilization — European,  Saracenic,  and  Chinese.  To  the 
first  class  belonged  the  Trebuchet  and  Mangonel ;  to  the  second  the 
Winch- Ar blast  (Arbalete  a  Tour),  Spr ingold,  &c. 

Whatever  the  ancient  Balista  may  have  been,  the  word  in  medieval 
Latin  seems  always  to  mean  some  kind  of  crossbow.  The  heavier 
crossbows  were  wound  up  by  various  aids,  such  as  winches,  ratchets,  &c. 
They  discharged  stone  shot,  leaden  bullets,  and  short  square  arrows 
called  quarrels ,  and  these  with  such  force  we  are  told  as  to  pierce  a 
six-inch  post.  But  they  were  worked  so  slowly  in  the  field  that  they 
were  no  match  for  the  long-bow,  which  shot  five  or  six  times  to  their 
once.  The  great  machines  of  this  kind  were  made  of  wood,  of  steel, 
and  very  frequently  of  horn  f  and  the  bow  was  sometimes  more  than 
30  feet  in  length.  Dufour  calculates  that  such  a  machine  could  shoot 
an  arrow  of  half  a  kilogram  in  weight  to  a  distance  of  about  860  yards. 

The  Trebuchet  consisted  of  a  long  tapering  shaft  or  beam,  pivoted  at 
a  short  distance  from  the  butt  end  on  a  pair  of  strong  pyramidal  trestles. 
At  the  other  end  of  the  shaft  a  sling  was  applied,  one  cord  of  which  was 
firmly  attached  by  a  ring,  whilst  the  other  hung  in  a  loop  over  an  iron 
hook  which  formed  the  extremity  of  the  shaft.  The  power  employed  to 
discharge  the  sling  was  either  the  strength  of  a  number  of  men,  applied 
to  ropes  which  were  attached  to  the  short  end  of  the  shaft  or  lever,  or 
the  weight  of  a  heavy  counterpoise  hung  from  the  same,  and  suddenly 

Supposing  the  latter  force  to  be  employed,  the  long  end  of  the 
shaft  was  drawn  down  by  a  windlass ;  the  sling  was  laid  forward  in 
a  wooden  trough  provided  for  it,  and  charged  with  the  shot.  The  coun¬ 
terpoise  was  of  course  now  aloft,  and  was  so  maintained  by  a  detent 
provided  with  a  trigger.  On  pulling  this  the  counterpoise  falls  and  the 
shaft  flies  upwards  drawing  the  sling.  When  a  certain  point  is  reached 
the  loop  end  of  the  sling  releases  itself  from  the  hook  and  the  sling  flies 
abroad  whilst  the  shot  is  projected  in  its  parabolic  flight.f  To  secure 
the  most  favourable  result  the  shot  should  have  acquired  its  maximum 
velocity,  and  should  escape,  at  an  angle  of  about  45 °.  The  attainment 
of  this  required  certain  proportions  between  the  different  dimensions  of 

*  Thus  Joinville  mentions  the  journey  of  Jehan  li  Ermin  the  king’s  artillerist,  from 
Acre  to  Damascus,  pour  acheter  comes  et  glus  pour  faire  arbalestres — to  buy  horns  and 
glue  to  make  crossbows  withal  (p.  134). 

f  The  construction  is  best  seen  in  Figs.  17  and  19.  Figs.  1,  2,  3,  4,  5  in  the  cut 
are  from  Chinese  sources ;  Figs  6,  7,  8  from  Arabic  works  ;  the  rest  from  European 

Chap.  LXX. 



Medieval  Artillery  Engines.  Figs.  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  Chinese  ;  Figs.  6,  7,  8,  Saracenic:  the  rest  Frank. 



Book  II. 

the  machine  and  the  weight  of  the  shot,  for  which  doubtless  traditional 
rules  of  thumb  existed  among  the  medieval  engineers. 

The  ordinary  shot  consisted  of  stones  carefully  rounded.  But  for 
these  were  substituted  on  occasion  rough  stones  with  fuses  attached,* 
pieces  of  red-hot  iron,  pots  of  fused  metal,  or  casks  full  of  Greek  fire  or 
of  foul  matter  to  corrupt  the  air  of  the  besieged  place.  Thus  carrion 
was  shot  into  Negropont  from  such  engines  by  Mahomed  II.  The  Car¬ 
dinal  Octavian  besieging  Modena  in  1249,  slings  a  dead  ass  into  the 
town.  Froissart  several  times  mentions  such  measures,  as  at  the  siege 
of  Thin  i’Eveque  on  the  Scheldt  in  1340,  when  “the  besiegers  by  their 
engines  flung  dead  horses  and  other  carrion  into  the  castle  to  poison 
the  garrison  by  their  smell.”  I11  at  least  one  instance  the  same  author 
tells  how  a  living  man,  an  unlucky  messenger  from  the  Castle  of 
Auberoche,  was  caught  by  the  besiegers,  thrust  into  the  sling  with  the 
letters  that  he  bore  hung  round  his  neck,  and  shot  into  Auberoche, 
where  he  fell  dead  among  his  horrified  comrades.  And  Lipsius  quotes 
from  a  Spanish  Chronicle  the  story  of  a  virtuous  youth  Pelagius,  who  by 
order  of  the  Tyrant  Abderramin  was  shot  across  the  Guadalquivir,  but 
lighted  unharmed  upon  the  rocks  beyond.  Ramon  de  Muntaner  relates 
how  King  James  of  Aragon  besieging  Majorca  in  1228,  vowed  vengeance 
against  the  Saracen  King  because  he  shot  Christian  prisoners  into  the 
besiegers’  camp  with  his  trebuchets  (p.  223-4).  We  have  mentioned 
one  kind  of  corruption  propagated  by  these  engines;  the  historian 
Wassaf  tells  of  another.  When  the  garrison  of  Delhi  refused  to  open 
the  gates  to  Ala’uddin  Khilji  after  the  murder  of  his  uncle  Firuz  (1296), 
he  loaded  his  mangonels  with  bags  of  gold  and  shot  them  into  the  fort, 
a  measure  which  put  an  end  to  the  opposition. 

Some  old  drawings  represent  the  shaft  as  discharging  the  shot  from  a 
kind  of  spoon  at  its  extremity,  without  the  aid  of  a  sling  (e.g  fig.  13), 
but  it  may  be  doubted  if  this  was  actually  used,  for  the  sling  was  essential 
to  the  efficiency  of  the  engine.  The  experiments  and  calculations  of 
Dufour  show  that  without  the  sling,  other  things  remaining  the  same,  the 
range  of  the  shot  would  be  reduced  by  more  than  a  half. 

In  some  of  these  engines  the  counterpoise,  consisting  of  a  timber  case 
filled  with  stones,  sand,  or  the  like,  was  permanently  fixed  to  the  butt-end 
of  the  shaft.  This  seems  to  have  been  the  Trebuchet  proper.  In  others 
the  counterpoise  hung  free  on  a  pivot  from  the  yard ;  whilst  a  third  kind 
(as  in  fig.  17)  combined  both  arrangements.  The  first  kind  shot  most 
steadily  and  truly ;  the  second  with  more  force. 

Those  machines  in  which  the  force  of  men  pulling  cords  took  the 
place  of  the  counterpoise  could  not  discharge  such  weighty  shot,  but 
they  could  be  worked  more  rapidly,  and  no  doubt  could  be  made  of  lighter 
scantling.  Mr.  Hewitt  points  out  the  curious  resemblance  between  this 

*  Christine  de  Pisan  says  that  when  keeping  up  a  discharge  by  night  lighted 
brands  should  be  attached  to  the  stones  in  order  to  observe  and  correct  the  practice. 
( Livre  des  fails ,  &c.,  du  sage  Roy  Charles,  Pt.  II.  ch.  xxiv.) 

Chap.  LXX. 



kind  of  Trebuchet  and  the  apparatus  used  on  the  Thames  to  raise  the 
cargo  from  the  hold  of  a  collier. 

The  Emperor  Napoleon  deduces  from  certain  passages  in  medieval 
writers  that  the  Mangonel  was  similar  to  the  Trebuchet,  but  of  lighter 
structure  and  power.  But  often  certainly  the  term  Mangonel  seems 
to  be  used  generically  for  all  machines  of  this  class.  Marino  Sanuto 
uses  no  word  but  Machina,  which  he  appears  to  employ  as  the  Latin 
equivalent  of  Mangonel,  whilst  the  machine  which  he  describes  appears 
to  be  a  Trebuchet  with  moveable  counterpoise.  The  history  of  the 
word  appears  to  be  the  following.  The  Greek  word  payyavov,  “  a  piece 
of  witchcraft  ”  came  to  signify  a  juggler’s  trick,  an  unexpected  contrivance 
(in  modern  slang  “  a  jim  ”),  and  so  specially  a  military  engine.  It  seems 
to  have  reached  this  specific  meaning  by  the  time  of  Hero  the  Younger, 
who  is  believed  to  have  written  in  the  first  half  of  the  7  th  century.  From 
the  form  /xayyavLKov  the  Orientals  got  Mangahik  and  Manjanik *  whilst 
the  Franks  adopted  Mangona  and  Mangonella .  Hence  the  verbs  man- 
ganare  and  amanganare ,  to  batter  and  crush  with  such  engines,  and 
eventually  our  verb  “  to  mangle.”  Again,  when  the  use  of  gunpowder 
rendered  these  warlike  engines  obsolete,  perhaps  their  ponderous  coun¬ 
terweights  were  utilized  in  the  peaceful  arts  of  the  laundry,  and  hence 
gave  us  our  substantive  “  the  Mangle”  (It.  Mangano)  ! 

The  Emperor  Napoleon  when  Prince  President  caused  some  interest¬ 
ing  experiments  in  the  matter  of  medieval  artillery  to  be  carried  out  at 
Vincennes,  and  a  full-sized  trebuchet  was  constructed  there.  With  a 
shaft  of  33  ft.  9  in.  in  length,  having  a  permanent  counterweight  of 
3300  lbs.  and  a  pivoted  counterweight  of  6600  lbs.  more,  the  utmost 
effect  attained  was  the  discharge  of  an  iron  24-kilo,  shot  to  a  range  of 
1 91  yds.,  whilst  a  12 Lin.  shell,  filled  with  earth,  ranged  to  13 1  yds. 
The  machine  suffered  greatly  at  each  discharge,  and  it  was  impracti¬ 
cable  to  increase  the  counterpoise  to  8000  kilos,  or  17,600  lbs.  as  the 
Prince  desired.  It  was  evident  that  the  machine  was  not  of  sufficiently 
massive  structure.  But  the  officers  in  charge  satisfied  themselves  that, 
with  practice  in  such  constructions  and  the  use  of  very  massive  timber, 
even  the  exceptional  feats  recorded  of  medieval  engineers  might  be 

Such  a  case  is  that  cited  by  Quatremere  from  an  Oriental  author  of 
the  discharge  of  stones  weighing  400  mans ,  certainly  not  less  than 
800  lbs.  and  possibly  much  more ;  or  that  of  the  Men  of  Bern,  who  are 
reported,  when  besieging  Nidau  in  1388,  to  have  employed  trebuchets 
which  shot  daily  into  the  town  upwards  of  200  blocks  weighing  12  cwt. 
apiece. |  Stella  relates  that  the  Genoese  armament  sent  against  Cyprus 

*  Professor  Sprenger  informs  me  that  the  first  mention  of  the  Manjanik  in  Ma- 
homedan  history  is  at  the  siege  of  Tayif  by  Mahomed  himself,  a.d.  630  (and  see 
Sprenger' s  Mohammed  [German],  III.  330). 

t  Dufour  mentions  that  stone  shot  of  the  medieval  engines  exist  at  Zurich,  of 
twenty  and  twenty-two  inches  diameter.  The  largest  of  these  would  however  scarcely 
exceed  500  lbs.  in  weight. 

K  2 



Book  II. 

in  1373,  among  other  great  machines  had  one  called  Troja  ( Truia  ?), 
which  cast  stones  of  12  to  18  hundredweight;  and  when  the  Venetians  were 
besieging  the  revolted  city  of  Zara  in  1346,  their  Engineer,  Master  Fran¬ 
cesco  delle  Barche,  shot  into  the  city  stones  of  3000  lbs.  weight.*  In 
this  case  the  unlucky  Engineer  was  “hoist  with  his  own  petard;”  for  while 
he  stood  adjusting  one  of  his  engines,  it  went  off,  and  shot  him  into  the 

With  reference  to  such  cases  the  Emperor  calculates  that  a  stone  of 
3000  lbs.  weight  might  be  shot  77  yds.  with  a  counterpoise  of  36,000  lbs. 
weight,  and  a  shaft  65  ft.  long.  The  counterpoise,  composed  of  stone 
shot  of  5  5  lbs.  each,  might  be  contained  in  a  cubical  case  of  about  5-J  ft. 
to  the  side.  The  machine  would  be  preposterous,  but  there  is  nothing 
impossible  about  it.  Indeed  in  the  Album  of  Villard  de  Honnecourt,  an 
architect  of  the  13th  century,  which  was  published  at  Paris  in  1858,  in 
the  notes  accompanying  a  plan  of  a  trebuchet  (from  which  Prof.  Willis 
restored  the  machine  as  it  is  shown  in  our  fig.  19),  the  artist  remarks  : 
“  It  is  a  great  job  to  heave  down  the  beam,  for  the  counterpoise  is  very 
heavy.  For  it  consists  of  a  chest  full  of  earth  which  is  2  great  toises  in 
length,  and  8  ft.  in  breadth,  12  ft.  in  depth”  !  (p.  203.) 

Such  calculations  enable  us  to  understand  the  enormous  quantities 
of  material  said  to  have  been  used  in  some  of  the  larger  medieval 
machines.  Thus  Abulfeda  speaks  of  one  used  at  the  final  capture  of 
Acre,  which  was  intrusted  to  the  troops  of  Hamath,  and  which  formed  a 
load  for  100  carts,  of  which  one  was  in  charge  of  the  historian  himself. 
The  romance  of  Richard  Coeur  de  Lion  tells  how  in  the  King’s  Fleet 
an  entire  ship  was  taken  up  by  one  such  machine  with  its  gear  : — 

“  Another  schyp  was  laden  yet 
With  an  engyne  hyghte  Robinet, 

(It  was  Richardys  o  mangonel) 

And  all  the  takyl  that  thereto  fel.” 

Twenty-four  machines,  captured  from  the  Saracens  by  St.  Lewis  in  his 
first  partial  success  on  the  Nile,  afforded  material  for  stockading  his 
whole  camp.  A  great  machine  which  cumbered  the  Tower  of  St.  Paul 
at  Orleans,  and  was  dismantled  previous  to  the  celebrated  defence 
against  the  English,  furnished  26  cart-loads  of  timber.  (Abulf.  Ami. 
Muslem,  V.  95—97 ;  Weber ,  II.  56;  Michel's  Joinville ,  App.  p.  278; 
Jollois ,  H.  du  Siege  d' Orleans,  1833,  p.  12.) 

The  number  of  such  engines  employed  was  sometimes  very  great. 
We  have  seen  that  St.  Lewis  captured  24  at  once,  and  these  had  been 
employed  in  the  field.  Villehardouin  says  that  the  fleet  which  went 
from  Venice  to  the  attack  of  Constantinople  carried  more  than  300 
perriers  and  mangonels,  besides  quantities  of  other  engines  required  for 
a  siege  (ch.  xxxviii.).  At  the  siege  of  Acre  in  1291,  just  referred  to,  the 

Georg.  Stellae  Ann.  in  Muratori,  XVII.  1105  ;  and  Darn,  Bk.  viii.  §  12. 

Chap.  LXX. 



Saracens  according  to  Makrizi  set  92  engines  in  battery  against  the 
city,  whilst  Abulfaraj  says  300.  The  larger  ones  are  said  to  have  shot 
stones  of  “a  kantar  and  even  more.”  (Makrizi,  III.  125;  Remaud , 
Chroniques  Arabes,  &*c.,  p.  570.) 

How  heavy  a  mangonade  was  sometimes  kept  np  may  be  understood 
from  the  account  of  the  operations  on  the  Nile,  already  alluded  to.  The 
King  was  trying  to  run  a  dam  across  a  branch  of  the  River,  and  had 
protected  the  head  of  his  work  by  “  cat-castles  ”  or  towers  of  timber 
occupied  by  archers,  and  these  again  supported  by  trebuchets,  &c.  in 
battery.  “And,”  says  Jean  Pierre  Sarrasin  the  King’s  Chamberlain, 
“  when  the  Saracens  saw  what  was  going  on,  they  planted  a  great  number 
of  engines  against  ours,  and  to  destroy  our  towers  and  our  causeway  they 
shot  such  vast  quantities  of  stones,  great  and  small,  that  all  men  stood 
amazed.  They  slung  stones,  and  discharged  arrows,  and  shot  quarrels 
from  winch-arblasts,  and  pelted  us  with  Turkish  darts  and  Greek  fire, 
and  kept  up  such  a  harassment  of  every  kind  against  our  engines  and 
our  men  working  at  the  causeway,  that  it  was  horrid  either  to  see  or  to 
hear.  Stones,  darts,  arrows,  quarrels,  and  Greek  fire  came  down  on 
them  like  rain.” 

'  The  Emperor  Napoleon  observes  that  the  direct  or  grazing  fire  of 
the  great  arblasts  may  be  compared  to  that  of  guns  in  more  modern  war, 
whilst  the  mangonels  represent  mortar-fire.  And  this  vertical  fire  was 
by  no  means  contemptible,  at  least  against  buildings  of  ordinary  con¬ 
struction.  At  the  sieges  of  Thin  l’Eveque  in  1340,  and  Auberoche  in 
1344,  already  cited,  Froissart  says  the  French  cast  stones  in  night  and 
day  so  as  in  a  few  days  to  demolish  all  the  roofs  of  the  towers,  and  none 
within  durst  venture  out  of  the  vaulted  basement. 

The  Emperor’s  experiments  showed  that  these  machines  were  capable 
of  surprisingly  accurate  direction.  And  the  medieval  histories  present 
some  remarkable  feats  of  this  kind.  Thus,  in  the  attack  of  Mortagne 
by  the  men  of  Hainault  and  Valenciennes  (1340),  the  latter  had  an 
engine  which  was  a  great  annoyance  to  the  garrison ;  there  was  a  clever 
engineer  in  the  garrison  who  set  up  another  machine  against  it,  and 
adjusted  it  so  well  that  the  first  shot  fell  within  12  paces  of  the  enemy’s 
engine,  the  second  fell  near  the  box,  and  the  third  struck  the  shaft  and 
split  it  in  two. 

Already  in  the  first  half  of  the  13th  century,  a  French  poet  (quoted 
by  Weber)  looks  forward  with  disgust  to  the  supersession  of  the  feats  of 
chivalry  by  more  mechanical  methods  of  war  : — - 

“  Chevaliers  sont  esperdus, 

Cil  ont  auques  leur  tens  perdus  ; 

Arbalestier  et  mineor 
Et  perrier  et  engigneor 
Seront  dorenavant  plus  chier.” 

When  Ghazan  Khan  was  about  to  besiege  the  castle  of  Damascus  in 
1300,  so  much  importance  was  attached  to  this  art  that  whilst  his 



Book  II. 

Engineer,  a  man  of  reputation  therein,  was  engaged  in  preparing  the 
machines,  the  Governor  of  the  castle  offered  a  reward  of  1000  dinars  for 
that  personage’s  head.  And  one  of  the  garrison  was  daring  enough  to 
enter  the  Mongol  camp,  stab  the  Engineer,  and  carry  back  his  head  into 
the  castle  ! 

Marino  Sanuto,  about  the  same  time,  speaks  of  the  range  of  these 
engines  with  a  prophetic  sense  of  the  importance  of  artillery  in  war  : — 

4<  On  this  object  (length  of  range)  the  engineers  and  experts  of  the 
army  should  employ  their  very  sharpest  wits.  For  if  the  shot  of  one 
army,  whether  engine-stones  or  pointed  projectiles,  have  a  longer  range 
than  the  shot  of  the  enemy,  rest  assured  that  the  side  whose  artillery 
hath  the  longest  range  will  have  a  vast  advantage  in  action.  Plainly,  if 
the  Christian  shot  can  take  effect  on  the  Pagan  forces,  whilst  the  Pagan 
shot  cannot  reach  the  Christian  forces,  it  may  be  safely  asserted  that  the 
Christians  will  continually  gain  ground  from  the  enemy,  or  in  other  words 
they  will  win  the  battle.” 

The  importance  of  these  machines  in  war,  and  the  efforts  made  to 
render  them  more  effective  went  on  augmenting  till  the  introduction  of 
the  still  more  “villanous  saltpetre,”  even  then  however  coming  to  no 
sudden  halt.  Several  of  the  instances  that  we  have  cited  of  machines  of 
extraordinary  power  belong  to  a  time  when  the  use  of  cannon  had  made 
some  progress.  The  old  engines  were  employed  by  Timur ;  in  the  wars 
of  the  Hussites  as  late  as  1422 ;  and,  as  we  have  seen,  up  to  the  middle 
of  that  century  by  Mahomed  II. 

(. Etudes  sur  le  Passe  et  F Avenir  de  F Artillerie,  par  L.  N.  Bonaparte , 
&c.,  tom.  II. ;  Marino  Sanuto ,  Bk.  II.  Pt.  4,  ch.  xxi.  and  xxii. ;  Kington! s 
Fred.  Id.,  II.  488 ;  Froissart,  I.  69,  8t,  182  ;  Elliot,  III.  41,  &c.  ; 
Hewitt’s  Ancient  Armour,  I.  350;  Pertz,  Scriptores,  XVIII.  420,  751; 
Q.  P.  135-7  ;  Weber,  III.  103  ;  Hammer,  Ilch.  II.  95.) 

Note  4. — Very  like  this  is  what  the  Romance  of  Cceur  de  Lion  tells 
of  the  effects  of  Sir  Fulke  Doyley’s  mangonels  on  the  Saracens  of 
Ebedy : — 

“  Sir  Fouke  brought  good  engynes 
Swylke  knew  but  fewe  Sarazynes — 

*  *  * 

A  prys  tour  stood  ovyr  the  Gate  ; 

He  bent  his  engynes  and  threw  thereate 
A  great  stone  that  harde  droff, 

Tnat  the  Tour  al  to  roff 

*  *  * 

And  slough  the  folk  that  therinne  stood ; 

The  other  fledde  and  wer  nygh  wood, 

And  sayde  it  was  the  devylys  dent,”  &c. —  Weber ,  II.  172. 

Note  5. — This  chapter  is  one  of  the  most  perplexing  in  the  whole 
book,  owing  to  the  chronological  difficulties  involved. 

Saianfu  is  Siangyang-fu,  upon  the  River  Han,  in  the  west  of 
Honan  (now  in  Hupe),  and  commanding  one  of  the  great  military 

Chap.  LXX. 



approaches  to  South  China,  viz.,  that  from  Shensi.  The  name  given  to 
the  city  by  Polo  is  precisely  that  which  it  bears  in  Rashiduddin,  and 
there  is  no  room  for  doubt  as  to  its  identity. 

The  Chinese  historians  relate  that  Kublai  was  strongly  advised  to 
make  the  capture  of  Siangyang  and  Fanching,  the  city  which  stood  on 
the  other  side  of  the  Han,  a  preliminary  to  his  intended  attack  upon  the 
Sung.  The  siege  was  undertaken  in  the  latter  part  of  1268,  and  it  held 
out  till  the  spring  of  1273.  Nor  did  Kublai  apparently  prosecute  any 
other  operations  against  the  Sung  during  that  long  interval. 

Now  Polo  represents  that  the  long  siege  of  Saianfu,  instead  of  being 
a  prologue  to  the  subjugation  of  Manzi,  was  the  protracted  epilogue  of 
that  enterprize ;  and  he  also  represents  the  fall  of  the  place  as  caused  by 
advice  and  assistance  rendered  by  his  father,  his  uncle,  and  himself,  a 
circumstance  consistent  only  with  the  siege’s  having  really  been  such  an 
epilogue  to  the  war.  For,  according  to  the  narrative  as  it  stands  in  all 
the  texts,  the  Polos  could  not  have  reached  the  Court  of  Kublai  before 
the  end  of  1274,  i.e.  a  year  and  a  half  after  the  fall  of  Siangyang  as 
represented  in  the  Chinese  histories. 

The  difficulty  is  not  removed,  nor,  it  appears  to  me,  abated  in  any 
degree,  by  omitting  the  name  of  Marco  as  one  of  the  agents  in  this 
affair,  an  omission  which  occurs  both  in  Pauthier’s  MS.  B  and  in  Ra- 
musio.  Pauthier  suggests  that  the  father  and  uncle  may  have  given  the 
advice  and  assistance  in  question  when  on  their  first  visit  to  the  Kaan, 
and  when  the  siege  of  Siangyang  was  first  contemplated.  But  this 
would  be  quite  inconsistent  with  the  assertion  that  the  place  had  held 
out  three  years  longer  than  the  rest  of  Manzi,  as  well  as  with  the  idea 
that  their  aid  had  abridged  the  duration  of  the  siege,  and  in  fact  with  the 
spirit  of  the  whole  story. 

It  is  certainly  very  difficult  in  this  case  to  justify  Marco’s  veracity, 
but  I  am  very  unwilling  to  believe  that  there  was  no  justification  in 
the  facts. 

It  is  a  very  curious  circumstance  that  the  historian  Wassaf  also 
appears  to  represent  Saianfu  (see  note  5,  chap,  lxv.)  as  holding  out  after 
all  the  rest  of  Manzi  had  been  conquered.  Yet  the  Chinese  annals  are 
systematic,  minute,  and  consequent,  and  it  seems  impossible  to  attribute 
to  them  such  a  misplacement  of  an  event  which  they  represent  as  the 
key  to  the  conquest  of  Southern  China. 

In  comparing  Marco’s  story  with  that  of  the  Chinese,  we  find  the 
same  coincidence  in  prominent  features,  accompanying  a  discrepancy  in 
details,  that  we  have  had  occasion  to  notice  in  other  cases  where  his 
narrative  intersects  history.  The  Chinese  account  runs  as  follows  : — 

In  1271,  after  Siangyang  and  Fanching  had  held  out  already  nearly 
three  years,  an  Uighur  General  serving  at  the  siege,  whose  name  was 
Alihaiya,  urged  the  Emperor  to  send  to  the  West  for  engineers  expert  at 
the  construction  and  working  of  machines  casting  stones  of  150  lbs. 
weight.  With  such  aid  he  assured  Kublai  the  place  would  speedily  be 



Book  II. 

taken.  Kublai  sent  to  his  nephew  Abaka  in  Persia  for  such  engineers, 
and  two  were  accordingly  sent  post  to  China,  Alawating  of  Mufali  and 
his  pupil  Ysemain  of  Huli  or  Hiulie  (probably  A Icluddin  of  Miafarakain 
and  Ismael  of  Heri  or  Herat).  Kublai  on  their  arrival  gave  them  mili¬ 
tary  rank.  They  exhibited  their  skill  before  the  Emperor  at  Tatu,  and 
in  the  latter  part  of  1272  they  reached  the  camp  before  Siangyang,  and 
set  up  their  engines.  The  noise  made  by  the  machines,  and  the  crash 
of  the  shot  as  it  broke  through  everything  in  its  fall,  caused  great  alarm 
in  the  garrison.  Fanching  was  first  taken  by  assault,  and  some  weeks 
later  Siangyang  surrendered. 

The  shot  used  on  this  occasion  weighed  125  Chinese  pounds  (if 
catties ,  then  equal  to  about  166  lbs.  avoir d.),  and  penetrated  7  or  8  feet 
into  the  earth. 

Rashiduddin  also  mentions  the  siege  of  Siangyang,  as  we  learn  from 
D’Ohsson.  He  states  that  as  there  were  in  China  none  of  the  Ma?t- 
janiks  or  Mangonels  called  Kumga ,  the  Kaan  caused  a  certain  engineer 
to  be  sent  for  from  Damascus  or  Balbek,  and  the  three  sons  of  this 
person,  Abubakr,  Ibrahim,  and  Mahomed,  with  their  workmen,  con¬ 
structed  seven  great  Manjamks  which  were  employed  against  Sayanfu, 
a  frontier  fortress  and  bulwark  of  Manzi. 

We  thus  see  that  three  different  notices  of  the  Siege  of  Siangyang, 
Chinese,  Persian  and  Venetian,  all  concur  as  to  the  employment  of 
foreign  engineers  from  the  West,  but  all  differ  as  to  the  individuals. 

We  have  seen  that  one  of  the  MSS.  makes  Polo  assert  that  till  this 
event  the  Mongols  and  Chinese  were  totally  ignorant  of  mangonels  and 
trebuchets.  This  however  is  quite  untrue,  and  it  is  not  very  easy  to 
reconcile  even  the  statement,  implied  in  all  versions  of  the  story,  that 
mangonels  of  considerable  power  were  unknown  in  the  far  East,  with 
other  circumstances  related  in  Mongol  history. 

The  Persian  History  called  Tabakat-i-Nasiri  speaks  of  Aikah  Nowin 
the  Manjaniki  Khas  or  Engineer-in-Chief  to  Chinghiz  Khan,  and  his 
corps  of  ten  thousand  Manjamkis  or  Mangonellers.  The  Chinese  his¬ 
tories  used  by  Gaubil  also  speak  of  these  artillery-battalions  of  Chinghiz. 
At  the  siege  of  Kaifungfu  on  the  Hoang-Ho,  the  latest  capital  of  the  Kin 
Emperors,  in  1232,  the  Mongol  General  Subutai  threw  from  his  engines 
great  quarters  of  millstones  which  smashed  the  battlements  and  watch- 
towers  on  the  ramparts,  and  even  the  great  timbers  of  houses  in  the  city. 
In  1236  we  find  the  Chinese  garrison  of  Chincheu  ( I-chin-hien  on  the 
Great  Kiang  near  the  Great  Canal)  repelling  the  Mongol  attack,  partly 
by  means  of  their  stone  shot.  When  Hulaku  was  about  to  march  against 
Persia  (1253)  his  brother  the  Great  Kaan  Mangu  sent  to  Cathay  to  fetch 
thence  1000  families  of  Mangonellers,  naphtha-shooters,  and  arblasteers. 
Some  of  the  crossbows  used  by  these  latter  had  a  range,  we  are  told,  of 
2500  paces  !  European  History  bears  some  similar  evidence.  One  of 
the  Tartar  characteristics  reported  by  a  fugitive  Russian  archbishop  in 
Matt.  Paris  (p.  570  under  1244)  is  :  “  Machi/ias  habent  multiplices ,  rede 
etfortiter  jacientes 

Chap.  LXX. 



It  is  evident  therefore  that  the  Mongols  and  Chinese  had  engines 
of  war,  but  that  they  were  deficient  in  some  advantage  possessed  by 
those  of  the  Western  nations.  Rashiduddin’s  expression  as  to  their 
having  no  Kumgha  Mangonels,  seems  to  be  unexplained.  Is  it  perhaps 
an  error  for  Kardbugha ?;  the  name  given  by  the  Turks  and  Arabs  to  a 
kind  of  great  mangonel?  This  was  known  also  in  Europe  as  Carabaga, 
Calabra,  &c.  It  is  mentioned  under  the  former  name  by  Marino  Sanuto, 
and  under  the  latter,  with  other  quaintly-named  engines,  by  William 
of  Tudela,  as  used  by  Simon  de  Montfort  the  Elder  against  the  Albi- 
genses : — 

“  E  dressa  sos  Calabres ,  et  foi  Mai  Vezina 
E  sas  autras  pereiras,  e  Dona ,  e  Reina  ; 

Pessia  les  autz  murs  e  la  sala  peirina.”* 

(“  He  set  up  his  Calabers ,  and  likewise  his  III- Neighbours, 

With  many  a  more  machine,  this  the  Lady ,  that  the  Queen , 

And  breached  the  lofty  walls,  and  smashed  the  stately  Halls.”) 

Now  in  looking  at  the  Chinese  representations  of  their  ancient  man¬ 
gonels,  which  are  evidently  genuine,  and  of  which  I  have  given  some 
specimens  (figs.  1,  2,  3),  I  see  none  worked  by  the  counterpoise;  all 
(and  there  are  6  or  7  different  representations  in  the  work  from  which 
these  are  taken)  are  shown  as  worked  by  man-ropes.  Hence  probably 
the  improvement  brought  from  the  West  was  essentially  the  use  of  the 
counterpoised  lever.  And  after  I  had  come  to  this  conclusion  I  found 
it  to  be  the  view  of  Captain  Fave  (see  Du  Feu  Gregeois ,  by  MM.  Rei- 
naud  and  Fave,  p.  193). 

It  is  worthy  of  note  that  in  the  campaigns  of  Alaudin  Khilji  and  his 
generals  in  the  Deccan,  circa  1300,  frequent  mention  is  made  of  the 
Western  Manjaniks  and  their  great  power  (see  Elliot ,  III.  75,  78,  &c.). 

Before  quitting  this  subject  I  will  quote  a  curious  passage  from  the 
History  of  the  Sung  Dynasty  contributed  to  the  French  work  just  quoted 
by  M.  Stanislas  Julien :  “In  the  9th  year  of  the  period  Hien-shun  (a.d. 
1273)  the  frontier  cities  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy  (Tartars). 
The  Pao  (or  engines  for  shooting)  of  the  Hwei-Hwei  (Mahomedans)  were 
imitated,  but  in  imitating  them  very  ingenious  improvements  were  intro¬ 
duced,  and  Pao  of  a  different  and  very  superior  kind  were  constructed. 
Moreover  an  extraordinary  method  was  invented  of  neutralizing  the 
effects  of  the  enemy’s  Pao .  Ropes  were  made  of  rice-straw  4  inches 
thick,  and  34  feet  in  length.  Twenty  such  ropes  were  joined,  applied  to 
the  tops  of  buildings,  and  covered  with  clay.  In  this  manner  the  fire- 
arrows,  fir e-fiao,  and  even  the  Pao  casting  stones  of  100  lbs.  weight,  could 
cause  no  damage  to  the  towers  or  houses”  (lb.  196 ;  also  for  previous 
parts  of  this  note,  Visdelou ,  188;  Gaubil ,  34,  155  seqq.  and  70;  Demailla, 
329;  Pauthier  in  loco  and  Introduction;  D’Ohsson,  II.  35,  and  391; 
Note  by  Mr.  Edward  Thomas;  Q.  Rashid ,  p.  132,  136). 

*  Shaw,  Dresses  and  Decorations  of  the  Middle  Ages ,  vol.  i.  No.  21. 



Book  II. 

Siangyang  has  been  twice  visited  by  Mr.  A.  Wylie.  Just  before  his 
first  visit  (I  believe  in  1866)  a  discovery  had  been  made  in  the  city 
of  a  quantity  of  treasure  buried  at  the  time  of  the  siege.  One  of  the 
local  officers  gave  Mr.  Wylie  one  of  the  copper  coins,  not  indeed  in 
itself  of  any  great  rarity,  but  worth  engraving  here  on  account  of  its 
connexion  with  the  Siege  commemorated  in  the  text ;  and  a  little  on  the 
principle  of  Smith  the  Weaver’s  evidence ; — “  the  bricks  are  alive  at  this 
day  to  testify  of  it ;  therefore  deny  it  not.” 

Coin  from  a  treasure  hidden  at  Siang-yang  during  the  siege  in  1258-73,  lately  discovered. 


Concerning  the  City  of  Sinju  and  the  Great  River  Kian. 

You  must  know  that  when  you  leave  the  city  of  Yanju, 
after  going  1 5  miles  south-east,  you  come  to  a  city  called 
Sinju,  of  no  great  size,  but  possessing  a  very  great  amount 
of  shipping  and  trade.  The  people  are  Idolaters  and  subject 
to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  use  paper-money.1 

And  you  must  know  that  this  city  stands  on  the  greatest 
river  in  the  world,  the  name  of  which  is  Kian.  It  is  in 
some  places  ten  miles  wide,  in  others  eight,  in  others  six, 
and  it  is  more  than  100  days’  journey  in  length  from  one 
end  to  the  other.  This  it  is  that  brings  so  much  trade 
to  the  city  we  are  speaking  of ;  for  on  the  waters  of  that 
river  merchandize  is  perpetually  coming  and  going,  from 
and  to  the  various  parts  of  the  world,  enriching  the  city, 
and  bringing  a  great  revenue  to  the  Great  Kaan. 

And  I  assure  you  this  river  flows  so  far  and  traverses  so 
many  countries  and  cities  that  in  good  sooth  there  pass 
and  repass  on  its  waters  a  greater  number  of  vessels,  and 

Chap.  LXXI. 



more  wealth  and  merchandize  than  on  all  the  rivers  and  all 
the  seas  of  Christendom  put  together !  It  seems  indeed 
more  like  a  Sea  than  a  River.2  Messer  Marco  Polo  said 
that  he  once  beheld  at  that  city  15,000  vessels  at  one  time. 
And  you  may  judge,  if  this  city,  of  no  great  size,  has  such 
a  number,  how  many  must  there  be  altogether,  considering 
that  on  the  banks  of  this  river  there  are  more  than  sixteen 
provinces  and  more  than  200  great  cities,  besides  towns  and 
villages,  all  possessing  vessels  ? 

Messer  Marco  Polo  aforesaid  tells  us  that  he  heard 
from  the  officer  employed  to  collect  the  Great  Kaan’s 
duties  on  this  river  that  there  passed  up  stream  200,000 
vessels  in  the  year,  without  counting  those  that  passed 
down !  [Indeed  as  it  has  a  course  of  such  great  length, 
and  receives  so  many  other  navigable  rivers,  it  is  no  wonder 
that  the  merchandize  which  is  borne  on  it  is  of  vast  amount 
and  value.  And  the  article  in  largest  quantity  of  all  is 
salt,  which  is  carried  by  this  river  and  its  branches  to  all 
the  cities  on  their  banks,  and  thence  to  the  other  cities  in 
the  interior.3] 

The  vessels  which  ply  on  this  river  are  decked.  They 
have  but  one  mast,  but  they  are  of  great  burthen,  for  I  can 
assure  you  they  carry  (reckoning  by  our  weight)  from  4000 
up  to  12,000  cantars  each.4 

Now  we  will  quit  this  matter  and  I  will  tell  you  of 
another  city  called  Caiju.  But  first  I  must  mention  a 
point  I  had  forgotten.  You  must  know  that  the  vessels 
on  this  river,  in  going  up  stream  have  to  be  tracked,  for 
the  current  is  so  strong  that  they  could  not  make  head 
in  any  other  manner.  Now  the  tow-line,  which  is  some 
300  paces  in  length,  is  made  of  nothing  but  cane.  ’Tis 
in  this  way :  they  have  canes  of  some  fifteen  paces  in 
length  ;  these  they  take  and  split  from  end  to  end  [into 
many  slender  strips],  and  then  they  twist  these  strips 
together  so  as  to  make  a  rope  of  any  length  they  please. 
And  the  ropes  so  made  are  stronger  than  if  they  were  made 
of  hemo.5 



Book  II. 

[There  are  at  many  places  on  this  river  hills  and  rocky 
eminences  on  which  idol-monasteries  and  other  edifices  are 
built ;  and  you  find  on  its  shores  a  constant  succession  of 
villages  and  inhabited  places.6] 

Note  1.  —  The  traveller’s  diversion  from  his  direct  course — sceloc 
or  south-east,  as  he  regards  it — towards  Fokien,  in  order  to  notice 
Nganking  (as  we  have  supposed)  and  Siangyang,  has  sadly  thrown  out 
both  the  old  translators  and  transcribers  and  the  modern  commentators. 
Though  the  G.  Text  has  here  “  quant  Pen  se  part  de  la  cite  de  Angui,” 
I  cannot  doubt  that  Iangui  (Yanju)  is  the  reading  intended,  and  that 
Polo  here  comes  back  to  the  main  line  of  his  journey. 

I  have  little  doubt  that  Sinju  is  the  city  which  was  then  called 
Chin-chau,  but  now  I-chin-hien,*  and  which  stands  on  the  Kiang  as 
near  as  may  be  15  miles  from  Yangchau.  It  is  indeed  south-west 
instead  of  south-east,  but  those  who  have  noted  the  style  of  Polo’s 
orientation  will  not  attach  much  importance  to  this.  I-chin-hien  is  still 
the  great  port  of  the  Yangchau  salt  manufacture,  for  export  by  the  Kiang 
and  its  branches  to  the  interior  provinces.  It  communicates  with  the 
Grand  Canal  by  two  branch  canals.  Admiral  Collinson  in  1842  remarked 
the  great  numbers  of  vessels  lying  in  the  creek  off  Ichin  (see  note  1  to 
chap,  lxviii.  above;  and  J.  R.  G.  S.  XVII.  139). 

Note  2. — The  river  is  of  course  the  Great  Kiang  or  Yangtse- Kiang 
(already  spoken  of  in  chapter  xliv.  as  the  Kiansui ),  which  Polo  was 
justified  in  calling  the  greatest  river  in  the  world,  whilst  the  New  World 
was  yet  hidden.  The  breadth  seems  to  be  a  good  deal  exaggerated,  the 
length  not  at  all.  His  expressions  about  it  were  perhaps  accompanied 
by  a  mental  reference  to  the  term  Dalai ,  “  The  Sea,”  which  the  Mongols 
appear  to  have  given  the  river  (see  Fr.  Odoric ,  p.  12 1).  The  Chinese 
have  a  popular  saying  “  Hdi  vu  ping, ;  Kiang  vu  ti,”  “  Boundless  is  the 
Ocean,  bottomless  the  Kiang  !  ” 

Note  3. — “  The  assertion  that  there  is  a  greater  amount  of  tonnage 
belonging  to  the  Chinese  than  to  all  other  nations  combined,  does  not 
appear  overcharged  to  those  who  have  seen  the  swarms  of  boats  on 
their  rivers,  though  it  might  not  be  found  strictly  true.”  (Mid.  Kingd. 
II.  398.)  Barrow’s  picture  of  the  life,  traffic,  and  population  on  the 
Kiang,  excepting  as  to  specific  numbers,  quite  bears  out  Marco’s  ac¬ 
count.  This  part  of  China  suffered  so  long  from  the  wars  of  the 
Taiping  rebellion  that  to  recent  travellers  it  has  presented  an  aspect 
sadly  belying  its  old  fame.  Now  again,  however,  prosperity  is  reviving, 
and  European  navigation  is  beginning  to  make  an  important  figure  on 

*  See  Gaubil,  p.  93,  note  4,  and  Biot ,  p.  275. 




Island  Monasteries  on  the  Yangtse  Kiang. 



Book  II. 

the  Kiang.  At  present  (May,  1869)  four  steamers  of  1200  tons  ply 
weekly  either  way  between  Shanghai  and  Hankau. 

Note  4. — 12,000  cantars  would  be  more  than  500  tons,  and  I  do 
not  know  if  this  can  be  justified  by  the  burthen  of  Chinese  vessels  on  the 
river,  though  we  see  it  is  more  than  doubled  by  that  of  British  and 
American  steamers.  In  the  passage  referred  to  under  note  1,  Admiral 
Collinson  speaks  of  the  salt-junks  at  Ichin  as  “  very  remarkable,  being 
built  nearly  in  the  form  of  a  crescent,  the  stern  rising  in  some  of  them 
nearly  30  feet  and  the  prow  20,  whilst  the  mast  is  90  feet  high.”  These 
dimensions  imply  large  capacity.  Oliphant  speaks  of  the  old  rice-junks 
for  the  canal  traffic  as  transporting  200  and  300  tons  (I.  197). 

Note  5. — The  tow-line  in  river-boats  is  usually  made  (as  here  de¬ 
scribed)  of  shavings  or  strips  of  bamboo  twisted.  Hawsers  are  also 
made  of  bamboo.  Ramusio  in  this  passage  says  the  boats  are  tracked 
by  horses,  10  or  12  to  each  vessel.  I  do  not  find  this  mentioned  any¬ 
where  else. 

Note  6. — Such  eminences  as  are  here  alluded  to  are  the  Little 
Orphan  Rock,  Silver  Island,  and  Golden  Island,  which  is  mentioned  in 
the  following  chapter.  We  give  on  the  preceding  page  illustrations  of 
those  three  picturesque  islands;  the  Orphan  Rock  at  the  top,  Golden 
Island  in  the  middle,  Silver  Island  below. 

CHAPTER  L  X  X 1 1. 

Concerning  the  City  of  Caiju. 

Caiju  is  a  small  city  towards  the  south-east.  The  people 
are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan  and  have  paper-money.  It 
stands  upon  the  river  before  mentioned.1  At  this  place  are 
collected  great  quantities  of  corn  and  rice  to  be  transported 
to  the  great  city  of  Cambaluc  for  the  use  of  the  Kaan’s 
Court ;  for  the  grain  for  the  Court  all  comes  from  this  part 
of  the  country.  You  must  understand  that  the  Emperor 
hath  caused  a  water-communication  to  be  made  from  this 
city  to  Cambaluc,  in  the  shape  of  a  wide  and  deep  channel 
dug  between  stream  and  stream,  between  lake  and  lake, 
forming  as  it  were  a  great  river  on  which  large  vessels 
can  ply.  And  thus  there  is  a  communication  all  the 

Chap.  LXXII. 



way  from  this  city  of  Caiju  to  Cambaluc ;  so  that  great 
vessels  with  their  loads  can  go  the  whole  way.  A  land 
road  also  exists,  for  the  earth  dug  from  those  channels 
has  been  thrown  up  so  as  to  form  an  embanked  road  on 
either  side.2 

Just  opposite  to  the  city  of  Caiju,  in  the  middle  of  the 
River,  there  stands  a  rocky  island  on  which  there  is  an 
idol-monastery  containing  some  200  idolatrous  friars,  and 
a  vast  number  of  idols.  And  this  Abbey  holds  supremacy 
over  a  number  of  other  idol-monasteries,  just  like  an  arch¬ 
bishop’s  see  among  Christians.* 

Now  we  will  leave  this  and  cross  the  river,  and  I  will 
tell  you  of  a  city  called  Chinghianfu. 

Note  1. — No  place  in  Polo’s  travels  is  better  identified  by  his  local 
indications  than  this.  It  is  on  the  Kiang ;  it  is  at  the  extremity  of  the 
Great  Canal  from  Cambaluc;  it  is  opposite  the  Golden  Island  and 
Chinkiangfu.  Hence  it  is  Kwachau,  as  Murray  pointed  out.  Marsden 
here  misunderstands  his  text,  and  puts  the  place  on  the  south  side  of  the 

Here  Van  Braam  notices  that  there  passed  in  the  course  of  the  day 
more  than  50  great  rice-boats,  most  of  which  could  easily  carry  more 
than  300,000  lbs.  of  rice.  And  Mr.  Alabaster  in  1868  speaks  of  the 
canal  from  Yangchau  to  Kwachau  as  “  full  of  junks.” 

Note  2. — Rashiduddin  gives  the  following  account  of  the  Grand 
Canal,  spoken  of  in  this  passage.  The  river  of  Khanbalig  had,  he  says, 
“  in  the  course  of  time  become  so  shallow  as  not  to  admit  the  entrance 
of  shipping,  so  that  they  had  to  discharge  their  cargoes  and  send  them 
up  to  Khanbalig  on  pack-cattle.  And  the  Chinese  engineers  and  men 
of  science  having  reported  that  the  vessels  from  the  provinces  of  Cathay, 
from  Machin,  and  from  the  cities  of  Khingsai  and  Zaitun,  could  no 
longer  reach  the  court,  the  Kaan  gave  them  orders  to  dig  a  great  canal, 
into  which  the  waters  of  the  said  river,  and  of  several  others,  should  be 
introduced.  This  canal  extends  for  a  distance  of  40  days’  navigation 
from  Khanbalig  to  Khingsai,  and  Zaitun,  the  ports  frequented  by  the 
ships  that  come  from  India,  and  from  the  city  of  Machin  (Canton). 
The  Canal  is  provided  with  many  sluices  ....  and  when  vessels  arrive 
at  these  sluices  they  are  hoisted  up  by  means  of  machinery,  whatever  be 
their  size,  and  let  down  on  the  other  side  into  the  water.  The  canal  has 
a  width  of  more  than  30  ells.  Kublai  caused  the  sides  of  the  embank- 

1 38 


Book  II. 

ments  to  be  revetted  with  stone,  in  order  to  prevent  the  earth  giving 
way.  Along  the  side  of  the  Canal  runs  the  high  road  to  Machin, 
extending  for  a  space  of  40  days’  journey,  and  this  has  been  paved 
throughout,  so  that  travellers  and  their  animals  may  get  along  during 

the  rainy  season  without  sinking  in  the  mud . Shops,  taverns,  and 

villages  line  the  road  on  both  sides,  so  that  dwelling  succeeds  dwelling 
without  intermission  throughout  the  whole  space  of  40  days’  journey.” 
(Cathay,  259-60). 

The  canal  appears  to  have  been  completed  in  1289,  though  large 
portions  were  in  use  earlier.  Its  chief  object  was  to  provide  the  capital 
with  food.  Pauthier  gives  the  statistics  of  the  transport  of  rice  by  this 
canal  from  1283  to  the  end  of  Kublai’s  reign,  and  for  some  subsequent 
years  up  to  1329.  In  the  latter  year  the  quantity  reached  3,522,163  shi 
or  1,247,633  quarters.  As  the  supplies  of  rice  for  the  capital  and  for 
the  troops  in  the  Northern  Provinces  always  continued  to  be  drawn 
from  Kiangnan,  the  distress  and  derangement  caused  by  the  recent  rebel 
occupation  of  that  province  must  have  been  enormous.  ( Pauthier ,  p. 
481-2  ;  Demailla,  p.  439.) 

Note  3. — “  On  the  Kiang,  not  far  from  the  mouth,  is  that  remark¬ 
ably  beautiful  little  island  called  the  ‘  Golden  Isle,’  surmounted  by 
numerous  temples  inhabited  by  the  votaries  of  Buddha  or  Fo,  and  very 
correctly  described  so  many  centuries  since  by  Marco  Polo  ”  (Davis's 
Chinese,  I.  149).  The  monastery,  according  to  Pauthier,  was  founded 
in  the  3rd  or  4th  century,  but  the  name  Kin-Shan ,  or  “  Golden  Isle,” 
dates  only  from  a  visit  of  the  Emperor  Kang-hi  in  1684. 

The  monastery  contained  one  of  the  most  famous  Buddhist  libraries 
in  China.  This  was  in  the  hands  of  our  troops  during  the  first  China 
war,  and  as  it  was  intended  to  remove  the  books  there  was  no  haste 
made  in  examining  their  contents.  Meanwhile  peace  came,  and  the 
library  was  restored.  It  is  a  pity  now  that  the  jus  belli  had  not  been 
exercised  promptly,  for  the  whole  establishment  was  destroyed  by  the 
Taipings  in  i860,  and  with  the  exception  of  the  Pagoda  at  the  top  of 
the  hill,  which  was  left  in  a  dilapidated  state,  not  one  stone  of  the 
buildings  remained  upon  another.  The  rock  had  also  then  ceased  to 
be  an  island ;  and  the  site  of  what  not  many  years  before  had  been 
a  channel  with  four  fathoms  of  water,  separating  it  from  the  southern 
shore,  was  covered  by  flourishing  cabbage-gardens.  (GutzlaJJ  in  J.  R. 
A.  S.  XII.  87;  Mid.  Kingd.  I.  84,  86;  Oliphanfs  Narrative,  II.  301 ; 
N.  and  Q.  Ch.  and  Jap.  No.  5,  p.  58.) 

Chap.  LXXIII. 




Of  the  City  of  Chinghianfu. 

Chinghianfu  is  a  city  of  Manzi.  The  people  are  Idolaters 
and  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan,  and  have  paper-money,  and 
live  by  handicrafts  and  trade.  They  have  plenty  of  silk, 
from  which  they  make  sundry  kinds  of  stuffs  of  silk  and 
gold.  There  are  great  and  wealthy  merchants  in  the  place  ; 
plenty  of  game  is  to  be  had,  and  of  all  kinds  of  victual. 

There  are  in  this  city  two  churches  of  Nestorian  Chris¬ 
tians  which  were  established  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1278  ; 
and  I  will  tell  you  how  that  happened.  You  see,  in  the 
year  just  named,  the  Great  Kaan  sent  a  Baron  of  his  whose 
name  was  Mar  Sarghis,  a  Nestorian  Christian,  to  be 
governor  of  this  city  for  three  years.  And  during  the 
three  years  that  he  abode  there  he  caused  these  two  Chris¬ 
tian  churches  to  be  built,  and  since  then  there  they  are. 
But  before  his  time  there  was  no  church,  neither  were 
there  any  Christians.1 

vol.  11. 



Book  II. 

Note  1. — Chinkiangfu  retains  its  name  unchanged.  It  is  one 
which  became  well  known  in  the  war  of  1842.  On  its  capture  on  the 
2 1st  July  in  that  year,  the  heroic  Manchu  commandant  seated  himself 
among  his  records  and  then  set  fire  to  the  building,  making  it  his 
funeral  pyre.  The  city  was  totally  destroyed  in  the  Taiping  wars,  but 
is  rapidly  recovering  its  position  as  a  place  of  native  commerce. 

Mar  Sarghis  (or  Dominus  Sergius)  appears  to  have  been  a  common 
name  among  Armenian  and  other  Oriental  Christians.  As  Pauthier 
mentions,  this  very  name  is  one  of  the  names  of  Nestorian  priests  in¬ 
scribed  in  Syriac  on  the  celebrated  monument  of  Singanfu. 

From  this  second  mention  of  three  years  as  a  term  of  government, 
we  may  gather  that  this  was  the  usual  period  for  the  tenure  of  such 
office.  (Mid.  Kingd.  I.  86  ;  Cathay ,  p.  xciii.) 


Of  the  City  of  Chinginju  and  the  Slaughter  of  certain 
Alans  there. 

Leaving  the  city  of  Chinghianfu  and  travelling  three 
days  south-east  through  a  constant  succession  of  busy  and 
thriving  towns  and  villages,  you  arrive  at  the  great  and 
noble  city  of  Chingjnju.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  use 
paper-money,  and  are  subject  to  the  Great  Kaan.  They 
live  by  trade  and  handicrafts,  and  they  have  plenty  of  silk. 
They  have  also  abundance  of  game,  and  of  all  manner 
of  victuals,  for  it  is  a  most  productive  territory.1 

Now  I  must  tell  you  of  an  evil  deed  that  was  done, 
once  upon  a  time,  by  the  people  of  this  city,  and  how 
dearly  they  paid  for  it. 

You  see,  at  the  time  of  the  conquest  of  the  great 
province  of  Manzi,  when  Bayan  was  in  command,  he  sent 
a  company  of  his  troops,  consisting  of  a  people  called 
Alans,  who  are  Christians,  to  take  this  city.2  They  took 
it  accordingly,  and  when  they  had  made  their  way  in,  they 
lighted  upon  some  good  wine.  Of  this  they  drank  until 
they  were  all  drunk,  and  then  they  lay  down  and  slept  like 

Chap.  LXXIV. 



so  many  swine.  So  when  night  fell,  the  townspeople, 
seeing  that  they  were  all  dead-drunk,  fell  upon  them  and 
slew  them  all ;  not  a  man  escaped. 

And  when  Bayan  heard  that  the  townspeople  had  thus 
treacherously  slain  his  men,  he  sent  another  Admiral  of  his 
with  a  great  force,  and  stormed  the  city,  and  put  the  whole 
of  the  inhabitants  to  the  sword;  not  a  man  of  them  escaped 
death.  And  thus  the  whole  population  of  that  city  was 

Now  we  will  go  on,  and  I  will  tell  you  of  another  city 
called  Suju. 

Note  1. — Both  the  position  and  the  story  which  follows  identify  this 
city  with  Changchau.  The  name  is  written  in  Pauthier’s  MSS.  Ching- 
inguy,  in  the  G.  T.  Cingiggui  and  Cinghingui ,  in  Ramusio  Tinguigui. 

The  capture  of  Changchau  by  Gordon’s  force,  nth  May,  1864,  was 
the  final  achievement  of  that  “  Ever  Victorious  Army.” 

Note  2. — The  relics  of  the  Alans  were  settled  on  the  northern  skirts 
of  Caucasus,  where  they  made  a  stout  resistance  to  the  Mongols,  but 
eventually  became  subjects  of  the  Khans  of  Sarai.  The  name  by  which 
they  were  usually  known  in  Asia  in  the  middle  ages  was  A  as,  and  by 
this  name  they  are  spoken  of  by  Carpini,  Rubruquis,  and  Josafat  Barbaro, 
as  well  as  by  Ibn  Batuta.  The  Alans  are  mentioned  by  the  Byzantine 
historian  Pachymeres  among  nations  whom  the  Mongols  had  assimilated 
to  themselves  and  adopted  into  their  military  service.  Gaubil,  without 
being  aware  of  the  identity  of  the  Asu  (as  the  name  Aas  appears  to  be 
expressed  in  the  Chinese  Annals),  beyond  the  fact  that  they  dwelt  some¬ 
where  near  the  Caspian,  observes  that  this  people,  after  they  were  con¬ 
quered,  furnished  many  excellent  officers  to  the  Mongols ;  and  he  men¬ 
tions  also  that  when  the  Mongol  army  was  first  equipt  for  the  conquest 
of  Southern  China,  many  officers  took  Service  therein  from  among  the 
Uighurs,  Persians,  and  Arabs,  Kincha  (people  of  Kipchak),  the  Asu  and 
other  foreign  nations.  We  find  also,  at  a  later  period  of  the  Mongol 
history  (1336),  letters  reaching  Pope  Benedict  XII.  from  several  Chris¬ 
tian  Alans  holding  high  office  at  the  court  of  Cambaluc — one  of  them 
being  a  Chingsang  or  Minister  of  the  First  Rank,  and  another  a  Fanchang 
or  Minister  of  the  Second  Order — in  which  they  conveyed  their  urgent 
request  for  the  nomination  of  an  Archbishop  in  succession  to  the  de¬ 
ceased  John  of  Monte  Corvino.  John  Marignolli  speaks  of  those  Alans 
as  “  the  greatest  and  noblest  nation  in  the  world,  the  fairest  and  bravest 
of  men,”  and  asserts  that  in  his  day  there  were  30,000  of  them  in  the 
Great  Kaan’s  service,  and  all,  at  least  nominally,  Christians.  Rashid- 

L  2 



Book  II. 

uddin  also  speaks  of  the  Alans  as  Christians ;  though  Ibn  Batuta  cer^ 
tainly  mentions  the  A  as  as  Mahomedans.  We  find  Alans  about  the  same 
time  (in  1306)  fighting  well  in  the  service  of  the  Byzantine  Emperors 
(Muntaner,  p.  449).  All  these  circumstances  render  Marco’s  story  of 
a  corps  of  Christian  Alans  in  the  army  of  Bayan  perfectly  consistent 
with  probability.  ( Carpini ,  p.  707  ;  Rub.  243  ;  Ramusio ,  II.  92  ;  I.  B. 
II.  428;  Gaubil,  40,147;  Cathay,  314  seqq.) 

Note  3. — The  Chinese  histories  do  not  mention  the  story  of  the 
Alans  and  their  fate  ;  but  they  tell  how  Changchau  was  first  taken  by 
the  Mongols  about  April,  1275,  and  two  months  later  recovered  by  the 
Chinese ;  how  Bayan  some  months  afterwards  attacked  it  in  person, 
meeting  with  a  desperate  resistance ;  finally,  how  the  place  was  stormed, 
and  how  Bayan  ordered  the  whole  of  the  inhabitants  to  be  put  to  the 
sword.  Gaubil  remarks  that  some  grievous  provocation  must  have  been 
given,  as  Bayan  was  far  from  cruel.  Pauthier  gives  original  extracts  on 
the  subject,  which  are  interesting.  They  picture  the  humane  and 
chivalrous  Bayan  on  this  occasion  as  demoniacal  in  cruelty,  sweeping 
together  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  suburbs,  forcing  them  to  construct  his 
works  of  attack,  and  then  butchering  the  whole  of  them,  boiling  down 
their  carcases,  and  using  the  fat  to  grease  his  mangonels  !  Perhaps 
there  is  some  misunderstanding  as  to  the  use  of  this  barbarous  lubricant. 
For  Carpini  relates  that  the  Tartars  when  they  cast  Greek  fire  into  a 
town  shot  with  it  human  fat,  for  this  caused  the  fire  to  rage  inextin¬ 

Cruelties,  like  Bayan’s  on  this  occasion,  if  exceptional  with  him, 
were  common  enough  among  the  Mongols  generally.  Chinghiz,  at  an 
early  period  in  his  career,  after  a  victory,  ordered  70  great  caldrons  to 
be  heated,  and  his  prisoners  to  be  boiled  therein.  And  the  “  evil  deed  ” 
of  the  citizens  of  Changchau  fell  far  short  of  Mongol  atrocities.  Thus 
Hulaku,  suspecting  the  Turkoman  chief  Nasiruddin  who  had  just  quitted 
his  camp  with  300  men,  sent  a  body  of  horse  after  him  to  cut  him  off. 
The  Mongol  officers  told  the  Turkoman  they  had  been  ordered  to  give 
him  and  his  men  a  parting  feast ;  they  made  them  all  drunk  and  then 
cut  their  throats.  ( Gaubil ’  166-5,  170;  Carpini ,  696;  Erdmann ,  262  ; 
Quat.  Rashid.  357.) 


Of  the  Noble  City  of  Suju. 

Suju  is  a  very  great  and  noble  city.  The  people  are  Ido¬ 
laters,  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan,  and  have  paper  money. 

Chap.  LXXV. 



They  possess  silk  in  great  quantities,  from  which  they  make 
gold  brocade  and  other  stuffs,  and  they  live  by  their  manu¬ 
factures  and  trade.1 

The  city  is  passing  great,  and  has  a  circuit  of  some 
60  miles ;  it  hath  merchants  of  great  wealth  and  an  incal¬ 
culable  number  of  people.  Indeed,  if  the  men  of  this  city 
and  of  the  rest  of  Manzi  had  but  the  spirit  of  soldiers  they 
would  conquer  the  world ;  but  they  are  no  soldiers  at  all, 
only  accomplished  traders  and  most  skilful  craftsmen. 
There  are  also  in  this  city  many  philosophers  and  leeches, 
diligent  students  of  nature. 

And  you  must  know  that  in  this  city  there  are  6000 
bridges,  all  of  stone,  and  so  lofty  that  a  galley,  or  even  two 
galleys  at  once,  could  pass  underneath  one  of  them.2 

In  the  mountains  belonging  to  this  city,  rhubarb  and 
ginger  grow  in  great  abundance ;  insomuch  that  you  may 
get  some  40  pounds  of  excellent  fresh  ginger  for  a  Venice 
groat.5  And  the  city  has  sixteen  other  great  trading  cities 
under  its  rule.  The  name  of  the  city,  Suju,  signifies  in  our 
tongue  “  Earth,”  and  that  of  another  near  it,  of  which  we 
shall  speak  presently,  called  Kinsay,  signifies  “  Heaven 
and  these  names  are  given  because  of  the  great  splendour 
of  the  two  cities.4 

Now  let  us  quit  Suju,  and  go  on  to  another  which  is 
called  Vuju,  one  day’s  journey  distant;  it  is  a  great  and  fine 
city,  rife  with  trade  and  manufactures.  But  as  there  is 
nothing  more  to  say  of  it  we  shall  go  on  and  I  will  tell  you 
of  another  great  and  noble  city  called  Vughin.  The 
people  are  Idolaters,  &c.,  and  possess  much  silk  and  other 
merchandize,  and  they  are  expert  traders  and  craftsmen. 
Let  us  now  quit  Vughin  and  tell  you  of  another  city  called 
Changan,  a  great  and  rich  place.  The  people  are  Idolaters, 
&c.,  and  they  live  by  trade  and  manufactures.  They  make 
great  quantities  of  Sendai  of  different  kinds,  and  they  have 
much  game  in  the  neighbourhood.  There  is  however 
nothing  more  to  say  about  the  place,  so  we  shall  now 



Book  II. 

Note  1. — Suju  is  of  course  the  celebrated  city  of  Suchau  in  Kiang- 
nan — before  the  rebellion  brought  ruin  on  it,  the  Paris  of  China.  “  Every 
thing  remarkable  was  alleged  to  come  from  it ;  fine  pictures,  fine  carved 
work,  fine  silks,  and  fine  ladies  !”  ( Fortune ,  I.  186.)  When  the  Em¬ 
peror  Kang-hi  visited  Suchau  the  citizens  laid  the  streets  with  carpets 
and  silk  stuffs,  but  the  Emperor  dismounted  and  made  his  train  do  the 
like.  (Davis,  I.  186.) 

Note  2. — I  believe  we  must  not  bring  Marco  to  book  for  the  literal 
accuracy  of  his  statements  as  to  the  bridges ;  but  all  travellers  have 
noticed  the  number  and  elegance  of  the  bridges  of  cut  stone  in  this  part 
of  China;  see  for  instance  Van  Braam ,  II.  107,  119-20,  124,  126;  and 
Deguignes ,  I.  47,  who  gives  a  particular  account  of  the  arches.  These 
are  said  to  be  often  50  or  60  feet  in  span. 

Note  3. — This  statement  about  the  abundance  of  rhubarb  in  the 
mountains  adjoining  Suchau  is  believed  by  the  most  competent  autho¬ 
rities  to  be  quite  erroneous.  Rhubarb  is  exported  from  Shanghai,  but 
it  is  brought  thither  from  Hankau  on  the  Upper  Kiang,  and  Hankau 
receives  it  from  the  further  west.  Indeed  Mr.  Hanbury,  in  a  note  on 
the  subject,  adds  his  disbelief  also  that  ginger  is  produced  in  Kiangnan. 
And  I  see  in  the  Shanghai  trade-returns  of  1865,  that  there  is  no  ginger 
among  the  exports. 

Note  4. — The  meanings  ascribed  by  Polo  to  the  names  of  Suchau 
and  Kingsse  (Hangchau)  show  plainly  enough  that  he  was  ignorant  of 
Chinese.  Odoric  does  not  mention  Suchau,  but  he  gives  the  same 
explanation  of  Kinsay  as  signifying  the  “  City  of  Heaven,”  and  Wassaf 
also  in  his  notice  of  the  same  city  has  an  obscure  passage  about  Paradise 
and  Heaven,  which  is  not  improbably  a  corrupted  reference  to  the  same 
interpretation.*  I  suspect  therefore  that  it  was  a  “  Vulgar  Error”  of  the 
foreign  Residents  in  China,  probably  arising  out  of  a  misunderstanding 
of  the  Chinese  adage  quoted  by  Duhalde  and  Davis  : — 

“  S hang  yen  thien  thang,  Hia  yen  Su  Hang  !  ” 

“  There’s  Paradise  above  ,’tis  true, 

But  here  below  we’ve  Hang  and  Su  !  ” 

These  two  neighbouring  cities,  in  the  middle  of  the  beautiful  tea  and 
silk  districts,  and  with  every  advantage  of  inland  navigation  and  foreign 
trade,  combined  every  source  of  wealth  and  prosperity,  and  were  often 
thus  coupled  together  by  the  Chinese.  They  are  I  believe  rapidly  reco¬ 
vering  from  the  effects  of  devastation  by  Taiping  occupation  and  Impe¬ 
rialist  recapture. 

Note  5. — The  Geographic  Text  only,  at  least  of  the  principal  Texts, 
has  distinctly  the  three  cities  Vugui ,  Vughin ,  Ciangan.  Pauthier  iden- 

*  See  Quatremere’s  Rashid,  p.  lxxxvii,  and  Hammer’s  Wassdf,  p.  42. 

Li  t.Ti  auenf elder,  Palermo . 



tifies  the  first  and  third  with  Huchaufu  and  Sungkiangfu.  In  favour 
of  Vuju’s  being  Huchau  is  the  fact  mentioned  by  Wilson  that  the  latter 
city  is  locally  called  Wuchu.*  If  this  be  the  place,  the  Traveller  does 
not  seem  to  be  following  a  direct  and  consecutive  route  from  Suchau  to 
Hangchau.  Nor  is  Huchau  within  a  day’s  journey  of  Suchau.  Mr. 
Kingsmill  observes  that  the  only  town  at  that  distance  is  Wukiang-hien , 
once  of  some  little  importance  but  now  much  reduced.  Wukiang, 
however,  is  suggestive  of  Vughin;  and  in  that  supposition  Huchau  must 
be  considered  the  object  of  a  digression  from  which  the  Traveller  returns 
and  takes  up  his  route  to  Hangchau  via  Wukiang.  Kyahing  would  then 
best  answer  to  Ciangan ,  or  Caingan ,  as  it  is  written  in  the  following 
chapter  of  the  G.  T. 


Description  of  the  Great  City  of  Kinsay,  which  is  the 
Capital  of  the  whole  Country  of  Manzi. 

When  you  have  left  the  city  of  Changan  and  have  tra¬ 
velled  for  three  days  through  a  splendid  country,  passing  a 
number  of  towns  and  villages,  you  arrive  at  the  most  noble 
city  of  Kinsay,  a  name  which  is  as  much  as  to  say  in  our 
tongue  u  The  City  of  Heaven,”  as  I  told  you  before.1 

And  since  we  have  got  thither  I  will  enter  into  parti¬ 
culars  about  its  magnificence ;  and  these  are  well  worth  the 
telling,  for  the  city  is  beyond  dispute  the  finest  and  the 
noblest  in  the  world.  In  this  we  shall  speak  according  to 
the  written  statement  which  the  Queen  of  this  Realm  sent 
to  Bayan  the  conqueror  of  the  country  for  transmission  to 
the  Great  Kaan,  in  order  that  he  might  be  aware  of  the 
surpassing  grandeur  of  the  city  and  might  be  moved  to 
save  it  from  destruction  or  injury.  I  will  tell  you  all  the 
truth  as  it  was  set  down  in  that  document.  For  truth  it 
was,  as  the  said  Messer  Marco  Polo  at  a  later  date  was  able 
to  witness  with  his  own  eyes.  And  now  we  shall  rehearse 
those  particulars. 

*  The  Ever  Victorious  Army ,  p.  395- 

4  6 


Book  II. 

First  and  foremost,  then,  the  document  stated  the  city  of 
Kinsay  to  be  so  great  that  it  hath  an  hundred  miles  of  com¬ 
pass.  And  there  are  in  it  twelve  thousand  bridges  of  stone, 
for  the  most  part  so  lofty  that  a  great  fleet  could  pass 
beneath  them.  And  let  no  man  marvel  that  there  are  so 
many  bridges,  for  you  see  the  whole  city  stands  as  it  were 
in  the  water  and  surrounded  by  water,  so  that  a  great  many 
bridges  are  required  to  give  free  passage  about  it.  [And 
though  the  bridges  be  so  high  the  approaches  are  so  well 
contrived  that  carts  and  horses  do  cross  them.2] 

The  document  aforesaid  also  went  on  to  state  that  there 
were  in  this  city  twelve  guilds  of  the  different  crafts,  and 
that  each  guild  had  12,000  houses  in  the  occupation  of  its 
workmen.  Each  of  these  houses  contains  at  least  12  men, 
whilst  some  contain  20  and  some  40, — not  that  these  are  all 
masters,  but  inclusive  of  the  journeymen  who  work  under 
the  masters.  And  yet  all  these  craftsmen  had  full  occupa¬ 
tion,  for  many  other  cities  of  the  kingdom  are  supplied 
from  this  city  with  what  they  require. 

The  document  aforesaid  also  stated  that  the  number 
and  wealth  of  the  merchants,  and  the  amount  of  goods  that 
passed  through  their  hands  was  so  enormous  that  no  man 
could  form  a  just  estimate  thereof.  And  I  should  have 
told  you  with  regard  to  those  masters  of  the  different  crafts 
who  are  at  the  head  of  such  houses  as  I  have  mentioned, 
that  neither  they  nor  their  wives  ever  touch  a  piece  of 
work  with  their  own  hands,  but  live  as  nicely  and  delicately 
as  if  they  were  kings  and  queens.  The  wives  indeed  are 
most  dainty  and  angelical  creatures !  Moreover  it  was  an 
ordinance  laid  down  by  the  King  that  every  man  should 
follow  his  father’s  business  and  no  other,  no  matter  if  he 
possessed  100,000  bezants.3 

Inside  the  city  there  is  a  Lake  which  has  a  compass 
of  some  30  miles ;  and  all  round  it  are  erected  beautiful 
palaces  and  mansions,  of  the  richest  and  most  exquisite 
structure  that  you  can  imagine,  belonging  to  the  nobles  of 



the  city.  There  are  also  on  its  shores  many  abbeys  and 
churches  of  the  Idolaters.  In  the  middle  of  the  Lake  are 
two  Islands,  on  each  of  which  stands  a  rich,  beautiful  and 
spacious  edifice,  furnished  in  such  style  as  to  seem  fit 
for  the  palace  of  an  Emperor.  And  when  any  one  of  the 
citizens  desired  to  hold  a  marriage  feast,  or  to  give  any 
other  entertainment,  it  used  to  be  done  at  one  of  these 
palaces.  And  everything  would  be  found  there  ready  to 
order,  such  as  silver  plate,  trenchers  and  dishes,  [napkins 
and  table-cloths],  and  whatever  else  was  needful.  The 
King  made  this  provision  for  the  gratification  of  his  people, 
and  the  place  was  open  to  every  one  who  desired  to  give  an 
entertainment.  [Sometimes  there  would  be  at  these  palaces 
an  hundred  different  parties ;  some  holding  a  banquet, 
others  celebrating  a  wedding ;  and  yet  all  would  find  good 
accommodation  in  the  different  apartments  and  pavilions, 
and  that  in  so  well  ordered  a  manner  that  one  party  was 
never  in  the  way  of  another.4] 

The  houses  of  the  City  are  provided  with  lofty  towers 
of  stone  in  which  articles  of  value  are  stored  for  fear  of  fire  ; 
for  most  of  the  houses  themselves  are  of  timber,  and  fires 
are  very  frequent  in  the  city. 

The  people  are  Idolaters ;  and  since  they  were  con¬ 
quered  by  the  Great  Kaan  they  use  paper-money.  [Both 
men  and  women  are  fair  and  comely,  and  for  the  most 
part  clothe  themselves  in  silk,  so  vast  is  the  supply  of  that 
material,  both  from  the  whole  district  of  Kinsay,  and  from 
the  imports  by  traders  from  other  provinces.5]  And  you 
must  know  they  eat  every  kind  of  flesh,  even  that  of  dogs 
and  other  unclean  beasts,  which  nothing  would  induce  a 
Christian  to  eat. 

Since  the  Great  Kaan  occupied  the  city  he  has  ordained 
that  each  of  the  12,000  bridges  should  be  provided  with  a 
guard  of  ten  men,  in  case  of  any  disturbance,  or  of  any 
being  so  rash  as  to  plot  treason  or  insurrection  against  him. 
[Each  guard  is  provided  with  a  hollow  instrument  of  wood 



Book  II. 

and  with  a  metal  basin,  and  with  a  time-keeper  to  enable 
them  to  know  the  hour  of  the  day  or  night.  And  so  when 
one  hour  of  the  night  is  past  the  sentry  strikes  one  on  the 
wooden  instrument  and  on  the  basin,  so  that  the  whole 
quarter  of  the  city  is  made  aware  that  one  hour  of  the 
night  is  gone.  At  the  second  hour  he  gives  two  strokes, 
and  so  on,  keeping  always  wide  awake  and  on  the  look  out. 
In  the  morning  again,  from  the  sunrise,  they  begin  to 
count  anew,  and  strike  one  hour  as  they  did  in  the  night, 
and  so  on  hour  after  hour. 

Part  of  the  watch  patrols  the  quarter,  to  see  if  any  light 
or  fire  is  burning  after  the  lawful  hours ;  if  they  find  any 
they  mark  the  door,  and  in  the  morning  the  owner  is  sum¬ 
moned  before  the  magistrates,  and  unless  he  can  plead  a 
good  excuse  he  is  punished.  Also  if  they  find  any  one 
going  about  the  streets  at  unlawful  hours  they  arrest  him, 
and  in  the  morning  they  bring  him  before  the  magistrates. 
Likewise  if  in  the  daytime  they  find  any  poor  cripple 
unable  to  work  for  his  livelihood,  they  take  him  to  one 
of  the  hospitals,  of  which  there  are  many,  founded  by  the 
ancient  kings,  and  endowed  with  great  revenues.6  Or  if  he 
be  capable  of  work  they  oblige  him  to  take  up  some  trade. 
If  they  see  that  any  house  has  caught  fire  they  immediately 
beat  upon  that  wooden  instrument  to  give  the  alarm,  and 
this  brings  together  the  watchmen  from  the  other  bridges 
to  help  to  extinguish  it,  and  to  save  the  goods  of  the 
merchants  or  others,  either  by  removing  them  to  the  towers 
above  mentioned,  or  by  putting  them  in  boats  and  trans¬ 
porting  them  to  the  islands  in  the  lake.  For  no  citizen 
dares  leave  his  house  at  night,  or  to  come  near  the  fire ; 
only  those  who  own  the  property,  and  those  watchmen 
who  flock  to  help,  of  whom  there  shall  come  one  or  two 
thousand  at  the  least.] 

Moreover,  within  the  city  there  is  an  eminence  on 
which  stands  a  Tower,  and  at  the  top  of  the  tower  is  hung 
a  slab  of  wood.  Whenever  fire  or  any  other  alarm  breaks 



out  in  the  city  a  man  who  stands  there  with  a  mallet  in  his 
hand  beats  upon  the  slab,  making  a  noise  that  is  heard  to  a 
great  distance.  So  when  the  blows  upon  this  slab  are  heard, 
everybody  is  aware  that  fire  has  broken  out,  or  that  there  is 
some  other  cause  of  alarm. 

The  Kaan  watches  this  city  with  especial  diligence 
because  it  forms  the  head  of  all  Manzi ;  and  because  he 
has  an  immense  revenue  from  the  duties  levied  on  the 
transactions  of  trade  therein,  the  amount  of  which  is  such 
that  no  one  would  credit  it  on  mere  hearsay. 

All  the  streets  of  the  city  are  paved  with  stone  or  brick, 
as  indeed  are  all  the  highways  throughout  Manzi,  so  that 
you  ride  and  travel  in  every  direction  without  inconve¬ 
nience.  Were  it  not  for  this  pavement  you  could  not  do 
so,  for  the  country  is  very  low  and  flat,  and  after  rain  ’tis 
deep  in  mire  and  water.7  [But  as  the  Great  Kaan’s  couriers 
could  not  gallop  their  horses  over  the  pavement,  the  side 
of  the  road  is  left  unpaved  for  their  convenience.  The 
pavement  of  the  main  street  of  the  city  also  is  laid  out  in 
two  parallel  ways  of  ten  paces  in  width  on  either  side, 
leaving  a  space  in  the  middle  laid  with  fine  gravel,  under 
which  are  vaulted  drains  which  convey  the  rain  water  into 
the  canals ;  and  thus  the  road  is  kept  ever  dry.] 

You  must  know  also  that  the  city  of  Kinsay  has  some 
3000  baths,  the  water  of  which  is  supplied  by  springs. 
They  are  hot  baths,  and  the  people  take  great  delight  in 
them,  frequenting  them  several  times  a  month,  for  they  are 
very  cleanly  in  their  persons.  They  are  the  finest  and 
largest  baths  in  the  world;  large  enough  for  100  persons  to 
bathe  together.8 

And  the  Ocean  Sea  comes  within  25  miles  of  the  city 
at  a  place  called  Ganfu,  where  there  is  a  town  and  an 
excellent  haven,  with  a  vast  amount  of  shipping  which  is 
engaged  in  the  traffic  to  and  from  India  and  other  foreign 
parts,  exporting  and  importing  many  kinds  of  wares,  by 
which  the  city  benefits.  And  a  great  river  flows  from  the 



Book  II. 

city  of  Kinsay  to  that  sea-haven,  by  which  vessels  can  come 
up  to  the  city  itself.  This  river  extends  also  to  other  places 
further  inland.9 

Know  also  that  the  Great  Kaan  hath  distributed  the 
territory  of  Manzi  into  nine  parts,  which  he  hath  con¬ 
stituted  into  nine  kingdoms.  To  each  of  these  kingdoms 
a  king  is  appointed  who  is  subordinate  to  the  Great  Kaan, 
and  every  year  renders  the  accounts  of  his  kingdom  to  the 
fiscal  office  at  the  capital.10  This  city  of  Kinsay  is  the 
seat  of  one  of  these  kings,  who  rules  over  140  great  and 
wealthy  cities.  For  in  the  whole  of  this  vast  country  of 
Manzi  there  are  more  than  1 200  great  and  wealthy  cities, 
without  counting  the  towns  and  villages,  which  are  in  great 
numbers.  And  you  may  receive  it  for  certain  that  in  each 
of  those  1200  cities  the  Great  Kaan  has  a  garrison,  and 
that  the  smallest  of  such  garrisons  musters  1000  men, 
whilst  there  are  some  of  10,000,  20,000,  and  30,000;  so 
that  the  total  number  of  troops  is  something  scarcely  calcu¬ 
lable.  The  troops  forming  these  garrisons  are  not  all 
Tartars.  Many  are  from  the  province  of  Cathay,  and  good 
soldiers  too.  But  you  must  not  suppose  they  are  by  any 
means  all  of  them  cavalry ;  a  very  large  proportion  of  them 
are  foot-soldiers,  according  to  the  special  requirements  of 
each  city.  And  all  of  them  belong  to  the  army  of  the 
Great  Kaan.” 

I  repeat  that  everything  appertaining  to  this  city  is  on 
so  vast  a  scale,  and  the  Great  Kaan’s  yearly  revenues  there¬ 
from  are  so  immense,  that  it  is  not  easy  even  to  put  it  in 
writing,  and  it  seems  past  belief  to  one  who  merely  hears  it 
told.  But  I  will  write  it  down  for  you. 

First,  however,  I  must  mention  another  thing.  The 
people  of  this  country  have  a  custom,  that  as  soon  as  a 
child  is  born  they  write  down  the  day  and  hour  and  the 
planet  and  sign  under  which  its  birth  has  taken  place ;  so 
that  every  one  among  them  knows  the  day  of  his  birth. 
And  when  any  one  intends  a  journey  he  goes  to  the  astro- 


logers,  and  gives  the  particulars  of  his  nativity  in  order  to 
learn  whether  he  shall  have  good  luck  or  no.  Sometimes 
they  will  say  no,  and  in  that  case  the  journey  is  put  off  till 
such  day  as  the  astrologer  may  recommend.  These  astro¬ 
logers  are  very  skilful  at  their  business,  and  often  their 
words  come  to  pass,  so  the  people  have  great  faith  in  them. 

They  burn  the  bodies  of  the  dead.  And  when  any  one 
dies  the  friends  and  relations  make  a  great  mourning  for 
the  deceased,  and  clothe  themselves  in  hempen  garments,12 
and  follow  the  corpse  playing  on  a  variety  of  instruments 
and  singing  hymns  to  their  idols.  And  when  they  come 
to  the  burning  place,  they  take  representations  of  things  cut 
out  of  parchment,  such  as  caparisoned  horses,  male  and 
female  slaves,  camels,  armour,  suits  of  cloth  of  gold  (and 
money),  in  great  quantities,  and  these  things  they  put  on 
the  fire  along  with  the  corpse,  so  that  they  are  all  burnt 
with  it.  And  they  tell  you  that  the  dead  man  shall  have 
all  these  slaves  and  animals  of  which  the  effigies  are  burnt, 
alive  in  flesh  and  blood,  and  the  money  in  gold,  at  his 
disposal  in  the  next  world;  and  that  the  instruments  which 
they  have  caused  to  be  played  at  his  funeral,  and  the  idol 
hymns  that  have  been  chaunted,  shall  also  be  produced 
again  to  welcome  him  in  the  next  world ;  and  that  the  idols 
themselves  will  come  to  do  him  honour.1* 

Furthermore  there  exists  in  this  city  the  palace  of  the 
king  who  fled,  him  who  was  Emperor  of  Manzi,  and  that 
is  the  greatest  palace  in  the  world,  as  I  shall  tell  you  more 
particularly.  For  you  must  know  its  demesne  hath  a 
compass  of  ten  miles,  all  enclosed  with  lofty  battlemented 
walls ;  and  inside  the  walls  are  the  finest  and  most  delect¬ 
able  gardens  upon  earth,  and  filled  too  with  the  finest 
fruits.  There  are  numerous  fountains  in  it  also,  and  lakes 
full  of  fish.  In  the  middle  is  the  palace  itself,  a  great  and 
splendid  building.  It  contains  20  great  and  handsome 
halls,  one  of  which  is  more  spacious  than  the  rest,  and 
affords  room  for  a  vast  multitude  to  dine.  It  is  all  painted 



Book  II. 

in  gold,  with  many  histories  and  representations  of  beasts 
and  birds,  of  knights  and  dames,  and  many  marvellous 
things.  It  forms  a  really  magnificent  spectacle,  for  over 
all  the  walls  and  all  the  ceiling  you  see  nothing  but  paint¬ 
ings  in  gold.  And  besides  these  halls  the  palace  contains 
1000  large  and  handsome  chambers,  all  painted  in  gold 
and  divers  colours. 

Moreover,  I  must  tell  you  that  in  this  city  there  are 
160  tomans  of  fires,  or  in  other  words  160  tomans  of 
houses.  Now  I  should  tell  you  that  the  toman  is  10,000, 
so  that  you  can  reckon  the  total  as  altogether  1,600,000 
houses,  among  which  are  a  great  number  of  rich  palaces. 
There  is  one  church  only,  belonging  to  the  Nestorian 

There  is  another  thing  I  must  tell  you.  It  is  the 
custom  for  every  burgess  of  this  city,  and  in  fact  for  every 
description  of  person  in  it,  to  write  over  his  door  his  own 
name,  the  name  of  his  wife,  and  those  of  his  children,  his 
slaves,  and  all  the  inmates  of  his  house,  and  also  the 
number  of  animals  that  he  keeps.  And  if  any  one  dies  in 
the  house  then  the  name  of  that  person  is  erased,  and  if 
any  child  is  born  its  name  is  added.  So  in  this  way  the 
sovereign  is  able  to  know  exactly  the  population  of  the 
city.  And  this  is  the  practice  also  throughout  ail  Manzi 
and  Cathay.15 

And  I  must  tell  you  that  every  hosteler  who  keeps  an 
hostel  for  travellers  is  bound  to  register  their  names  and 
surnames,  as  well  as  the  day  and  month  of  their  arrival 
and  departure.  And  thus  the  sovereign  hath  the  means 
of  knowing,  whenever  it  pleases  him,  who  come  and  go 
throughout  his  dominions.  And  certes  this  is  a  wise  order 
and  a  provident. 

Note  1. — Kinsay  represents  closely  enough  the  Chinese  term 
Kingsse ,  “  capital,”  which  was  then  applied  to  the  great  city,  the  proper 
name  of  which  was  at  that  time  Lin-ngan,  and  is  now  Hangchau,  as 



being  since  1127  the  capital  of  the  Sung  dynasty.  The  same  term 
Kingsse  is  now  on  Chinese  maps  generally  used  to  designate  Peking. 
It  would  seem,  however,  that  the  term  adhered  long  as  a  quasi-proper 
name  to  Hangchau,  for  in  the  Chinese  atlas,  dating  from  1595,  which 
the  traveller  Carletti  presented  to  the  Magliabeccliian  Library,  that  city 
appears  to  be  still  marked  with  this  name,  transcribed  by  Carletti  as 

Note  2. — The  Ramusian  version  says  :  “  Messer  Marco  Polo  was 
frequently  at  this  city,  and  took  great  pains  to  learn  everything  about 
it,  writing  down  the  whole  in  his  notes.”  The  information  being  origin¬ 
ally  derived  from  a  Chinese  document,  there  might  be  some  ground  for 
supposing  that  100  miles  of  circuit  stood  for  100  li.  Yet  the  circuit  of 
the  modern  city  is  stated  in  the  Imperial  Geography,  quoted  by  Pauthier, 
at  only  35  //,  and  the  book  called  Hang-chau-fu-Chi ,  or  topographical 
history  of  Hangchau  (examined  for  me  by  the  kindness  of  Mr.  R.  K. 
Douglas)  gives  the  measurement  of  the  walls  as  36  li  and  90  paces. 
I  learn,  however,  from  a  lecture  on  the  city  by  the  Rev.  D.  D.  Green, 
an  American  missionary  at  Ningpo,  that  the  wall,  as  reconstructed  by 
Chaotsung,  one  of  the  last  emperors  of  the  Thang  dynasty  (894), 
embraced  the  Lio-ho-ta  pagoda,  15  li  distant  from  the  present  south 
gate,  and  had  a  circuit  of  70  li.  Moreover,  in  1130,  after  the  city 
became  the  capital  of  the  Sung  emperors,  some  further  extension  was 
given  to  it,  so  that  even  exclusive  of  the  suburbs  the  circuit  of  the  city 
may  have  been  not  far  short  of  100  li.  I  cannot  learn  when  the  walls 
were  contracted  to  their  present  compass.*  Whatever  may  have  been 
the  facts,  and  whatever  the  origin  of  the  estimate,  I  imagine  that  the 
ascription  of  100  miles  of  circuit  to  Kinsay  had  become  popular  among 
westerns.  Odoric  makes  the  same  statement.  Wassaf  calls  it  24  para- 
sangs,  which  will  not  be  far  short  of  the  same  amount.  Ibn  Batuta  calls 
the  length  of  the  city  3  days’  journey.  Rashiduddin  says  the  enceinte 
had  a  diameter  of  1 1  parasangs,  and  that  there  were  three  post  stages 
between  the  two  extremities  of  the  city,  which  is  probably  what  Ibn 
Batuta  had  heard.  The  Masalak-al-Absdr  calls  it  one  day’s  journey  in 
length,  and  half  a  day’s  journey  in  breadth.  The  enthusiastic  Jesuit 
Martini  goes  far  to  justify  Polo  in  this  as  in  other  points  of  his  descrip¬ 
tion.  We  shall  quote  the  whole  of  his  remarks  at  the  end  of  the  chapter 
on  Kinsay. 

The  12,000  bridges  have  been  much  carped  at,  and  modern  accounts 
of  Hangchau  (desperately  meagre  as  they  are)  do  not  speak  of  its  bridges 
as  notable.  There  is,  indeed,  says  Mr.  Kingsmill,  speaking  of  changes 
in  the  hydrography  about  Hangchau,  no  trace  in  the  city  of  the  magnifi- 

*  Mr.  Green’s  lecture  is  printed  in  the  Nov.  and  Dec.  numbers  for  1869  of  the 
(Fuchau)  Chinese  Recorder  and  Missionary  Journal.  In  the  bird’s-eye  plan  of 
Hangchau  I  have  traced  by  a  dotted  line  the  course  of  the  wall  of  Chaotsung,  as  well 
as  Mr.  Green’s  indications  (from  a  work  called  ’Jinho-hsien-Chi)  will  allow. 



Book  II. 

cent  canals  and  bridges  described  by  Marco  Polo.  The  number  was 
no  doubt  in  this  case  also  a  mere  popular  saw,  and  Friar  Odoric  repeats 
it.  The  sober  and  veracious  John  Marignolli,  alluding  apparently  to 
their  statements,  and  perhaps  to  others  which  have  not  reached  us, 
says  :  “When  authors  tell  of  its  ten  thousand  noble  bridges  of  stone, 
adorned  with  sculptures  and  statues  of  armed  princes,  it  passes  the 
belief  of  one  who  has  not  been  there,  and  yet  peradventure  these  authors 
tell  us  no  lie.”  Wassaf  speaks  of  360  bridges  only,  but  they  make  up 
in  size  what  they  lack  in  number,  for  they  cross  canals  as  big  as  the 
Tigris !  Marsden  aptly  quotes  in  reference  to  this  point  excessively 
loose  and  discrepant  statements  from  modern  authors  as  to  the  number 
of  bridges  in  Venice.  The  great  height  of  the  arches  of  the  canal  bridges 
in  this  part  of  China  is  especially  noticed  by  travellers.  Barrow,  quoted 
by  Marsden,  says:  “Some  have  the  piers  of  such  an  extraordinary 
height  that  the  largest  vessels  of  200  tons  sail  under  them  without 
striking  their  masts.” 

Note  3. — There  is,  I  believe,  no  trace  of  such  an  ordinance  in 
modern  China.  Pere  Parrenin,  speaking  of  the  surmised  connexion  of 
China  and  Egypt,  says  :  “  As  to  the  hereditary  perpetuation  of  trades,  it 
has  never  existed  in  China.  On  the  contrary,  very  few  Chinese  will 
learn  the  trade  of  their  fathers ;  and  it  is  only  necessity  that  ever  con¬ 
strains  them  to  do  so.”  (Lett.  Edif.  XXIV.  40.) 

Note  4. — This  sheet  of  water  is  the  celebrated  Si-hu  or  “  Western 
Lake,”  the  fame  of  which  had  reached  Abulfeda,  and  which  has  raised 
the  enthusiasm  even  of  modern  travellers,  such  as  Barrow  and  Van 
Braam.  The  latter  speaks  of  three  islands  (and  this  the  Chinese  maps 
confirm),  on  each  of  which  were  several  villas,  and  of  causeways  across 
the  lake,  paved  and  bordered  with  trees,  and  provided  with  numerous 
bridges  for  the  passage  of  boats.  Barrow  gives  a '  bright  description  of 
the  lake,  with  its  thousands  of  gay,  gilt,  and  painted  pleasure  boats,  its 
margins  studded  with  light  and  fanciful  buildings,  its  gardens  of  choice 
flowering  shrubs,  its  monuments,  and  beautiful  variety  of  scenery.  N one 
surpasses  that  of  Martini,  whom  it  is  always  pleasant  to  quote,  but  here 
he  is  too  lengthy.  The  most  recent  description  that  I  have  met  with  is 
that  of  Mr.  C.  Gardner,  and  it  is  as  enthusiastic  as  any.  It  concludes  : 
“  Even  to  us  foreigners  .  .  .  the  spot  is  one  of  peculiar  attraction,  but 
to  the  Chinese  it  is  as  a  paradise.”  The  Emperor  Kien  Lung  had 
erected  a  palace  on  the  shores  of  the  lake  ;  it  was  ruined  by  the  Taipings. 
Many  of  the  constructions  about  the  lake  date  from  the  flourishing  days 
of  the  Thang  dynasty,  the  7th  and  8th  centuries. 

Polo’s  ascription  of  a  circumference  of  30  miles  to  the  lake  cor¬ 
roborates  the  supposition  that  in  the  compass  of  the  city  a  confusion 
had  been  made  between  miles  and  //,  for  Semedo  gives  the  circuit  of  the 
lake  really  as  30  li.  Probably  the  document  to  which  Marco  refers  at  the 
beginning  of  the  chapter  was  seen  by  him  in  a  Persian  translation,  in 



which  li  had  been  rendered  by  mil.  A  Persian  work  of  the  same  age, 
quoted  by  Quatremere,  (the  Nuzhdt  al-Kulub),  gives  the  circuit  of  the 
lake  as  six  parasangs,  or  some  24  miles,  a  statement  which  probably 
had  a  like  origin. 

Polo  says  the  lake  was  within  the  city.  This  might  be  merely  a 
loose  way  of  speaking,  but  it  may  on  the  other  hand  be  a  further  indica¬ 
tion  of  the  former  existence  of  an  extensive  outer  wall.  The  Persian 
author  just  quoted  also  speaks  of  the  lake  as  within  the  city.  (. Barrow's 
Autobiog,  p.  104  ;  V.  Braam ,  II.  154  ;  Gardner  in  Proc.  of  the  R.  Geog. 
Soc.  vol.  xiii.  p.  178;  Q.  Rashid,  p.  lxxxviii.) 

Note  5. — This  is  still  the  case  :  “  The  people  of  Hang-chow  dress 
gaily,  and  are  remarkable  among  the  Chinese  for  their  dandyism.  All, 
except  the  lowest  labourers  and  coolies,  strutted  about  in  dresses  com¬ 
posed  of  silk,  satin,  and  crape.  .  .  .  4  Indeed  ’  (said  the  Chinese  ser¬ 
vants)  4  one  can  never  tell  a  rich  man  in  Hang-chow,  for  it  is  just  pos¬ 
sible  that  all  he  possesses  in  the  world  is  on  his  back.’  ”  ( Fortune ,  II. 

20.)  “  The  silk  manufactures  of  Hangchau  are  said  to  give  employ¬ 

ment  to  60,000  persons  within  the  city  walls,  and  Huchau,  Kiahing, 
and  the  surrounding  villages,  are  reputed  to  employ  100,000  more  ” 
(Ningpo  Trade  Report,  Jan.  1869,  comm,  by  Mr.  N.  B.  Dennys).  The 
store-towers,  as  a  precaution  in  case  of  fire,  are  still  common  both  in 
China  and  Japan. 

Note  6. — It  is  interesting  to  observe  that  Mr.  Gardner  found  in  this 
very  city  in  1868  a  large  collection  of  cottages  covering  several  acres, 
which  were  44  erected  after  the  taking  of  the  city  from  the  rebels  by  a 
Chinese  charitable  society,  for  the  refuge  of  the  blind,  sick,  and  infirm.” 
This  asylum  sheltered  200  blind  men  with  their  families,  amounting 
to  800  souls  ;  basket- making  and  such  work  was  provided  for  them  ; 
there  were  also  1200  other  inmates,  aged  and  infirm ;  and  a  staff  of 
doctors  was  maintained  to  look  after  them.  44  None  are  allowed  to  be 
absolutely  idle,  but  all  help  towards  their  own  sustenance.”  (Proc.  R.  G. 
Soc.  XIII.  176-7.) 

Note  7. — -The  paved  roads  of  Manzi  are  by  no  means  extinct  yet. 
Thus,  Mr.  Fortune,  starting  from  Changshan  (see  below,  chap,  lxxix.)  in 
the  direction  of  the  Black-Tea  mountains,  says  :  44  The  road  on  which 
we  were  travelling  was  one  of  the  broadest  and  best  I  had  met  with 
in  the  country.  It  was  well  paved  with  granite,  about  1 2  feet  in  width, 
and  perfectly  free  from  weeds”  (II.  148).  And  Lieut.  Gamier  tells  me 
the  roads  in  the  remote  south  of  Yunnan  are  also  paved  ;  such  too  were 
found  by  Major  Sladen  in  the  extreme  west  of  the  same  province. 

Note  8.- — There  is  a  curious  discrepancy  in  the  account  of  these 
baths.  Pauthier’s  text  says  briefly  that  there  are  3000  baths  supplied 
by  springs,  but  does  not  say  whether  they  are  hot  baths  or  cold.  The 
latter  sentence,  beginning,  44  They  are  hot  baths  ”  (estuves),  is  from  the 
VOL.  II.  M 



Book  II. 

G.  Text.  And  Ramusio’s  account  is  quite  different  :  “  There  are  nume¬ 
rous  baths  of  cold  water,  provided  with  plenty  of  attendants,  male  and 
female,  to  assist  the  visitors  of  the  two  sexes  in  the  bath.  For  the 
people  are  used  from  their  childhood  to  bathe  in  cold  water  at  all  sea¬ 
sons,  and  they  reckon  it  a  very  wholesome  custom.  But  in  the  bath¬ 
houses  they  have  also  certain  chambers  furnished  with  hot  water,  for 
foreigners  who  are  unaccustomed  to  cold  bathing,  and  cannot  bear  it. 
The  people  are  used  to  bathe  daily,  and  do  not  eat  without  having 
done  so.” 

A  note  from  Mr.  C.  Gardner  says  :  “  There  are  numerous  public 
baths  at  Hangchau,  as  at  every  Chinese  city  I  have  ever  been  in.  In 
my  experience  natives  always  take  hot  baths.  But  only  the  poorer 
classes  go  to  the  public  baths ;  the  tradespeople  and  middle  classes  are 
generally  supplied  by  the  bath-houses  with  hot  water  at  a  moderate 

Note  9. — The  estuary  of  the  Tsien  Tang,  or  river  of  Hangchau, 
has  undergone  great  changes  since  Polo’s  day.  The  sea  now  comes  up 
almost  to  the  walls  of  the  city ;  and  the  upper  part  of  the  Bay  of  Hang¬ 
chau  is  believed  to  cover  what  was  once  the  site  of  the  port  and  town 
of  Kanpu,  the  Ganpu  of  the  text.  A  modern  representative  of  the 
name  still  subsists,  a  walled  town,  and  one  of  the  depots  for  the  salt 
which  is  so  extensively  manufactured  on  this  coast;  but  the  present 
port  of  Hangchau,  and  till  recently  the  sole  seat  of  Chinese  trade  with 
Japan,  is  at  Chapu ,  some  20  miles  further  seaward. 

It  is  supposed  by  Klaproth  that  Kanpu  was  the  port  frequented  by 
the  early  Arab  voyagers,  and  of  which  they  speak  under  the  name  of 
Khanfu ,  confounding  in  their  details  Hangchau  itself  with  the  port. 
Neumann  dissents  from  this,  maintaining  that  the  Khanfu  of  the  Arabs 
was  certainly  Canton.  Abulfeda,  however,  states  expressly  that  Khanfu 
was  known  in  his  day  as  Khansd  (i.e.  Kinsay),  and  he  speaks  of  its  lake 
of  fresh  water  called  Sikhu  (Si-hu).  There  seems  to  be  an  indication  in 
Chinese  records  that  a  southern  branch  of  the  Great  Kiang  once  entered 
the  sea  at  Kanpu  ;  the  closing  of  it  is  assigned  to  the  7th  century,  or  a 
little  later. 

{Kings  mill,  u.  s.  p.  53;  Chin.  Repos.  III.  118;  Middle  Kingdom , 
I.  95-106  ;  Biirck ,  p.  483  ;  Cathay,  p.  cxciii;  J.  N.  Ch.  Br.  R.  A.  S., 
Dec.  1865,  p.  3  seqq.) 

Note  10. — Pauthier’s  text  has  :  “  Chascun  Roy  fait  chascun  an  le 
compte  de  son  royaume  aax  comptes  du  grant  siege”  where  I  suspect  the 
last  word  is  again  a  mistake  for  sing  or  scieng ,  see  supra,  Book  II.  ch.  xxv., 
note  1.  It  is  interesting-  to  find  Polo  applying  the  term  king  to  the 
viceroys  who  ruled  the  great  provinces  ;  Ibn  Batuta  uses  a  corresponding 
expression,  sultan.  It  is  not  easy  to  make  out  the  nine  kingdoms  or 
great  provinces  into  which  Polo  considered  Manzi  to  be  divided.  Per¬ 
haps  his  nine  is  after  all  merely  a  traditional  number,  for  the  “  Nine 



Provinces”  was  an  ancient  synonyme  for  China  Proper  (see  Cathay , 
p.  cxxxix,  note). 

Note  11. — We  have  in  Ramusio  :  “  The  men  levied  in  the  province 
of  Manzi  are  not  placed  in  garrison  in  their  own  cities,  but  sent  to  others 
at  least  20  days’  journey  from  their  homes;  and  there  they  serve  for 
four  or  five  years,  after  which  they  are  relieved.  This  applies  both  to 
the  Cathayans  and  to  those  of  Manzi. 

“  The  great  bulk  of  the  revenue  of  the  cities,  which  enters  the  ex¬ 
chequer  of  the  Great  Kaan,  is  expended  in  maintaining  these  garrisons. 
And  if  perchance  any  city  rebel  (as  you  often  find  that  under  a  kind  of 
madness  or  intoxication  they  rise  and  murder  their  governors),  as  soon 
as  it  is  known,  the  adjoining  cities  despatch  such  large  forces  from  their 
garrisons  that  the  rebellion  is  entirely  crushed.  For  it  would  be  too 
long  an  affair  if  troops  from  Cathay  had  to  be  waited  for,  involving  per¬ 
haps  a  delay  of  two  months.” 

Note  12. — “  The  sons  of  the  dead,  wearing  hempen  clothes  as 
badges  of  mourning,  kneel  down,”  &c.  (. Doolittle ,  p.  138). 

Note  13. — These  practices  have  been  already  noticed,  supra  Book  I. 
ch.  xl. 

Note  14. — Mr.  Gardner  ( u .  s.  p.  176)  says  :  “Outside  the  residence 
of  Signor  Ricci”  (a  R.  C.  missionary  at  Hangchau,  with  whom  the 
traveller  put  up),  “  originally  a  Nestorian  Church,  is  the  same  magnifi¬ 
cent  fagade  which  was  admired  by  Marco  Polo.”  Though  there  is 
nothing  in  Marco  but  the  bare  mention  of  a  Nestorian  church,  it  is 
very  interesting  to  know  that  some  tradition  even  of  an  ancient  church 
exists.  “The  fagade  in  question,”  Mr.  Gardner  writes  to  me,  “is  of 
stone  elaborately  carved,  over  and  by  the  side  of  the  massive  gates, 
themselves  covered  with  elegantly-wrought  iron.”  The  position  of  the 
church  is  shown  in  the  map  of  Hangchau,  inserted  from  an  indication 
of  Mr.  Gardner’s. 

Note  15. — This  custom  has  come  down  to  modern  times.  In  Pau- 
thier’s  Chine  Moderne ,  we  find  extracts  from  the  statutes  of  the  reigning 
dynasty  and  the  comments  thereon,  of  which  a  passage  runs  thus : 
“To  determine  the  exact  population  of  each  province  the  governor  and 
the  lieut. -governor  cause  certain  persons  who  are  nominated  as  Pao-kia , 
or  Tithing  Men,  in  all  the  places  under  their  jurisdiction,  to  add  up  the 
figures  inscribed  on  the  wooden  tickets  attached  to  the  doors  of  houses, 
and  exhibiting  the  number  of  the  inmates”  (p.  167). 

Friar  Odoric  calls  the  number  of  fires  89  tomans ;  but  says  10  or  12 
households  would  unite  to  have  one  fire  only  ! 

M  2 



Book  II. 


[Further  Particulars  concerning  the  Great  City  of  Kinsay.i  ] 

[The  position  of  the  city  is  such  that  it  has  on  one  side 
a  lake  of  fresh  and  exquisitely  clear  water  (already  spoken 
of),  and  on  the  other  a  very  large  river.  The  waters  of  the 
latter  fill  a  number  of  canals  of  all  sizes  which  run  through 
the  different  quarters  of  the  city,  Carry  away  all  impurities, 
and  then  enter  the  Lake ;  whence  they  issue  again  and 
flow  to  the  Ocean,  thus  producing  a  most  excellent  atmo¬ 
sphere.  By  means  of  these  channels,  as  well  as  by  the  streets, 
you  can  go  all  about  the  city.  Both  streets  and  canals  are 
so  wide  and  spacious  that  carts  on  the  one  and  boats  on 
the  other  can  readily  pass  to  and  fro,  conveying  necessary 
supplies  to  the  inhabitants.2 

At  the  opposite  side  the  city  is  shut  in  by  a  channel, 
perhaps  40  miles  in  length,  very  wide,  and  full  of  water 
derived  from  the  river  aforesaid,  which  was  made  by  the 
ancient  kings  of  the  country  in  order  to  relieve  the  river 
when  flooding  its  banks.  This  serves  also  as  a  defence  to 
the  city,  and  the  earth  dug  from  it  has  been  thrown  inwards, 
forming  a  kind  of  mound  enclosing  the  cityd 

In  this  part  are  the  ten  principal  markets,  though 
besides  these  there  are  a  vast  number  of  others  in  the 
different  parts  of  the  town.  The  former  are  all  squares  of 
half  a  mile  to  the  side,  and  along  their  front,  passes  the  main 
street,  which  is  40  paces  in  width,  and  runs  straight  from 
end  to  end  of  the  city,  crossing  many  bridges  of  easy  and 
commodious  approach.  At  every  four  miles  of  its  length 
comes  one  of  those  great  squares  of  2  miles  (as  we  have 
mentioned)  in  compass.  So  also  parallel  to  this  great 
street,  but  at  the  back  of  the  market  places,  there  runs 
a  very  large  canal,  on  the  bank  of  which  towards  the  squares 
are  built  great  houses  of  stone,  in  which  the  merchants  from 



India  and  other  foreign  parts  store  their  wares,  to  be  handy 
for  the  markets.  In  each  of  the  squares  is  held  a  market 
three  days  in  the  week,  frequented  by  40,000  or  50,000 
persons,  who  bring  thither  for  sale  every  possible  necessary 
of  life,  so  that  there  is  always  an  ample  supply  of  every  kind 
of  meat  and  game,  as  of  roebuck,  red-deer,  fallow-deer, 
hares,  rabbits,  partridges,  pheasants,  francolins,  quails,  fowls, 
capons,  and  of  ducks  and  geese  an  infinite  quantity ;  for  so 
many  are  bred  on  the  Lake  that  for  a  Venice  groat  of  silver 
you  can  have  a  couple  of  geese  and  two  couple  of  ducks. 
Then  there  are  the  shambles  where  the  larger  animals  are 
slaughtered,  such  as  calves,  beeves,  kids,  and  lambs,  the 
flesh  of  which  is  eaten  by  the  rich  and  the  great  dignitaries.4 

Those  markets  make  a  daily  display  of  every  kind  of 
vegetables  and  fruits ;  and  among  the  latter  there  are  in 
particular  certain  pears  of  enormous  size,  weighing  as  much 
as  ten  pounds  apiece,  and  the  pulp  of  which  is  white  and 
fragrant  like  a  confection ;  besides  peaches  in  their  season, 
both  yellow  and  white,  of  very  delicate  flavour.5 

Neither  grapes  nor  wine  are  produced  there,  but  very 
good  raisins  are  brought  from  abroad,  and  wine  likewise. 
The  natives,  however,  do  not  much  care  about  wine,  being 
used  to  that  kind  of  their  own  made  from  rice  and  spices. 
From  the  Ocean  Sea  also  come  daily  supplies  of  fish  in 
great  quantity,  brought  25  miles  up  the  river,  and  there  is 
also  great  store  of  fish  from  the  Lake,  which  is  the  constant 
resort  of  fishermen,  who  have  no  other  business.  Their 
fish  is  of  sundry  kinds,  changing  with  the  season ;  and, 
owing  to  the  impurities  of  the  city  which  pass  into  the  lake, 
it  is  remarkably  fat  and  savoury.  Any  one  who  should  see 
the  supply  of  fish  in  the  market  would  suppose  it  impossible 
that  such  a  quantity  could  ever  be  sold  ;  and  yet  in  a  few 
hours  the  whole  shall  be  cleared  away ;  so  great  is  the 
number  of  inhabitants  who  are  accustomed  to  delicate 
living.  Indeed  they  eat  fish  and  flesh  at  the  same  meal. 

All  the  ten  market  places  are  encompassed  by  lofty 



Book  II. 

houses,  and  below  these  are  shops  where  all  sorts  of  crafts  are 
carried  on,  and  all  sorts  of  wares  are  on  sale,  including  spices 
and  jewels  and  pearls.  Some  of  these  shops  are  entirely 
devoted  to  the  sale  of  wine  made  from  rice  and  spices,  which 
is  constantly  made  fresh  and  fresh,  and  is  sold  very  cheap. 

Certain  of  the  streets  are  occupied  by  the  women  of  the 
town,  who  are  in  such  a  number  that  I  dare  not  say  what 
it  is.  They  are  found  not  only  in  the  vicinity  of  the  market 
places,  where  usually  a  quarter  is  assigned  to  them,  but  all 
over  the  city.  They  exhibit  themselves  splendidly  attired 
and  abundantly  perfumed,  in  finely  garnished  houses,  with 
trains  of  waiting  women.  These  women  are  extremely 
accomplished  in  all  the  arts  of  allurement,  and  readily  adapt 
their  conversation  to  all  sorts  of  persons,  insomuch  that 
strangers  who  have  once  tasted  their  attractions  seem  to  get 
bewitched,  and  are  so  taken  with  their  blandishments  and 
their  fascinating  ways  that  they  never  can  get  these  out  of 
their  heads.  Hence  it  comes  to  pass  that  when  they  return 
home  they  say  they  have  been  to  Kinsay  or  the  City  of 
Heaven,  and  their  only  desire  is  to  get  back  thither  again.6 

Other  streets  are  occupied  by  the  Physicians,  and  by  the 
Astrologers,  who.  are  also  teachers  of  reading  and  writing ; 
and  an  infinity  of  other  professions  have  their  places  round 
about  those  squares.  In  each  of  the  squares  there  are  two 
great  palaces  facing  one  another,  in  which  are  established 
the  officers  appointed  by  the  King  to  decide  differences 
arising  between  merchants,  or  other  inhabitants  of  the 
quarter.  It  is  the  daily  duty  of  these  officers  to  see  that 
the  guards  are  at  their  posts  on  the  neighbouring  bridges, 
and  to  punish  them  at  their  discretion  if  they  are  absent. 

All  along  the  main  street  that  we  have  spoken  of,  as 
running  from  end  to  end  of  the  city,  both  sides  are  lined 
with  houses  and  great  palaces  and  the  gardens  pertaining  to 
them,  whilst  in  the  intervals  are  the  houses  of  tradesmen 
engaged  in  their  different  crafts.  The  crowd  of  people 
that  you  meet  here  at  all  hours,  passing  this  way  and  that 



on  their  different  errands,  is  so  vast  that  no  one  would  believe 
it  possible  that  victuals  enough  could  be  provided  for  their 
consumption,  unless  they  should  see  how,  on  every  market- 
day,  all  those  squares  are  thronged  and  crammed  with  pur¬ 
chasers,  and  with  the  traders  who  have  brought  in  stores  of 
provisions  by  land  or  water ;  and  everything  they  bring  in 
is  disposed  of. 

To  give  you  an  example  of  the  vast  consumption  in  this 
city  let  us  take  the  article  of  pepper ;  and  that  will  enable 
you  in  some  measure  to  estimate  what  must  be  the  quantity 
of  victual,  such  as  meat,  wine,  groceries,  which  have  to  be 
provided  for  the  general  consumption.  Now  Messer  Marco 
heard  it  stated  by  one  of  the  Great  Kaan’s  officers  of  customs 
that  the  quantity  of  pepper  introduced  daily  for  consumption 
into  the  city  of  Kinsay  amounted  to  43  loads,  each  load 
being  equal  to  223  lbs.7 

The  houses  of  the  citizens  are  well  built  and  elaborately 
finished ;  and  the  delight  they  take  in  decoration,  in  painting 
and  in  architecture,  leads  them  to  spend  in  this  way  sums 
of  money  that  would  astonish  you. 

The  natives  of  the  city  are  men  of  peaceful  character, 
both  from  education  and  from  the  example  of  their  kings, 
whose  disposition  was  the  same.  They  know  nothing  of 
handling  arms,  and  keep  none  in  their  houses.  You  hear 
of  no  feuds  or  noisy  quarrels  or  dissensions  of  any  kind, 
among  them.  Both  in  their  commercial  dealings  and  in 
their  manufactures  they  are  thoroughly  honest  and  truthful, 
and  there  is  such  a  degree  of  good  will  and  neighbourly  at¬ 
tachment  among  both  men  and  women  that  you  would  take 
the  people  who  live  in  the  same  street  to  be  all  one  family. 

And  this  familiar  intimacy  is  free  from  all  jealousy  or 
suspicion  of  the  conduct  of  their  women.  These  they  treat 
with  the  greatest  respect,  and  a  man  who  should  presume  to 
make  loose  proposals  to  a  married  woman  would  be  regarded 
as  an  infamous  rascal.  They  also  treat  the  foreigners  who 
visit  them  for  the  sake  of  trade  with  great  cordiality,  and 


Book  II. 


entertain  them  in  the  most  winning  manner,  affording  them 
every  help  and  advice  on  their  business.  But  on  the  other 
hand  they  hate  to  see  soldiers,  and  not  least  those  of  the 
Great  Kaan’s  garrisons,  regarding  them  as  the  cause  of  their 
having  lost  their  native  kings  and  lords.8 

On  the  Lake  of  which  we  have  spoken  there  are  num¬ 
bers  of  boats  and  barges  of  all  sizes  for  parties  of  pleasure. 
These  will  hold  10,  15,  20,  or  more  persons,  and  are  from 
15  to  20  paces  in  length,  with  flat  bottoms  and  ample 
breadth  of  beam,  so  that  they  always  keep  their  level.  Any 
one  who  desires  to  go  a-pleasuring  with  the  women,  or  with 
a  party  of  his  own  sex,  hires  one  of  these  barges,  which  are 
always  to  be  found  completely  furnished  with  tables  and 
chairs  and  all  the  other  apparatus  for  a  feast.  The  roof 
forms  a  level  deck,  on  which  the  crew  stand,  and  pole  the 
boat  along  whithersoever  may  be  desired,  for  the  lake  is  not 
more  than  2  paces  in  depth.  The  inside  of  this  roof  and 
the  rest  of  the  interior  is  covered  with  ornamental  painting 
in  gay  colours,  with  windows  all  round  that  can  be  shut 
or  opened,  so  that  the  party  at  table  can  enjoy  all  the 
beauty  and  variety  of  the  prospects  on  both  sides  as  they 
pass  along.  And  truly  a  trip  on  this  lake  is  a  much  more 
charming  recreation  than  can  be  enjoyed  on  land.  For  on 
the  one  side  lies  the  city  in  its  entire  length,  so  that  the 
spectators  in  the  barges,  from  the  distance  at  which  they 
stand,  take  in  the  whole  prospect  in  its  full  beauty  and 
grandeur,  with  its  numberless  palaces,  temples,  monasteries, 
and  gardens,  full  of  lofty  trees,  sloping  to  the  shore.  And 
the  lake  is  never  without  a  number  of  other  such  boats, 
laden  with  pleasure-parties  ;  for  it  is  the  great  delight  of  the 
citizens  here,  after  they  have  disposed  of  the  day’s  business, 
to  pass  the  afternoon  in  enjoyment  with  the  ladies  of  their 
families,  or  perhaps  with  others  less  reputable,  either  in 
these  barges  or  in  driving  about  the  city  in  carriages.9 

Of  these  latter  we  must  also  say  something,  for  they 
afford  one  mode  of  recreation  to  the  citizens  in  going  about 


the  town,  as  the  boats  afford  another  in  going  about  the 
Lake.  In  the  main  street  of  the  city  you  meet  an  infinite 
succession  of  these  carriages  passing  to  and  fro.  They  are 
long  covered  vehicles,  fitted  with  curtains  and  cushions,  and 
affording  room  for  six  persons  ;  and  they  are  in  constant 
request  for  ladies  and  gentlemen  going  on  parties  of  pleasure. 
In  these  they  drive  to  certain  gardens,  where  they  are  enter¬ 
tained  by  the  owners  in  pavilions  erected  on  purpose,  and 
there  they  divert  themselves  the  livelong  day,  with  their 
ladies,  returning  home  in  the  evening  in  those  same 

(Further  Particulars  of  the  Palace  of  the  King  Facfur.) 

The  whole  enclosure  of  the  Palace  was  divided  into 
three  parts.  The  middle  one  was  entered  by  a  very  lofty 
gate,  on  each  side  of  which  there  stood  on  the  ground-level 
vast  pavilions,  the  roofs  of  which  were  sustained  by  columns 
painted  and  wrought  in  gold  and  the  finest  azure.  Opposite 
the  gate  stood  the  chief  Pavilion,  larger  than  the  rest,  and 
painted  in  like  style,  with  gilded  columns,  and  a  ceiling 
wrought  in  splendid  gilded  sculpture,  whilst  the  walls  were 
artfully  painted  with  the  stories  of  departed  kings. 

On  certain  days,  sacred  to  his  gods,  the  King  Facfur  # 
used  to  hold  a  great  court  and  give  a  feast  to  his  chief 
lords,  dignitaries,  and  rich  manufacturers  of  the  city  of 
Kinsay.  On  such  occasions  those  pavilions  used  to  give 
ample  accommodation  for  10,000  persons  sitting  at  table. 
This  court  lasted  for  ten  or  twelve  days,  and  exhibited  an 
astonishing  and  incredible  spectacle  in  the  magnificence  of 
the  guests,  all  clothed  in  silk  and  gold,  with  a  profusion  of 
precious  stones ;  for  they  tried  to  outdo  each  other  in  the 
splendour  and  richness  of  their  appointments.  Behind  this 
great  Pavilion  that  faced  the  great  gate,  there  was  a  wall  with 
a  passage  in  it  shutting  off  the  inner  part  of  the  Palace.  On 

Fanfur,  in  Ramusio. 



Book  II. 

entering  this  you  found  another  great  edifice  in  the  form  of 
a  cloister  surrounded  by  a  portico  with  columns,  from  which 
opened  a  variety  of  apartments  for  the  King  and  the  Queen, 
adorned  like  the  outer  walls  with  such  elaborate  work  as  we 
have  mentioned.  From  the  cloister  again  you  passed  into 
a  covered  corridor,  six  paces  in  width,  of  great  length,  and 
extending  to  the  margin  of  the  lake.  On  either  side  of 
this  corridor  were  ten  courts,  in  the  form  of  oblong  cloisters 
surrounded  by  colonnades ;  and  in  each  cloister  or  court 
were  fifty  chambers  with  gardens  to  each.  In  these  chambers 
were  quartered  one  thousand  young  ladies  in  the  service  of 
the  King.  The  King  would  sometimes  go  with  the  Queen 
and  some  of  these  maidens  to  take  his  diversion  on  the 
lake,  or  to  visit  the  idol-temples,  in  boats  all  canopied 
with  silk. 

The  other  two  parts  of  the  enclosure  were  distributed  in 
groves,  and  lakes,  and  charming  gardens  planted  with  fruit- 
trees,  and  preserves  for  all  sorts  of  animals,  such  as  roe,  red- 
deer,  fallow-deer,  hares,  and  rabbits.  Here  the  king  used  to 
take  his  pleasure  in  company  with  those  damsels  of  his  ; 
some  in  carriages,  some  on  horseback,  whilst  no  man  was 
permitted  to  enter.  Sometimes  the  King  would  set  the 
girls  a-coursing  after  the  game  with  dogs,  and  when  they 
were  tired  they  would  hie  to  the  groves  that  overhung  the 
lakes,  and  leaving  their  clothes  there  they  would  come  forth 
naked  and  enter  the  water  and  swim  about  hither  and 
thither,  whilst  it  was  the  King’s  delight  to  watch  them  ;  and 
then  all  would  return  home.  Sometimes  the  King  would 
have  his  dinner  carried  to  those  groves,  which  were  dense 
with  lofty  trees,  and  there  would  be  waited  on  by  those 
young  ladies.  And  thus  he  passed  his  life  in  this  constant 
dalliance  with  women,  without  so  much  as  knowing  what 
arms  meant.  And  the  result  of  all  this  cowardice  and 
effeminacy  was  that  he  lost  his  dominion  to  the  Great 
Kaan  in  that  base  and  shameful  way  that  you  have  heard.11 

All  this  account  was  given  me  by  a  very  rich  merchant 



of  Kinsay  when  I  was  in  that  city.  He  was  a  very  old 
man,  and  had  been  in  familiar  intimacy  with  the  King 
Facfur,  and  knew  the  whole  history  of  his  life;  and  having 
seen  the  Palace  in  its  glory  was  pleased  to  be  my  guide  over 
it.  As  it  is  occupied  by  the  King  appointed  by  the  Great 
Kaan,  the  first  pavilions  are  still  maintained  as  they  used  to 
be,  but  the  apartments  of  the  ladies  are  all  gone  to  ruin  and 
can  only  just  be  traced.  So  also  the  wall  that  enclosed  the 
groves  and  gardens  is  fallen  down,  and  neither  trees  nor 
animals  are  there  any  longer.12] 

Note  1. — I  have,  after  some  consideration,  followed  the  example  of 
Mr.  H.  Murray,  in  his  edition  of  Marco  Polo ,  in  collecting  together 
in  a  separate  chapter  a  number  of  additional  particulars  concerning  the 
Great  City,  which  are  only  found  in  Ramusio.  Such  of  these  as  could 
be  interpolated  in  the  text  of  the  older  form  of  the  narrative  have  been 
introduced  between  brackets  in  the  last  chapter.  Here  I  bring  together 
those  particulars  which  could  not  be  so  interpolated  without  taking 
liberties  with  one  or  both  texts. 

The  picture  in  Ramusio,  taken  as  a  whole,  is  so  much  more  brilliant, 
interesting,  and  complete  than  in  the  older  texts,  that  I  thought  of  sub¬ 
stituting  it  entirely  for  the  other.  But  so  much  doubt  and  difficulty  hangs 
over  some  passages  of  the  Ramusian  version  that  I  could  not  satisfy  my¬ 
self  of  the  propriety  of  this,  though  I  feel  that  the  dismemberment  inflicted 
on  that  version  is  also  objectionable. 

Note  2. — The  tides  in  the  Hangchau  estuary  are  now  so  furious, 
entering  in  the  form  of  a  bore,  and  running,  according  to  Admiral 
Collinson’s  measurement,  ni  knots,  that  it  has  been  necessary  to  close 
the  communication  which  formerly  existed  between  the  River  Tsien-tang 
on  the  one  side  and  the  Lake  Sihu  and  internal  waters  of  the  district  on 
the  other,  so  that  all  traffic  between  the  two  is  subject  to  a  portage.  Mr. 
Kingsmill,  to  whose  notices  I  am  indebted  for  part  of  this  information,  is 
however  mistaken  in  supposing  that  in  Polo’s  time  the  tide  stopped  some 
20  miles  below  the  city.  We  have  seen  (note  6,  chapter  lxv.  supra ) 
that  the  tide  in  the  river  before  Kinsay  was  the  object  which  first 
attracted  the  attention  of  Bay  an,  after  his  triumphant  entrance  into  the 
city.  (N.  and  Q.,  China  and  Japan,  vol.  I.  p.  53  ;  Mid.  Kingd.  I.  95,  106  ; 
J.  N.  Ch.  Br.  R.  A.  S.,  Dec.  1865  p.  6.) 

Note  3. — For  satisfactory  elucidation  as  to  what  is  or  may  have  been 
authentic  in  these  statements,  we  shall  have  to  wait  for  a  correct  survey 
of  Hangchau  and  its  neighbourhood.  We  have  already  seen  strong 
reason  to  suppose  that  miles  may  have  been  substituted  for  li  in  the 


Book  II. 

1 66 

circuits  assigned  both  to  the  city  and  to  the  lake,  and  it  is  fair  to  conclude 
that  the  same  substitution  has  been  made  here  in  regard  to  the  canal  on 
the  east  of  the  city,  and  in  regard  to  the  streets  and  market-places  spoken 
of  in  the  next  paragraph. 

The  Chinese  plan  of  Hangchau,  respecting  the  scale  of  which  I  un¬ 
fortunately  can  get  no  satisfaction,  does  show  a  large  canal  encircling  the 
city  on  the  south,  east,  and  north,  i.e.  on  the  sides  away  from  the  lake. 
And  the  position  of  the  main  street,  with  its  parallel  canal,  does  answer 
well  to  the  account  in  the  next  paragraph,  setting  aside  the  extravagant 

The  existence  of  the  squares  or  market-places  is  alluded  to  by  Wassaf 
in  a  passage  that  we  shall  quote  below ;  and  th e  Masdlak-al-Absar  speaks 
of  the  main  street  running  from  end  to  end  of  the  city. 

Note  4. — There  is  no  mention  of  pork ,  the  characteristic  animal  food 
of  China,  and  the  only  one  specified  by  Friar  Odoric  in  his  account  of 
the  same  city.  Probably  Mark  may  have  got  a  little  Saracenized  among 
the  Mahomedans  at  the  Kaan’s  Court,  and  doubted  if  ’twere  good 
manners  to  mention  it.  It  is  perhaps  a  relic  of  the  same  feeling,  gen¬ 
dered  by  Saracen  rule,  that  in  Sicily  pigs  are  called  i  neri. 

Note  5. — Van  Braam,  in  passing  through  Shantung  Province  speaks 
of  very  large  pears.  “  The  colour  is  a  beautiful  golden  yellow.  Before 
it  is  pared  the  pear  is  somewhat  hard,  but  in  eating  it  the  juice  flows, 
the  pulp  melts,  and  the  taste  is  pleasant  enough.”  Williams  says  these 
Shantung  pears  are  largely  exported,  but  he  is  not  so  complimentary  to 
them  as  Polo  :  “  The  pears  are  large  and  juicy,  sometimes  weighing  8  or 
io  pounds,  but  remarkably  tasteless  and  coarse.”  (V.  Braam ,  II.  33-4 ; 
Mid.  Kingd .,  I.  78  and  II.  44.)  In  the  beginning  of  1867  I  saw  pears 
in  Covent  Garden  Market  which  I  should  guess  to  have  weighed  7  or 
8  lbs.  each.  They  were  priced  at  18  guineas  a  dozen  ! 

As  regards  the  “  yellow  and  white  ”  peaches,  Marsden  needlessly 
supposes  the  former  to  be  apricots.  The  two  kinds  so  described  are 
both  common  in  Sicily,  where  I  write ; — and  both  are,  in  their  raw  state, 
equally  good  food  for  i  neri! 

Note  6. — The  original  words  do  not  seem  to  me  to  make  sense  as 
they  stand :  “  e  non  veggono  mai  V ora  che  di  7iuovo  possano  ritornarvi.” 
I  have  assumed  another  version. 

Note  7. — It  would  seem  that  the  habits  of  the  Chinese  in  reference 
to  the  use  of  pepper  and  such  spices  have  changed.  Besides  this 
passage,  implying  that  their  consumption  of  pepper  was  large,  Marco  tells 
us  below  (ch.  lxxxii.)  that  for  one  shipload  of  pepper  carried  to  Alexandria 
for  the  consumption  of  Christendom,  a  hundred  went  to  Zayton  in  Manzi. 
At  the  present  day,  according  to  Williams,  the  Chinese  use  little  spice ; 
pepper  chiefly  as  a  febrifuge  in  the  shape  of  pepper-tea ,  and  that  even 
less  than  they  did  some  years  ago.  (See  Mid.  Kingd II.  46,  408.) 



Note  8. — Marsden,  after  referring  to  the  ingenious  frauds  commonly 
related  of  Chinese  traders,  observes  :  “  In  the  long  continued  intercourse 
that  has  subsisted  between  the  agents  of  the  European  Companies  and 

the  more  eminent  of  the  Chinese  Merchants . complaints  on  the 

ground  of  commercial  unfairness  have  been  extremely  rare,  and  on  the 
contrary  their  transactions  have  been  marked  with  the  most  perfect  good 
faith  and  mutual  confidence.”  The  favourable  opinions  of  Chinese 
dealing  among  the  nations  on  their  frontiers,  as  expressed  to  Wood  and 
Burnes  in  Turkestan,  and  to  Macleod  and  Richardson  in  Laos,  have  been 
quoted  by  me  elsewhere  in  reference  to  the  old  classical  reputation  of 
the  Seres  for  integrity.  Indeed,  Marco’s  whole  account  of  the  people 
here  might  pass  for  an  expanded  paraphrase  of  the  Latin  commonplaces 
regarding  the  Seres. 

Note  9. — Semedo  and  Martini  in  the  17th  century  give  a  very 
similar  account  of  the  Lake  Sihu,  the  parties  of  pleasure  frequenting  it, 
and  their  gay  barges.  ( Semedo ,  p.  20-21 ;  Mart.  p.  9.) 

Note  10. — Public  carriages  are  still  used  in  the  great  cities  of  the 
north,  such  as  Peking.  Possibly  this  is  a  revival.  At  one  time  car¬ 
riages  appear  to  have  been  much  more  general  in  China  than  they  were 
afterwards,  or  are  now.  Semedo  says  they  were  abandoned  in  China 
just  about  the  time  that  they  were  adopted  in  Europe,  viz.,  in  the  16th 
century.  And  this  disuse  seems  to  have  been  either  cause  or  effect  of 
the  neglect  of  the  roads,  of  which  so  high  an  account  is  given  in  old 
times.  ( Semedo ,  p.  9 ;  N.  and  Q.  Ch.  and  Jap.  I.  94.) 

Deguignes  describes  the  public  carriages  of  Peking  as  “  shaped  like 
a  palankin,  but  of  a  longer  form,  with  a  rounded  top,  lined  outside  and 
in  with  coarse  blue  cloth,  and  provided  with  black  cushions”  (I.  372). 
This  corresponds  with  our  author’s  description,  and  with  a  drawing  by 
Alexander  among  his  published  sketches.  The  present  Peking  cab  is 
evidently  the  same  vehicle,  but  smaller. 

Note  11. — The  character  of  the  King  of  Manzi  here  given  corre¬ 
sponds  to  that  which  the  Chinese  histories  assign  to  the  Emperor  Tut- 
song,  in  whose  time  Kublai  commenced  his  enterprise  against  Southern 
China,  but  who  died  two  years  before  the  fall  of  the  capital.  He  is 
described  as  given  up  to  wine  and  women,  and  indifferent  to  all  public 
business,  which  he  committed  to  unworthy  ministers. 

Note  12. — The  statement  that  the  palace  of  Kingsse  was  occupied 
by  the  Great  Kaan’s  lieutenant  seems  to  be  inconsistent  with  the  notice 
in  Demailla  that  Kublai  made  it  over  to  the  Buddhist  priests. 

Mr.  H.  Murray  argues,  from  this  closing  passage  especially,  that 
Marco  never  could  have  been  the  author  of  the  Ramusian  interpola¬ 
tions  ;  but  with  this  I  cannot  agree.  Did  this  passage  stand  alone  we 
might  doubt  if  it  were  Marco’s  ;  but  the  interpolations  must  be  considered 



Book  II. 

as  a  whole.  Many  of  them  bear  to  my  mind  clear  evidence  of  being 
his  own,  and  I  do  not  see  that  the  present  one  may  not  be  his.  The 
picture  conveyed  of  the  ruined  walls  and  half-obliterated  buildings 
does  indeed  give  the  impression  of  a  long  interval  between  their  aban¬ 
donment  and  the  traveller’s  visit,  whilst  the  whole  interval  between  the 
capture  of  the  city  and  Polo’s  departure  from  China  was  not  more  than 
15  or  16  years.  But  this  is  too  vague  a  basis  for  theorizing. 

I  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain  whether  the  site  of  the  Sung  Palace 
is  known.  Perhaps  the  enclosure  at  the  N.  W.  part  of  the  city,  called 
in  some  accounts  the  “  Manchu  City,”  may  represent  it. 

Before  quitting  Kinsay,  the  description  of  which  forms  the  most 
striking  feature  in  Polo’s  account  of  China,  it  is  worth  while  to  quote 
other  notices  from  authors  of  nearly  the  same  age.  However  exagge¬ 
rated  some  of  these  may  be,  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  it  was  the 
greatest  city  then  existing  in  the  world. 

Friar  Odoric  (in  China  about  1324-27)  : — “  Departing  thence  I  came 
unto  the  city  of  Cansay,  a  name  which  signifieth  the  ‘  City  of  Heaven.’ 
And  ’tis  the  greatest  city  in  the  whole  world,  so  great  indeed  that  I 
should  scarcely  venture  to  tell  of  it,  but  that  I  have  met  at  Venice 
people  in  plenty  who  have  been  there.  It  is  a  good  hundred  miles  in 
compass,  and  there  is  not  in  it  a  span  of  ground  which  is  not  well 
peopled.  And  many  a  tenement  is  there  which  shall  have  10  or  12 
households  comprised  in  it.  And  there  be  also  great  suburbs  which 
contain  a  greater  population  than  even  the  city  itself.  ....  This  city 
is  situated  upon  lagoons  of  standing  water,  with  canals  like  the  city  of 
Venice.  And  it  hath  more  than  12,000  bridges,  on  each  of  which  are 
stationed  guards,  guarding  the  city  on  behalf  of  the  Great  Kaan.  And 
at  the  side  of  this  city  there  flows  a  river  near  which  it  is  built,  like 
Ferrara  by  the  Po,  for  it  is  longer  than  it  is  broad,”  and  so  on.  ( Cathay , 

11 3  sm) 

The  Archbishop  of  Soltania  (circa  1330)  : — “And  so  vast  is  the 
number  of  people  that  the  soldiers  alone  who  are  posted  to  keep  ward 
in  the  city  of  Cambalec  are  40,000  men  by  sure  tale.  And  in  the  city 
of  Cassay  there  be  yet  more,  for  its  people  is  greater  in  number,  seeing 
that  it  is  a  city  of  very  great  trade.  And  to  this  city  all  the  traders  of 
the  country  come  to  trade ;  and  greatly  it  aboundeth  in  all  manner  of 
merchandize.”  ( lb .  244-5.) 

John  Marignolli  (in  China  1342-47): — “Now  Manzi  is  a  country 
which  has  countless  cities  and  nations  included  in  it,  past  all  belief  to 

one  who  has  not  seen  them . And  among  the  rest  is  that  most 

famous  city  of  Campsay,  the  finest,  the  biggest,  the  richest,  the  most 
populous,  and  altogether  the  most  marvellous  city,  the  city  of  the  greatest 
wealth  and  luxury,  of  the  most  splendid  buildings  (especially  idol- 
temples,  in  some  of  which  there  are  1000  and  2000  monks  dwelling 
together)  that  exists  now  upon  the  face  of  the  earth,  or  mayhap  that 
ever  did  exist.”  (Ib.  p.  354.) 


Turning  now  to  Asiatic  writers,  we  begin  with  Wassaf  (a.d.  1300)  : — 

“  Khanzai  is  the  greatest  of  the  cities  of  Chin, 

*  Stretching  like  Paradise  through  the  breadth  of  Heaven! 

Its  shape  is  oblong,  and  the  measurement  of  its  perimeter  is  about  24 
parasangs.  Its  streets  are  paved  with  burnt  brick  and  with  stone. 
The  public  edifices  and  the  houses  are  built  of  wood,  and  adorned 
with  a  profusion  of  paintings  of  exquisite  elegance.  Between  one  end 
of  the  city  and  the  other  there  are  three  Yams  (post-stations)  established. 
The  length  of  the  chief  streets  is  three  parasangs,  and  the  city  con¬ 
tains  64  quadrangles  corresponding  to  one  another  in  structure,  and 
with  parallel  ranges  of  columns.  The  salt  excise  brings  in  daily 
700  balish  in  paper-money.  The  number  of  craftsmen  is  so  great  that 
32,000  are  employed  at  the  dyer’s  art  alone ;  from  that  fact  you  may 
estimate  the  rest.  There  are  in  the  city  70  tomans  of  soldiers  and  70 
tomans  of  rayats,  whose  number  is  registered  in  the  books  of  the  Dewan. 
There  are  700  churches  (. Kalisid )  resembling  fortresses,  and  every  one 
of  them  overflowing  with  presbyters  without  faith,  and  monks  without 
religion,  besides  other  officials,  wardens,  servants  of  the  idols,  and  this, 
that,  and  the  other,  to  tell  the  names  of  which  would  surpass  number 
and  space.  All  these  are  exempt  from  taxes  of  every  kind.  Four  to- 

mans  of  the  garrison  constitute  the  night-patrol . Amid  the  city 

there  are  360  bridges  erected  over  canals  ample  as  the  Tigris,  which 
are  ramifications  of  the  great  river  of  Chin  ;  and  different  kinds  of 
vessels  and  ferry-boats,  adapted  to  every  class,  ply  upon  the  waters  in 

such  numbers  as  to  pass  all  powers  of  enumeration . The  com 

course  of  all  kinds  of  foreigners  from  the  four  quarters  of  the  world, 
such  as  the  calls  of  trade  and  travel  bring  together  in  a  kingdom  like  this, 
may  easily  be  conceived.”  {Revised  on  Hammer’s  Translation ,  p.  42-3.) 

The  Persian  work  Nuzhat-al-Kulub : — “  Khinzai  is  the  capital  of  the 
country  of  Machfn.  If  one  may  believe  what  some  travellers  say,  there 
exists  no  greater  city  on  the  face  of  the  earth  ;  but  anyhow,  all  agree 
that  it  is  the  greatest  in  all  the  countries  of  the  East.  Inside  the  place 
is  a  lake  which  has  a  circuit  of  six  parasangs,  and  all  round  which  houses 
are  built.  .  .  .  The  population  is  so  numerous  that  the  watchmen  are 
some  10,000  in  number.”  ( Quat .  Rash .  p.  lxxxviii.) 

The  Arabic  work  Masalak-al-A  bsar : — “Two  routes  lead  from  Khan- 
balik  to  Khinsa,  one  by  land,  the  other  by  water  ;  and  either  way  takes 
40  days.  The  city  of  Khinsa  extends  a  whole  day’s  journey  in  length 
and  half  a  day’s  journey  in  breadth.  In  the  middle  of  it  is  a  street 
which  runs  right  from  one  end  to  the  other.  The  streets  and  squares 
are  all  paved  ;  the  houses  are  five-storied  (?),  and  are  built  with  planks 
nailed  together,”  &c.  {Ibid.) 

Ibn  Batuta  :■ — “  We  arrived  at  the  city  of  Khansa.  .  .  .  This  city  is 
the  greatest  I  have  ever  seen  on  the  surface  of  the  earth.  It  is  three 
days’  journey  in  length,  so  that  a  traveller  passing  through  the  city  has 
to  make  his  marches  and  his  halts  !  ...  It  is  subdivided  into  six  towns, 



Book  II. 

each  of  which  has  a  separate  enclosure,  while  one  great  wall  surrounds 
the  whole,”  &c.  ( Cathay ,  p.  496  seqq.) 

Let  us  conclude  with  a  writer  of  a  later  age,  the  worthy  Jesuit 
Martin  Martini,  the  author  of  the  Atlas  Sinensis,  one  whose  honourable 
zeal  to  maintain  Polo’s  veracity,  of  which  he  was  one  of  the  first  intelli¬ 
gent  advocates,  is  apt,  it  must  be  confessed,  a  little  to  colour  his  own 
spectacles  : — “  That  the  cosmographers  of  Europe  may  no  longer  make 
such  ridiculous  errors  as  to  the  Quinsai  of  Marco  Polo,  I  will  here  give 
you  the  very  place.  (He  then  explains  the  name.)  .  .  .  And  to  come 
to  the  point ;  this  is  the  very  city  that  hath  those  bridges  so  lofty  and 
so  numberless,  both  within  the  walls  and  in  the  suburbs ;  nor  will  they 
fall  much  short  of  the  10,000  which  the  Venetian  alleges,  if  you  count 
also  the  triumphal  arches  among  the  bridges,  as.  he  might  easily  do 
because  of  their  analogous  structure,  just  as  he  calls  tigers  lions ;  ...  or 
if  you  will,  he  may  have  meant  to  include  not  merely  the  bridges  in  the 
city  and  suburbs,  but  in  the  whole  of  the  dependent  territory.  In  that 
case  indeed  the  number  which  Europeans  find  it  so  hard  to  believe 
might  well  be  set  still  higher,  so  vast  is  everywhere  the  number  of 
bridges  and  of  triumphal  arches.  Another  point  in  confirmation  is  that 
lake  which  he  mentions  of  40  Italian  miles  in  circuit.  This  exists  under 
the  name  of  Si/m ;  it  is  not,  indeed,  as  the  book  says,  inside  the  walls, 
but  lies  in  contact  with  them  for  a  long  distance  on  the  west  and  south¬ 
west,  and  a  number  of  canals  drawn  from  it  do  enter  the  city.  More¬ 
over,  the  shores  of  the  lake  on  every  side  are  so  thickly  studded  with 
temples,  monasteries,  palaces,  museums,  and  private  houses,  that  you 
would  suppose  yourself  to  be  passing  through  the  midst  of  a  great  city 
rather .  than  a  country  scene.  Quays  of  cut  stone  are  built  along  the 
banks,  affording  a  spacious  promenade;  and  causeways  cross  the  lake 
itself,  furnished  with  lofty  bridges  to  allow  of  the  passage  of  boats  ;  and 
thus  you  can  readily  walk  all  about  the  lake  on  this  side  and  on  that. 
His  no  wonder  that  Polo  considered  it  to  be  part  of  the  city.  This, 
too,  is  the  very  city  that  hath  within  the  walls,  near  the  south  side,  a 
hill  called  Ching-hoang, ■*  on  which  stands  that  tower  with  the  watchmen, 
on  which  there  is  a  clepsydra  to  measure  the  hours,  and  where  each 
hour  is  announced  by  the  exhibition  of  a  placard,  with  gilt  letters  of  a 
foot  and  a  half  in  height.  This  is  the  very  city  the  streets  of  which  are 
paved  with  squared  stones :  the  city  which  lies  in  a  swampy  situation, 
and  is  intersected  by  a  number  of  navigable  canals;  this,  in  short,  is 
the  city  from  which  the  emperor  escaped  to  seaward  by  the  great  river 
Tsien-tang,  the  breadth  of  which  exceeds  a  German  mile,  flowing  on 
the  south  of  the  city,  exactly  corresponding  to  the  river  described  by 
the  Venetian  at  Quinsai,  and  flowing  eastward  to  the  sea  which  it  enters 
precisely  at  the  distance  which  he  mentions.  I  will  add  that  the  com¬ 
pass  of  the  city  will  be  100  Italian  miles  and  more,  if  you  include  its 

*  See  the  plan  of  the  city. 



vast  suburbs,  which  run  out  on  every  side  an  enormous  distance ;  inso¬ 
much  that  you  may  walk  for  50  Chinese  li  in  a  straight  line  from  north 
to  south,  the  whole  way  through  crowded  blocks  of  houses,  and  without 
encountering  a  spot  that  is  not  full  of  dwellings  and  full  of  people  ; 
whilst  from  east  to  west  you  can  do  very  nearly  the  same  thing.”  {Atlas 
Sinensis ,  p.  99.) 


Treating  of  the  great  Yearly  Revenue  that  the  Great  Kaan 


Now  I  will  tell  you  about  the  great  revenue  which  the 
Great  Kaan  draweth  every  year  from  the  said  city  of  Kinsay 
and  its  territory,  which  forms  a  ninth  part  of  the  whole 
country  of  Manzi. 

First  there  is  the  salt,  which  brings  in  a  great  revenue. 
For  it  produces  every  year,  in  round  numbers,  fourscore 
tomans  of  gold ;  and  the  toman  is  worth  70,000  saggi  of 
gold,  so  that  the  total  value  of  the  fourscore  tomans  will  be 
five  millions  and  six  hundred  thousand  saggi  of  gold,  each 
saggio  being  worth  more  than  a  gold  florin  or  ducat ;  in 
sooth,  a  vast  sum  of  money  !  [This  province,  you  see, 
adjoins  the  ocean,  on  the  shores  of  which  are  many  lagoons 
or  salt  marshes,  in  which  the  sea-water  dries  up  during  the 
summer  time ;  and  thence  they  extract  such  a  quantity  of 
salt  as  suffices  for  the  supply  of  five  of  the  kingdoms  of 
Manzi  besides  this  one.] 

Having  told  you  of  the  revenue  from  salt,  I  will  now 
tell  you  of  that  which  accrues  to  the  Great  Kaan  from  the 
duties  on  merchandize  and  other  matters. 

You  must  know  that  in  this  city  and  its  dependencies 
they  make  great  quantities  of  sugar,  as  indeed  they  do  in 
the  other  eight  divisions  of  this  country ;  so  that  I  believe 
the  whole  of  the  rest  of  the  world  together  does  not  pro¬ 
duce  such  a  quantity,  at  least,  if  that  be  true  which  many 

VOL.  11. 




Book  II. 

people  have  told  me ;  and  the  sugar  alone  again  produces 
an  enormous  revenue. — However,  I  will  not  repeat  the 
duties  on  every  article  separately,  but  tell  you  how  they 
go  in  the  lump.  Well,  all  spicery  pays  three  and  a  third 
per  cent,  on  the  value  ;  and  all  merchandize  likewise  pays 
three  and  a  third  per  cent.  [But  sea-borne  goods  from 
India  and  other  distant  countries  pay  ten  per  cent.]  The 
rice-wine  also  makes  a  great  return,  and  coals,  of  which 
there  is  a  great  quantity ;  and  so  do  the  twelve  guilds  of 
craftsmen  that  I  told  you  of,  with  their  12,000  stations 
apiece,  for  every  article  they  make  pays  duty.  And  the  silk 
which  is  produced  in  such  abundance  makes  an  immense 
return.  But  why  should  I  make  a  long  story  of  it  ?  The 
silk,  you  must  know,  pays  ten  per  cent.,  and  many  other 
articles  also  pay  ten  per  cent. 

And  you  must  know  that  Messer  Marco  Polo,  who 
relates  all  this,  was  several  times  sent  by  the  Great  Kaan 
to  inspect  the  amount  of  his  customs  and  revenue  from 
this  ninth  part  of  Manzi,1  and  he  found  it  to  be,  exclusive 
of  the  salt  revenue  which  we  have  mentioned  already,  210 
tomans  of  gold,  equivalent  to  14,700,000  saggi  of  gold; 
one  of  the  most  enormous  revenues  that  ever  was  heard  of. 
And  if  the  sovereign  has  such  a  revenue  from  one-ninth  part 
of  the  country,  you  may  judge  what  he  must  have  from  the 
whole  of  it !  However,  to  speak  the  truth,  this  part  is  the 
greatest  and  most  productive ;  and  because  of  the  great 
revenue  that  the  Great  Kaan  derives  from  it,  it  is  his 
favourite  province,  and  he  takes  all  the  more  care  to  watch 
it  well,  and  to  keep  the  people  contented.2 

Now  we  will  quit  this  city  and  speak  of  others. 

Note  1. — Pauthier’s  text  seems  to  be  the  only  one  which  says  that 
Marco  was  sent  by  the  Gieat  Kaan.  The  G.  Text  says  merely :  “Si 
qe  jeo  March  Pol  qe  plusor  foies  hoi  faire  le  conte  de  la  rende  de  tons  cestes 
couses — ‘  had  several  times  heard  the  calculation  made.’ 

Note  2. — Toman  is  10,000.  And  the  first  question  that  occurs  in 
considering  the  statements  of  this  chapter  is  as  to  the  unit  of  these 



tomans,  as  intended  by  Polo.  I  believe  it  to  have  been  the  tael  (or 
Chinese  ounce)  of  gold. 

We  do  not  know  that  the  Chinese  ever  made  monetary  calculations 
in  gold.  But  the  usual  unit  of  the  revenue  accounts  appears  from  Pau- 
thier’s  extracts  to  have  been  the  ting,  i.e.  a  money  of  account  equal  to 
ten  taels  of  silver,  and  we  know  ( supra  ch.  1.  note  4)  that  this  was  in 
those  days  the  exact  equivalent  of  one  tael  of  gold. 

The  equation  in  our  text  is  10,000  x  =  70,000  saggi  of  gold,  giving 
x ,  or  the  unit  sought,  =  7  saggi.  But  in  both  Ramusio  on  the  one 
hand,  and  in  the  Geog.  Latin  and  Crusca  Italian  texts  on  the  other 
hand,  the  equivalent  of  the  toman  is  80,000  saggi ;  though  it  is  true  that 
neither  with  one  valuation  nor  the  other  are  the  calculations  consistent 
in  any  of  the  texts,  except  Ramusio’s.*  This  consistency  does  not  give 
any  greater  weight  to  Ramusio’s  reading,  because  we  know  that  version 
to  have  been  edited ,  and  corrected  when  the  editor  thought  it  necessary ; 
but  I  shall  adopt  his  valuation,  because  we  shall  find  other  grounds  for 
preferring  it.  The  unit  of  the  toman  then  is  =  8  saggi. 

The  Venice  saggio  was  one-sixth  of  a  Venice  ounce.  The  Venice 
mark  of  8  ounces  I  find  stated  to  contain  3681  grains  troy;j  hence  the 
saggio  =76  grains.  But  I  imagine  the  term  to  be  used  by  Polo  here 
and  in  other  Oriental  computations,  to  express  the  Arabic  miskal '  the 
real  weight  of  which,  according  to  Mr.  Maskelyne,  is  74  grains  troy. 
The  miskal  of  gold  was,  as  Polo  says,  something  more  than  a  ducat  or 
sequin,  indeed,  weight  for  weight,  it  was  to  a  ducat  nearly  as  1*4  :  1. 

Eight  saggi  or  miskdls  would  be  592  grains  troy.  The  tael  is  580, 
and  the  approximation  is  as  near  as  we  can  reasonably  expect  from  a 
calculation  in  such  terms. 

Taking  the  silver  tael  at  6s.  jd.,  the  gold  tael,  or  rather  the  ting ; 
would  be  =  3/.  5^.  10 d.  ;  the  toman  =  32,916/.  13^.  4 d. ;  and  the  whole 
salt  revenue  (80  tomans)  =  2,633,333/.  1  the  revenue  from  other  sources 
(210  tomans)  =  6,912,500/.;  total  revenue  from  Kinsay#  and  its  pro¬ 
vince  (290  tomans)  =  9,545,833/.  A  sufficiently  startling  statement, 
and  quite  enough  to  account  for  the  sobriquet  of  Marco  Milioni. 

Pauthier,  in  reference  to  this  chapter,  brings  forward  a  number  of 
extracts  regarding  Mongol  finance  from  the  official  history  of  that 
dynasty.  The  extracts  are  extremely  interesting  in  themselves,  but  I 
cannot  find  in  them  that  confirmation  of  Marco’s  accuracy  which  M. 
Pauthier  proclaims. 

First  as  to  the  salt  revenue  of  Kiangche,  or  the  province  of  Kinsay. 
The  facts  given  by  Pauthier  amount  to  these  ;  that  in  1277,  the  year  in 

*  Pauthier’s  MSS.  A  and  B  are  hopelessly  corrupt  here.  His  MS.  C  agrees  with 
the  Geog.  Text  in  making  the  toman  =  70,000  saggi,  but  210  tomans  =  15,700,000, 
instead  of  14,700,000.  The  Crusca  and  Latin  have  80,000  saggi  in  the  first  place, 
but  1 5, 7°°, 000  in  the  second.  Ramusio  alone  has  80,000  in  the  first  place,  and 
16,800,000  in  the  second. 

f  Eng.  Cyclop.,  “Weights  and  Measures.” 

N  2 



Book  II. 

which  the  Mongol  salt  department  was  organized,  the  manufacture  of 
salt  amounted  to  92,14 Zyin,  or  22,115,520  kilos.;  in  1286  it  had  reached 
450,000  yin,  or  108,000,000  kilos.;  in  1289  it  fell  off  by  100,000  yin. 

The  price  was  in  1277  18  Hang  or  taels,  in  chao  or  paper-money  of 
the  years  1260-64  (see  ch.  xxiv.,  note  1  supra) ;  in  1282  it  was  raised  to 
22  taels ;  in  1284  a  permanent  and  reduced  price  was  fixed,  the  amount 
of  which  is  not  stated. 

M.  Pauthier  assumes  as  means  400,000  pin,  at  18  taels,  which  will  give 
7,200,000  tads ;  or  at  6s.  7 d.  to  the  tael,  2,370,000 /.  But  this  amount 
being  in  chao  or  paper-currency,  which  at  its  highest  valuation  was  worth 
only  50  per  cent,  of  the  nominal  value  of  the  notes,  we  must  halve  the 
sum,  giving  the  salt  revenue  on  Pauthier’s  assumptions  =  1,185,000/. 

Pauthier  has  also  endeavoured  to  present  a  table  of  the  whole 
revenue  of  Kiangche  under  the  Mongols,  amounting  to  12,955,710 
paper  taels ,  or  2,132,294/.,  including  the  salt  revenue.  This  would  leave 
only  947,294/  for  the  other  sources  of  revenue,  but  the  fact  is  that 
several  of  these  are  left  blank,  and  among  others  one  so  important  as 
the  sea-customs.  However,  even  making  the  extravagant  supposition 
that  the  sea-customs  and  other  omitted  items  were  equal  in  amount  to 
the  whole  of  the  other  sources  of  revenue,  salt  included,  the  total  would 
be  only  4,264,588/ 

Marco’s  amount,  as  he  gives  it,  is,  I  think,  unquestionably  a  huge 
exaggeration,  though  I  do  not  suppose  an  intentional  one.  In  spite  of 
his  professed  rendering  of  the  amounts  in  gold,  I  have  little  doubt  that 
his  tomans  really  represent  paper-currency,  and  that  to  get  a  valuation 
in  gold,  his  total  has  to  be  divided  at  the  very  least  by  two.  We  may 
then  compare  his  total  of  290  tomans  of  paper  ting,  with  Pauthier’s 
130  tomans  of  paper  ting,  excluding  sea-customs  and  some  other  items. 
No  nearer  comparison  is  practicable,  and  besides  the  sources  of  doubt 
already  indicated,  it  remains  uncertain  what  in  either  calculation  are  the 
limits  of  the  .province  intended.  For  the  bounds  of  Kiangche  seem  to 
have  varied  greatly,  sometimes  including  and  sometimes  excluding  Fokien. 

I  may  observe  that  Rashiduddin  reports,  on  the  authority  of  the 
Mongol  minister  Pulad  Chingsang,  that  the  whole  of  Manzi  brought  in 
a  revenue  of  “  900  tomans.”  This  Quatremere  renders  “  nine  million 
pieces  of  gold,”  presumably  meaning  dinars.  It  is  unfortunate  that 
there  should  be  uncertainty  here  again  as  to  the  unit.  If  it  were  the 
dinar  the  whole  revenue  of  Manzi  would  be  about  5,850,000 Z,  whereas 
if  the  unit  were,  as  in  the  case  of  Polo’s  toman,  the  ting,  the  revenue 
would  be  nearly  30  millions  sterling  ! 

Even  in  China  a  toman  of  some  denomination  of  money  near  the 
dinar,  appears  to  have  been  known  in  account.  For  Friar  Odoric 
states  the  revenue  of  Yangchau  in  tomans  of  Balish,  the  latter  unit  being, 
as  he  explains,  a  sum  in  paper-currency  equivalent  to  a  florin  and  a  half 
(or  something  more  than  a  dinar) ;  perhaps  however  only  the  Hang,  (see 
Vol.  I.  p.  380). 




Of  the  City  of  Tanpiju  and  Others. 

When  you  leave  Kinsay  and  travel  a  day’s  journey  to  the 
south-east,  through  a  plenteous  region,  passing  a  succession 
of  dwellings  and  charming  gardens,  you  reach  the  city  of 
Tanpiju,  a  great,  rich,  and  fine  city,  under  Kinsay.  The 
people  are  subject  to  the  Kaan,  and  have  paper-money,  and 
are  Idolaters,  and  burn  their  dead  in  the  way  described 
before.  They  live  by  trade  and  manufactures  and  handi¬ 
crafts,  and  have  all  necessaries  in  great  plenty  and  cheapness.1 

But  there  is  no  more  to  be  said  about  it,  so  we  proceed, 
and  I  will  tell  you  of  another  city  called  Vuju  at  three  days’ 
distance  from  Tanpiju.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  &c.,  and 
the  city  is  under  Kinsay.  They  live  by  trade  and  manu¬ 

Travelling  through  a  succession  of  towns  and  villages 
that  look  like  one  continuous  city,  two  days  further  on  to 
the  south-east,  you  find  the  great  and  fine  city  of  Ghiuju 
which  is  under  Kinsay.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  &c. 
They  have  plenty  of  silk,  and  live  by  trade  and  handicrafts, 
and  have  all  things  necessary  in  abundance.  At  this  city 
you  find  the  largest  and  longest  canes  that  are  in  all 
Manzi ;  they  are  full  four  palms  in  girth  and  1 5  paces 
in  length.2 

When  you  have  left  Ghiuju  you  travel  four  days  S.E. 
through  a  beautiful  country,  in  which  towns  and  villages 
are  very  numerous.  There  is  abundance  of  game  both  in 
beasts  and  birds ;  and  there  are  very  large  and  fierce  lions. 
After  those  four  days  you  come  to  the  great  and  fine  city 
of  Chanshan.  It  is  situated  upon  a  hill  which  divides 
the  River,  so  that  the  one  portion  flows  up  country  and  the 
other  down.*  It  is  still  under  the  government  of  Kinsay, 

*  “  Est  sus  un  mont  que  parte  le  Flum ,  que  le  une  moitie  ala  en  sus  e  V autre  moitie 
en  jus  ”  (G.  T.). 



Book  II. 

I  should  tell  you  that  in  all  the  country  of  Manzi  they 
have  no  sheep,  though  they  have  beeves  and  kine,  goats 
and  kids  and  swine  in  abundance.  The  people  are  Idolaters 
here,  &c. 

When  you  leave  Changshan  you  travel  three  days 
through  a  very  fine  country  with  many  towns  and  villages, 
traders  and  craftsmen,  and  abounding  in  game  of  all  kinds, 
and  arrive  at  the  city  of  Cuju.  The  people  are  Idolaters, 
&c.,  and  live  by  trade  and  manufactures.  It  is  a  fine,  noble, 
and  rich  city,  and  is  the  last  of  the  government  of  Kinsay 
in  this  direction.3  The  other  kingdom  which  we  now 
enter,  called  Fuju,  is  also  one  of  the  nine  great  divisions 
of  Manzi  as  Kinsay  is. 

Note  1. — The  traveller’s  route  proceeds  from  Kinsay  or  Hang-chau 
southward  to  the  mountains  of  Fokien,  ascending  the  valley  of  the  Tsien 
Tang  River.  The  general  line,  directed  as  we  shall  see  upon  Kien- 
ningfu  in  Fokien,  is  clear  enough,  but  some  of  the  details  are  very 
obscure,  owing  partly  to  vague  indications  and  partly  to  the  excessive 
uncertainty  in  the  reading  of  some  of  the  proper  names. 

No  name  resembling  Tanpiju  (G.  T.,  Tanpigui ;  Pauthier,  Tacpiguy, 
Carpiguy ,  Capiguy ;  Ram.,  Tapinzii)  belongs,  so  far  as  has  yet  been 
shown,  to  any  considerable  town  in  the  position  indicated.  Both 
Pauthier  and  Mr.  Kingsmill  will  have  it  to  be  Shaohingfu,  a  large 
and  busy  town,  compared  by  Fortune,  as  regards  population,  to  Shanghai. 
But  I  cannot  think  the  identification  probable.  Shaohing  is  across  the 
broad  river,  and  further  down  than  Hang-chau  ;  it  is  distinctly  out  of  the 
traveller’s  general  direction ;  and  it  seems  unnatural  that  he  should  com¬ 
mence  his  journey  by  passing  this  wide  river,  and  yet  not  mention  it. 

I  agree  with  Baldello  in  looking  rather  to  Fuyang,  on  the  same  bank 
as  Hangchau,  and  about  2  5  miles  from  it.  Fuyang  may  not  now  be 
“a  great,  rich,  and  fine  city;”  but  we  must  remember,  on  one  hand, 
that  Polo  squanders  such  epithets,  and  on  the  other  that  the  river  towns, 
in  the  vicinity  of  a  centre  of  trade  and  population  so  vast  as  Kinsay  was, 
probably  were  greater  and  richer  than  now  when  trade  is  more  diffused. 
Mr.  Fortune  also  favours  this  identification,  remarking  that  the  de¬ 
scription  of  the  country  given  does  not  apply  to  Shaohing.  No  name 
however  like  Tanpiju  (Tang-pe-chau  ?  city  north  of  the  Tsien  Tang ?)  is 
traceable  to  Fuyang.* 

*  One  of  the  Hicn ,  forming  the  special  district  of  Hangchau  itself,  is  now  called 
Tsien-tang ,  and  was  formerly  called  Tang-wei-tang.  But  it  embraces  the  eastern 

Chap.  LXXIX. 



Note  2. — Chekiang  produces  bamboos  more  abundantly  than  any 
province  of  Eastern  China.  Dr.  Medhurst  mentions  meeting,  on  the 
waters  near  Hangchau,  with  numerous  rafts  of  bamboos,  one  of  which 
was  one-third  of  a  mile  in  length  ( Glance  at  Int.  of  China ,  p.  53). 

With  reference  to  the  next  paragraph  I  may  add  that  Fortune  speaks 
of  this  valley  in  approaching  Kiu-chau,  as  “one  vast  and  beautiful 
garden  ”  (II.  141). 

Note  3. — Assuming  Tanpiju  to  be  Fuyang,  the  remaining  places  as 
far  as  the  Fokien  Frontier  run  thus  : — 

3  days  to  Vuju  (P.  Vugui,  G.  T.  Vugui,  Vuigui,  Ram.  Uguiu). 

2  ,,  to  Ghiuju  (P.  Guiguy ,  G.  T.  Ghingui ,  Gkengui,  Chengui,  Ram.  Gengni). 

4  ,,  to  Chanshan  (P.  Ciancian,  G.  T.  Cianscian,  Ram.  Zengian). 

3  ,,  to  Cuju  or  Chuju  (P.  Ciuguy ,  G.  T.  Cugui,  Ram.  Gieza). 

First  as  regards  Chanshan ,  which,  with  the  notable  circumstances  about 
the  waters  there,  constitutes  the  key  to  the  route,  I  extract  the  following 
remarks  from  a  note  which  Mr.  Fortune  has  kindly  sent  me  :  “  When  we 
get  to  Chanshan  the  proof  as  to  the  route  is  very  strong.  This  is  un¬ 
doubtedly  my  Changshan.  The  town  is  near  the  head  of  the  Green 
River  (the  Tsien  Tang)  which  flows  in  a  N.E.  direction  and  falls  into 
the  Bay  of  Hangchau.  At  Changshan  the  stream  is  no  longer  navigable 
even  for  small  boats.  Travellers  going  west  or  south-west  walk  or  are 
carried  in  sedan-chairs  across  country  in  a  westerly  direction  for  about 
30  miles  to  a  town  named  Yukshan.  Here  there  is  a  river  which  flows 
westward  (‘  the  other  half  goes  down  ’),  taking  the  traveller  rapidly  in 
that  direction,  and  passing  en  route  the  towns  of  Kwansinfu,  Hokow  or 
Hokeu,  and  onward  to  the  Poyang  Lake.”  From  the  careful  study  of 
Mr.  Fortune’s  published  narrative  I  had  already  arrived  at  the  conclusion 
that  this  was  the  correct  explanation  of  the  remarkable  expressions  about 
the  division  of  the  waters,  which  are  closely  analogous  to  those  used  by 
the  traveller  in  ch.  lxii.  of  this  book  when  speaking  of  the  watershed  of 
the  Great  Canal  at  Sinjumatu.  Paraphrased  the  words  might  run  :  “At 
Changshan  you  reach  high  ground,  which  interrupts  the  continuity  of  the 
River ;  from  one  side  of  this  ridge  it  flows  up  country  towards  the  north, 
from  the  other  it  flows  down  towards  the  south.”  The  expression  “  The 
River  ”  will  be  elucidated  in  note  4  to  ch.  lxxxii.  below. 

This  portage  from  Changshan  to  Yukshan  was  passed  by  the  English 
and  Dutch  embassies  in  the  end  of  last  century,  on  their  journeys  from 
Hangchau  to  Canton,  and  by  Mr.  Fortune  on  his  way  from  Ningpo  to 
the  Bohea  country  of  Fokien.  It  is  probable  that  Polo  made  this  journey 
in  great  part  by  water,  and  that  this  leads  him  to  notice  the  interruption 
of  the  navigation.  His  time,  ten  days  from  Hangchau  to  Changshan, 
agrees  well  with  Fortune’s  experience,  for  the  latter,  as  well  as  I  can 

part  of  the  district,  and  can,  I  think,  have  nothing  to  do  with  Tanpiju  (see  Biot , 
p.  257,  and  Chin.  Repos,  for  Feb.  1842,  p.  109). 



Book  II. 

make  out,  was  also  ten  days  from  Nechau  near  Shaohing  to  Chang- 

The  intermediate  stages  are  difficult  to  determine.  As  regards  the 
mere  intervals,  the  best  identifications  would  be  Vugui  with  Yencheu , 
and  Ghiugui  or  Chenguy  with  Kinhwafu.  But  in  that  case  we  must 
suppose  that  they  had  changed  places  in  the  traveller’s  memory.  For  it 
was  Kinhwafu,  as  Pauthier  has  observed,  which  bore  at  this  time  the 
name  of  Wuchau  which  Polo  would  write  as  Vugiu. 

From  the  head  of  the  great  Chekiang  valley  I  find  two  roads  across 
the  mountains  into  Fokien  described. 

One  leads  from  Kiangshan  (not  Changshan)  by  a  town  called  Chinghu 
and  then,  nearly  due  south,  across  the  mountains  to  Puching  in  Upper 
Fokien.  This  is  specified  by  Martini  (p.  113) :  it  seems  to  have  been 
followed  by  the  Dutch  Envoy,  Van  Hoorn,  in  1665  (see  Astley ,  III.  463), 
and  it  was  travelled  by  Fortune  on  his  return  from  the  Bohea  country  to 
Ningpo  (II.  247,  271). 

The  other  route  follows  the  portage  spoken  of  above  from  Changshan 
to  Yukshan,  and  descends  the  river  on  that  side  to  Hokeu ,  whence 
it  strikes  south-east  across  the  mountains  to  Tsung-ngan-hien  in  Fokien. 
This  route  was  followed  by  Fortune  on  his  way  to  the  Bohea  country. 

Both  from  Puching  on  the  former  route,  and  from  near  Tsung-ngan 
on  the  latter,  the  waters  are  navigable  down  to  Kienningfu  and  so  to 

Mr.  Fortune  judges  the  first  to  have  been  Polo’s  route.  There  does 
not  however  seem  to  be  on  this  route  any  place  that  can  be  identified 
with  his  Cuju  or  Chuju.  Chinghu  seems  to  be  insignificant  and  the 
name  has  no  resemblance.  On  the  other  route  followed  by  Mr.  Fortune 
himself  from  that  side  we  have  Kwansinfu,  Hokeu ,  Yenshan,  and  (last 
town  passed  on  that  side)  Chuchu.  The  latter,  as  to  both  name  and 
position,  is  quite  satisfactory,  but  it  is  described  as  a  small  poor  town. 
Hokeu  would  be  represented  in  Polo’s  spelling  as  Caghiu  or  Cughiu.  It 
is  now  a  place  of  great  population  and  importance  as  the  entrepot  of 
the  Black  Tea  Trade,  but  not  being  even  a  hien  it  has  no  place  either  in 
Duhalde  or  in  Biot,  and  I  cannot  learn  its  age. 

It  is  no  objection  to  this  line  that  Polo  speaks  of  Cuju  or  Chuju  as 
the  last  city  of  the  government  of  Kinsay,  whilst  the  towns  just  named 
are  in  Kiangsi.  For  Kiangche ,  the  province  of  Kinsay,  then  included 
the  eastern  part  of  Kiangsi  (see  Cathay ,  p.  270). 

Pauthier  makes  Vuju  -  Kmhwa^  Ghiuju  =  Kiuchau,  and  then  carries 
the  traveller  off  to  the  east,  making  Cianscian  =  Suichanghien  and  Ciugui 
=  Chu-chau-fu ;  very  circuitous  and  missing  the  key  of  the  whole  line  at 

Martini  makes  Cugui  =  Kiu-chau,  but  this  involves  the  traveller’s 
retrogression  from  Changshan. 

Chap.  LXXX. 




Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Fuju. 

On  leaving  Cuju,  which  is  the  last  city  of  the  kingdom  of 
Kinsay,  you  enter  the  kingdom  of  Fuju,  and  travel  six  days 
in  a  south-easterly  direction  through  a  country  of  mountains 
and  valleys,  in  which  are  a  number  of  towns  and  villages 
with  great  plenty  of  victuals  and  abundance  of  game. 
Lions,  great  and  strong,  are  also  very  numerous.  The 
country  produces  ginger  and  galingale  in  immense  quantities, 
insomuch  that  for  a  Venice  groat  you  may  buy  fourscore 
pounds  of  good  fine-flavoured  ginger.  They  have  also 
a  kind  of  a  fruit  resembling  saffron,  and  which  serves  the 
purpose  of  saffron  just  as  well.1 

And  you  must  know  the  people  eat  all  manner  of 
unclean  things,  even  the  flesh  of  a  man,  provided  he  has 
not  died  a  natural  death.  So  they  look  out  for  the  bodies 
of  those  that  have  been  put  to  death  and  eat  their  flesh, 
which  they  consider  excellent.2 

Those  who  go  to  war  in  those  parts  do  as  I  am  going 
to  tell  you.  They  shave  the  hair  off  the  forehead  and 
cause  it  to  be  painted  in  blue  like  the  blade  of  a  glaive. 
They  all  go  afoot  except  the  chief;  they  carry  spears  and 
swords,  and  are  the  most  savage  people  in  the  world,  for 
they  go  about  constantly  killing  people,  whose  blood  they 
drink,  and  then  devour  the  bodies.3 

Now  I  will  quit  this  and  speak  of  other  matters.  You 
must  know  then  that  after  going  three  days  out  of  the  six 
that  I  told  you  of  you  come  to  the  city  of  Kelinfu,  a  very 
great  and  noble  city,  belonging  to  the  Great  Kaan.  This 
city  hath  three  stone  bridges  which  are  among  the  finest 
and  best  in  the  world.  They  are  a  mile  long  and  some 
nine  paces  in  width,  and  they  are  all  decorated  with  rich 
marble  columns.  Indeed  they  are  such  fine  and  marvellous 

180  MARCO  POLO.  Book  II. 

works  that  to  build  any  one  of  them  must  have  cost  a 

The  people  live  by  trade  and  manufactures,  and  have 
great  store  of  silk  [which  they  weave  into  various  stuffs], 
and  of  ginger  and  galingale.5  [They  also  make  much  cotton 
cloth  of  dyed  thread,  which  is  sent  all  over  Manzi.]  Their 
women  are  particularly  beautiful.  And  there  is  a  strange 
thing  there  which  I  needs  must  tell  you.  You  must 
know  they  have  a  kind  of  fowls  which  have  no  feathers,  but 
hair  only,  like  a  cat’s  fur.6  They  are  black  all  over ;  they 
lay  eggs  just  like  our  fowls,  and  are  very  good  to  eat. 

In  the  other  three  days  of  the  six  that  I  have  mentioned 
above,7  you  continue  to  meet  with  many  towns  and  villages, 
with  traders,  and  goods  for  sale,  and  craftsmen.  The  people 
have  much  silk,  and  are  Idolaters,  and  subject  to  the  Great 
Kaan.  There  is  plenty  of  game  of  all  kinds,  and  there  are 
great  and  fierce  lions  which  attack  travellers.  In  the  last 
of  those  three  days’  journey,  when  you  have  gone  1 5  miles 
you  find  a  city  called  Unken,  where  there  is  an  immense 
quantity  of  sugar  made.  From  this  city  the  Great  Kaan 
gets  all  the  sugar  for  the  use  of  his  Court,  a  quantity  worth 
a  great  amount  of  money.  [And  before  this  city  came 
under  the  Great  Kaan  these  people  knew  not  how  to  make 
fine  sugar  ;  they  only  used  to  boil  and  skim  the  juice,  which 
when  cold  left  a  black  paste.  But  after  they  came  under 
the  Great  Kaan  some  men  of  Babylonia  who  happened  to  be 
at  the  Court  proceeded  to  this  city  and  taught  the  people 
to  refine  the  sugar  with  the  ashes  of  certain  trees.8] 

There  is  no  more  to  say  of  the  place,  so  now  we  shall 
speak  of  the  splendour  of  Fuju.  When  you  have  gone  15 
miles  from  the  city  of  Unken,  you  come  to  this  noble  city 
which  is  the  capital  of  the  kingdom.  So  we  will  now  tell 
you  what  we  know  of  it. 

Note  1. — The  vague  description  does  not  suggest  the  root  turmeric 
with  which  Marsden  and  Pauthier  identify  this  “  fruit  like  saffron.”  It 

Chap.  LXXX. 



is  probably  one  of  the  species  of  Gardenia ,  the  fruits  of  which  are  used 
by  the  Chinese  for  their  colouring  properties.  Their  splendid  yellow 
colour  “  is  due  to  a  body  named  crocine  which  appears  to  be  identical 
with  the  polychroite  of  saffron.”  (Hanburjs  Notes  o?i  Chinese  Mat. 
Medica ,  p.  21-22.)  For  this  identification,  I  am  indebted  to  Dr. 
Fliickiger  of  Bern. 

Note  2. — See  note  7  to  Bk.  I.  ch.  lxi. 

Note  3. — These  particulars  as  to  a  race  of  painted  or  tattooed 
caterans  accused  of  cannibalism  apparently  apply  to  some  aboriginal  tribe 
which  still  maintained  its  ground  in  the  mountains  between  Fokien  and 
Chekiang  or  Kiangsi.  Davis,  alluding  to  the  Upper  part  of  the  Province 
of  Canton,  says  :  “  The  Chinese  History  speaks  of  the  aborigines  of  this 
wild  region  under  the  name  of  Man  (Barbarians),  who  within  a  com¬ 
paratively  recent  period  were  subdued  and  incorporated  into  the  Middle 
Nation.  Many  persons  have  remarked  a  decidedly  Malay  cast  in  the 
features  of  the  natives  of  this  province ;  and  it  is  highly  probable  that 
the  Canton  and  Fokien  people  were  originally  the  same  race  as  the 
tribes  which  still  remain  unreclaimed  on  the  east  side  of  Formosa  ” 
{Supply.  Vol.  p.  260).  Indeed  Martini  tells  us  that  even  in  the  17th 
century  this  very  range  of  mountains,  farther  to  the  south,  in  the  Tingchau 
department  of  Fokien,  contained  a  race  of  uncivilized  people  who  were 
enabled  by  the  inaccessible  character  of  the  country  to  maintain  their  in¬ 
dependence  of  the  Chinese  Government  (p.  114 ;  see  also  Semedo ,  p.  19). 

Note  4. — Padre  Martini  long  ago  pointed  out  that  this  Quelinfu  is 
Kienningfu,  on  the  upper  part  of  the  Min  River,  an  important  city  of 
Fokien.  In  the  Fokien  dialect  he  notices  that  /  is  often  substituted  for 
/z,  a  well-known  instance  of  which  is  Liampoo,  the  name  applied  by 
F.  M.  Pinto  and  the  old  Portuguese  to  Ningpo. 

In  Ramusio  the  bridges  are  only  “  each  more  than  100  paces  long  and 
8  paces  wide.”  In  Pauthier’s  text  each  is  a  mile  long,  and  20  feet  wide. 
I  translate  from  the  G.  T. 

Martini  describes  one  beautiful  bridge  at  Kienningfu  ;  the  piers  of  cut 
stone,  the  superstructure  of  timber,  roofed  in  and  lined  with  houses  on 
each  side  (p.  112-113). 

Note  5. — Galafiga  or  Galangal  is  an  aromatic  root  belonging  to 
a  class  of  drugs  once  much  more  used  than  now.  It  exists  of  two  kinds. 
1.  Great  or  Java  Galangal ,  the  root  of  the  Alpinia  Galanga.  This  is 
rarely  imported  and  hardly  used  in  Europe  in  modern  times,  but  is 
still  found  in  the  Indian  Bazars.  2.  Lesser  or  China  Galangal  is  im¬ 
ported  into  London  from  Canton  and  is  still  sold  by  druggists  in  England. 
Its  botanical  origin  is  unknown.  It  is  produced  in  Shansi,  Fokien,  and 
Kwantung,  and  is  called  by  the  Chinese  Liang  Kiang  or  “  Mild  Ginger.” 

Galangal  was  much  used  as  a  spice  in  the  middle  ages.  In  a  syrup 
for  a  capon,  temp.  Rich.  II.,  we  find  ground-ginger,  cloves,  cinnamon 
and  galingale.  “  Galingale  ”  appears  also  as  a  growth  in  old  English 



Book  II. 

gardens,  but  this  is  believed  to  have  been  Cyperus  Longus ,  the  tubers  of 
which  were  substituted  for  the  real  article  under  the  name  of  English 

The  name  appears  to  be  a  modification  of  the  Arabic  Kalijan ,  and 
that  to  be  originally  from  the  Sanskrit.  (Mr.  H anbury ;  China  Comm- 
Guide,  120  ;  Eng.  Cycl. ;  Garcias ,  f.  63  ;  Wright ,  p.  352.) 

Note  6. — The  cat  in  question  is  no  doubt  the  fleecy  Persian.  These 
fowls,  but  white,  are  mentioned  by  Odoric  at  Fuchau  ;  and  Martini  speaks 
of  such  a  breed  in  Ssechuen.  I  believe  they  are  well  known  to  poultry- 
fanciers  in  Europe. 

Note  7. — The  times  assigned  in  this  chapter  as  we  have  given  them 
after  the  G.  Text  appear  very  short ;  but  I  have  followed  that  text 
because  it  is  perfectly  consistent  and  clear,  though  possibly  wrong. 
Starting  from  the  last  city  of  Kinsay  government  the  traveller  goes 
6  days  south-east ;  three  out  of  those  6  days  bring  him  to  Kelinfu ;  he 
goes  on  the  other  three  days  and  at  the  15th  mile  of  the  3rd  day  reaches 
Unken ;  15  miles  further  bring  him  to  Fuju. 

In  Pauthier’s  text  again  we  find :  “  Sachiez  que  quand  on  est  ale  six 
journees  apres  ces  trois  que  je  vous  ay  dit,  on  treuve  la  cite  de  QuelifuP 
And  on  leaving  Quelinfu  :  “  Sachiez  que  es  autres  trois  journees  oultre 
et  plus  xv.  milles  treuve  Pen  une  cite  qui  a  nom  Vuguen."  This  seems 
to  mean  from  Cugui  to  Kelinfu  6  days,  and  thence  to  Vuguen  (or  Unken) 
3  days  more.  But  evidently  there  has  been  interference  with  the  text,  for 
the  es  autre  trois  journees  belongs  to  the  same  conception  of  the  distance 
as  that  in  the  G.  T.  Pauthier’s  text  does  not  say  how  far  it  is  from  Unken 
to  Fuju.  Ramusio  makes  6  days  to  Kelinfu,  3  days  more  to  Unguem,  and 
then  15  miles  more  to  Fuju  (which  he  has  erroneously  as  Cangiu). 

The  latter  scheme  looks  probable  certainly,  but  the  times  in  the  G.  T. 
are  not  impossible  if  we  suppose  that  water  conveyance  was  adopted 
where  possible.  Indeed  without  the  use  of  this,  even  Ramusio’s  9J  days 
would  be  much  too  scant  allowance. 

But  assuming  that  Cugiu  was  Fortune’s  Chuchu  at  the  western  base 
of  the  Bohea  mountains  (see  note  3,  ch.  lxxix.),  and  that  the  traveller 
reached  Tsun-ngan-hien  in  2  marches,  I  see  that  from  Tsin-tsun  near 
Tsun-ngan-hien  Fortune  says  he  could  have  reached  Fuchau  in  4  days 
by  boat.  Again  Martini,  speaking  of  the  skill  with  which  the  Fokien 
boatmen  navigate  the  rocky  rapids  of  the  upper  waters,  says  that  even 
from  Puching  the  descent  to  the  capital  could  be  made  in  three  days. 
So  the  thing  is  quite  possible,  and  the  G.  Text  may  be  quite  correct  (see 
Fortune  II.  171-183  and  210;  Mart.  no). 

Note  8. — Pauthier  supposes  Unken,  or  Vuguen  as  he  reads  it,  to  be 
Hukwan ,  one  of  the  hiens  under  the  immediate  administration  of  Fuchau 
city.  It  may  be  so,  but  the  evidence  for  the  place  intended  being 
1 5  miles  from  the  chief  city  is  strong.  The  only  place  which  the  maps 
show  about  that  position  is  Mingtsing hien.  And  the  Dutch  mission  of 

Chap.  LXXXI.  THE  CITY  OF  FUJU.  183 

1664-5  names  this  as  “  B inkin,  by  some  called  Min-sing.”  ( Astley ,  III. 

The  Babylonia  of  the  passage  from  Ramusio  is  Cairo,  Babylon  of 
Egypt,  the  sugar  of  which  was  very  famous  in  the  middle  ages.  Zucchero 
di  Bambellonia  is  repeatedly  named  in  Pegolotti’s  Handbook  (210,  31 1, 
362,  &c.). 

The  passage  as  it  stands  represents  the  Chinese  as  not  knowing  even 
how  to  get  sugar  in  the  granular  form ;  but  perhaps  the  fact  was  that 
they  did  not  know  how  to  refine  it.  It  is  a  curious  illustration  of  the 
passage  that  in  India  coarse  sugar  is  commonly  called  Chini ,  “  the  pro¬ 
duce  of  China,”  and  sugar  candy  or  fine  sugar  Misri ,  the  produce 
of  Cairo  (. Babylonia )  or  Egypt.  Nevertheless  the  finest  Misri  has  long 
been  exported  from  China. 


Concerning  the  Greatness  of  the  City  of  Fuju. 

Now  this  city  of  Fuju  is  the  key  of  the  kingdom  which 
is  called  Chonka,  and  which  is  one  of  the  nine  great  divi¬ 
sions  of  Manzi.1  The  city  is  a  seat  of  great  trade  and 
great  manufactures.  The  people  are  Idolaters  and  subject 
to  the  great  Kaan.  And  a  large  garrison  is  maintained 
there  by  that  prince  to  keep  the  kingdom  in  peace  and 
subjection.  For  the  city  is  one  which  is  apt  to  revolt  on 
very  slight  provocation. 

There  flows  through  the  middle  of  this  city  a  great 
river,  which  is  about  a  mile  in  width,  and  many  ships  are 
built  at  the  city  which  are  launched  upon  this  river. 
Enormous  quantities  of  sugar  are  made  there,  and  there 
is  a  great  traffic  in  pearls  and  precious  stones.  For  many 
ships  of  India  come  to  these  parts  bringing  many  merchants 
who  traffic  about  the  Isles  of  the  Indies.2  For  this  city  is, 
you  see,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Ocean  Port  of  Zayton, 
which  is  greatly  frequented  by  the  ships  of  India  with  their 
cargoes  of  various  merchandize ;  and  from  Zayton  the 
vessels  pass  on  to  the  city  of  Fuju  by  the  river  I  have  told 



Book  II. 

you  of;  and  ‘tis  in  this  way  that  the  precious  wares  of  India 
come  hither.3 

The  city  is  really  a  fine  one  and  kept  in  good  order, 
and  all  necessaries  of  life  are  there  to  be  had  in  great 
abundance  and  cheapness. 

Note  1. — The  name  here  applied  to  Fokien  by  Polo  is  variously 
written  as  Choncha ,  Chonka ,  Concha,  Chonka.  It  has  not  been  satisfac¬ 
torily  explained.  Klaproth  and  Neumann  refer  it  to  Kiangche ,  of  which 
Fokien  at  one  time  of  the  Mongol  rule  formed  a  part.  This  is  the  more 
improbable  as  Polo  expressly  distinguishes  this  province  or  kingdom 
from  that  which  was  under  Kinsay,  viz.  Kiangche.  Pauthier  supposes 
the  word  to  represent  Kien-Kwe,  “  the  Kingdom  of  Kien,”  because  in 
the  8th  century  this  territory  had  formed  a  principality  of  which  the 
seat  was  at  Kien-chau,  now  Kienningfu.  This  does  not  seem  very 
probable  either. 

One  might  suppose  that  Choncha  represented  the  proper  name  of 
the  city  of  Zayton,  or  district  attached  to  it,  written  by  the  French 
Thsiuan  tcheu,  but  by  Medhurst  Cliwanchew,  whilst  Semedo  says  that 
Fokien  was  sometimes  called  by  this  name  ( Chincheo ,  as  he  writes  it), 
were  it  not  that  Polo’s  practice  of  writing  the  term  tcheu  or  chau  by  giu 
is  so  nearly  invariable,  and  that  the  soft  ch  is  almost  always  expressed  in 
the  old  texts  by  the  Italian  ci  (though  the  Venetian  does  use  the  soft  ch). 

It  is  again  impossible  not  to  be  struck  with  the  resemblance  of 
Chonka  to  “  Chung-kwe  ”  “  the  Middle  Kingdom,”  though  I  can  give  no 
ground  for  the  application  of  such  a  title  specially  to  Fokien.  Chonkw'e 
occurs  in  the  Persian  Historia  Cathaica  published  by  Muller,  but  is  there 
specially  applied  to  North  China  (see  Quat.  Rashid,  p.  lxxxvi.). 

The  city  of  course  is  Fuchau.  It  was  visited  also  by  Friar  Odoric 
who  calls  it  Fuzo ,  and  it  appears  in  duplicate  on  the  Catalan  Map  as 
Fugio  and  as  Fozo. 

Note  2. — The  Min,  the  River  of  Fuchau,  “varies  much  in  width  and 
depth.  Near  its  mouth,  and  at  some  other  parts,  it  is  not  less  .than 
a  mile  in  width,  elsewhere  deep  and  rapid.”  It  is  navigable  for  ships  of 
large  size  20  miles  from  the  mouth,  and  for  good-sized  junks  thence  to 
the  great  bridge  which  connects  the  Fuchau  suburb  of  Nantai  with  the 
Island  of  Chungchau.  The  scenery  is  very  fine,  and  is  compared  to 
that  of  the  Hudson.  ( Fortune ,  I.  281 ;  Chin.  Repos.  XVI.  483.) 

The  River  flows  entirely  to  the  south  of  the  city  and  not  through 
the  middle  of  it.  But  I  suspect  that  por  le  mi  de  ceste  cite  is  not  meant 
to  be  literal. 

There  is  still  a  great  deal  of  sugar  grown  and  made  about  Fuchau  ; 
indeed  nearly  all  the  fine  Chinese  sugar  candy  is  produced  in  Fokien. 

Note  3. — The  G.  T.  reads  Caiton ,  presumably  for  Caiton  or  Zayton. 


In  Pauthier’s  text,  in  the  following  chapter,  the  name  of  Zayton  is  written 
^ ait  on  and  ay  ton,  and  the  name  of  that  port  appears  in  the  same  form 
in  the  Letter  of  its  Bishop  Andrew  of  Perugia  quoted  in  note  2,  chap, 
lxxxii.  Pauthier  however  in  this  place  reads  Kayteu  which  he  developes 
into  a  port  at  the  mouth  of  the  River  Min,  probably  imaginary.  The 
Geog.  Text,  which  I  have  followed  here,  is  perfectly  intelligible  and 
consistent.  First  the  Traveller  speaks  of  the  ships  of  the  Indies  as  if 
coming  direct  to  Fuchau ;  then  he  explains  more  accurately  that  from 
the  vicinity  of  this  city  to  the  Great  Port  of  Zayton  the  India  ships  which 
enter  the  latter  either  come  on  afterwards  to  Fuchau  or  transfer  part 
of  their  cargoes  to  vessels  which  do  come  thither. 


Of  the  City  and  great  Haven  of  Zayton. 

Now  when  you  quit  Fuju  and  cross  the  River,  you  travel 
for  five  days  south-east  through  a  fine  country,  meeting 
with  a  constant  succession  of  flourishing  cities,  towns,  and 
villages,  rich  in  every  product.  You  travel  by  mountains 
and  valleys  and  plains,  and  in  some  places  by  great  forests 
in  which  are  many  of  the  trees  which  give  Camphor.1 
There  is  plenty  of  game  on  the  road,  both  of  bird  and 
beast.  The  people  are  all  traders  and  craftsmen,  subjects 
of  the  Great  Kaan,  and  under  the  government  of  Fuju. 
When  you  have  accomplished  those  five  days’ journey  you 
arrive  at  the  very  great  and  noble  city  of  Zayton,  which 
is  also  subject  to  Fuju. 

At  this  city  you  must  know  is  the  Haven  of  Zayton, 
frequented  by  all  the  ships  of  India,  which  bring  thither 
spicery  and  all  other  kinds  of  costly  wares.  It  is  the  port 
also  that  is  frequented  by  all  the  merchants  of  Manzi,  for 
hither  is  imported  the  most  astonishing  quantity  of  goods 
and  of  precious  stones  and  pearls,  and  from  this  they  are 
distributed  all  over  Manzi.  And  I  assure  you  that  for  one 
shipload  of  pepper  that  goes  to  Alexandria  or  elsewhere, 
destined  for  Christendom,  there  come  a  hundred  such, 

1 86 


Book  II. 

aye  and  more  too,  to  this  haven  of  Zayton ;  for  it  is  one  of 
the  two  greatest  havens  in  the  world  for  commerce.2 

The  Great  Kaan  derives  a  very  large  revenue  from  the 
duties  paid  in  this  city  and  haven ;  for  you  must  know  that 
on  all  the  merchandize  imported,  including  precious  stones 
and  pearls,  he  levies  a  duty  of  ten  per  cent.,  or  in  other 
words  takes  tithe  of  everything.  Then  again  the  ship’s 
charge  for  freight  on  small  wares  is  30  per  cent.,  on  pepper 
44  per  cent.,  and  on  lignaloes,  sandalwood,  and  other  bulky 
goods  40  per  cent. ;  so  that  between  freight  and  the  Kaan’s 
duties  the  merchant  has  to  pay  a  good  half  the  value  of  his 
investment  [though  on  the  other  half  he  makes  such  a 
profit  that  he  is  always  glad  to  come  back  with  a  new 
supply  of  merchandize].  But  you  may  well  believe  from 
what  I  have  said  that  the  Kaan  hath  a  vast  revenue  from 
this  city. 

There  is  great  abundance  here  of  all  provision  for  every 
necessity  of  man’s  life.  [It  is  a  charming  country,  and  the 
people  are  very  quiet,  and  fond  of  an  easy  life.  Many 
come  hither  from  Upper  India  to  have  their  bodies  painted 
with  the  needle  in  the  way  we  have  elsewhere  described, 
there  being  many  adepts  at  this  craft  in  the  cityd] 

Let  me  tell  you  also  that  in  this  province  there  is  a 
town  called  Tyunju,  where  they  make  vessels  of  porcelain 
of  all  sizes,  the  finest  that  can  be  imagined.  They  make  it 
nowhere  but  in  that  city,  and  thence  it  is  exported  all  over 
the  world.  Here  it  is  abundant  and  very  cheap,  insomuch 
that  for  a  Venice  groat  you  can  buy  three  dishes  so  fine 
that  you  could  not  imagine  better.4 

I  should  tell  you  that  in  this  city  they  have  a  peculiar 
dialect.  [For  you  must  know  that  throughout  all  Manzi 
they  employ  one  language  and  one  kind  of  writing  only,  but 
yet  there  are  local  differences  of  dialect,  as  you  might  say 
of  Genoese,  Milanese,  Florentines,  and  Neapolitans,  who 
though  they  speak  different  dialects  can  understand  one 



And  I  assure  you  the  Great  Kaan  has  as  large  customs 
and  revenues  from  this  kingdom  of  Chonka  as  from  Kinsay, 
aye  and  more  too.6 

We  have  now  spoken  of  but  three  out  of  the  nine 
kingdoms  of  Manzi,  to  wit  Yanju  and  Kinsay  and  Fuju. 
We  could  tell  you  about  the  other  six,  but  it  would  be  too 
long  a  business ;  so  we  will  say  no  more  about  them. 

And  now  you  have  heard  all  the  truth  about  Cathay 
and  Manzi  and  many  other  countries,  as  has  been  set  down 
in  this  Book ;  the  customs  of  the  people  and  the  various 
objects  of  commerce,  the  beasts  and  birds,  the  gold  and 
silver  and  precious  stones,  and  many  other  matters  have 
been  rehearsed  to  you.  But  our  Book  as  yet  does  not 
contain  nearly  all  that  we  purpose  to  put  therein.  For  we 
have  still  to  tell  you  all  about  the  people  of  India  and  the 
notable  things  of  that  country,  which  are  well  worth  the 
describing,  for  they  are  marvellous  indeed.  What  we  shall 
tell  is  all  true,  and  without  any  lies.  And  we  shall  set 
down  all  the  particulars  in  writing  just  as  Messer  Marco 
Polo  related  them.  And  he  well  knew  the  facts,  for  he 
remained  so  long  in  India,  and  enquired  so  diligently  into 
the  manners  and  peculiarities  of  the  nations,  that  I  can 
assure  you  there  never  was  a  single  man  before  who  learned 
so  much  and  beheld  so  much  as  he  did. 

Note  1. — The  Laurus  (or  Cinnamomum)  C amphora,  a  large  timber 
tree,  grows  abundantly  in  Fokien.  A  description  of  the  manner  in  which 
camphor  is  produced  at  a  very  low  cost,  by  sublimation  from  the  chopped 
twigs,  &c.,  will  be  found  in  the  Lettres  Edijiantes ,  XXIV.  1.9  seqq. ;  and 
more  briefly  in  Hedde  by  Rondot,  p.  35.  Fokien  alone  has  been  known 
to  send  to  Canton  in  one  year  4000  pekuls  (of  133-3-  lbs.  each),  but  the 
average  is  2500  to  3000  (/A). 

Note  2. — When  Marco  says  Zayton  is  one  of  the  two  greatest  com¬ 
mercial  ports  in  the  world,  I  know  not  if  he  has  another  haven  in  his 
eye,  or  is  only  using  an  idiom  of  the  age.  For  in  like  manner  Friar 
Odoric  calls  Java  “  the  second  best  of  all  Islands  that  exist  f  and  Kansan 
(or  Shensi)  the  “  second  best  province  in  the  world,  and  the  best  popu- 
VOL.  II.  O 

1 88 


Book  II. 

lated.”  But  apart  from  any  such  idiom  Ibn  Batuta  pronounces  Zayton 
to  be  the  greatest  haven  in  the  world. 

Martini  relates  that  when  one  of  the  Emperors  wanted  to  make  war  on 
Japan,  the  Province  of  Fokien  offered  to  bridge  the  interval  with  their 
vessels  ! 

Zayton,  as  Martini  and  Deguignes  conjectured,  is  Thsiuan-chau-fu, 
or  as  it  is  oftener  called  in  our  Maps  Chinchau,  in  Fokien,  about  90 
miles  in  a  straight  line  S.W.  of  Fuchau.  Klaproth  asserts  that  the  name 
by  which  it  was  known  to  the  Arabs  and  other  Westerns  was  a  corrup¬ 
tion  of  an  old  Chinese  name,  Tseuthung. 

Abulfeda  had  evidently  heard  the  real  name  of  Zayton,  which  he  gives 
as  Shanju.  Zaitun  commended  itself  to  Arabian  ears,  being  the  Arabic 
for  an  Olive-tree  (whence  Jerusalem  is  sometimes  called  Zaituniya),  but 
the  corruption  must  be  of  very  old  date,  as  the  city  appears  to  have 
received  its  present  name  in  the  7th  or  8th  century. 

Rashiduddin  tells  us  that  Zayton  was  at  one  time  the  seat  of  the  Sing 
or  Great  Provincial  Government,  which  was  afterwards  transferred  to 

Zayton  was,  as  we  see  from  this  chapter  and  the  2nd  and  5th  of 
Book  III.,  in  that  age  the  great  port  of  communication  with  India  and 
the  Islands.  From  Zayton  sailed  Kublai’s  expeditions  against  Japan 
and  Java,  and  to  Zayton  returned  his  Missions  with  the  tribute  or  curio¬ 
sities  of  distant  countries  less  refractory  than  those  two.  From  Zayton 
Marco  Polo  seems  to  have  sailed  on  his  return  to  the  West,  as  did 
John  Marignolli  some  half-century  later.  At  Zayton  too  Ibn  Batuta  first 
landed  in  China.  In  the  14th  century  Zayton  became  the  seat  of  a 
Latin  Bishopric  and  of  three  Franciscan  Houses,  to  one  of  which  was 
attached  a  Fondaco  or  Factory  for  Frank  merchants. 

When  the  Portuguese  in  the  16th  century  recovered  China  to  Eu¬ 
ropean  knowledge,  they  no  longer  used  the  name  of  Zayton,  though  the 
port  in  question  was  well  known  and  frequented  by  them  under  the  name 
of  Chincheo.  Still  the  old  name  was  not  extinct  among  the  mariners  of 
Western  Asia.  Giovanni  d’Empoli  in  1515,  writing  about  China  from 
Cochin,  says  :  “  Ships  carry  spices  thither  from  these  parts.  Every  year 
there  go  thither  from  Sumatra  60,000  cantars  of  pepper,  and  15,000  or 
20,000  from  Cochin  and  Malabar,  worth  15  to  20  ducats  a  cantar; 
besides  ginger  (?),  mace,  nutmegs,  incense,  aloes,  velvet,  European  gold- 
wire,  coral,  woollens,  &c.  The  Grand  Can  is  the  King  of  China,  and  he 
dwells  at  Zeiton.”  Giovanni  hoped  to  get  to  Zeiton  before  he  died. 
Also  the  way  in  which  Botero  in  the  latter  part  of  the  century  speaks 
of  Zayton  as  between  Canton  and  Liampo  (Ningpo),  standing  in  30-* 
N.  lat.  (this  indeed  is  50  too  much),  and  exporting  immense  quantities 
of  porcelain,  salt,  and  sugar,  shows  that  he  had  distinct  information  as 
to  the  place.  He  likewise  says  elsewhere  that  “all  the  moderns  note 
the  port  of  Zaiton  between  Canton  and  Liampo.”  Yet  I  know  no  other 
modern  allusion  but  Empoli’s,  which  was  printed  only  a  few  years  ago. 



Andrew  of  Perugia,  a  Franciscan,  who  was  Bishop  of  Zayton  in  1326, 
styles  it  “  a  great  city  on  the  shores  of  the  Ocean  Sea,  which  is  called 
in  the  Persian  tongue  Qayton and  speaks  incidentally  of  the  Genoese 
merchants  frequenting  it.  John  Marignolli,  who  was  there  about  1347, 
calls  it  “  a  wondrous  fine  sea-port,  and  a  city  of  incredible  size,  where  our 
Minor  Friars  have  three  very  fine  churches;  ....  and  they  have  a  bath 
also,  and  a  fondaco  which  serves  as  a  depot  for  all  the  merchants.”  Ibn 
Batuta  about  the  same  time  says :  “  The  first  city  that  I  reached  after 
crossing  the  sea  was  Zaitun . It  is  a  great  city,  superb  in¬ 

deed  ;  and  in  it  they  make  damasks  of  velvet  as  well  as  those  of  satin 
(. Kimkha  and  Atlas),  which  are  called  from  the  name  of  the  city  Zaitu- 
niah;  they  are  superior  to  the  stuffs  of  Khansa  and  Khanbalik.  The 
harbour  of  Zaitun  is  one  of  the  greatest  in  the  world — I  am  wrong ;  it 
is  the  greatest !  I  have  seen  there  about  an  hundred  first-class  junks 
together ;  as  for  small  ones,  they  were  past  counting.  The  harbour  is 
formed  by  an  estuary  which  runs  inland  from  the  sea  until  it  joins  the 
Great  River.”  And  the  Turkish  Geography  quoted  by  Klaproth  observes 
that  the  city  “  has  been  famous  even  beyond  Alexandria  ;  a  great  number 
of  ships  come  thither  from  India  and  from  Cathay,  and  take  in  cargoes 
of  silk  and  sugar.  In  old  times  they  used  to  sell  sugar  in  this  country 
in  skins ,  like  honey,  not  knowing  how  to  refine  it ;  more  recently  they  have 
learned  this  art  I  (Compare  with  Marco’s  statement  in  chap,  lxxx.) 

Martini,  in  the  first  half  of  the  17th  century,  describes  the  city  as 
delightfully  situated  on  a  promontory  between  two  branches  of  the 
estuary  which  forms  the  harbour,  and  these  so  deep  that  the  largest 
ships  could  come  up  to  the  walls  on  either  side.  A  great  suburb, 
Loyang,  lay  beyond  the  northern  water,  connected  with  the  city  by  the 
most  celebrated  bridge  in  China.  Unless  the  river  is  greatly  deteriorated, 
this  account  could  only  apply  in  high  tides.  At  least  Collinson’s  Chart 
in  some  points  below  the  town  gives  only  ii  fathom. 

I  regret  to  say  that  my  endeavours  to  procure  any  recent  informa¬ 
tion  regarding  this  city  have  failed,  and  even  in  the  Admiralty  Chart  of 
the  harbour  there  is  no  indication  of  the  form  or  exact  position  of  the 
city.  It  is  not  a  Treaty  Port,  and  our  merchants  seem  to  know  little 
about  it.  It  is  said  that  the  native  merchants  of  Chinchau  are  very 
anxious  to  participate  in  foreign  commerce. 

Zayton,  we  have  seen  from  Ibn  Batuta’s  report,  was  famed  for  rich 
satins  called  Zaituniah .  I  have  suggested  in  another  work  ( Cathay ,  p. 
486)  that  this  may  be  the  origin  of  our  word  Satin,  through  the  Zettani 
of  medieval  Italian  (or  Aceytuni  of  medieval  Spanish).  And  I  am  more 
strongly  disposed  to  support  this,  seeing  that  Francisque-Michel  in  con¬ 
sidering  the  origin  of  Satin  hesitates  between  Satalin  from  Satalia  in 
Asia  Minor  and  Soudanin  from  the  Soudan  or  Sultan ;  neither  half  so 
probable  as  Zaituni.  I  may  add  that  in  a  French  list  of  charges  of  1352 
we  find  the  intermediate  form  Zatony.  Satin  in  the  modern  form  occurs 
in  Chaucer  : — 

o  2 


Book  II. 


“In  Surrie  whilom  dwelt  a  compagnie 

Of  chapmen  rich,  and  therto  sad  and  trewe, 

That  wide  where  senten  their  spicerie, 

Clothes  of  gold,  and  satins  riche  of  hewe.” 

{Man  of  Lawe’s  Tale ,  st.  6.) 

(. Recherches ,  &c.,  II.  229  seqq. ;  Martini ,  circa  p.  no;  Klaproth , 
Mem .  II.  209-10;  Cathay ,  cxciii,  268,  223,  355,  486;  Empoli  in  Af/- 
'ptnd.  vol.  III.  87  to  Archivio  Storico  Italiano ;  Botero ,  Rel.  Univ.  pp.  97, 
228  ;  Douet  dl Arcq,  p.  342.) 

Note  3. — These  tattooing  artists  were  probably  employed  mainly 
by  mariners  frequenting  the  port.  We  do  not  know  if  the  Malays 
practised  tattooing  before  their  conversion  to  Islam.  But  most  Indo- 
Chinese  races  tattoo,  and  the  Japanese  still  “have  the  greater  part  of 
the  body  and  limbs  scrolled  over  with  bright-blue  dragons,  and  lions  and 
tigers,  and  figures  of  men  and  women,  tattooed  into  their  skins  with  the 
most  artistic  and  elaborate  ornamentation.”  ( Alcock ,  I.  191.)  Probably 
the  Arab  sailors  also  indulged  in  the  same  kind  of  decoration.  It  is 
common  among  Arab  women  now,  and  Della  Valle  speaks  of  it  as  in 
his  time  so  much  in  vogue  among  both  sexes  through  Egypt,  Arabia, 
and  Babylonia,  that  he  had  not  been  able  to  escape.  (I.  395.) 

Note  4. — The  divergence  in  Ramusio’s  version  is  here  very  notable  : 
“  The  River  which  enters  the  Port  of  Zayton  is  great  and  wide,  running 
with  great  velocity,  and  is  a  branch  of  that  which  flows  by  the  city  of 
Kinsay.  And  at  the  place  where  it  quits  the  main  channel  is  the 
city  of  Tingui,  of  which  all  that  is  to  be  said  is  that  there  they  make 
porcelain  basins  and  dishes.  The  manner  of  making  porcelain  was 
thus  related  to  him.  They  excavate  a  certain  kind  of  earth,  as  it  were 
from  a  mine,  and  this  they  heap  into  great  piles,  and  then  leave  it  undis¬ 
turbed  and  exposed  to  wind,  rain,  and  sun  for  30  or  40  years.  In  this 
space  of  time  the  earth  becomes  sufficiently  refined  for  the  manufacture 
of  porcelain ;  they  then  colour  it  at  their  discretion,  and  bake  it  in  a 
furnace.  Those  who  excavate  the  clay  do  so  always  therefore  for  their 
sons  and  grandsons.  The  articles  are  so  cheap  in  that  city  that  you  get 
8  bowls  for  a  Venice  groat.” 

Pauthier’s  text  places  the  town  of  Tyungui  not  merely  in  the  pro¬ 
vince,  but  “  near  to  Zayton.”  And  he  identifies  it  with  a  place  called 
Tekhwa  in  the  territory  of  Yungchun,  and  some  30  miles  N.W.  of 
Thsiuanchau,  at  which,  according  to  the  Imperial  Geography,  there 
was  in  ancient  times  a  manufacture  of  white  porcelain  vases,  the  best  of 
which  were  much  sought  after.  It  is  possible  that  Tyungui  represents 

Ibn  Batuta  speaks  of  porcelain  as  manufactured  at  Zayton ;  indeed 
he  says  positively  (and  wrongly),  “  Porcelain  is  made  nowhere  in  China 
except  in  the  cities  of  Zaitun  and  Sinkalan”  (Canton).  China  ware  in 
modern  times  is  made  in  Fokien  and  Canton  provinces,  but  only  of  a 
very  ordinary  kind.  Pakwiha,  between  Amoy  and  Changchau,  is  men- 



tioned  as  now  the  place  where  the  coarse  blue  ware,  so  largely  exported 
to  India,  &c.,  is  largely  manufactured.  {Chin.  Comm.  Guide ,  p.  114.) 

Looking  however  to  the  Ramusian  interpolations,  it  is  possible  that 
Murray  is  right  in  supposing  the  place  intended  to  be  really  King-te-ching 
in  Kiangsi,  the  great  seat  of  the  manufacture  of  genuine  porcelain,  or 
rather  its  chief  mart  Jauchau-fu  on  the  Poyang  Lake. 

The  geographical  indication  of  this  city  of  porcelain,  as  at  the  place 
where  a  branch  of  the  River  of  Kinsay  flows  off  towards  Zayton,  points 
to  a  notion  prevalent  in  the  Middle  Ages  as  to  the  interdivergence  of 
rivers  in  general,  and  especially  of  Chinese  rivers.  This  notion  will 
be  found  well  embodied  in  the  Catalan  Map,  and  something  like  it  in 
the  maps  of  the  Chinese  themselves ;  it  is  a  ruling  idea  with  Ibn  Batuta, 
who,  as  we  have  seen  (in  note  2),  speaks  of  the  River  of  Zayton  as  con¬ 
nected  in  the  interior  with  “  the  Great  River,”  and  who  travels  by  this 
waterway  accordingly  from  Zayton  to  Kinsay,  taking  no  notice  of  the 
mountains  of  Fokien.  With  apparently  the  same  idea  of  one  Great 
River  of  China  with  many  ramifications,  Abulfeda  places  most  of  the 
great  cities  of  China  upon  “  The  River.”  The  “  Great  River  of  China,” 
and  its  branches  to  Kinsay,  is  alluded  to  in  a  like  spirit  by  Wassaf 
(supra,  p.  169).  Polo  has  already  indicated  the  same  idea  (p.  175). 

Assuming  this  as  the  notion  involved  in  the  passage  from  Ramusio, 
the  position  of  Jauchau  might  be  fairly  described  as  that  of  Tyunju  is 
therein,  standing  as  it  does  on  the  Poyang  Lake,  from  which  there  is 
such  a  ramification  of  internal  navigation,  e.g.  to  Kinsay  or  Hangchau-fu 
directly  by  Kwansin,  the  Changshan  portage  already  referred  to  (supra, 
p.  177),  and  the  Tsien  Tang  (and  this  is  the  Kinsay  River  line  to  which 
I  imagine  Polo  here  to  refer),  or  circuitously  by  the  Yangtse  and  Great 
Canal ;  to  Canton  by  the  portage  of  the  Meiling  pass ;  and  to  the  cities 
of  Fokien  either  by  the  Kwansin  River  or  by  Kianchanfu,  further  south, 
with  a  portage  in  each  case  across  the  Fokien  mountains.  None  of  our 
maps  give  any  idea  of  the  extent  of  internal  navigation  in  China.  (See 
Klaproth,  Mem.  vol.  III.) 

The  story  of  the  life-long  period  during  which  the  porcelain  clay 
was  exposed  to  temper  long  held  its  ground,  and  probably  was  only 
dispelled  by  the  publication  of  the  details  of  the  King-te-ching  manu¬ 
facture  by  Pere  d’Entrecolles  in  the  Lettres  Edifiantes. 

Note  5. — The  meagre  statement  in  the  French  texts  shows  merely 
that  Polo  had  heard  of  the  Fokien  dialect.  The  addition  from  Ramusio 
shows  further  that  he  was  aware  of  the  unity  of  the  written  character 
throughout  China,  but  gives  no  indication  of  knowledge  of  its  peculiar 
principles,  nor  of  the  extent  of  difference  in  the  spoken  dialects.  Even 
different  districts  of  Fokien,  according  to  Martini,  use  dialects  so  different 
that  they  understand  each  other  with  difficulty  (108). 

Professor  Kidd,  speaking  of  his  instructors  in  the  Mandarin  and 
Fokien  dialects  respectively,  says  :  “  The  teachers  in  both  cases  read 



Book  II 

the  same  books,  composed  in  the  same  style,  and  attached  precisely  the 
same  ideas  to  the  written  symbols,  but  could  not  understand  each  other 
in  conversation.”  Moreover,  besides  these  sounds  attaching  to  the 
Chinese  characters  when  read  in  the  dialect  of  Fokien,  thus  discrepant 
from  the  sounds  used  in  reading  the  same  characters  in  the  Mandarin 
dialect,  yet  another  class  of  sounds  is  used  to  express  the  same  ideas  in 
the  Fokien  dialect  when  it  is  used  colloquially  and  without  reference  to 
written  symbols  !  {Kidd's  China ,  &c.  pp.  21-23.) 

Note  6. — This  is  inconsistent  with  his  former  statements  as  to  the 
supreme  wealth  of  Kinsay.  But  with  Marco  the  subject  in  hand  is 

always  pro  magnijico. 

Ramusio  says  that  the  Traveller  will  now  “  begin  to  speak  of  the 
territories,  cities,  and  provinces  of  the  Greater,  Lesser,  and  Middle  India, 
in  which  regions  he  was  when  in  the  service  of  the  Great  Kaan,  being  sent 
thither  on  divers  matters  of  business ;  and  then  again  when  he  returned 
to  the  same  quarter  with  the  queen  of  King  Argon,  and  with  his  father 
and  uncle,  on  his  way  back  to  his  native  land.  So  he  will  relate  the 
strange  things  that  he  saw  in  those  Indies,  not  omitting  others  which  he 
heard  related  by  persons  of  reputation  and  worthy  of  credit,  and  things 
that  were  pointed  out  to  him  on  the  maps  of  mariners  of  the  Indies 

The  Kaan’.s  Fleet  leaving  the  Port  of  Zayton. 



The  Kaan’s  Fleet  passing  through  the  Indian  Archipelago. 



Of  the  Merchant  Ships  of  Manzi  that  sail  upon  the 
Indian  Seas. 

Having  finished  our  discourse  concerning  those  countries 
wherewith  our  Book  hath  been  occupied  thus  far,  we  are 
now  about  to  enter  on  the  subject  of  India,  and  to  tell 
you  of  all  the  wonders  thereof. 

And  first  let  us  speak  of  the  ships  in  which  merchants 
go  to  and  fro  amongst  the  Isles  of  India. 

These  ships,  you  must  know,  are  of  fir  timber.1  They 
have  but  one  deck,  though  each  of  them  contains  some 
50  or  60  cabins,  wherein  the  merchants  abide  greatly  at 
their  ease,  every  man  having  one  to  himself.  The  ship 
hath  but  one  rudder,  but  it  hath  four  masts ;  and  some¬ 
times  they  have  two  additional  masts,  which  they  ship  and 
unship  at  pleasure.2 

[Moreover  the  larger  of  their  vessels  have  some  thirteen 
compartments  or  severances  in  the  interior,  made  with 
planking  strongly  framed,  in  case  mayhap  the  ship  should 
spring  a  leak,  either  by  running  on  a  rock  or  by  the  blow 
of  a  hungry  whale  (as  shall  betide  ofttimes,  for  when  the 
ship  in  her  course  by  night  sends  a  ripple  back  alongside 
of  the  whale,  the  creature  seeing  the  foam  fancies  there  is 
something  to  eat  afloat,  and  makes  a  rush  forward,  whereby 
it  often  shall  stave  in  some  part  of  the  ship).  In  such 
case  the  water  that  enters  the  leak  flows  to  the  bilge,  which 
is  always  kept  clear ;  and  the  mariners,  having  ascertained 
where  the  damage  is,  empty  the  cargo  from  that  compart- 



Book  III. 

ment  into  those  adjoining,  for  the  planking  is  so  well  fitted 
that  the  water  cannot  pass  from  one  compartment  to  an¬ 
other.  They  then  stop  the  leak  and  replace  the  lading.3] 

The  fastenings  are  all  of  good  iron  nails,  and  the  sides 
are  double,  one  plank  laid  over  the  other,  and  caulked 
outside  and  in.  The  planks  are  not  pitched,  for  those 
people  do  not  have  any  pitch,  but  they  daub  the  sides  with 
another  matter,  deemed  by  them  far  better  than  pitch  ;  it 
is  this.  You  see  they  take  some  lime  and  some  chopped 
hemp,  and  these  they  knead  together  with  a  certain  wood- 
oil  ;  and  when  the  three  are  thoroughly  amalgamated,  they 
hold  like  any  glue.  And  with  this  mixture  they  do  pay 
their  ships.4 

Each  of  their  great  ships  requires  at  least  200  mariners 
[some  of  them  300].  They  are  indeed  of  great  size,  for 
one  ship  shall  carry  5000  or  6000  baskets  of  pepper  [and 
they  used  formerly  to  be  larger  than  they  are  now].  And 
aboard  these  ships,  you  must  know,  when  there  is  no  wind 
they  use  sweeps,  and  these  sweeps  are  so  big  that  to  pull 
them  requires  four  mariners  to  each.5  Every  great  ship 
has  certain  large  barks  or  tenders  attached  to  it ;  these  are 
large  enough  to  carry  1000  baskets  of  pepper,  and  carry 
50  or  60  mariners  apiece  [some  of  them  80  or  100],  and 
they  are  likewise  moved  by  oars  ;  they  assist  the  great  ship 
by  towing  her,  at  such  times  as  her  sweeps  are  in  use  [or 
even  when  she  is  under  sail,  if  the  wind  be  somewhat  on 
the  beam,  not  if  the  wind  be  astern,  for  then  the  sails  of 
the  big  ship  would  take  the  wind  out  of  those  of  the  tenders, 
and  she  would  run  them  down].  Each  ship  has  two  [or 
three]  of  these  barks,  but  one  is  bigger  than  the  others. 
There  are  also  some  ten  [small]  boats  for  the  service  of 
each  great  ship,  to  lay  out  the  anchors,  catch  fish,  bring 
supplies  aboard,  and  the  like.  When  the  ship  is  under 
sail  she  carries  these  boats  slung  to  her  sides.  And  the 
large  tenders  have  their  boats  in  like  manner. 

When  the  ship  has  been  a  year  in  work  and  they  wish 

Chap.  I. 



to  repair  her,  they  nail  on  a  third  plank  over  the  first  two, 
and  caulk  and  pay  it  well ;  and  when  another  repair  is 
wanted  they  nail  on  yet  another  plank,  and  so  on  year  by 
year  as  it  is  required.  Howbeit,  they  do  this  only  for  a 
certain  number  of  years,  and  till  there  are  six  thicknesses 
of  planking.  When  a  ship  has  come  to  have  six  planks  on 
her  sides,  one  over  the  other,  they  take  her  no  more  on  the 
high  seas,  but  make  use  of  her  for  coasting  as  long  as  she 
will  last,  and  then  they  break  her  up.6 

Now  that  I  have  told  you  about  the  ships  which  sail 
upon  the  Ocean  Sea  and  among  the  Isles  of  India,  let  us 
proceed  to  speak  of  the  various  wonders  of  India  ;  but 
first  and  foremost  I  must  tell  you  about  a  number  of  Islands 
that  there  are  in  that  part  of  the  Ocean  Sea  where  we  now 
are,  I  mean  the  Islands  lying  to  the  eastward.  So  let  us 
begin  with  an  Island  which  is  called  Chipangu. 

Note  1. — Pine  is  the  staple  timber  for  ship-building  both  at  Canton 
and  in  Fokien.  There  is  a  very  large  export  of  it  from  Fuchau,  and 
even  the  chief  fuel  at  that  city  is  from  a  kind  of  fir.  Several  varieties  of 
pine-wood  are  also  brought  down  the  rivers  for  sale  at  Canton.  (JV.  and 
Q.  China  and  Japan ,  I.  170  ;  Fortune ,  I.  286  ;  Doolittle.) 

Note  2. — Note  the  one  rudder  again  {supra,  Bk.  I.  ch.  xix.  note  3). 
One  of  the  shifting  masts  was  probably  a  bowsprit,  which  according  to 
Lecomte  the  Chinese  occasionally  use,  very  slight,  and  planted  on  the 
larboard  bow. 

Note  3. — The  system  of  water-tight  compartments,  for  the  descrip¬ 
tion  of  which  we  have  to  thank  Ramusio’s  text,  in  our  own  time  intro¬ 
duced  into  European  construction,  is  still  maintained  by  the  Chinese, 
not  only  in  sea-going  junks,  but  in  the  larger  river  craft.  (See  Mid.  Kingd. 
II.  25  ;  Blakiston ,  88  ;  Deguignes ,  I.  204-6.) 

Note  4. — This  still  remains  quite  correct,  except  that  in  place  of 
hemp  an  oakum  of  bamboo-fibre  is  used.  The  wood-oil  is  derived  from 
a  tree  called  Tong-shu ,  I  do  not  know  if  identical  with  the  wood-oil  trees 
of  Arakan  and  Pegu  {Dipterocarpus  laevis). 

Note  5. — The  junks  that  visit  Singapore  still  use  these  sweeps  (J. 
Ind.  Arch.  II.  607).  Ibn  Batuta  puts  a  much  larger  number  of  men  to 
each.  It  will  be  seen  from  his  account  below  that  great  ropes  were 



Book  III. 

attached  to  the  oars  to  pull  by,  the  bulk  of  timber  being  too  large  to 
grasp,  as  in  the  old  French  galleys  wooden  manettes or  grips,  were 
attached  to  the  oar  for  the  same  purpose. 

Note  6. — The  Chinese  sea-going  vessels  of  those  days  were  appa¬ 
rently  larger  than  was  at  all  common  in  European  navigation.  Marco 
here  speaks  of  200  (or  in  Ramusio  up  to  300)  mariners,  a  large  crew 
indeed  for  a  merchant  vessel,  but  not  so  great  as  is  implied  in  Odoric’s 
statement,  that  the  ship  in  which  he  went  from  India  to  China  had  700 
souls  on  board.  The  numbers  carried  by  Chinese  junks  are  occasion¬ 
ally  still  enormous.  “In  February,  1822,  Captain  Pearl  of  the  English 
ship  Indiana ,  coming  through  Gaspar  Straits,  fell  in  with  the  cargo  and 
crew  of  a  wrecked  junk,  and  saved  198  persons,  out  of  1600  with  whom 
she  had  left  Amoy,  whom  he  landed  at  Pontianak.  This  humane  act 
cost  him  11,000/.”  (Quoted  by  Williams  from  Chin.  Rep.  vi.  149.) 

The  following  are  some  other  medieval  accounts  of  the  China  ship¬ 
ping,  all  unanimous  as  to  the  main  facts. 

Friar  Jordanus : — “The  vessels  which  they  navigate  to  Cathay  be 
very  big,  and  have  upon  the  ship’s  hull  more  than  one  hundred  cabins, 
and  with  a  fair  wind  they  carry  ten  sails,  and  they  are  very  bulky,  being 
made  of  three  thicknesses  of  plank,  so  that  the  first  thickness  is  as  in 
our  great  ships,  the  second  crosswise,  the  third  again  longwise.  In 
sooth,  ’tis  a  very  strong  affair  !  ”  (55.) 

Nicolo  Conti : — “  They  build  some  ships  much  larger  than  ours, 
capable  of  containing  2000  butts  (■ vegetes ),  with  five  masts  and  five  sails. 
The  lower  part  is  constructed  with  triple  planking,  in  order  to  withstand 
the  force  of  the  tempests  to  which  they  are  exposed.  And  the  ships  are 
divided  into  compartments,  so  formed  that  if  one  part  be  shattered  the 
rest  remains  in  good  order,  and  enables  the  vessel  to  complete  its 

Ibn  Batuta  : — “  Chinese  ships  only  are  used  in  navigating  the  sea  of 
China.  .  .  .  There  are  three  classes  of  these  :  (1)  the  Large,  which  are 
called  Jonuk  (sing.  Junk ) ;  (2)  the  Middling,  which  are  called  Zao ;  and 
(3)  the  Small,  called  Kakam.  Each  of  the  greater  ships  has  from  twelve 
sails  down  to  three.  These  are  made  of  bamboo  laths  woven  into  a 
kind  of  mat ;  they  are  never  lowered,  and  they  are  braced  this  way  and 
that  as  the  wind  may  blow.  When  these  vessels  anchor  the  sails  are 
allowed  to  fly  loose.  Each  ship  has  a  crew  of  1000  men,  viz.  600 
mariners  and  400  soldiers,  among  whom  are  archers,  target-men,  and 
crossbow-men  to  shoot  naphtha.  Each  large  vessel  is  attended  by  three 
others,  which  are  called  respectively  ‘  The  Half,’  ‘  The  Third,’  and  ‘  The 
Quarter.’  These  vessels  are  built  only  at  Zayton,  in  China,  and  at  Sin- 
kalan  or  Sni-ul-Sm  (i.e.  Canton).  This  is  the  way  they  are  built.  They 
construct  two  walls  of  timber,  which  they  connect  by  very  thick  slabs  of 
wood,  clenching  all  fast  this  way  and  that  with  huge  spikes,  each  of 
which  is  three  cubits  in  length.  When  the  two  walls  have  been  united 
by  these  slabs  they  apply  the  bottom  planking,  and  then  launch  the 

Chap  II. 



hull  before  completing  the  construction.  The  timbers  projecting  from 
the  sides  towards  the  water  serve  the  crew  for  going  down  to  wash  and 
for  other  needs.  And  to  these  projecting  timbers  are  attached  the  oars, 
which  are  like  masts  in  size,  and  need  from  10  to  15  men''1'  to  ply  each 
of  them.  There  are  about  20  of  these  great  oars,  and  the  rowers  at 
each  oar  stand  in  two  ranks  facing  one  another.  The  oars  are  provided 
with  two  strong  cords  or  cables  ;  each  rank  pulls  at  one  of  these  and 
then  lets  go,  whilst  the  other  rank  pulls  on  the  opposite  cable.  These 
rowers  have  a  pleasant  chaunt  at  their  work,  usually  singing  La1  la! 
Ld'la!\  The  three  tenders  which  we  have  mentioned  above  also  use 
oars,  and  tow  the  great  ships  when  required. 

“  On  each  ship  four  decks  are  constructed ;  and  there  are  cabins  and 
public  rooms  for  the  merchants.  Some  of  these  cabins  are  provided 
with  closets  and  other  conveniences,  and  they  have  keys  so  that  their 
tenants  can  lock  them,  and  carry  with  them  their  wives  or  concubines. 
The  crew  in  some  of  the  cabins  have  their  children,  and  they  sow  kitchen 
herbs,,  ginger,  &c.,  in  wooden  buckets.  The  captain  is  a  very  great 
Don ;  and  when  he  lands,  the  archers  and  negro-slaves  march  before 
him  with  javelins,  swords,  drums,  horns,  and  trumpets.”  (IV.  pp.  91  seqq. 
and  247  seqq.  combined.)  Comparing  this  very  interesting  description 
with  Polo’s,  we  see  that  they  agree  in  all  essentials  except  size  and  the 
number  of  decks.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  the  revival  of  the  trade  with 
India,  which  Kublai  stimulated,  may  have  in  its  development  under  his 
successors  led  to  the  revival  also  of  the  larger  ships  of  former  times  to 
which  Marco  alludes. 


Description  of  the  Island  of  Chipangu,  and  the  Great  Kaan’s 
Despatch  of  a  Host  against  it. 

Chipangu  is  an  Island  towards  the  east  in  the  high  seas, 
1500  miles  distant  from  the  Continent;  and  a  very  great 
Island  it  is.1 

The  people  are  white,  civilized,  and  well-favoured. 
They  are  Idolaters,  and  are  dependent  on  nobody.  And  I 
can  tell  you  the  quantity  of  gold  they  have  is  endless ;  for 

*  Or  even  30  (p.  248). 

f  Corresponding  to  the  “  Hevelow  and  rumbelow”  of  the  Christian  oarsmen 
(see  Coeur  de  Lion  in  Weber ,  II.  99). 



Book  III. 

they  find  it  in  their  own  Islands,  [and  the  King  does  not 
allow  it  to  be  exported.  Moreover]  few  merchants  visit 
the  country  because  it  is  so  far  from  the  main  land,  and 
thus  it  comes  to  pass  that  their  gold  is  abundant  beyond 
all  measured 

I  will  tell  you  a  wonderful  thing  about  the  Palace  of 
the  Lord  of  that  Island.  You  must  know  that  he  hath  a 
great  Palace  which  is  entirely  roofed  with  fine  gold,  just  as 
our  churches  are  roofed  with  lead,  insomuch  that  it  would  . 
scarcely  be  possible  to  estimate  its  value.  Moreover,  all 
the  pavement  of  the  Palace,  and  the  floors  of  its  chambers, 
are  entirely  of  gold,  in  plates  like  slabs  of  stone,  a  good  two 
fingers  thick ;  and  the  windows  also  are  of  gold,  so  that 
altogether  the  richness  of  this  Palace  is  past  all  bounds  and 
all  belief d 

They  have  also  pearls  in  abundance,  which  are  of  a 
rose  colour,  but  fine,  big,  and  round,  and  quite  as  valuable 
as  the  white  ones.  [In  this  Island  some  of  the  dead  are 
buried,  and  others  are  burnt.  When  a  body  is  burnt  they 
put  one  of  these  pearls  in  the  mouth,  for  such  is  their 
custom.]  They  have  also  quantities  of  other  precious 

Cublay,  the  Grand  Kaan,  who  now  reigneth,  having 
heard  much  of  the  immense  wealth  that  was  in  this  Island, 
formed  a  plan  to  get  possession  of  it.  For  this  purpose 
he  sent  two  of  his  Barons  with  a  great  navy,  and  a  great 
force  of  horse  and  foot.  These  Barons  were  able  and 
valiant  men,  one  of  them  called  Abac  an  and  the  other 
Vonsainchin,  and  they  weighed  with  all  their  company 
from  the  ports  of  Zayton  and  Kinsay,  and  put  out  to  sea. 
They  sailed  until  they  reached  the  Island  aforesaid,  and 
there  they  landed,  and  occupied  the  open  country  and  the 
villages,  but  did  not  succeed  in  getting  possession  of  any 
city  or  castle.  And  so  a  disaster  befel  them,  as  I  shall  now 

You  must  know  that  there  was  much  ill-will  between 

Chap.  II. 



those  two  Barons,  so  that  one  would  do  nothing  to  help 
the  other.  And  it  came  to  pass  that  there  arose  a  north 
wind  which  blew  with  great  fury,  and  caused  great  damage 
along  the  coasts  of  that  Island,  for  its  harbours  were  few. 
It  blew  so  hard  that  the  Great  Kaan’s  fleet  could  not 
stand  against  it.  And  when  the  chiefs  saw  that,  they  came 
to  the  conclusion  that  if  the  ships  remained  where  they 
were  the  whole  navy  would  perish.  So  they  all  got  on 
board  and  made  sail  to  leave  the  country.  But  when  they 
had  gone  about  four  miles  they  came  to  a  small  Island,  on 
which  they  were  driven  ashore  in  spite  of  all  they  could  do  ; 
and  a  great  part  of  the  fleet  was  wrecked,  and  a  great  multi¬ 
tude  of  the  force  perished,  so  that  there  escaped  only  some 
30,000  men,  who  took  refuge  on  this  Island. 

These  held  themselves  for  dead  men,  for  they  were 
without  food,  and  knew  not  what  to  do,  and  they  were  in 
great  despair  when  they  saw  that  such  of  the  ships  as  had 
escaped  the  storm  were  making  full  sail  for  their  own 
country,  without  the  slightest  sign  of  turning  back  to  help 
them.  And  this  was  because  of  the  bitter  hatred  between 
the  two  Barons  in  command  of  the  force ;  for  the  Baron 
who  escaped  never  showed  the  slightest  desire  to  return  to 
his  colleague  who  was  left  upon  the  Island  in  the  way  you 
have  heard ;  though  he  might  easily  have  done  so  after 
the  storm  ceased;  and  it  endured  not  long.  He  did  no¬ 
thing  of  the  kind  however,  but  made  straight  for  home. 
And  you  must  know  that  the  Island  to  which  the  soldiers 
had  escaped  was  uninhabited  ;  there  was  not  a  creature 
upon  it  but  themselves. 

Now  we  will  tell  you  what  befel  those  who  escaped  on 
the  fleet,  and  also  those  who  were  left  upon  the  Island. 

Note  1. — Chipangu  represents  the  Chinese  Jih-pan-kwe ,  the  king¬ 
dom  of  Japan,  the  name  Jih-pan  being  apparently  a  kind  of  translation 
of  the  native  name  Nippon ,  which  is  said  to  mean  “  the  origin  of  the 
sun,”  or  sun-rising,  though  that  seems  an  improbable  name  for  a  people 



Book  III. 

to  give  their  own  country.  The  name  Chipangu  is  used  also  by  Rashid- 

Note  2. — The  causes  briefly  mentioned  in  the  text  maintained  the 
abundance  and  low  price  of  gold  in  Japan  till  the  recent  opening  of  the 
trade  (see  Bk.  II.  ch.  1.  note  4).  Edrisi  had  heard  that  gold  in  the 
isles  of  Sila  (or  Japan)  was  so  abundant  that  dog-collars  were  made 
of  it. 

Note  3. — This  was  doubtless  an  old  “yarn,”  repeated  from  genera¬ 
tion  to  generation.  We  find  in  a  Chinese  work  quoted  by  Amyot : 
“The  palace  of  the  king  (of  Japan)  is  remarkable  for  its  singular  con¬ 
struction.  It  is  a  vast  edifice,  of  extraordinary  height ;  it  has  nine 
stories,  and  presents  on  all  sides  an  exterior  shining  with  the  purest 
gold.”  (Mem.  cone,  les  Chinois ,  XIV.  55.)  See  also  a  like  story  in 
Kaempfer  (H.  du  Japon ,  I.  139). 

Ancient  Japanese  Emperor.  (After  a  Native  Drawing  ;  from  Humbert.) 

Chap.  III. 



Note  4. — Kaempfer  speaks  of  pearls  being  found  in  considerable 
numbers,  chiefly  about  Satsuma,  and  in  the  Gulf  of  Omura,  in  Kiusiu. 
From  what  Alcock  says  they  do  not  seem  now  to  be  abundant.  (Id.  I. 
95  ;  Alcock ,  I.  200.)  No  precious  stones  are  mentioned  by  Kaempfer. 

Rose-tinted  pearls  are  frequent  among  the  Scotch  pearls,  and  accord¬ 
ing  to  Mr.  King  those  of  this  tint  are  of  late  the  most  highly  esteemed 
in  Paris.  Such  pearls  were  perhaps  also  most  highly  esteemed  in  old 
India ;  for  red  pearls  (Lohitamukti)  form  one  of  the  seven  precious 
objects  which  it  was  incumbent  to  use  in  the  adornment  of  Buddhistic 
reliquaries,  and  to  distribute  at  the  building  of  a  Dagopa.  (Nat.  Hist,  of 
Prec.  Stones,  <Nc.,  263  ;  Koeppen ,  I.  541.) 


What  further  came  of  the  Great  Kaan’s  Expedition  against 


You  see  those  who  were  left  upon  the  Island,  some  30,000 
souls  as  I  have  said,  did  hold  themselves  for  dead  men,  for 
they  saw  no  possible  means  of  escape.  And  when  the  King 
of  the  great  Island  got  news  how  the  one  part  of  the  expe¬ 
dition  had  saved  themselves  upon  that  Isle,  and  the  other 
part  was  scattered  and  fled,  he  was  right  glad  thereat,  and 
he  gathered  together  all  the  ships  of  his  territory  and  pro¬ 
ceeded  with  them,  the  sea  now  being  calm,  to  the  little  Isle, 
and  landed  his  troops  all  round  it.  And  when  the  Tartars 
saw  them  thus  arrive,  and  the  whole  force  landed,  without 
any  guard  having  been  left  on  board  the  ships  (the  act  of 
men  very  little  acquainted  with  such  work),  they  had  the 
sagacity  to  feign  flight.  [Now  the  Island  was  very  high 
in  the  middle,  and  whilst  the  enemy  were  hastening  after 
them  by  one  road  they  fetched  a  compass  by  another  and] 
in  this  way  managed  to  reach  the  enemy’s  ships  and  to  get 
aboard  of  them.  This  they  did  easily  enough,  for  they 
encountered  no  opposition. 

Once  they  were  on  board  they  got  under  way  imme- 
vol.  11.  p 



Book  III. 

diately  for  the  great  Island,  and  landed  there,  carrying  with 
them  the  standards  and  banners  of  the  King  of  the  Island  ; 
and  in  this  wise  they  advanced  to  the  capital.  The  garri¬ 
son  of  the  city,  suspecting  nothing  wrong,  when  they  saw 
their  own  banners  advancing  supposed  that  it  was  their 
own  host  returning,  and  so  gave  them  admittance.  The 
Tartars  as  soon  as  they  had  got  in  seized  all  the  bulwarks 
and  drove  out  all  who  were  in  the  place  except  the  pretty 
women,  and  these  they  kept  for  themselves.  In  this  way 
the  Great  Kaan’s  people  got  possession  of  the  city. 

When  the  King  of  the  great  Island  and  his  army  per¬ 
ceived  that  both  fleet  and  city  were  lost,  they  were  greatly 
cast  down  ;  howbeit,  they  got  away  to  the  great  Island  on 
board  some  of  the  ships  which  had  not  been  carried  off. 
And  the  King  then  gathered  all  his  host  to  the  siege  of  the 
city,  and  invested  it  so  straitly  that  no  one  could  go  in  or 
come  out.  Those  who  were  within  held  the  place  for  seven 
months,  and  strove  by  all  means  to  send  word  to  the  Great 
Kaan ;  but  it  was  all  in  vain,  they  never  could  get  the 
intelligence  carried  to  him.  So  when  they  saw  they  could 
hold  out  no  longer  they  gave  themselves  up,  on  condition 
that  their  lives  should  be  spared,  but  still  that  they  should 
never  quit  the  Island.  And  this  befel  in  the  year  of  our 
Lord  1279.1  The  Great  Kaan  ordered  the  Baron  who  had 
fled  so  disgracefully  to  lose  his  head.  And  afterwards  he 
caused  the  other  also,  who  had  been  left  on  the  Island,  to 
be  put  to  death,  for  he  had  never  behaved  as  a  good  soldier 
ought  to  do.2 

But  I  must  tell  you  a  wonderful  thing  that  I  had  for¬ 
gotten,  which  happened  on  this  expedition. 

You  see,  at  the  beginning  of  the  affair,  when  the  Kaan’s 
people  had  landed  on  the  great  Island  and  occupied  the 
open  country  as  I  told  you,  they  stormed  a  tower  belonging 
to  some  of  the  islanders  who  refused  to  surrender,  and  they 
cut  off  the  heads  of  all  the  garrison  except  eight ;  on  these 

Chap.  III. 



eight  they  found  it  impossible  to  inflict  any  wound !  Now 
this  was  by  virtue  of  certain  stones  which  they  had  in  their 
arms  inserted  between  the  skin  and  the  flesh,  with  such 
skill  as  not  to  show  at  all  externally.  And  the  charm  and 
virtue  of  these  stones  was  such  that  those  who  wore  them 
could  never  perish  by  steel.  So  when  the  Barons  learned 
this  they  ordered  the  men  to  be  beaten  to  death  with  clubs. 
And  after  their  death  the  stones  were  extracted  from  the 
bodies  of  all,  and  were  greatly  prized.3  But  now  let  us 
have  done  with  that  matter,  and  return  to  our  subject. 

Note  1. — Kublai  had  long  hankered  after  the  conquest  of  Japan, 
or  had  at  least,  after  his  fashion,  desired  to  obtain  an  acknowledgment 
of  supremacy  from  the  Japanese  sovereign.  He  had  taken  steps  in  this 
view  as  early  as  1266,  but  entirely  without  success.  The  fullest  acces¬ 
sible  particulars  respecting  his  efforts  are  contained  in  the  Japanese 
Annals  translated  by  Titsing ;  and  these  are  in  complete  accordance 
with  the  Chinese  histories  as  given  by  Gaubil,  Demailla,  and  in  Pauthier’s 
extracts,  so  far  as  these  three  latter  enter  into  particulars.  But  it  seems 
clear  from  the  comparison  that  the  Japanese  chronicler  had  the  Chinese 
Annals  in  his  hands. 

In  1268,  1269,  1270,  and  1271,  Kublai’s  efforts  were  repeated 
to  little  purpose,  and,  provoked  at  this,  in  1274,  he  sent  a  fleet  of  300 
vessels  with  15,000  men  against  Japan.  This  was  defeated  near  the 
Island  of  Tsiusima  with  heavy  loss. 

Nevertheless  Kublai  seems  in  the  following  years  to  have  renewed 
his  attempts  at  negotiation.  The  Japanese  patience  was  exhausted,  and 
in  1280  they  put  one  of  his  ambassadors  to  death. 

“  As  soon  as  the  Moko  (Mongols)  heard  of  this,  they  assembled  a 
considerable  army  to  conquer  Japan.  When ‘informed  of  their  prepara  ¬ 
tions  the  Dairi  sent  ambassadors  to  Ize  and  other  temples  to  invoke  the 
gods.  Fosiono  Toki  Mune,  who  resided  at  Kama  Kura,  ordered  troops 
to  assemble  at  Tsukuzi  ( Tsikouzen  of  Alcock’s  Map),  and  sent  .... 
numerous  detachments  to  Miyako  to  guard  the  Dairi  and  the  Togou 
(Heir  Apparent)  against  all  danger.  ...  In  the  first  moon  (of  1281) 
the  Mongols  named  Asikan  (Ngo-tsa-han*),  Fan-bunko  (Fan-wen-hu), 
Kin  to  (Hintu),  and  Kosakio  (Hung-cha-Khieu)  Generals  of  their  army, 

*  These  names  in  parentheses  are  the  Chinese  forms  ;  the  others,  the  Japanese 
modes  of  reading  them. 

P  2 

20  6 


Book  III. 

which  consisted  of  100,000  men,  and  was  embarked  on  numerous  ships 
of  war.  Asikan  fell  ill  on  the  passage,  and  this  made  the  second  General 
(Fan-wen-hu)  undecided  as  to  his  course. 

“7 th  Month.  The  entire  fleet  arrived  at  the  Island  of  Firando 
(P’hing-hu),  and  passed  thence  to  Goriosan  (Ulungshan).  The  troops 

of  Tsukuzi  were  under  arms.  1  st  of  3 rd  Month.  A  frightful  storm  arose; 
the  Mongol  ships  foundered  or  were  sorely  shattered.  The  General 
(Fan-wen-hu)  fled  with  the  other  Generals  on  the  vessels  that  had  least 
suffered ;  nobody  has  ever  heard  what  became  of  them.  The  army  of 

Chap.  III. 



100,000  men,  which  had  landed  below  Goriosan,  wandered  about  for 
three  days  without  provisions ;  and  the  soldiers  began  to  plan  the  build¬ 
ing  of  vessels  in  which  they  might  escape  to  China. 

“  7 th  day.  The  Japanese  army  invested  and  attacked  them  with 
great  vigour.  The  Mongols  were  totally  defeated.  30,000  of  them  were 
made  prisoners  and  conducted  to  Fakata  (the  Fokouoka  of  Alcock’s  Map, 
but  Fakatta  in  Kaempfer’s),  and  there  put  to  death.  Grace  was  extended 
to  only  (three  men)  who  were  sent  to  China  with  the  intelligence  of  the 
fate  of  the  army.  The  destruction  of  so  numerous  a  fleet  was  consi¬ 
dered  the  most  evident  proof  of  the  protection  of  the  gods  ”  ( Titsingh , 
p.  264-5).  At  p.  259  of  the  same  work  Klaproth  gives  another  account 
from  the  Japanese  Encyclopaedia;  the  difference  is  not  material. 

The  Chinese  Annals,  in  Demailla,  state  that  the  Japanese  spared 
10,000  or  12,000  of  the  Southern  Chinese,  whom  they  retained  as  slaves. 
Gaubil  says  that  30,000  Mongols  were  put  to  death,  whilst  70,000  Co- 
reans  and  Chinese  were  made  slaves. 

Kublai  was  loth  to  put  up  with  this  huge  discomfiture,  and  in  1283 
he  made  preparations  for  another  expedition ;  but  the  project  excited 
strong  discontent,  and  he  eventually  gave  it  up.  (Demailla,  IX.  409, 
418,  428;  Gaubil,  195.) 

The  Abacan  of  Polo  is  probably  the  Asikan  of  the  Japanese,  whom 
Gaubil  calls  Argan.  Vonsainchin  is  perhaps  Fan- Wen-hu  with  the 
Chinese  title  of  Tsiang-Kiun  or  General  (elsewhere  represented  in  Polo 
by  Sangon ), — Fan-Tsiang-kiun. 

We  see  that,  as  usual,  whilst  Marco’s  account  in  some  of  the  main 
features  concurs  with  that  of  the  histories,  he  gives  a  good  many  addi¬ 
tional  particulars,  some  of  which,  such  as  the  ill-will  between  the  Generals, 
are  no  doubt  genuine.  But  of  the  story  of  the  capture  of  the  Japanese 
capital  by  the  shipwrecked  army  we  know  not  what  to  make ;  we  can’t 
accept  it  certainly. 

Note  2. — Ram.  says  he  was  sent  to  a  certain  Island  called  Zorza 
( Chorcha  ?)  where  men  who  have  failed  in  duty  are  put  to  death  in  this 
manner.  They  wrap  the  arms  of  the  victim  in  the  hide  of  a  newly 
flayed  buffalo,  and  sew  it  tight.  As  this  dries  it  compresses  him  so 
terribly  that  he  cannot  move,  and  so,  finding  no  help,  his  life  ends  in 

The  same  kind  of  torture  is  reported  of  different  countries  in  the 
East:  e.g.,  see  Makrizi,  Pt.  III.  p.  108,  and  Pottinger  as  quoted  by 
Marsden  in  loco.  It  also  appears  among  the  tortures  of  a  Buddhist 
hell  as  represented  in  a  temple  at  Canton.  ( Oliphanfs  Narrative, 
I.  168.) 

Note  3. — Like  devices  to  procure  invulnerability  are  common  in 
the  Indo-Chinese  countries.  The  Burmese  sometimes  insert  pellets  of 
gold  under  the  skin  with  this  view.  At  a  meeting  of  the  Asiatic  Society 



Book  III. 

of  Bengal  in  1868,  gold  and  silver  coins  were  shown,  which  had  been 
extracted  from  under  the  skin  of  a  Burmese  convict  at  the  Andaman 
Islands.  Friar  Odoric  speaks  of  the  practice  in  one  of  the  Indian  Islands 
(apparently  Borneo),  and  the  stones  possessing  such  virtue  were  accord¬ 
ing  to  him  found  in  the  bamboo,  presumably  the  siliceous  concretions 
called  Tabashir.  Conti  also  describes  the  practice  in  Java  of  inserting 
such  amulets  under  the  skin.  The  Malays  of  Sumatra  too  have  great 
faith  in  the  efficacy  of  certain  “  stones  which  they  pretend  are  extracted 
from  reptiles,  birds,  animals,  &c.,  in  preventing  them  from  being  wounded.” 
(See  Mission  to  Ava ,  p.  208  ;  Cathay,  94;  Conti ,  p.  32  ;  Friend  of  Lidia, 
May  7th,  1868  :  Anderson's  Mission  to  Sumatra ,  p.  323.) 


Concerning  the  Fashion  of  the  Idols. 

Now  you  must  know  that  the  Idols  of  Cathay,  and  of 
Manzi,  and  of  this  Island,  are  all  of  the  same  class.  And 
in  this  Island  as  well  as  elsewhere,  there  be  some  of  the 
Idols  that  have  the  head  of  an  ox,  some  that  have  the 
head  of  a  pig,  some  of  a  dog,  some  of  a  sheep,  and  some  of 
divers  other  kinds.  And  some  of  them  have  four  heads, 
whilst  some  have  three,  one  growing  out  of  either  shoulder. 
There  are  also  some  that  have  four  hands,  some  ten,  some 
a  thousand !  And  they  do  put  more  faith  in  those  Idols 
that  have  a  thousand  hands  than  in  any  of  the  others.1 
And  when  any  Christian  asks  them  why  they  make  their 
Idols  in  so  many  different  guises,  and  not  all  alike,  they 
reply  that  just  so  their  forefathers  were  wont  to  have  them 
made,  and  just  so  they  will  leave  them  to  their  children, 
and  these  to  the  after  generations.  And  so  they  will  be 
handed  down  for  ever.  And  you  must  understand  that 
the  deeds  ascribed  to  these  Idols  are  such  a  parcel  of  devil¬ 
ries  as  it  is  best  not  to  tell.  So  let  us  have  done  with  the 
Idols,  and  speak  of  other  things. 

Chap.  IV. 



But  I  must  tell  you  one  thing  still  concerning  that 
Island  (and  ’tis  the  same  with  the  other  Indian  Islands),  that 
if  the  natives  take  prisoner  an  enemy  who  cannot  pay  a 
ransom,  he  who  hath  the  prisoner  summons  all  his  friends 
and  relations,  and  they  put  the  prisoner  to  death,  and  then 
they  cook  him  and  eat  him,  and  they  say  there  is  no  meat 
in  the  world  so  good  ! — But  now  we  will  have  done  with 
that  Island  and  speak  of  something  else. 

You  must  know  the  Sea  in  which  lie  the  Islands  of 
those  parts  is  called  the  Sea  of  Chin,  which  is  as  much 
as  to  say  “The  Sea  over  against  Manzi.”  For,  in  the  lan¬ 
guage  of  those  Isles,  when  they  say  Chin ,  ’tis  Manzi 
they  mean.  And  I  tell  you  with  regard  to  that  Eastern 
Sea  of  Chin,  according  to  what  is  said  by  the  experienced 
pilots  and  mariners  of  those  parts,  there  be  7459  Islands  in 
the  waters  frequented  by  the  said  mariners ;  and  that  is 
how  they  know  the  fact,  for  their  whole  life  is  spent  in 
navigating  that  sea.  And  there  is  not  one  of  those  Islands 
but  produces  valuable  and  odorous  woods  like  the  lignaloe, 
aye  and  better  too  ;  and  they  produce  also  a  great  variety  of 
spices.  For  example  in  those  Islands  grows  pepper  as  white 
as  snow,  as  well  as  the  black  in  great  quantities.  In  fact  the 
riches  of  those  Islands  is  something  wonderful,  whether  in 
gold  or  precious  stones,  or  in  all  manner  of  spicery ;  but 
they  lie  so  far  off  from  the  main  land  that  it  is  hard  to  get 
to  them.  And  when  the  ships  of  Zayton  and  Kinsay  do 
voyage  thither  they  make  vast  profits  by  their  venture.2 

It  takes  them  a  whole  year  for  the  voyage,  going  in 
winter  and  returning  in  summer.  For  in  that  Sea  there 
are  but  two  winds  that  blow,  the  one  that  carries  them  out¬ 
ward  and  the  other  that  brings  them  homeward  ;  and  the 
one  of  these  winds  blows  all  the  winter,  and  the  other  all 
the  summer.  And  you  must  know  these  regions  are  so  far 
from  India  that  it  takes  a  long  time  also  for  the  voyage 



Book  III. 

Though  that  Sea  is  called  the  Sea  of  Chin,  as  I  have 
told  you,  yet  it  is  part  of  the  Ocean  Sea  all  the  same.  But 
just  as  in  these  parts  people  talk  of  the  Sea  of  England 
and  the  Sea  of  Rochelle,  so  in  those  countries  they  speak 
of  the  Sea  of  Chin  and  the  Sea  of  India,  and  so  on,  though 
they  all  are  but  parts  of  the  Ocean.* 

Now  let  us  have  done  with  that  region  which  is  very 
inaccessible  and  out  of  the  way.  Moreover,  Messer  Marco 
Polo  never  was  there.  And  let  me  tell  you  the  Great  Kaan 
has  nothing  to  do  with  them,  nor  do  they  render  him  any 
tribute  or  service. 

So  let  us  go  back  to  Zayton  and  take  up  the  order 
of  our  book  from  that  point.4 

Note  1. — “  Several  of  the  (Chinese)  gods  have  horns  on  the  forehead, 
or  wear  animals’  heads ;  some  have  three  eyes.  .  .  .  Some  are  repre¬ 
sented  in  the  Indian  manner  with  a  multiplicity  of  arms.  We  saw  at 
Yangcheufu  a  goddess  with  thirty  arms.”  (. Deguignes ,  I.  364-6.) 

The  reference  to  any  particular  form  of  idolatry  here  is  vague.  But 
in  Tibetan  Buddhism,  with  which  Marco  was  familiar,  all  these  extrava¬ 
gances  are  prominent,  though  repugnant  to  the  more  orthodox  Buddhism 
of  the  South. 

When  the  Dalai  Lama  came  to  visit  the  Altun  Khan,  to  secure  the 
reconversion  of  the  Mongols  in  1577,  he  appeared  as  a  manifest  embo¬ 
diment  of  the  Bodhisatwa  Avalokitegvara,  with  four  hands ,  of  which  two 
were  always  folded  across  the  breast !  The  same  Bodhisatwa  is  some¬ 
times  represented  with  eleven  heads.  Manjushri  manifests  himself  in  a 
golden  body  with  1000  hands  and  1000  Patras  or  vessels,  in  each  of 
which  were  1000  figures  of  Sakya  visible,  &c.  (. Koeppen ,  II.  137  •  Vas¬ 

sily  ev,  200.) 

Note  2. — Polo  seems  in  this  passage  to  be  speaking  of  the  more 
easterly  Islands  of  the  Archipelago,  such  as  the  Philippines,  the  Mo¬ 
luccas,  &c.,  but  with  vague  ideas  of  their  position. 

Note  3. — In  this  passage.alone  Polo  makes  use  of  the  now  familiar 
name  of  China.  “  Chin”  as  he  says,  “  in  the  language  of  those  Isles 
means  Manzi  ”  In  fact,  though  the  form  Chin  is  more  correctly  Persian, 
we  do  get  the  exact  form  China  from  “the  language  of  those  Isles,”  i.e., 
from  the  Malay .  China  is  also  used  in  Japanese. 

Chap.  IV. 


21 1 

What  he  says  about  the  Ocean  and  the  various  names  of  its  parts  is 
nearly  a  version  of  a  passage  in  the  geographical  Poem  of  Dionysius, 
ending : — 

Ovtcos  ’fi.Kea.vbs  TreptSeSpo^te  yaiiav  diraaav 
T oTos  eiov  Kal  r oiia  pteF  avdpd<nv  ovvSfxaff  e\Kuv  (42-3). 

Note  4. — The  Ramusian  here  inserts  a  short  chapter,  which  from 
the  awkward  way  in  which  it  comes  in  is  a  very  manifest  interpolation, 
though  possibly  still  an  interpolation  by  the  Traveller’s  hand  : — - 

“  Leaving  the  Port  of  Zayton  you  sail  westward  and  something  south- 
westward  for  1500  miles,  passing  a  gulf  called  Cheinan,  having  a  length 
of  two  months’  sail  towards  the  north.  Along  the  whole  of  its  south-east 
side  it  borders  on  the  province  of  Manzi,  and  on  the  other  side  with 
Anin  and  Coloman,  and  many  other  provinces  formerly  spoken  of. 
Within  this  Gulf  there  are  innumerable  Islands,  almost  all  well-peopled  ; 
and  in  these  is  found  a  great  quantity  of  gold-dust,  which  is  collected  from 
the  sea  where  the  rivers  discharge.  There  is  copper  also,  and  other 
things ;  and  the  people  drive  a  trade  with  each  other  in  the  things  that  are 
peculiar  to  their  respective  Islands.  They  have  also  a  traffic  with  the 
people  of  the  mainland,  selling  them  gold  and  copper  and  other  things  ; 
and  purchasing  in  turn  what  they  stand  in  need  of.  In  the  greater  part 
of  these  Islands  plenty  of  corn  grows.  This  gulf  is  so  great,  and  inha¬ 
bited  by  so  many  people,  that  it  seems  like  a  world  in  itself.” 

This  passage  is  translated  by  Marsden  with  much  forcing,  so  as  to 
describe  the  China  Sea,  embracing  the  Philippine  Islands,  &c.  ;  but  it 
seems  clearly  to  indicate  the  writer’s  conception  (which  I  have  embodied 
in  my  Map  of  Marco  Polo’s  Own  Geography)  as  of  a  Great  Gulf  running 
up  into  the  continent  between  Southern  China  and  Tongking  for  a 
length  equal  to  two  months’  journey. 

The  name  of  the  gulf,  Cheinan,  i.e.,  Heinan ,  may  either  be  that  of 
the  Island  so  called,  or,  as  I  rather  incline  to  suppose,  ’ An-nan ,  i.e., 
Tongking.  But  even  in  the  days  of  Camoens,  who  lived  and  wrote  at 
Macao  in  1559-60,  the  Gulf  of  Tongking  or  Hainan  was  still  an 
unknown  sea : — 

“  Ves,  corre  a  costa,  que  Champa  se  chama, 

Cuja  mata  he  do  pao  cheiroso  ornada  : 

Ves,  Cauchichina  esta  de  escura  fama, 

E  de  Aindo  ve  a  incognita  enseada  ”  (X.  129). 



Book  III. 


Of  the  great  Country  called  Chamba. 

You  must  know  that  on  leaving  the  port  of  Zayton  you 
sail  west-south-west  for  1500  miles,  and  then  you  come  to 
a  country  called  Chamba,1  a  very  rich  region,  having  a 
king  of  its  own.  The  people  are  Idolaters  and  pay  a  yearly 
tribute  to  the  Great  Kaan,  which  consists  of  elephants  and 
nothing  but  elephants.  And  I  will  tell  you  how  they  came 
to  pay  this  tribute. 

It  happened  in  the  year  of  Christ  1278  that  the  Great 
Kaan  sent  a  Baron  of  his  called  Sagatu,  with  a  great  force 
of  horse  and  foot  against  this  King  of  Chamba,  and  this 
Baron  opened  the  war  on  a  great  scale  against  the  King 
and  his  country. 

Now  the  King  [whose  name  was  Accambale~|  was  a 
very  aged  man,  nor  had  he  such  a  force  as  the  Baron  had. 
And  when  he  saw  what  havoc  the  Baron  was  making  with 
his  kingdom  he  was  grieved  to  the  heart.  So  he  bade 
messengers  get  ready  and  despatched  them  to  the  Great 
Kaan.  And  they  said  to  the  Kaan  :  “  Our  Lord  the  King 
of  Chamba  salutes  you  as  his  liege-lord,  and  would  have 
you  to  know  that  he  is  stricken  in  years  and  long  hath 
held  his  realm  in  peace.  And  now  he  sends  you  word  by 
us  that  he  is  willing  to  be  your  liege-man,  and  will  send 
you  every  year  a  tribute  of  as  many  elephants  as  you 
please.  And  he  prays  you  in  all  gentleness  and  humility 
that  you  would  send  word  to  your  Baron  to  desist  from 
harrying  his  kingdom  and  to  quit  his  territories.  These 
shall  henceforth  be  at  your  absolute  disposal,  and  the 
King  shall  hold  them  of  you.” 

When  the  Great  Kaan  had  heard  the  King’s  ambassage 
he  was  moved  with  pity,  and  sent  word  to  that  Baron  of  his 

Chap.  V. 



to  quit  that  kingdom  with  his  army,  and  to  carry  his  arms 
to  the  conquest  of  some  other  country ;  and  as  soon  as  this 
command  reached  them  they  obeyed  it.  Thus  it  was  then 
that  this  King  became  vassal  of  the  Great  Kaan,  and  paid 
him  every  year  a  tribute  of  20  of  the  greatest  and  finest 
elephants  that  were  to  be  found  in  the  country. 

But  now  we  will  leave  that  matter,  and  tell  you  other 
particulars  about  the  King  of  Chamba. 

You  must  know  that  in  that  kingdom  no  woman  is 
allowed  to  marry  until  the  King  shall  have  seen  her  ;  if  the 
woman  pleases  him  then  he  takes  her  to  wife ;  if  she  does 
not,  he  gives  her  a  dowry  to  get  her  a  husband  withal.  In 
the  year  of  Christ  1285,  Messer  Marco  Polo  was  in  that 
country,  and  at  that  time  the  King  had,  between  sons  and 
daughters,  326  children,  of  whom  at  least  150  were  men  fit 
to  carry  arms.2 

There  are  very  great  numbers  of  elephants  in  this  king¬ 
dom,  and  they  have  lignaloes  in  great  abundance.  They 
have  also  extensive  forests  of  the  wood  called  Bonus ,  which 
is  jet  black,  and  of  which  chessmen  and  pen-cases  are  made. 
But  there  is  nought  more  to  tell,  so  let  us  proceed.3 

Note  1. — The  name  Champa  is  of  Indian  origin,  like  the  adjoining 
Kamboja  and  many  other  names  in  Indo-China,  and  was  probably  taken 
from  that  of  an  ancient  Hindu  city  and  state  on  the  Ganges,  near  modern 

The  title  of  Champa  down  to  the  15th  century  seems  to  have  been 
applied  by  western  Asiatics  to  a  kingdom  which  embraced  the  whole 
coast  between  Tongking  and  Kamboja  including  all  that  is  now  called 
Cochin  China.  It  was  termed  by  the  Chinese  Chen-ching.  Towards 
the  end  of  the  15th  century  the  King  of  Tongking  conquered  the  country, 
and  the  genuine  people  of  Champa  were  reduced  to  a  small  number 
occupying  the  mountains  of  the  province  of  Binh  Thuan  at  the  extreme 
south-east  of  the  C.  Chinese  territory.  To  this  part  of  the  coast  the 
name  Champa  is  often  applied  in  maps.  (See  J.  A.  ser.  2,  tom.  xi.  p. 
31.)  The  people  of  Champa  in  this  restricted  sense  are  said  to  exhibit 



Book  III. 

Malay  affinities,  and  also  to  profess  Mahomedanism.  The  last  fact, 
entirely  new  to  me,  I  learn  from  Lieut.  Gamier. 

The  prominent  position  of  Champa  on  the  route  to  China  made  its 
ports  places  of  call  for  many  ages,  and  in  the  earliest  record  of  the 
Arab  navigation  to  China  we  find  the  country  noticed  under  the  identical 
name  (allowing  for  the  deficiencies  of  the  Arabic  Alphabet)  of  San/. 

The  Sagatu  of  Marco  appears  in  the  Chinese  history  as  Sotu ,  the 
military  governor  of  the  Canton  districts,  which  he  had  been  active  in 
reducing.  The  conversion  of  Sagatu  into  Sotu  is  another  example 
of  that  Mongol  elision  of  gutturals  which  we  have  before  noticed  more 
than  once. 

In  1278  Sotu  sent  an  envoy  to  Chenching  to  claim  the  king’s  sub¬ 
mission,  which  was  rendered,  and  for  some  years  he  sent  his  tribute 
to  Kublai.  But  when  the  Kaan  proceeded  to  interfere  in  the  internal 
affairs  of  the  kingdom  by  sending  a  Resident  and  Chinese  officials,  the 
king’s  son  (1282)  resolutely  opposed  these  proceedings,  and  threw  the 
Chinese  officials  into  prison.  The  Kaan  in  great  wrath  at  this  insult, 
(coming  also  so  soon  after  his  discomfiture  in  Japan),  ordered  Sotu 
and  others  to  Chenching  to  take  vengeance.  The  prince  in  the 
following  year  made  a  pretence  of  submission,  and  the  army  (if  indeed 
it  had  been  sent)  seems  to  have  been  withdrawn.  The  prince,  however, 
renewed  his  attack  on  the  Chinese  establishments  and  put  100  of  their 
officials  to  death.  Sotu  then  despatched  a  new  force,  but  it  was  quite 
unsuccessful  and  had  to  retire.  I11  1284  the  king  sent  an  embassy, 
including  his  grandson,  to  beg  for  pardon  and  reconciliation.  Kublai 
however  refused  to  receive  them,  and  ordered  his  son  Tughan  to  advance 
through  Tonking,  an  enterprise  which  led  to  a  still  more  disastrous  war 
with  that  country,  in  which  the  Mongols  had  much  the  worst  of  it.  We 
are  not  told  more. 

Here  we  have  the  difficulties  usual  with  Polo’s  historical  anecdotes. 
Certain  names  and  circumstances  are  distinctly  recognizable  in  the 
Chinese  Annals ;  others  are  difficult  to  reconcile  with  these.  The 
embassy  of  1284  seems  the  most  likely  to  be  the  one  spoken  of  by  Polo, 
though  the  Chinese  History  does  not  give  it  the  favourable  result  which 
he  ascribes  to  it.  The  date  in  the  text  we  see  to  be  wrong,  and  as 
usual  it  varies  in  different  MSS.  I  suspect  the  original  date  was 


One  of  the  Chinese  notices  gives  one  of  the  king’s  names  as  Sinhopala , 
and  no  doubt  this  is  Ramusio’s  Accambale  (Aqambale) ;  a  proof  at  once 
of  the  authentic  character  of  that  interpolation,  and  of  the  identity  of 
Champa  and  Chenching. 

There  are  notices  of  the  events  in  Demailla  (IX.  420-22)  and  Gaubil 
(194),  but  Pauthier’s  extracts  which  we  have  made  use  of  are  much 

Elephants  have  generally  formed  a  chief  part  of  the  presents  or 

Chap.  V. 


215  ' 

tribute  sent  periodically  by  the  various  Indo-Chinese  states  to  the  Court 
of  China. 

Note  2. — The  date  of  Marco’s  visit  to  Champa  varies  in  the  MSS.  : 
Pauthier  has  1280,  as  has  also  Ramusio ;  the  G.  T.  has  1285;  the 
Geographic  Latin  1288.  I  incline  to  adopt  the  last.  For  we  know  that 
about  1290,  Mark  returned  to  court  from  a  mission  to  the  Indian  Seas, 
which  might  have  included  this  visit  to  Champa. 

The  large  family  of  the  king  was  one  of  the  stock  marvels.  Odoric 
says  :  “Zampa  is  a  very  fine  country,  having  great  store  of  victuals  and 
all  good  things.  The  king  of  the  country,  it  was  said  when  I  was  there 
[circa  1323]  had,  what  with  sons  and  with  daughters,  a  good  two  hundred 
children ;  for  he  hath  many  wives  and  other  women  whom  he  keepeth. 
This  king  hath  also  14,000  tame  elephants.  .  .  .  And  other  folk  keep 
elephants  there  just  as  commonly  as  we  keep  oxen  here  ”  (p.  95-6).  The 
latter  point  illustrates  what  Polo  says  of  elephants,  and  is  scarcely  an 
exaggeration  in  regard  to  all  the  southern  Indo-Chinese  States.  (See 
note  to  Odoric  u.  s.) 

Note  3. — Champa  Proper  and  the  adjoining  territories  have  been 
from  time  immemorial  the  chief  seat  of  the  production  of  lign-aloes 
or  eagle-wood.  Both  names  are  misleading,  for  the  thing  has  nought  to 
do  either  with  aloes  or  eagles ;  though  good  Bishop  Pallegoix  derives 
the  latter  name  from  the  wood’s  being  speckled  like  an  eagle’s  plumage. 
It  is  in  fact  through  Aquila ,  Agila,  from  A  guru,  one  of  the  Sanskrit 
names  of  the  article  ;  whilst  ’A \6r)  is  probably  a  corruption  of  the  term 
which  the  Arabs  apply  to  it,  viz.,  Al-  Ud, ,  “  The  Wood.” 

The  Bonus  of  the  G.  T.  here  is  another  example  of  Marco’s  use, 
probably  unconscious,  of  an  Oriental  word.  It  is  Persian  Abnus,  Ebony, 
which  has  passed  almost  unaltered  into  the  Spanish  Abe?iuz.  We  find 
Ibe?ius  also  in  a  French  inventory  (Douet  d'Arcq ,  p.  134),  but  the 
Bonus  seems  to  indicate  that  the  word  as  used  by  the  Traveller  was 
strange  to  Rusticiano.  The  word  which  he  uses  for  pen-cases  too, 
Calamanz ,  is  more  suggestive  of  the  Persian  Kalamd&ji  than  of  the 
Italian  Calamajo. 

“  Ebony  is  very  common  in  this  country  (Champa),  but  the  wood 
which  is  the  most  precious,  and  which  is  sufficiently  abundant,  is  called 
■  Eagle-wood,’  of  which  the  first  quality  sells  for  its  weight  in  gold ;  the 
native  name  is  KinamA  ( Bishop  Louis  in  J.  A.  S.  B.  VI.  742). 

Java. — “  Ceste  Ysle  est  de  moult  grant  richesse.: 

Chap.  VI. 




Concerning  the  great  Island  of  Java. 

When  you  sail  from  Chamba,  1500  miles  in  a  course 
between  south  and  south-east,  you  come  to  a  great  Island 
called  Java.  And  the  experienced  mariners  of  those 
Islands  who  know  the  matter  well,  say  that  it  is  the  greatest 
Island  in  the  world,  and  has  a  compass  of  more  than  3000 
miles.  It  is  subject  to  a  great  King  and  tributary  to  no 
one  else  in  the  world.  The  people  are  Idolaters.  The 
Island  is  of  surpassing  wealth,  producing  black  pepper,  nut¬ 
megs,  spikenard,  galingale,  cubebs,  cloves,  and  all  other 
kinds  of  spices. 

This  Island  is  also  frequented  by  a  vast  amount  of  ship¬ 
ping,  and  by  merchants  who  buy  and  sell  costly  goods  from 
which  they  reap  great  profit.  Indeed  the  treasure  of  this 
Island  is  so  great  as  to  be  past  telling.  And  I  can  assure 
you  the  Great  Kaan  never  could  get  possession  of  this 
Island,  on  account  of  its  great  distance,  and  the  great 
expense  of  an  expedition  thither.  The  merchants  ofZayton 
and  Manzi  draw  annually  great  returns  from  this  country.1 

Note  1. — Here  Marco  speaks  of  that  Pearl  of  Islands,  Java.  The 
chapter  is  a  digression  from  the  course  of  his  voyage  towards  India,  but 
possibly  he  may  have  touched  at  the  island  on  his  previous  expedition 
alluded  to  in  note  2,  chap.  v.  Not  more,  for  the  account  is  vague,  and 
where  particulars  are  given  not  accurate.  Java  does  not  produce  nut¬ 
megs  or  cloves,  though  doubtless  it  was  a  great  mart  for  these  and  all 
the  products  of  the  Archipelago.  And  if  by  treasure  he  means  gold,  as 
indeed  Ramusio  reads,  no  gold  is  found  in  Java.  Barbosa,  however, 
has  the  same  story  of  the  great  amount  of  gold  drawn  from  Java. 
{Ram.  I.  318-319.) 

The  circuit  ascribed  to  Java  in  Pauthier’s  Text  is  5000  miles.  Even 
the  3000  which  we  take  from  the  Geog.  Text  is  about  double  the  truth ; 

21  8 


Book  III. 

but  it  is  exactly  the  same  that  Odoric  and  Conti  assign.  No  doubt  it 
was  a  tradition  among  the  Arab  seamen.  They  never  visited  the  south 
coast,  and  probably  had  extravagant  ideas  of  its  extension  in  that 
direction,  as  the  Portuguese  had  for  long.  Even  at  the  end  of  the 
1 6th  century  Linschoten  says  :  “  Its  breadth  is  as  yet  unknown  ;  some 
conceiving  it  to  be  a  part  of  the  Terra  Australis  extending  from  opposite 
the  Cape  of  Good  Hope.  However  it  is  commonly  held  to  be  an  island'1'1 
(ch.  xx.  ). 

The  history  of  Java  previous  to  the  rise  of  the  Empire  of  Majapahit, 
in  the  age  immediately  following  our  traveller’s  voyage,  is  very  obscure. 
But  there  is  some  evidence  of  the  existence  of  a  powerful  dynasty  in  the 
island  about  this  time,  and  in  an  inscription  of  ascertained  date  (a.d. 
1294)  the  King  Uttungadewa  claims  to  have  subjected  five  kings ,  and  to 
be  sovereign  of  the  whole  Island  of  Java  (Jawa-dwipa  ;  see  Lassen,  IV. 
482).  It  is  true  that  as  our  traveller  says,  Kublai  had  not  yet  attempted 
the  subjugation  of  Java,  but  he  did  make  the  attempt  almost  immediately 
after  the  departure  of  the  Venetians.  It  was  the  result  of  one  of  his 
unlucky  embassies  to  claim  the  homage  of  distant  states,  and  turned  out 
as  badly  as  the  attempts  against  Champa  and  Japan.  His  ambassador, 
a  Chinese  called  Mengki,  was  sent  back  with  his  face  branded  like 
a  thief’s.  A  great  armament  was  assembled  in  the  ports  of  Fokien  to 
avenge  this  insult;  it  started  about  January,  1293,  but  did  not  effect 
a  landing  till  autumn.  After  some  temporary  success  the  force  was  con¬ 
strained  to  re-embark  with  a  loss  of  3000  men.  The  death  of  Kublai 
prevented  any  renewal  of  the  attempt,  and  it  is  mentioned  that  his 
successor  gave  orders  for  the  re-opening  of  the  Indian  Trade  which  the 
Java  war  had  interrupted.  (See  G audit ‘  p.  217  seqq .,  224.)  To  this 
failure  Odoric,  who  visited  Java  about  1323,  alludes  :  “Now  the  Great 
Kaan  of  Cathay  many  a  time  engaged  in  war  with  this  king ;  but  the 
king  always  vanquished  and  got  the  better  of  him.”  Odoric  speaks  in 
high  terms  of  the  richness  and  population  of  Java,  calling  it  “  the  second 
best  of  all  Islands  that  exist,”  and  describing  a  gorgeous  palace  in  terms 
similar  to  those  in  which  Polo  speaks  of  the  Palace  of  Chipangu. 
(Cathay,  p.  87  seqq.) 


Wherein  the  Isles  of  Sondur  and  Condur  are  spoken  of  | 
and  the  Kingdom  of  Locac. 

When  you  leave  Chamba1  and  sail  for  700  miles  on  a 
course  between  south  and  south-west,  you  arrive  at  two 


Islands,  a  greater  and  a  less.  The  one  is  called  Sondur 
and  the  other  Condur.2  As  there  is  nothing  about  them 
worth  mentioning,  let  us  go  on  five  hundred  miles  beyond 
Sondur,  and  then  we  find  another  country  which  is  called 
Locac.  It  is  a  good  country  and  a  rich ;  [it  is  on  the 
mainland]  ;  and  it  has  a  king  of  its  own.  The  people  are 
idolaters  and  have  a  peculiar  language,  and  pay  tribute  to 
nobody,  for  their  country  is  so  situated  that  no  one  can 
enter  it  to  do  them  ill.  Indeed  if  it  were  possible  to  get 
at  it,  the  Great  Kaan  would  soon  bring  them  under  sub¬ 
jection  to  him. 

In  this  country  the  brazil  which  we  make  use  of  grows 
in  great  plenty ;  and  they  also  have  gold  in  incredible 
quantity.  They  have  elephants  likewise,  and  much  game. 
In  this  kingdom  too  are  gathered  all  the  porcelain  shells 
which  are  used  for  small  change  in  all  those  regions,  as 
I  have  told  you  before. 

There  is  nothing  else  to  mention  except  that  this  is 
a  very  wild  region,  visited  by  few  people  ;  nor  does  the  king 
desire  that  any  strangers  should  frequent  the  country,  and 
so  find  out  about  his  treasure  and  other  resources.3  We 
will  now  proceed,  and  tell  you  of  something  else. 

Note  1. — All  the  MSS.  and  texts  I  believe  without  exception  read 
“  when  you  leave  Java,”  &c.  But,  as  Marsden  has  indicated,  the  point  of 
departure  is  really  Champa ,  the  introduction  of  Java  being  a  digression  ; 
and  the  retention  of  the  latter  name  here  would  throw  us  irretrievably 
into  the  Southern  Ocean.  Certain  old  geographers,  we  may  observe, 
did  follow  that  indication  and  the  results  were  curious  enough,  as  we 
shall  notice  in  next  note  but  one.  Marsden’s  observations  are  so  just 
that  I  have  followed  Pauthier  in  substituting  Champa  for  Java  in  the 

Note  2. — There  is  no  reason  to  doubt  that  these  islands  are  the 
group  now  known  as  that  of  Pulo  Condore  ;  in  old  times  an  important 
landmark,  and  occasional  point  of  call,  on  the  route  to  China.  The  group 
is  termed  Sundar  Fulat  {Fulat  representing  the  Malay  Ptilo  or  Island, 

VOL.  II. 




Book  III. 

in  the  plural)  in  the  Arab  Relations  of  the  9th  century,  the  last  point  of 
departure  on  the  voyage  to  China,  from  which  it  was  a  month  distant. 
This  old  record  gives  us  the  name  Sondor;  in  modern  times  we  have  it 
as  Condor;  Polo  combines  both  names.  The  group  consists  of  a  larger 
island  about  12  miles  long,  two  of  2  or  3  miles,  and  some  half  dozen 
others  of  insignificant  dimensions.  The  large  one  is  now  specially  called 
Pulo  Condore.  It  has  a  fair  harbour,  fresh  water,  and  wood  in  abund¬ 
ance.  Dampier  visited  the  group  and  recommended  its  occupation. 
The  E.  I.  Company  did  establish  a  post  there  in  1702,  but  it  came  to  a 
speedy  end  in  the  massacre  of  the  Europeans  by  their  Macassar  garrison. 
About  the  year  1720  some  attempt  to  found  a  settlement  there  was  also 
made  by  the  French,  who  gave  the  island  the  name  of  Isle  d’ Orleans. 
The  celebrated  Pere  Gaubil  spent  8  months  on  the  island  and  wrote  an 
interesting  letter  about  it  (Feb.  1722  ;  see  also  Lettres  Edifiantes ,  Rec. 
xvi).  When  the  group  was  visited  by  Mr.  John  Crawfurd  on  his  mission 
to  Cochin  China  the  inhabitants  numbered  about  800,  of  Coch.  Chinese 
descent.  The  group  is  now,  I  believe,  held  by  the  French  under  Saigon. 
The  chief  island  is  known  to  the  Chinese  as  the  mountain  of  Kunlun. 
There  is  another  cluster  of  rocks  in  the  same  sea,  called  the  Seven  Cheu, 
and  respecting  these  two  groups  Chinese  sailors  have  a  kind  of  Incidit- 
i?i-Scyllam  saw  : — 

“  Shang-pa  tsi  Cheu ,  hia-pa  Kun-lun, 

Chen  mi  tuo  she ,  jin  chuen  mo  tsunl 

Meaning : — 

“  With  Kunlun  to  starboard,  and  larboard  the  Cheu, 

Keep  conning  your  compass,  whatever  you  do, 

Or  to  Davy  Jones’  Locker  go  vessel  and  crew.” 

(. Ritter ,  IV.  1017;  Reinaud ,  I.  18 ;  A.  Hamilton ,  II.  402  ;  Mem.  Cone,  les 
Chinois ,  XIV.  53). 

Note  3. — Pauthier  reads  the  name  of  the  kingdom  Soucat ,  but 
I  adhere  to  the  readings  of  the  G.  T.,  Lochac  and  Locac ,  which  are  sup¬ 
ported  by  Ramusio.  Pauthier’s  C  and  the  Bern  MS.  have  le  chac  and  le 
that ,  which  indicate  the  same  reading. 

Distance  and  other  particulars  point,  as  Hugh  Murray  discerns,  to 
the  east  coast  of  the  Malay  Peninsula,  or  (as  I  conceive)  to  the  kingdom 
of  Siam,  including  the  said  coast,  as  subject  or  tributary  from  time 

The  kingdom  of  Siam  is  known  to  the  Chinese  by  the  name  of  Sien- 
Lo.  The  Supplement  to  Matwanlin’s  Encyclopaedia  describes  Sien-Lo 
as  on  the  sea-board  to  the  extreme  south  of  Chenching.  “  It  originally 
consisted  of  two  kingdoms,  Sien  and  Lo-hoh.  The  Sien  people  are  the 
remains  of  a  tribe  which  in  the  year  (a.d.  1341)  began  to  come  down 
upon  the  Lo-hoh,  and  united  with  the  latter  into  one  nation.  .  .  .  .  . 

Chap.  VII. 



The  land  of  the  Lo-hoh  consists  of  extended  plains,  but  not  much 
agriculture  is  done.”  * 

In  this  Lo  or  Lo-hoh  which  apparently  formed  the  lower  part 
of  what  is  now  Siam,  previous  to  the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  cen¬ 
tury,  I  believe  that  we  have  our  Traveller’s  Locac.  The  latter  half 
of  the  name  may  be  either  the  second  syllable  of  Lo-hoh,  for  Polo’s 
c  often  represents  h ;  or  it  may  be  the  Chinese  Kwo  or  Kwe ,  “  king¬ 
dom,”  in  the  Canton  and  Fokien  pronunciation  (*>.,  the  pronunciation 
of  Polo’s  mariners)  kok  ;  Lo-kok ,  “  the  kingdom  of  Lo.”  Sien- Lo- 
Kok  is  the  exact  form  of  the  Chinese  name  of  Siam  which  is  used  by 

What  was  this  kingdom  of  Lo  which  occupied  the  northern  shores  of 
the  Gulf  of  Siam  ?  Chinese  scholars  generally  say  that  Sien-Lo  means 
Siam  and  Laos ;  but  this  I  doubt  greatly,  if  Laos  is  to  bear  the  sense 
that  we  usually  give  it,  i.e.,  of  a  country  bordering  Siam  on  the  north-east 
and  north.  It  is  true  that  the  Chinese  character  indicating  this  kingdom 
of  Lo,  is  the  same  which  is  used  to  indicate  the  Laotian  tribes  of  Kwangsi 
and  Kweichau  called  Lo,  of  whom  we  have  spoken  formerly  (Bk.  II. 
Ch.  58,  Note  1).  But  I  am  informed  on  excellent  authority  that  this 
does  not  by  any  means  necessarily  imply  any  identification.  The  name 
of  Lophaburi ,  otherwise  Louvo  and  Lavo,  one  of  the  ancient  capitals 
of  Lower  Siam  before  the  foundation  of  Ayuthia  has  suggested  itself  as 
one  interpretation  of  the  kingdom  of  Lo.  But  I  suspect  the  true 
explanation  is  to  be  gathered  from  the  following  extract  of  a  paper  by 
the  late  intelligent  King  of  Siam  :  “  Our  ancient  Capital  Ayuthia,  before 
the  year  a.d.  1350,  was  but  the  ruin  of  an  ancient  place  belonging 
to  Kambuja,  formerly  called  Lawek,  whose  inhabita?its  then  possessed 

Southern  Siam  or  Western  Kambuja .  There  were  other  cities, 

not  far  remote,  also  possessed  by  the  Kambujans;  but  their  precise 
locality  or  much  of  their  history  cannot  now  be  satisfactorily  ascer¬ 
tained,”  &c. 

The  name  Lawek  is  indeed  applied  by  some  writers  of  the  1 6th  and 
17th  centuries  to  the  capital  of  what  was  then  Kamboja,  but  this  was 
perhaps  only  an  instance  of  the  familiar  Arab  practice  of  transferring 
the  name  of  the  country  to  whatever  city  happened  to  be  the  capital. 
Laweik  is  mentioned  along  with  the  other  Siamese  countries  of  Yuthia, 
Tennasserim,  Sukkothai,  Pichalok,  Lagong,  Lanchang  (or  Luang  Pra- 
bang),  and  Zimme  (or  Kiang-mai),  in  the  vast  list  of  states  claimed  by 
the  Burmese  Chronicle  as  tributary  to  Pagan  before  its  fall.  We  find  in 
the  Ain-i-Akbari  a  kind  of  aloes-wood  called  Lawaki ,  no  doubt  because 
it  came  from  this  region.  Lawek ,  as  it  was  in  the  13th  century,  Laweik , 

*  The  extract  of  which  this  is  the  substance  I  owe  to  the  kindness  of  Professor  J. 
Summers,  of  King’s  College. 

Q.  2 



Book  III. 

the  Lo-hoh  of  Matwanlin’s  continuator,  and  the  Locac  of  our  Author,  are 
then,  1  have  little  doubt,  the  same.* 

The  G.  T.  indeed  makes  the  course  from  Sondur  to  Locac  sceloc  or 
S.E. ;  but  Pauthier’s  text  seems  purposely  to  correct  this,  calling  it 
“  v.  c.  milles  oultre  Sandur.”  This  would  bring  us  to  the  Peninsula 
somewhere  about  what  is  now  the  Siamese  province  of  Ligor,  and  this  is 
the  only  position  accurately  consistent  with  the  next  indication  of  the 
route,  viz.,  a  run  of  500  miles  south  to  the  Straits  of  Singapore.  Let  us 
keep  in  mind  also  Ramusio’s  specific  statement  that  Locac  was  on  Terra 

As  regards  the  products  named  :  (1)  gold  is  mined  in  the  northern 
part  of  the  Peninsula  and  is  a  staple  export  of  Kalantan,  Tringano,  and 
Pahang,  further  down.  Barbosa  says  gold  was  so  abundant  in  Malacca 
that  it  was  reckoned  by  Bahars  of  4  cwt.  Though  Mr.  Logan  has 
estimated  the  present  produce  of  the  whole  Peninsula  at  only  20,000 
ounces,  Llamilton,  at  the  beginning  of  last  century,  says  Pahang  alone  in 
some  years  exported  above  8  cwt.  (2)  Brazil-wood,  now  generally 
known  by  the  Malay  term  Sappan ,  is  abundant  on  the  coast.  Ritter  speaks 
of  three  small  towns  on  it  as  entirely  surrounded  by  trees  of  this  kind. 
And  higher  up,  in  the  latitude  of  Tavoy,  the  forests  of  Sappan-wood  find 
a  prominent  place  in  some  maps  of  Siam.  In  medieval  intercourse 
between  the  courts  of  Siam  and  China  we  find  Brazil-wood  to  form  the 
bulk  of  the  Siamese  present.  (3)  Elephants  are  abundant.  (4)  Cowries, 
according  to  Marsden  and  Crawfurd  are  found  in  those  seas  largely  only 
on  the  Sulu  Islands  ;  but  Bishop  Pallegoix  says  distinctly  that  they  are 
found  in  abundance  on  the  sand-banks  of  the  Gulf  of  Siam. 

For  some  centuries  after  this  time  Siam  was  generally  known  to  traders 
by  the  Persian  name  of  Shahr-i-nao  or  New  City.  This  seems  to  be  the 
name  generally  applied  to  it  in  the  Shijarat  Malayu  (or  Malay  Chronicle), 
and  it  is  used  also  by  Abdurrazzak.  It  appears  among  the  early  navi¬ 
gators  of  the  1 6th  century,  as  Da  Gama,  Varthema,  Giovanni  d’Empoli 
and  Mendez  Pinto,  in  the  shape  of  Sornau ,  Xarnau.  Whether  this  name 
was  applied  to  the  new  city  of  Ayuthia,  or  was  a  translation  of  that  of 
the  older  Lophaburi  (which  appears  to  be  the  Sansc.  or  Pali  Nava-purd  = 
New-City)  I  do  not  know. 

{Bastian,  I.  357,  III.  433;  Ramus. ,  I.  318;  Amyot ,  XIV.  266,  269; 
Pallegoix ,  I.  196  ;  Bowring, ;  I.  41,  72  ;  Phayre  in  J.  A.  S.  B.,  XXXVII. 
pt.  i.  p.  102  ;  Ain  Akb.,  80  ;  Mouhot ,  I.  70). 

Some  geographers  of  the  16th  century,  following  the  old  editions 
which  carried  the  travellers  S.E.  or  S.W.  of  Java  to  the  land  of  Boeach 

*  Marsden  has  also  identified  Lawek,  but  taken  in  the  sense  of  the  present  Kam- 
boja,  with  Locac.  I  may  suggest  the  possibility  that  the  Kakula  of  Ibn  Batuta  is  a 
transposed  form  of  Locac.  The  Kamarah ,  Komar  of  the  same  traveller  and  other 
Arab  writers,  I  have  elsewhere  suggested  to  be  Khmer ,  or  Kamboja  Proper.  (See 
/.  B.  IV.  240;  Cathay ,  469,  519.) 

Chap.  VIII. 



(for  Locac),  introduced  in  their  maps  a  continent  in  that  situation  (see 
e.g.,  the  map  of  the  world  by  P.  Plancius  in  Linschoten).  And  this  has 
sometimes  been  adduced  to  prove  an  early  knowledge  of  Australia. 
Mr.  Major  has  treated  this  question  ably  in  his  interesting  essay  on  the 
early  notices  of  Australia. 


Of  the  Island  called  Pentam,  and  the  City  Malaiur. 

When  you  leave  Locac  and  sail  for  500  miles  towards  the 
south,  you  come  to  an  Island  called  Pentam,  a  very  wild 
place.  All  the  wood  that  grows  thereon  consists  of  odori¬ 
ferous  trees.1  There  is  no  more  to  say  about  it ;  so  let  us 
sail  about  sixty  miles  further  between  those  two  Islands. 
Throughout  this  distance  there  is  but  four  paces’  depth 
of  water,  so  that  great  ships  in  passing  this  channel  have 
to  lift  their  rudders,  for  they  draw  nearly  as  much  water 
as  that.2 

And  when  you  have  gone  these  60  miles,  and  again 
about  30  more,  you  come  to  an  Island  which  forms  a 
Kingdom,  and  is  called  Malaiur.  The  people  have  a 
King  of  their  own,  and  a  peculiar  language.  The  city  is  a 
fine  and  noble  one,  and  there  is  great  trade  carried  on  there. 
All  kinds  of  spicery  are  to  be  found  there,  and  all  other 
necessaries  of  life.3 

Note  1. — Pentam ,  or  as  in  Ram.  Pentan ,  is  no  doubt  the  Bin  tang 
of  our  maps,  more  properly  Bentan,  a  considerable  Island  at  the 
eastern  extremity  of  the  Straits  of  Malacca.  It  appears  in  the  list, 
published  by  Dulaurier  from  a  Javanese  Inscription,  of  the  kingdoms 
conquered  in  the  15th  century  by  the  sovereigns  reigning  at  Majapahit 
in  Java  (J  A.  ser.  4,  tom.  xiii.  532).  Bintang  was  for  a  long  time 
after  the  Portuguese  conquest  of  Malacca,  the  chief  residence  of  the 
Malay  sultans  who  had  been  expelled  by  that  conquest,  and  it  still 
nominally  belongs  to  the  Sultan  of  Johore,  the  descendant  of  those 



Book  III. 

princes,  though  in  fact  ruled  by  the  Dutch,  whose  port  of  Rhio  stands 
on  an  island  close  to  its  western  shore.  It  is  the  Bintdo  of  the  Portu¬ 
guese,  whereof  Camoens  speaks  as  the  persistent  enemy  of  Malacca 
(X.  57). 

Note  2. — There  is  a  good  deal  of  confusion  in  the  text  of  this 
chapter.  Here  we  have  a  passage  spoken  of  between  “  those  two 
Islands,”  when  only  one  island  seems  to  have  been  mentioned.  But  I 
imagine  the  other  “island”  in  the  traveller’s  mind  to  be  the  continuation 
of  the  same  Locac,  i.e.r  the  Malay  Peninsula  which  he  has  coasted  for 
500  miles.  And  this  is  confirmed  by  Ramusio  :  “between  the  Kingdom 
of  Locac  and  the  Island  of  Pentan.”  The  old  Latin  editions  (as  Muller’s) 
have  the  same.  The  passage  in  question  is  the  Strait  of  Singapore,  or 
as  the  old  navigators  called  it,  the  Straits  of  Gobernador,  having  the 
mainland  of  the  Peninsula  and  the  Island  of  Singapore  on  the  one  side, 
and  the  Islands  of  Bintang  and  Batang  on  the  other.  The  length  of  the 
strait  is  roughly  60  geographical  miles,  or  a  little  more ;  and  I  see  in  a 
route  given  in  the  Lettres  Edifiantes  (II.  p.  118)  that  the  length  of  navi¬ 
gation  is  so  stated  :  “  Le  de'troit  de  Gobernador  a  vingt  lieues  de  long, 
et  est  fort  difficile  quand  on  n’y  a  jamais  passe.” 

The  Venetian  passo  was  5  feet.  Marco  here  alludes  to  the  well- 
known  practice  with  the  Chinese  junks  of  raising  the  rudder,  for  which 
they  have  a  special  arrangement,  which  is  indicated  in  the  cut  at  p.  194. 

Note  3. — There  is  a  difficulty  here  about  the  indications,  carrying 
us,  as  they  do,  first  60  miles  through  the  Strait,  and  then  30  miles  further 
to  the  Island  Kingdom  and  city  of  Malaiur.  There  is  also  a  singular 
variation  in  the  readings  as  to  this  city  and  island.  The  G.  T.  has  “  Une 
isle  qe  est  roiame ,  et  dapelle  Malanir  e  l’isle  Pentam.”  The  Crusca  has  the 
same,  only  reading  Malavir.  Pauthier  :  “  Une  isle  qui  est  royaume ,  et 
a  nom  Maliur.”  The  Geog.  Latin  :  “  Ibi  invenitur  unci  insula  in  qua  est 
unus  rex  quern  vocant  Lamovich.  Civitas  et  insula  vocantur  Pontavich.” 
Ram.  :  “  Chiamasi  la  cittd  Malaiur,  e  cosi  1’  isola  Malaiur.” 

All  this  is  very  perplexed,  and  it  is  difficult  to  trace  what  may  have 
been  the  true  readings.  The  30  miles  beyond  the  straits,  whether  we 
give  the  direction  south-east  as  in  G.  T.  or  no,  will  not  carry  us  to  the 
vicinity  of  any  place  known  to  have  been  the  site  of  an  important  city. 
As  the  point  of  departure  in  the  next  chapter  is  from  Pentam  and  not 
from  Malaiur,  the  introduction  of  the  latter  is  perhaps  a  digression  from 
the  route,  on  information  derived  either  from  hearsay  or  from  a  former 
voyage.  But  there  is  not  information  enough  to  decide  what  place  is 
meant  by  Malaiur.  Probabilities  seem  to  me  to  be  divided  between 
Palembang, ;  and  its  colony  Singhapura.  Palembang,  according  to  the 
commentaries  of  Alboquerque,  was  called  by  the  Javanese  Malayo.  The 
List  of  Sumatran  Kingdoms  in  De  Barros  makes  Tana  Malayu  the  next 
to  Palembang.  On  the  whole,  I  incline  to  this  interpretation. 

Singhapura  was  founded  by  an  emigration  from  Palembang,  itself  a 
Javanese  colony.  It  became  the  site  of  a  flourishing  kingdom,  and  was 

Chap.  VIII. 



then,  according  to"  the  tradition  recorded  by  De  Barros,  the  most  im¬ 
portant  centre  of  population  in  those  regions,  “  whither  used  to  gather 
all  the  navigators  of  the  Eastern  Seas,  from  both  East  and  West ;  to  this 
great  city  of  Singapura  all  flocked  as  to  a  general  market  ”  (Dec.  II. 
6,  1).  This  suits  the  description  in  our  text  well ;  but  as  Singhapura  was 
in  sight  of  any  ship  passing  through  the  straits,  mistake  could  hardly 
occur  as  to  its  position,  even  if  it  had  not  been  visited. 

I  omit  Malacca  entirely  from  consideration  because  the  evidence 
appears  to  me  conclusive  against  the  existence  of  Malacca  at  this  time. 

The  Malay  Chronology,  as  published  by  Valentyn,  ascribes  the 
foundation  of  that  city  to  a  King  called  Iskandar  Shah,  placing  it  in 
a.d.  1252,  fixes  the  reign  of  Mahomed  Shah,  the  third  King  of  Malacca 
and  first  Mussulman  King,  as  extending  from  1276  to  1333  (not  stating 
when  his  conversion  took  place),  and  gives  8  kings  in  all  between 
the  foundation  of  the  city  and  its  capture  by  the  Portuguese  in  15 11, 
a  space  according  to  those  data  of  259  years.  As  Sri  Iskandar  Shah, 
the  founder,  had  reigned  3  years  in  Singhapura  before  founding  Malacca, 
and  Mahomed  Shah,  the  loser,  reigned  2  years  in  J ohore  after  the  loss 
of  his  capital,  we  have  264  years  to  divide  among  8  kings,  giving  33 
years  to  each  reign.  This  certainly  indicates  that  the  period  requires 
considerable  curtailment. 

Again,  both  De  Barros  and  the  Commentaries  of  Alboquerque 
ascribe  the  foundation  of  Malacca  to  a  Javanese  fugitive  from  Palem- 
bang  called  Paramisura,  and  Alboquerque  makes  Iskandar  Shah  (Xaquem 
darxa)  the  son  of  Paramisura,  and  the  first  convert  to  Mahomedanism. 
Four  other  kings  reign  in  succession  after  him,  the  last  of  the  four  being 
Mahomed  Shah,  expelled  in  15 11. 

The  historian  De  Couto,  whilst  giving  the  same  number  of  reigns 
from  the  conversion  to  the  capture,  places  the  former  event  about 
1384.  And  the  Commentaries  of  Alboquerque  -allow  no  more  than 
some  ninety  years  from  the  foundation  of  Malacca  to  his  capture  of 
the  city. 

There  is  another  approximate  check  to  the  chronology  afforded  by 
a  Chinese  record  in  the  XIVth  volume  of  Amyot’s  collection.  This 
informs  us  that  Malacca  first  acknowledged  itself  as  tributary  to  the 
Empire  in  1405.  In  1411  the  King  of  Malacca  himself,  called  Peili- 
misula  (Paramisura),  came  in  person  to  the  court  of  China  to  render 
homage.  And  in  1414  the  Queen-Mother  of  Malacca  came  to  court 
bringing  her  son’s  tribute. 

Now  this  notable  fact  of  the  visit  of  a  King  of  Malacca  to  the  court 
of  China,  and  his  acknowledgment  of  the  Emperor’s  supremacy,  is  also 
recorded  in  the  Commentaries  of  Alboquerque.  This  work,  it  is  true, 
attributes  the  visit,  not  to  Paramisura,  the  founder  of  Malacca,  but  to 
his  son  and  successor  Iskandar  Shah.  This  may  be  a  question  of  a  title 
only,  perhaps  borne  by  both ;  but  we  seem  entitled  to  conclude  with 
confidence  that  Malacca  was  founded  by  a  prince  whose  son  was  reigning, 



Book  III. 

and  visited  the  court  of  China,  in  1411.*  And  the  real  chronology  will 
be  about  midway  between  the  estimates  of  De  Couto  and  of  Alboquerque. 
Hence  Malacca  did  not  exist  for  nearly  a  century  after  Polo’s  voyage. 

Mr.  Logan  supposes  that  the  form  Malayu-r  may  indicate  that  the 
Malay  language  of  the  13th  century  “had  not  yet  replaced  the  strong 
naso-guttural  terminals  by  pure  vowels.”  We  find  the  same  form  in  a 
contemporary  Chinese  notice.  This  records  that  in  the  2nd  year  of  the 
Yuen,  tribute  was  sent  from  Siam  to  the  Emperor.  “  The  Siamese  had 
long  been  at  war  with  the  Malqyi  or  Maliurh,  but  both  nations  laid 
aside  their  feud  and  submitted  to  China.”  ( Valentyn ,  V.  p.  352  ;  Craw- 
fur d’s  Desc.  Diet .  art.  Malacca;  Lassen ,  IV.  541  seqq.  ;  Jour n.  Ind. 
Archip.  V.  572,  II.  608-9;  De  Garros,  Dec.  II.  1.  vi.  c.  1  ;  Comentarios 
do  grande  Afonso  d*  Alboquerque,  part  III.  cap.  xvii. ;  Couto ,  Dec.  IV. 
liv.  ii. ;  B owning3 s  Kingdom  and  People  of  Siam,  I.  72.) 


Concerning  the  Island  of  Java  the  Less.  The  Kingdoms  of 
Ferlec  and  Basma. 

When  you  leave  the  Island  of  Pentam  and  sail  about  100 
miles,  you  reach  the  Island  of  Java  the  Less.  For  all  its 
name  ’tis  none  so  small  but  that  it  has  a  compass  of  two 
thousand  miles  or  more.  Now  I  will  tell  you  all  about 
this  Island.1 

You  see  there  are  upon  it  eight  kingdoms  and  eight 
crowned  kings.  The  people  are  all  idolaters,  and  every 
kingdom  has  a  language  of  its  own.  The  Island  hath  great 
abundance  of  treasure,  with  costly  spices,  lign-aloes  and 
spikenard  and  many  others  that  never  come  into  our  parts.2 

Now  I  am  going  to  tell  you  all  about  these  eight 
kingdoms,  or  at  least  the  greater  part  of  them.  But  let 
me  premise  one  marvellous  thing,  and  that  is  the  fact  that 
this  Island  lies  so  far  to  the  south  that  the  North  Star, 
little  or  much,  is  never  to  be  seen ! 

*  There  is  a  professed  reconstruction  of  the  Malay  chronology  in  Lassen’s  IVth 
volume.  It  gives  some  useful  references,  but  is  not  otherwise  of  value. 


Now  let  us  resume  our  subject,  and  first  I  will  tell  you 
of  the  kingdom  of  Ferlec. 

This  kingdom,  you  must  know,  is  so  much  frequented 
by  the  Saracen  merchants  that  they  have  converted  the 
natives  to  the  Law  of  Mahommet — I  mean  the  townspeople 
only,  for  the  hill-people  live  for  all  the  world  like  beasts, 
and  eat  human  flesh,  as  well  as  all  other  kinds  of  flesh, 
clean  or  unclean.  And  they  worship  this,  that,  and  the 
other  thing;  for  in  fact  the  first  thing  that  they  see  on 
rising  in  the  morning,  that  they  do  worship  for  the  rest 
of  the  day.3 

Having  told  you  of  the  kingdom  of  Ferlec,  I  will  now 
tell  of  another  which  is  called  Basma. 

When  you  quit  the  kingdom  of  Ferlec  you  enter 
upon  that  of  Basma.  This  also  is  an  independent  kingdom, 
and  the  people  have  a  language  of  their  own ;  but  they 
are  just  like  beasts  without  laws  or  religion.  They  call 
themselves  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan,.  but  they  pay  him 
no  tribute ;  indeed  they  are  so  far  away  that  his  men  could 
not  go  thither.  Still  all  these  Islanders  declare  themselves 
to  be  his  subjects,  and  sometimes  they  send  him  curiosities 
as  presents.4  There  are  wild  elephants  in  the  country,  and 
numerous  unicorns,  which  are  very  nearly  as  big.  They 
have  hair  like  that  of  a  buffalo,  feet  like  those  of  an 
elephant,  and  a  horn  in  the  middle  of  the  forehead,  which 
is  black  and  very  thick.  They  do  no  mischief,  however, 
with  the  horn,  but  with  the  tongue  alone ;  for  this  is 
covered  all  over  with  long  and  strong  prickles  [and  when 
savage  with  any  one  they  crush  him  under  their  knees  and 
then  rasp  him  with  their  tongue].  The  head  resembles  that  of 
a  wild  boar,  and  they  carry  it  ever  bent  towards  the  ground. 
They  delight  much  to  abide  in  mire  and  mud.  ’Tis  a 
passing  ugly  beast  to  look  upon,  and  is  not  in  the  least 
like  that  which  our  stories  tell  of  as  being  caught  in  the 
lap  of  a  virgin ;  in  fact  ’tis  altogether  different  from  what 
we  fancied.5  There  are  also  monkeys  here  in  great  numbers 



Book  III. 

and  of  sundry  kinds ;  and  goshawks  as  black  as  crows. 
These  are  very  large  birds  and  capital  for  fowling.6 

I  may  tell  you  moreover  that  when  people  bring  home 
pygmies  which  they  allege  to  come  from  India,  ’tis  all  a  lie 
and  a  cheat.  For  those  little  men,  as  they  call  them,  are 
manufactured  on  this  Island,  and  I  will  tell  you  how.  You 
see  there  is  on  the  Island  a  kind  of  monkey  which  is  very 
small,  and  has  a  face  just  like  a  man’s.  They  take  these, 
and  pluck  out  all  the  hair  except  the  hair  of  the  beard  and 
on  the  breast,  and  then  they  dry  them  and  stuff  them  and 
daub  them  with  saffron  and  other  things  until  they  look 
like  men.  But  you  see  it  is  all  a  cheat ;  for  nowhere  in 
India  nor  anywhere  else  in  the  world  were  there  ever  men 
seen  so  small  as  these  pretended  pygmies. 

Now  I  will  say  no  more  of  the  kingdom  of  Basma, 
but  tell  you  of  the  others  in  succession. 

Note  1. — Java  the  Less  is  the  Island  of  Sumatra.  Here  there  is 
no  exaggeration  in  the  dimension  assigned  to  its  circuit,  which  is  about 
2300  miles.  The  old  Arabs  of  the  9th  century  give  it  a  circuit  of  800 
parasangs,  or  say  2700  miles,  and  Barbosa  reports  the  estimate  of  the 
Mahomedan  seamen  as  2100  miles.  Compare  the  more  reasonable 
accuracy  of  these  estimates  of  Sumatra,  which  the  navigators  knew  in  its 
entire  compass,  with  the  wild  estimates  of  Java  Proper,  of  which  they 
knew  but  the  northern  coast. 

Polo  by  no  means  stands  alone  in  giving  the  name  of  Java  to  the 
island  now  called  Sumatra.  The  terms  Jawa ,  Jawi ,  were  applied  by  the 
Arabs  to  the  islands  and  productions  of  the  archipelago  generally  (e.g, 
Lulan  Jawi,  “Java  frankincense,”  whence  by  corruption  Benzoin ),  but 
also  specifically  to  Sumatra.  Thus  Sumatra  is  the  Jawah  both  of  Abul- 
feda  and  of  Ibn  Batuta,  the  latter  of  whom  spent  some  time  on  the  island, 
both  in  going  to  China  and  on  his  return.  The  Java  also  of  the  Catalan 
Map  appears  to  be  Sumatra.  Javaku  again  is  the  name  applied  in  the 
Singalese  chronicles  to  the  Malays  in  general.  Jan  and  Dawa  are  the 
names  still  applied  by  the  Battaks  and  the  people  of  Nias  respectively 
to  the  Malays,  showing  probably  that  these  were  looked  on  as  Javanese 
by  those  tribes  which  did  not  partake  of  the  civilization  diffused  from 
Java.  In  Siamese  also  the  Malay  language  is  called  Chawa ;  and  even 
on  the  Malay  peninsula  a  half-breed  bom  from  a  Kling  (or  Coromandel) 
father  and  a  Malay  mother  is  nicknamed  Jawi  Pakan ,  “a  Jawi  (i.e., 
Malay)  of  the  market.” 

Chap.  IX. 



There  is  some  reason  to  believe  that  the  application  of  the  name 
Java  to  Sumatra  is  of  very  old  date.  For  the  oldest  inscription  of 
ascertained  date  in  the  Archipelago  which  has  yet  been  read,  a  Sanscrit 
one  from  Pagaroyang,  the  capital  of  the  ancient  Malay  state  of  Menang- 
kabau  in  the  heart  of  Sumatra,  bearing  a  date  equivalent  to  a.d.  656, 
entitles  the  monarch  whom  it  commemorates,  Adityadharma  by  name, 
the  king  of  “  the  First  Java  ”  (or  rather  Yava).  This  Mr.  Friedrich 
interprets  to  mean  Sumatra. 

An  accomplished  Dutch  Orientalist  suggests  that  the  Arabs  originally 
applied  the  terms  Great  Java  and  Little  Java  to  Java  and  Sumatra 
respectively,  not  because  of  their  imagined  relation  in  size,  but  as  indi¬ 
cating  the  former  to  be  Java  Proper.  Thus  also,  he  says,  there  is  a 
Great  Acheh  (Achin),  which  does  not  imply  that  the  place  so  called  is 
greater  than  the  coast  state  of  Achin,  but  because  it  is  Acheh  Proper. 
A  like  feeling  may  have  suggested  the  Great  Bulgaria,  Great  Hungary, 
Great  Turkey  of  the  medieval  travellers.  These  were,  or  were  supposed 
to  be,  the  original  seats  of  the  Bulgarians,  Hungarians,  and  Turks.  And 
it  would  account  for  the  term  of  Little  Thai ,  formerly  applied  to  the 
Siamese  in  distinction  from  the  Great  Thai ,  their  kinsmen  of  Laos. 

In  after-days,  when  the  name  of  Sumatra  for  the  Great  Island  had 
established  itself,  the  traditional  term  “Little  Java”  sought  other  appli¬ 
cations.  Barbosa  seems  to  apply  it  to  Sumbawa;  Pigafetta  and  Caven¬ 
dish  apply  it  to  Bali ,  and  in  this  way  Raffles  says  it  was  still  used  in  his 
own  day.  Geographers  were  sometimes  puzzled  about  it.  Magini  says 
Java  Minor  is  almost  incognita. 

( Tumour's  Epitome ,  p.  45  ;  Van  der  Tuuk ,  Bladwijzer  tot  de  drie 
Stukken  van  het  Bataksche  Leesboek ,  p.  43,  &c.  ;  Friedrich  in  Bat. 
Transactions ,  XXVI.) 

Note  2. — As  regards  the  treasure ,  Sumatra  was  long  famous  for  its 
produce  of  gold.  The  export  is  estimated  in  Crawfurd’s  History  at 
35,53°  ounces;  but  no  doubt  it  was  much  more  when  the  native  states 
were  in  a  condition  of  greater  wealth  and  civilization,  as  they  undoubt¬ 
edly  were  some  centuries  ago.  Valentyn  says  that  in  some  years  Achin 
had  exported  80  bahars,  equivalent  to  32,000  or  36,000  lbs.  avoirdu¬ 
pois  (!).  Of  the  other  products  named,  lign-aloes  or  eagle-wood  is  a 
product  of  Sumatra,  and  is  or  was  very  abundant  in  Campar  on  the 
eastern  coast.  The  Ain-i-Akbari  says  this  article  was  usually  brought  to 
India  from  Achin  and  Tenasserim.  Both  this  and  spikenard  are  men¬ 
tioned  by  Polo’s  contemporary  Kazwini  among  the  products  of  Java 
(probably  Sumatra),  viz.,  Java  lign-aloes  ( al-Ud  al-Jdwi ),  camphor, 
spikenard  (Sumbul),  &c.  Narawastu  is  the  name  of  a  grass  with  fragrant 
roots  much  used  as  a  perfume  in  the  archipelago,  and  I  see  this  is 
rendered  spikenard  in  a  translation  from  the  Malay  Annals  in  the 
Journal  oj  the  Archipelago. 

With  regard  to  the  kingdoms  of  the  island  which  Marco  proceeds  to 
describe,  it  is  well  to  premise  that  all  the  six  which  he  specifies  are  to  be 



Book  III. 

looked  for  towards  the  north  end  of  the  island,  viz.,  in  regular  succession 
up  the  northern  part  of  the  east  coast,  along  the  north  coast,  and  down 
the  northern  part  of  the  west  coast.  This  will  be  made  tolerably  clear 
in  the  details,  and  Marco  himself  intimates  at  the  end  of  the  next  chapter 
that  the  six  kingdoms  he  describes  were  all  at  this  side  or  end  of  the 
island  :  “Or  vos  avon  contee  de  cesti  roiames  que  sunt  de  ceste  partie  de 
ceste  ysle,  et  des  autres  roiames  de  l’autre  partie  ne  voz  conteron-noz  rienl 
Most  commentators  have  made  confusion  by  scattering  them  up  and 
down,  nearly  all  round  the  coast  of  Sumatra.  The  best  remarks  on  the 
subject  I  have  met  with  are  by  Mr.  Logan  in  his  Journal  of  the  Ind. 
Arch.  II.  610. 

The  “  kingdoms  ”  were  certainly  many  more  than  eight  throughout 
the  island.  At  a  later  day  De  Barros  enumerates  29  on  the  coast  alone. 
Crawfurd  reckons  15  different  nations  and  languages  on  Sumatra  and 
its  dependent  isles,  of  which  1 1  belong  to  the  great  island  itself. 

{Hist,  of  Ind.  Arch.  III.  482  ;  Valetityn,  V.  (Sumatra),  p.  5  ;  Desc. 
Diet.  p.  7,  417  ;  Gildemeister ,  p.  193  ;  Crawf  Malay  Diet.  119  ;  f  Ind. 
Arch.  V.  313.) 

Note  3. — The  kingdom  of  Parlak  is  mentioned  in  the  Shijarat 
Malayu  or  Malay  Chronicle,  and  also  in  a  Malay  History  of  the  Kings 
of  Pasei,  of  which  an  abstract  is  given  by  Dulaurier,  in  connexion  with 
the  other  states  of  which  we  shall  speak  presently.  It  is  also  men¬ 
tioned  {Barlak)  as  a  city  of  the  Archipelago  by  Rashiduddin.  Of  its 
extent  we  have  no  knowledge,  but  the  position  (probably  of  its  northern 
extremity)  is  preserved  in  the  native  name,  Tanjong  (i.  e.,  Cape)  Parlak , 
of  the  N.E.  horn  of  Sumatra,  called  by  European  seamen  “Diamond 
Point,”  whilst  the  river  and  town  of  Perla ,  about  32  miles  south  of  that 
point,  indicate,  I  have  little  doubt,  the  site  of  the  old  capital.*  Indeed 
in  Malombra’s  Ptolemy  (Venice,  1574),  I  find  the  next  city  of  Sumatra 
beyond  Pacen  marked  as  Pulaca. 

The  form  Ferlec  shows  that  Polo  got  it  from  the  Arabs,  who  having 
no  p  often  replaced  that  letter  by  f.  It  is  notable  that  the  Malay 
alphabet,  which  is  that  of  the  Arabic  with  necessary  modifications, 
represents  the  sound  p  not  by  the  Persian  pe  {H),  but  by  the  Arabic 
fe  (<J),  with  three  dots  instead  of  one  (<jj). 

A  Malay  chronicle  of  Achin  dates  the  accession  of  the  first  Mahom- 
edan  king  of  that  state,  the  nearest  point  of  Sumatra  to  India  and 
Arabia,  in  the  year  answering  to  a.d.  1205,  and  this  is  the  earliest  con¬ 
version  among  the  Malays  on  record.  It  is  extremely  doubtful,  however, 
whether  there  were  Kings  of  Achin  in  1205,  or  for  centuries  after,  so 
it  must  also  be  doubtful  whether  this  date  applies  to  any  real  event, 
or  not. 

*  See  A  nder soils  Mission  to  East  Coast  of  Sumatra ,  pp.  229,  233,  and  map.  The 
Ferlec  of  Polo  was  identified  by  Valentyn  (Sumatra,  in  vol.  v.,  p.  21). 



The  notice  of  the  Hill-people,  who  lived  like  beasts  and  ate  human 
flesh,  presumably  attaches  to  the  Battas  or  Bataks,  occupying  high  table¬ 
lands  in  the  interior  of  Sumatra.  They  do  not  now  extend  north  beyond 
lat.  30.  The  interior  of  northern  Sumatra  seems  to  remain  a  terra 
incognita ,  and  even  with  the  coast  we  are  far  less  familiar  than  our 
ancestors  were  250  years  ago.  The  Battas  are  remarkable  among  can¬ 
nibal  nations  as  having  attained  or  retained  some  degree  of  civilization, 
and  as  being  possessed  of  an  alphabet  and  documents.  Their  anthro¬ 
pophagy  is  now  professedly  practised  according  to  precise  laws  and  only 
in  prescribed  cases.  Thus:  (1)  A  commoner  seducing  a  Raja’s  wife 
must  be  eaten  ;  (2)  Enemies  taken  in  battle  outside  their  village  must  be 
eaten  alive ;  those  taken  in  storming  a  village  may  be  spared ;  (3) 
Traitors  and  spies  have  the  same  doom,  but  may  ransom  themselves  for 
60  dollars  a-head.  There  is  nothing  more  horrible  or  extraordinary  in 
all  the  stories  of  medieval  travellers  than  the  facts  of  this  institution. 
(See  Junghuhn,  Die  Battalander ,  II.  158.)  And  it  is  evident  that 
human  flesh  is  also  at  times  kept  in  the  houses  for  food.  Junghuhn, 
himself  a  great  admirer  of  the  Battas,  tells  how  after  a  perilous  and 
hungry  flight  he  arrived  in  a  friendly  village,  and  the  food  that  was 
offered  by  his  hosts  was  the  flesh  of  two  prisoners  that  had  been 
slaughtered  the  day  before  (I.  249).  Anderson  was  also  told  of  one  of 
the  most  powerful  Batta  chiefs  who  would  eat  only  such  food,  and  took 
care  to  be  supplied  with  it  (225). 

The  story  of  the  Battas  is  that  in  old  times  their  communities  lived 
in  peace  and  knew  no  such  custom ;  but  a  Devil,  Nanalain ,  came  bring¬ 
ing  strife,  and  introduced  this  man-eating,  at  a  period  which  they  spoke 
of  (in  1840)  as  “three  men’s  lives  ago,”  or  about  210  years  previous 
to  that  date.  Junghuhn,  with  some  enlargement  of  the  time,  is  dis¬ 
posed  to  accept  their  story  of  the  practice  being  comparatively  modern. 
This  seems  unlikely,  for  their  hideous  custom  seems  to  be  alluded  to 
by  a  long  chain  of  early  authorities.  Ptolemy’s  anthropophagi  may 
perhaps  be  referred  to  the  smaller  islands.  But  the  Arab  Relations  of 
the  9th  century  speak  of  man-eaters  in  Al-Ramni,  undoubtedly  Sumatra. 
Then  comes  our  traveller,  followed  by  Odoric,  and  in  the  early  part 
of  the  15th  century  by  Conti,  who  names  the  Batech  cannibals.  Barbosa 
describes  them  without  naming  them;  Galvano  (p.  108)  speaks  of  them 
by  name. 

The  practice  of  worshipping  the  first  thing  seen  in  the  morning  is 
related  of  a  variety  of  nations.  Pigafetta  tells  it  of  the  people  of  Gilolo, 
and  Yarthema  in  his  account  of  Java  (which  I  fear  is  fiction)  ascribes 
it  to  some  people  of  that  island.  Richard  Eden  tells  it  of  the  Lap¬ 
landers  (Notes on  Russia ,  Hak.  Soc.  II.  224). 

Note  4. — Basma ,  as  Valentyn  indicated,  is  the  Pasei  of  the  Malays, 
which  the  Arabs  probably  called  Basam  or  the  like,  for  the  Portuguese 
wrote  it  Pacem.  Pasei  is  mentioned  in  the  Malay  Chronicle  as  founded 
by  Malik-al-Salih,  the  first  Mussulman  sovereign  of  Samudra,  the  next  of 



Book  III. 

Marco’s  kingdoms.  He  assigned  one  of  these  states  to  each  of  his  two 
sons,  Malik  al-Dhahir  and  Malik  al-Mansur ;  the  former  of  whom  was 
reigning  at  Samudra,  and  apparently  over  the  whole  coast,  when  Ibn 
Batuta  was  there  (about  1346-47).  There  is  also  a  Malay  History  of 
the  Kings  of  Pasei  to  which  reference  has  already  been  made. 

Somewhat  later  Pasei  was  a  great  and  famous  city :  Majapahit, 
Malacca,  and  Pasei  being  reckoned  the  three  great  cities  of  the  Archi¬ 
pelago.  The  stimulus  of  conversion  to  Islam  had  not  taken  effect  on 
those  Sumatran  states  at  the  time  of  Polo’s  voyage,  but  it  did  so  soon 
afterwards,  and  low  as  they  have  now  fallen,  their  power  at  one  time 
was  no  delusion.  Achin,  which  rose  to  be  the  chief  of  them,  in  1615 
could  send  against  Portuguese  Malacca  an  expedition  of  more  than  500 
sail,  100  of  which  were  galleys  larger  than  any  then  constructed  in 
Europe,  and  carried  from  600  to  800  men  each. 

Note  5. — The  elephant  seems  to  abound  in  the  forest-tracts  through¬ 
out  the  whole  length  of  Sumatra,  and  the  species  is  now  determined  to 
be  a  distinct  one  (E.  Sumatranus)  from  that  of  continental  India,  and 
identical  with  that  of  Ceylon.  The  Sumatran  elephant  in  former  days 
was  caught  and  tamed  extensively.  Ibn  Batuta  speaks  of  100  elephants 
in  the  train  of  A1  Dhahir,  the  King  of  Sumatra  Proper;  and  in  the 
17  th  century  Beaulieu  says  the  K.  of  Achin  had  always  900.  Giov. 
d’  Empoli  also  mentions  them  at  Pedir  in  the  beginning  of  the  16th 
century ;  and  see  Pasei  Chronicle  quoted  in  J.  As.  ser.  4,  tom.  ix. 
b.  258-9. 

As  Polo’s  account  of  the  rhinoceros  is  evidently  from  nature,  it  is 
notable  that  he  should  not  only  call  it  unicorn,  but  speak  so  precisely  of 
its  one  horn,  for  the  characteristic,  if  not  the  only,  species  on  the  island, 
is  a  two-horned  one  (Ph.  Sumatranus )*  and  his  mention  of  the  buffalo¬ 
like  hair  applies  only  to  this  one.  This  species  exists  also  on  the 
Indo-Chinese  continent  and,  it  is  believed,  in  Borneo.  I  have  seen  it 
in  the  Arakan  forests  as  high  as  190  20';  one  was  taken  not  long  since 
near  Chittagong ;  and  Mr.  Blyth  tells  me  a  stray  one  has  been  seen  in 
Assam  or  its  borders. 

What  the  Traveller  says  of  the  animal’s  love  of  mire  and  mud  is  well 
illustrated  by  the  manner  in  which  the  Semangs  or  Negritoes  of  the 
Malay  Peninsula  are  said  to  destroy  him :  “  This  animal  ...  is  found 
frequently  in  marshy  places,  with  its  whole  body  immersed  in  the  mud, 
and  part  of  the  head  only  visible.  .  .  .  Upon  the  dry  weather  setting  in 
....  the  mud  becomes  hard  and  crusted,  and  the  rhinoceros  cannot  effect 
his  escape  without  considerable  difficulty  and  exertion.  The  Semangs 
prepare  themselves  with  large  quantities  of  combustible  materials,  with 
which  they  quietly  approach  the  animal,  who  is  aroused  from  his  reverie 
by  an  immense  fire  over  him,  which  being  kept  well  supplied  by  the 

*  Marsden,  however,  does  say  that  a  one-horned  species  ( Rh .  sojidaicus  ?)  is  also 
found  on  Sumatra  (3d  ed.  of  his  H.  of  Sumatra ,  p.  116). 

Chap.  IX. 



Semangs  with  fresh  fuel,  soon  completes  his  destruction,  and  renders 
him  in  a  fit  state  to  make  a  meal  of”  (J.  Ind.  Arch.  IV.  426).*  There 
is  a  great  difference  in  aspect  between  the  one-horned  species  ( Rh . 
Sondaicus  and  Rh.  Indicus)  and  the  two-horned.  The  Malays  express 
what  that  difference  is  admirably,  in  calling  the  last  Badak-Karbdu ,  “  the 
Buffalo-Rhinoceros,”  and  the  Sondaicus  Bddak- Gdjah,  “the  Elephant- 

The  belief  in  the  formidable  nature  of  the  tongue  of  the  rhinoceros 
is  very  old  and  wide-spread,  though  I  can  find  no  foundation  for  it  but 

The  three  Asiatic  Rhinoceroses  :  (upper)  Indicus,  (middle)  Sondaicus,  (lower)  Sumatranus. 

the  rough  appearance  of  the  organ.  The  Chinese  have  the  belief,  and 
the  Jesuit  Lecomte  attests  it  from  professed  observation  of  the  animal 
in  confinement.  (Chin.  Repos.  VII.  137  ;  Lecomte ,  II.  406.) 

The  legend,  to  which  Marco  alludes,  about  the  unicorn  allowing 
itself  to  be  ensnared  by  a  maiden  (and  of  which  Marsden  has  made  an 

*  An  American  writer  professes  to  have  discovered  in  Missouri  the  fossil  remains 
of  a  bogged  mastodon,  which  had.  been  killed  precisely  in  this  way  by  human  contem¬ 
poraries  (see  Lubbock ,  Preh.  Times ,  2d  ed.  279). 



Book  III. 

odd  perversion  in  his  translation,  whilst  indicating  the  true  meaning  in 
his  note)  is  also  an  old  and  general  one.  It  will  be  found,  for  example, 
in  Brunetto  Latini,  in  the  Image  du  Monde ,  in  the  Mirabilia  of  J ordanus, 
and  in  the  verses  of  Tzetzes.*  The  latter  represents  Monoceros  as 
attracted  not  by  the  maiden’s  charms  but  by  her  perfumery.  So  he 
is  inveigled  and  blindfolded  by  a  stout  young  knave,  disguised  as  a 
maiden  and  drenched  with  scent : — 

“  ’Tis  then  the  huntsmen  hasten  up,  abandoning  their  ambush  ;  * 

Clean  from  his  head  they  chop  his  horn,  prized  antidote  to  poison  ! 

And  let  the  docked  and  luckless  beast  escape  into  the  jungles.” 

—V.  399,  seqq. 

In  the  cut  which  we  give  of  this  from  a  medieval  source  the  horn  of 
the  unicorn  is  evidently  the  tusk  of  a  narwhal ,  a  mistake  which  may 
be  traced  in  the  illustrations  to  Cosmas  Indicopleustes  from  his  own 
drawings,  and  which  long  endured,  as  may  be  seen  in  P.  della  Valle 

Monoceros  and  the  Maiden. 

(II.  491).  And  to  this  popular  error  is  no  doubt  due  the  reading  in 
Pauthier’s  text,  which  makes  the  horn  white  instead  of  black.  We  may 
quote  also  the  following  quaint  version  of  the  fable  from  the  Bestiary 
of  Philip  de  Thaun,  published  by  Mr.  Wright  ( Popular  Treatises  on 
Science ,  &c.  p.  81)  : — 

“  Monosceros  est  Beste,  un  corne  ad  en  la  teste, 

Purceo  ad  si  a  nun,  de  buc  ad  fafun  ; 

Par  Pucele  est  prise  ;  or  vez  en  quel  guise. 

Quant  horn  le  volt  cacer  et  prendre  et  enginner, 

Si  vent  horn  al  forest  u  sis  riparis  est ; 

La  met  une  Pucele  hors  de  sein  sa  mamele, 

Et  par  odurement  Monosceros  la  sent ; 

Dune  vent  a  la  Pucele,  et  si  baiset  la  mamele, 

En  sein  devant  se  dort,  issi  vent  a  sa  mort  ; 

Li  hom  suivent  atant  ki  l’ocit  en  dormant 
U  trestout  vif  le  prent,  si  fais  puis  sun  talent. 

Grant  chose  signifie.” . 

And  so  goes  on  to  moralize  the  fable. 

*  Tresor ,  p.  253  ;  N.  and  E.,  V.  263  ;  Jordanns,  p.  43. 

Chap.  X. 



Note  6. — In  the  J.  Indian  Archip.  V.  285  there  is  mention  of  the 
Falco  Malaiensis ,  black,  with  a  double  white-and- brown  spotted  tail, 
said  to  belong  to  the  ospreys,  “  but  does  not  disdain  to  take  birds  and 
other  game.” 


The  Kingdoms  of  Samara  and  Dagroian. 

So  you  must  know  that  when  you  leave  the  kingdom  of 
Basma  you  come  to  another  kingdom  called  Samara,  on  the 
same  Island.1  And  in  that  kingdom  Messer  Marco  Polo  was 
detained  five  months  by  the  weather,  which  would  not  allow 
of  his  going  on.  And  I  tell  you  that  here  again  neither  the 
Pole-star  nor  the  stars  of  the  Maestro 2  were  to  be  seen, 
much  or  little.  The  people  here  are  wild  idolaters ;  they 
have  a  king  who  is  great  and  rich ;  but  they  also  call  them¬ 
selves  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan.  When  Messer  Mark 
was  detained  on  this  Island  five  months  by  contrary  winds, 
[he  landed  with  about  2000  men  in  his  company  ;  they  dug 
large  ditches  on  the  landward  side  to  encompass  the  party, 
resting  at  either  end  on  the  sea-haven,  and  within  these 
ditches  they  made  bulwarks  or  stockades  of  timber]  for 
fear  of  those  brutes  of  man-eaters ;  [for  there  is  great  store 
of  wood  there ;  and  the  islanders  having  confidence  in  the 
party  supplied  them  with  victuals  and  other  things  needful] . 
There  is  abundance  of  fish  to  be  had,  the  best  in  the  world. 
The  people  have  no  wheat,  but  live  on  rice.  Nor  have 
they  any  wine  except  such  as  I  shall  now  describe. 

You  must  know  that  they  derive  it  from  a  certain  kind 
of  tree  that  they  have.  When  they  want  wine  they  cut  a 
branch  of  this,  and  attach  a  great  pot  to  the  stem  of  the 
tree  at  the  place  where  the  branch  was  cut ;  in  a  day  and  a 
night  they  will  find  the  pot  filled.  This  wine  is  excellent 
drink,  and  is  got  both  white  and  red.  [It  is  of  such  sur¬ 
passing  virtue  that  it  cures  dropsy  and  tisick  and  spleen.] 
vol.  ir.  R 



Book  III. 

The  trees  resemble  small  date-palms ;  .  .  .  and  when  cut¬ 
ting  a  branch  no  longer  gives  a  flow  of  wine,  they  water 
the  root  of  the  tree,  and  before  long  the  branches  again 
begin  to  give  out  wine  as  before.-5  They  have  also  great 
quantities  of  Indian  nuts  [as  big  as  a  man’s  head],  which  are 
good  to  eat  when  fresh ;  [being  sweet  and  savoury,  and 
white  as  milk.  The  inside  of  the  meat  of  the  nut  is  filled 
with  a  liquor  like  clear  fresh  water,  but  better  to  the  taste, 
and  more  delicate  than  wine  or  any  other  drink  that  ever 

Now  we  have  done  telling  you  about  this  kingdom,  let 
us  quit  it  and  we  will  tell  you  of  Dagroian. 

When  you  leave  the  kingdom  of  Samara  you  come  to 
another  which  is  called  Dagroian.  It  is  an  independent 
kingdom,  and  has  a  language  of  its  own.  The  people  are 
very  wild,  but  they  call  themselves  the  subjects  of  the 
Great  Kaan.  I  will  tell  you  a  wicked  custom  of  theirs.4 

When  one  of  them  is  ill  they  send  for  their  sorcerers, 
and  put  the  question  to  them,  whether  the  sick  man  shall 
recover  of  his  sickness  or  no.  If  they  say  that  he  will 
recover,  then  they  let  him  alone  till  he  gets  better.  But 
if  the  sorcerers  foretell  that  the  sick  man  is  to  die,  the 
friends  send  for  certain  judges  of  theirs  to  put  to  death  him 
who  has  thus  been  condemned  by  the  sorcerers  to  die. 
These  men  come,  and  lay  so  many  clothes  upon  the  sick 
man’s  mouth  that  they  suffocate  him.  And  when  he  is 
dead  they  have  him  cooked,  and  gather  together  all  the 
dead  man’s  kin,  and  eat  him.  And  I  assure  you  they  do 
suck  the  very  bones  till  not  a  particle  of  marrow  remains 
in  them ;  for  they  say  that  if  any  nourishment  remained  in 
the  bones  this  would  breed  worms,  and  then  the  worms 
would  die  for  want  of  food,  and  the  death  of  those  worms 
would  be  laid  to  the  charge  of  the  deceased  man’s  soul. 
And  so  they  eat  him  up  stump  and  rump.  And  when 
they  have  thus  eaten  him  they  collect  his  bones  and  put 
them  in  fine  chests,  and  carry  them  away,  and  place  them 

Chap.  X. 



in  caverns  among  the  mountains  where  no  beast  nor  other 
creature  can  get  at  them.  And  you  must  know  also  that 
if  they  take  prisoner  a  man  of  another  country,  and  he  can¬ 
not  pay  a  ransom  in  coin,  they  kill  him  and  eat  him 
straightway.  It  is  a  very  evil  custom  and  a  parlous.5 

Now  that  I  have  told  you  about  this  kingdom  let  us 
leave  it,  and  I  will  tell  you  of  Lambri. 

Note  1. — I  have  little  doubt  that  in  Marco’s  dictation  the  name  was 
really  Samatra ,  and  it  is  possible  that  we  have  a  trace  of  this  in  the 
Samarcha  (for  Samartha)  of  the  Crusca  MS. 

The  Shijarat  Malay u  has  a  legend,  with  a  fictitious  etymology,  of 
the  foundation  of  the  city  and  kingdom  of  Samudra  or  Sumatra,  by 
Marah  Silu,  a  fisherman  near  Pasangan,  who  had  acquired  great  wealth, 
as  wealth  is  got  in  fairy  tales.  The  name  is  probably  the  Sanscrit 
Samudra ,  “  the  sea.”  Possibly  it  may  have  been  imitated  from  Dwara 
Samudra,  at  that  time  a  great  state  and  city  of  Southern  India.  Mara 
Silu  having  become  King  of  Samudra  was  converted  to  Islam,  and  took 
the  name  of  Malik-al-Salih.  He  married  the  daughter  of  the  King  of 
Parldk ,  by  whom  he  had  two  sons,  and  to  have  a  principality  for  each 
he  founded  the  city  and  kingdom  of  Pasei.  Thus  we  have  Marco’s 
three  first  kingdoms,  Ferlec,  Basma,  and  Samara,  connected  together  in 
a  satisfactory  manner  in  the  Malayan  story.  It  goes  on  to  relate  the 
history  of  the  two  sons  A1  Dhahir  and  A1  Mansur.  Another  version  is 
given  in  the  history  of  Pasei  already  alluded  to,  with  such  differences  as 
might  be  expected  when  the  oral  traditions  of  several  centuries  came  to 
be  written  down. 

Ibn  Batuta,  about  1346,  on  his  way  to  China,  spent  fifteen  days  at 
the  court  of  Samudra,  which  he  calls  Sdmathrah  or  Sdmuthrah.  The 
king  whom  he  found  there  reigning  was  the  Sultan  A1  Malik  Al-Dhahir, 
a  most  zealous  Mussulman,  surrounded  by  doctors  of  theology,  and 
greatly  addicted  to  religious  discussions,  as  well  as  a  great  warrior  and  a 
powerful  prince.  The  city  was  four  miles  from  its  port,  which  the 
traveller  calls  Sarha ;  he  describes  the  capital  as  a  large  and  fine  town, 
surrounded  with  an  enceinte  and  bastions  of  timber.  The  court  dis¬ 
played  all  the  state  of  Mahomedan  royalty,  and  the  Sultan’s  dominions 
extended  for  many  days  along  the  coast.  In  accordance  with  Ibn 
Batuta’s  picture,  the  Malay  Chronicle  represents  the  court  of  Pasei 
(which  we  have  seen  to  be  intimately  connected  with  Samudra)  as  a 
great  focus  of  theological  studies  about  this  time. 

There  can  be  little  doubt  that  Ibn  Batuta’s  Malik  A1  Dhahir  is  the 
prince  of  the  Malay  Chronicle,  the  son  of  the  first  Mahomedan  king. 
We  find  in  1292  that  Marco  says  nothing  of  Mahomedanism ;  the 
people  are  still  wild  idolaters ;  but  the  king  is  already  a  rich  and  power- 

R  2 



Book  III. 

ful  prince.  This  may  have  been  Malik  A1  Salih  before  his  conversion  ; 
but  it  may  be  doubted  if  the  Malay  story  be  correct  in  representing  him 
as  the  founder  of  the  city.  Nor  is  this  apparently  so  represented  in  the 
Book  of  the  Kings  of  Pasei. 

Before  Ibn  Batuta’s  time,  Sumatra  or  Samudra  appears  in  the  travels 
of  Fr.  Odoric.  After  speaking  of  Lamori  (to  which  we  shall  come  pre¬ 
sently),  he  says:  “ In  the  same  island,  towards  the  south,  is  another 
kingdom,  by  name  Sumoltra,  in  which  is  a  singular  generation  of 
people,  for  they  brand  themselves  on  the  face  with  a  hot  iron  in  some 
twelve  places,”  &c.  This  looks  as  if  the  conversion  to  Islam  was  still 
(circa  1323)  very  incomplete.  Rashiduddin  also  speaks  of  Sumutra  as 
lying  beyond  Lamuri  (Elliot,  I.  p.  70). 

The  power  attained  by  the  dynasty  of  Malik  A1  Salih,  and  the 
number  of  Mahomedans  attracted  to  his  court,  probably  led  in  the 
course  of  the  14th  century  to  the  extension  of  the  name  of  Sumatra  to 
the  whole  island.  For  when  visited  early  in  the  next  century  by  Nicolo 
Conti,  we  are  told  that  he  “went  to  a  fine  city  of  the  island  of  Tapro- 
bana,  which  island  is  called  by  the  natives  Shamuthera .”  Strange  to 
say  he  speaks  of  the  natives  as  all  idolaters.  Fra  Mauro,  who  got  much 
from  Conti,  gives  us  u  Isola  Siamotra  over  Taprobana  /”  and  it  shows  at 
once  his  own  judgment  and  want  of  confidence  in  it,  when  he  notes  else¬ 
where  that  “  Ptolemy,  professing  to  describe  Taprobana,  has  really  only 
described  Saylan.” 

We  have  no  means  of  settling  the  exact  position  of  the  city  of 
Sumatra,  though  possibly  an  enquiry  among  the  natives  of  that  coast 
might  still  determine  the  point.  Marsden  and  Logan  indicate  Samar- 
langa,but  I  should  look  for  it  nearer  Pasei.  As  pointed  out  by  Mr.  Braddell 
in  the  J.  Ind.  Arch.,  Malay  tradition  represents  the  site  of  Pasei  as  selected 
on  a  hunting  expedition  from  Samudra,  which  seems  to  imply  tolerable 
proximity.  And,  in  the  account  of  the  marriage  of  the  Princess  of  Parlak 
to  Malik  A1  Salih,  we  are  told  that  the  latter  went  to  receive  her  on 
landing  at  Jambu  Ayer,  and  thence  conducted  her  to  the  city  of  Samudra. 
It  seems  improbable  that  the  bride  should  have  been  landed  by  her 
father’s  fleet  so  far  from  Samarlanga  if  that  had  been  the  place.  I  should 
seek  Samudra  near  the  head  of  the  estuary-like  Gulf  of  Pasei,  called  in 
the  charts  Telo  Samawe ;  a  place  very  likely  to  have  been  sought  as  a 
shelter  to  the  Great  Kaan’s  fleet  during  the  south-west  monsoon. 

When  the  Portuguese  first  reached  those  regions  certainly  no  state 
called  Sumatra  continued  to  exist.  Pedir  was  then  the  leading  state 
upon  the  coast ;  and  this  may  have  been  the  representative  of  Sumatra, 
with  a  new  capital.  Whether  the  city  continued  to  exist  even  in  decay 
is  not  easy  to  discern.  The  Ain-i-Akbari  says  that  the  best  civet  is 
that  which  is  brought  from  the  seaport  town  of  Sumatra,  in  the  territory  of 
Achin,  and  is  called  Sumatra  Zabad ;  but  this  may  have  been  based  on 
old  information.  Yalentyn  seems  to  recognize  the  existence  of  a  place 
of  note  called  Samadra  or  Samotdara,  though  it  is  not  entered  on  his 
map.  The  most  distinct  mention  that  I  know  of  the  city  so  called,  in 

Chap.  X. 



the  Portuguese  period,  occurs  in  the  soi-disant  “  Voyage  which  Juan 
Serano  made  when  he  fled  from  Malacca,”  in  1512,  published  by  Lord 
Stanley  of  Alderley,  at  the  end  of  his  translation  of  Barbosa.  This  man 
speaks  of  the  “  island  of  Samatra  ”  as  named  from  “  a  city  of  this  northern 
part."  And  on  leaving  Pedir,  having  gone  down  the  northern  coast,  he 
says,  “  I  drew  towards  the  south  and  south-east  direction,  and  reached  to 
another  country  and  city  which  is  called  Samatra,”  and  so  on.  Now  this 
describes  the  position  in  which  the  city  of  Sumatra  should  have  been  if  it 
existed.  But  all  the  rest  of  the  tract  is  mere  plunder  from  Varthema.* 

There  is,  however,  a  like  intimation  in  a  curious  letter  respecting  the 
Portuguese  discoveries,  written  from  Lisbon  in  15 15,  by  a  German,  Valen¬ 
tine  Moravia,  who  was  probably  the  same  Valentyn  Fernandez  the  German, 
who  published  the  early  Portuguese  edition  of  Marco  Polo  at  Lisbon  in 
1502,  and  who  shows  an  extremely  accurate  conception  of  Indiangeography. 
He  says:  “La  maxima  insula  la  quale  e  chiamata  da  Marcho'Polo 
Veneto  lava  Minor,  et  al  presente  si  chiama  Sumoira ,  da  un  emporio  di 
dicta  insula  ”  (printed  by  De  Guhernatis ,  Viaggiatori  Italiani ,  & c.,  p.  170). 

Among  the  Indian  states  which  were  prevailed  on  to  send  tribute 
(or  presents)  to  Kublai  in  1286,  we  find  Sumutala ,  or  Suniontu.  Pro¬ 
bably  this  was  the  rising  state  of  Sumatra,  of  which  we  have  been 
speaking;  for  it  will  be  observed  that  Marco  says  the  people  of  that 
state  called  themselves  the  Kaan’s  subjects.  Rashiduddin  makes  the 
same  statement  regarding  the  people  of  Java  (i.e.,  the  island  of  Sumatra), 
and  even  of  Nicobar  :  “  they  are  all  subject  to  the  Kaan.”  It  is  curious 
to  find  just  the  same  kind  of  statements  about  the  princes  of  the  Malay 
Islands  acknowledging  themselves  subjects  of  Charles  V.,  in  the  report  of 
the  surviving  commander  of  Magellan’s  ship  to  that  emperor  (printed  by 
Baldello-Boni,  I.  lxvii).  Pauthier’s  Chinese  extracts  also  contain  a 
notable  passage  respecting  the  disappearance  of  Sumatra  Proper  from 
history.  It  is  stated  that  in  the  years  Wen-chi  (1573-1615),  the  kingdom 
of  Sumatra  divided  in  two,  and  that  the  new  state  took  the  name  of 
A  chi  (Achin).  After  that  Sumatra  was  no  more  heard  of.  This  looks 
as  if  latterly  Sumatra  had  been  identical  with  Pedir.  ( Gaubil '  205  ; 
Demailla ,  IX.  429;  Elliot ,  I.  71  ;  Pauthier ,  p.  605,  and  567). 

Note  2. — “  Vos  di  qe  la  Tramontaine  ne  part.  Et  encore  vos  di  que 
restoilles  dou  Meistre  ne  aparent  ne  pou  ne  grant  ”  (G.  T.).  The  Tramon¬ 
taine  is  the  Pole  star  : — 

“  De  nostre  Pere  l’Apostoille 
Volsisse  qu’il  semblast  l’estoile 

Qui  ne  se  muet . 

Par  cele  estoile  vont  et  viennent 
Et  lor  sen  et  lor  voie  tiennent 
II  l’apelent  la  tres  montaigneP 

— La  Bible  Gaiot  de  Provins  in  Barbazan ,  by  Aleon,  II.  377* 

*  It  might  be  supposed  that  Varthema  had  stolen  from  Serano ;  but  the  book  of 
the  former  was  published  in  1510. 



Book  III. 

The  Meistre  is  explained  by  Pauthier  to  be  Arcturus ;  but  this  makes 
Polo’s  error  greater  than  it  is.  '  Brunetto  Latini  says :  “  Devers  la  tra¬ 
montane  en  a  il  i.  autre  (vent)  plus  debonaire,  qui  a  non  Chorus.  Cestui 
apelent  li  marinier  Maistre  por  vij.  estoiles  qui  so?it  en  celui  meisme  leu? 
&c.  (Li  Tresors,  p.  122).  Magister  or  Magistra  in  medieval  Latin, 
La  Maistre  in  old  French,  signifies  “  the  beam  of  a  plough.”  Perhaps 
this  accounts  for  the  application  of  Maistre  to  the  Great  Bear,  or  Plough. 

Note  3. — The  tree  here  intended,  and  which  gives  the  chief  supply 
of  toddy  and  sugar  in  the  Malay  Islands,  is  the  Areng  Saccharifera  (from 
the  Javanese  name),  called  by  the  Malays  Gomuti ,  and  by  the  Portu¬ 
guese  Saguer.  It  has  some  resemblance  to  the  date-palm,  to  which 
Polo  compares  it,  but  it  is  a  much  coarser  and  wilder-looking  tree,  with  a 
general  raggedness,  “  incompta  et  adspectu  tristis ,”  as  Rumphius  describes 
it.  It  is  notable  for  the  number  of  plants  that  find  a  footing  in  the  joints 
of  its  stem.  On  one  tree  in  Java  I  have  counted  13  species  of  such 
parasites,  nearly  all  ferns.  The  tree  appears  in  the  foreground  of  the 
cut  at  p.  216. 

Crawfurd  thus  describes  its  treatment  in  obtaining  toddy :  “  One  of 
the  spathae ,  or  shoots  of  fructification,  is,  on  the  first  appearance  of  the 
fruit,  beaten  for  three  successive  days  with  a  small  stick,  with  the  view 
of  determining  the  sap  to  the  wounded  part.  The  shoot  is  then  cut  off, 
a  little  way  from  the  root,  and  the  liquor  which  pours  out  is  received  in 
pots.  .  .  .  The  Gomuti  palm  is  fit  to  yield  toddy  at  9  or  10  years  old, 
and  continues  to  yield  it  for  2  years  at  the  average  rate  of  3  quarts  a 
day.”  (Hist,  of  Lnd.  Arch.  I.  398.) 

Note  4. — No  one  has  been  able  to  identify  this  name,  which  looks 
like  the  Malay  word  Dargahayu ,  “  Good  Fortune.”  Its  position,  how¬ 
ever,  must  have  been  near  Pedir,  and  perhaps  it  was  the  same.  Pedir 
was  the  most  flourishing  of  those  Sumatran  states  at  the  appearance  of 
the  Portuguese. 

Rashiduddin  names  among  the  towns  of  the  Archipelago  Dalmian , 
which  may  perhaps  be  a  corrupt  transcript  of  Dagroian. 

Note  5. — Gasparo  Balbi  (1579-87)  heard  the  like  story  of  the  Battas 
under  Achin.  True  or  false,  the  charge  against  them  has  come  down  to 
our  times.  The  like  is  told  by  Herodotus  of  the  Paddaei  in  India ;  by 
the  Chinese  of  one  of  the  wild  tribes  of  Kweichau ;  and  was  told  to 
Wallace  of  some  of  the  Aru  Island  tribes  near  New  Guinea,  and  to 
Bickmore  of  a  tribe  on  the  south  coast  of  Floris,  called  Rakka  (probably 
a  form  of  Hindu  Rakshasa,  or  ogre-goblin).  Similar  charges  are  made 
against  sundry  tribes  of  the  New  World,  from  Brazil  to  Vancouver 
Island.  Odoric  tells  precisely  Marco’s  story  of  a  certain  island  called 
Dondin.  And  in  “  King  Alisaunder,”  the  custom  is  related  of  a  people 
of  India,  called  most  inappropriately  Orphani : — 

Chap.  XL 



“  Another  Folk  woneth  there  beside  ; 

Orphani  he  hatteth  wide. 

When  her  eldrynges  beth  elde, 

And  ne  mowen  hemselven  welde 

Hy  hem  sleeth,  and  bidelve 

And,”  &c.,  &c.  — Weber ,  I.  p.  206. 

Benedetto  Bordone,  in  his  Isolario  (1521  and  1547),  makes  the  same 
charge  against  the  Irish ,  but  I  am  glad  to  say  that  this  seems  only 
copied  from  Strabo.  Such  stories  are  still  rife  in  the  East,  like  those  of 
men  with  tails.  I  have  myself  heard  the  tale  told,  nearly  as  Raffles 
tells  it  of  the  Battas,  of  some  of  the  wild  tribes  adjoining  Arakan.  (. Balbi , 
f.  130  ;  Raffles,  Mem.  p.  427  ;  Wallace ,  Malay  Archip.  II.  281  ;  Bick- 
more's  Travels ,  p.  in  ;  Cathay ,  p.  25,  100.) 

The  Battas  now  bury  their  dead,  after  keeping  the  body  a  consider¬ 
able  time.  But  the  people  of  Nias  and  the  Batu  Islands,  whom  Jung- 
huhn  considers  to  be  of  common  origin  with  the  Battas,  do  not  bury, 
but  expose  the  bodies  in  coffins  upon  rocks  by  the  sea.  And  the  small 
and  very  peculiar  people  of  the  Paggi  Islands  expose  their  dead  on 
bamboo  platforms  in  the  forest.  It  is  quite  probable  that  such  customs 
existed  in  the  north  of  Sumatra  also ;  indeed  they  may  still  exist,  for 
the  interior  seems  unknown.  We  do  hear  of  pagan  hill-people  inland 
from  Pedir  who  make  descents  upon  the  coast.  (Junghuhn ,  II.  140  ; 
Tydschrift  voor  Indische  Taal ,  &c.,  2nd  year,  No.  4  ;  Nouv.  Ann  des  V. , 


Of  the  Kingdoms  of  Lambri  and  Fansur. 

When  you  leave  that  kingdom  you  come  to  another  which 
is  called  Lambri.1  The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  call  them¬ 
selves  the  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan.  They  have  plenty  of 
Camphor  and  of  all  sorts  of  other  spices.  They  also  have 
Brazil  in  great  quantities.  This  they  sow,  and  when  it  is 
grown  to  the  size  of  a  small  shoot  they  take  it  up  and 
transplant  it;  then  they  let  it  grow  for  three  years,  after 
which  they  tear  it  up  by  the  root.  You  must  know  that 
Messer  Marco  Polo  aforesaid  brought  some  seed  of  the 
brazil,  such  a#s  they  sow,  to  Venice  with  him,  and  had  it 



Book  III. 

sown  there ;  but  never  a  thing  came  up.  And  I  fancy  it 
was  because  the  climate  was  too  cold. 

Now  you  must  know  that  in  this  kingdom  of  Lambri 
there  are  men  with  tails ;  these  tails  are  of  a  palm  in  length, 
and  have  no  hair  on  them.  These  people  live  in  the 
mountains  and  are  a  kind  of  wild  men.  Their  tails  are 
about  the  thickness  of  a  dog’s.2  There  are  also  plenty  of 
unicorns  in  that  country,  and  abundance  of  game  in  birds 
and  beasts. 

Now  then  I  have  told  you  about  the  kingdom  of 

You  then  come  to  another  kingdom  which  is  called 
Fansur.  The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  also  call  them¬ 
selves  subjects  of  the  Great  Kaan  ;  and,  understand,  they  are 
still  on  the  same  Island  that  I  have  been  telling  you  of. 
In  this  kingdom  of  Fansur  grows  the  best  Camphor  in  the 
world,  called  Canfora  Fansuri.  It  is  so  fine  that  it  sells 
for  its  weight  in  fine  gold.3 

The  people  have  no  wheat,  but  have  rice  which  they 
eat  with  milk  and  flesh.  They  also  have  wine  from  trees 
such  as  I  told  you  of.  And  I  will  tell  you  another  great 
marvel.  They  have  a  kind  of  trees  that  produce  flour, 
and  excellent  flour  it  is  for  food.  These  trees  are  very 
tall  and  thick,  but  have  a  very  thin  bark,  and  inside 
the  bark  they  are  crammed  with  flour.  And  I  tell  you 
that  Messer  Marco  Polo,  who  witnessed  all  this,  related 
how  he  and  his  party  did  sundry  times  partake  of  this 
flour  made  into  bread,  and  found  it  excellent.4 

There  is  now  no  more  to  relate.  For  out  of  those 
eight  kingdoms  we  have  told  you  about  six  that  lie  at  this 
side  of  the  Island.  I  shall  tell  you  nothing  about  the 
other  two  kingdoms  that  are  at  the  other  side  of  the  Island, 
for  the  said  Messer  Marco  Polo  never  was  there.  Howbeit 
we  have  told  you  about  the  greater  part  of  this  Island  of 
the  Lesser  Java;  so  now  we  will  quit  it,  and  I  will  tell  you 
of  a  very  small  Island  that  is  called  Gauenispola.5 

Chap.  XI. 



Note  1. — The  name  of  Lambri  is  not  now  traceable  on  our  maps, 
nor  on  any  list  of  the  ports  of  Sumatra  that  I  have  met  with ;  but  in  old 
times  the  name  occurs  frequently  under  one  form  or  another,  and  its 
position  can  be  assigned  generally  to  the  north  part  of  the  west  coast, 
commencing  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Achin  Head. 

De  Barros,  detailing  the  29  kingdoms  which  divided  the  coast  of 
Sumatra  at  the  beginning  of  the  Portuguese  conquests,  begins  with 
Daya,  and  then  passes  round  by  the  north.  He  names  as  next  in  order 
Lambrij,  and  then  Achem.  This  would  make  Lambri  lie  between  Daya 
and  Achin,  for  which  there  is  but  little  room.  But  there  is  an  apparent 
inconsistency,  or  else  Lambri  enclosed  Daya.  For  in  coming  round 
again  from  the  South,  his  28th  kingdom  is  Quinchel  (. Singkel  of  our 
modern  maps),  the  29th  Mancopa ,  “which  falls  upon  Lambrij,  which 
adjoins  Daya  the  first  that  we  named.”  The  mention  by  Polo  of  Cam¬ 
phor  as  a  product  also  points  to  this  situation. 

The  name  of  Lambri  occurs  in  the  Malay  Chronicle,  in  the  account 
of  the  first  Mahomedan  mission  to  convert  the  Island.  We  shall  quote 
the  passage  in  a  following  note. 

The  position  of  Lambri  would  render  it  one  of  the  first  points  of 
Sumatra  made  by  navigators  from  Arabia  and  India  ;  and  this  seems  at 
one  time  to  have  caused  the  name  to  be  applied  to  the  whole  Island. 
Thus  Rashiduddin  speaks  of  the  very  large  Island  Lamuri  lying  beyond 
Ceylon,  and  adjoining  the  country  of  Sumutra ;  Odoric  also  goes  from 
India  across  the  Ocean  to  a  certain  country  called  Lamori,  where 
he  began  to  lose  sight  of  the  North  Star.  He  also  speaks  of  the  cam¬ 
phor,  gold,  and  lign-aloes  which  it  produced,  and  proceeds  thence  to 
Sumoltra  in  the  same  Island.  Indeed,  I  have  little  doubt  that  the 
names  Al-Rami ,  Al-Ramin ,  A l  Ramni,  &c.  applied  by  the  oldest  Ara¬ 
bian  Geographers  to  Sumatra,  are  mere  corruptions  of  Lambri.  And  it  is 
possible  that  the  verzino  or  brazil-wood  of  Ameri  (L’Ameri?)  which  appears 
in  the  mercantile  details  of  Pegolotti  was  from  this  part  of  Sumatra. 
It  is  probable  also  that  the  country  called  Nanwuli ,  which  the  Chinese 
Annals  report,  with  Sumuntula  and  others,  to  have  sent  tribute  to  the 
Great  Kaan  in  1286,  was  this  same  Lambri  which  Polo  tells  us  called 
itself  subject  to  the  Kaan.  According  to  Mr.  Bennett  the  conspicuous 
mountain  between  Achin  and  Pedir,  known  on  charts  as  the  Golden 
Mountain,  is  called  by  the  natives  Yamori.  Can  this  be  a  trace  of 
Lambri  or  Lamori  ? 

( De  Barros ,  Dec.  III.  Bk.  V.  ch.  i.  ;  Elliot ,  I.  70;  Cathay ,  84  seqq. ; 
Pegol.  p.  361  ;  Pauthier ,  p.  605 ;  Bennetts  Wanderings ,  1834,  I.  443.) 

Note  2. — Stories  of  tailed  or  hairy  men  are  common  in  the  Archi¬ 
pelago,  as  in  many  other  regions.  Kazwini  tells  of  the  hairy  little  men, 
that  are  found  in  Ramni  (Sumatra)  with  a  language  like  birds’  chirping. 
Marsden  was  told  of  hairy  people  called  Orang  Gugu  in  the  interior  of 
the  Island,  who  differed  little,  except  in  the  use  of  speech,  from  the 
Orang  utang.  Since  his  time  a  French  writer,  giving  the  same  name 



Book  III. 

and  same  description,  declares  that  he  saw  “a  group”  of  these  hairy 
people  on  the  coast  of  Andragiri,  and  was  told  by  them  that  they  inha¬ 
bited  the  interior  of  Menangkabau  and  formed  a  small  tribe.  It  is 
rather  remarkable  that  this  writer  makes  no  allusion  to  Marsden  though 
his  account  is  so  nearly  identical  ( E  Oceanie  in  U  Univers  Pittoresque , 
I.  24).  Mr.  Anderson  says  there  are  “  a  few  wild  people  in  the  Siak 
country,  very  little  removed  in  point  of  civilization  above  their  compa¬ 
nions  the  monkeys,”  but  he  says  nothing  of  hairiness  nor  tails.  For  the 
earliest  version  of  the  tail  story  we  must  go  back  to  Ptolemy  and  the 
Isles  of  the  Satyrs  in  this  quarter ;  or  rather  to  Ctesias  who  tells  of 
tailed  men  on  an  Island  in  the  Indian  Sea.  Jordanus  also  has  the 
story  of  the  hairy  men.  Galvano  heard  that  there  were  on  the  Island 
certain  people  called  Daraque  Dara  {?),  which  had  tails  like  unto  sheep. 
And  the  King  of  Tidore  told  him  of  another  such  tribe  on  the  Isle  of 
Batochina.  Mr.  St.  John  in  Borneo  met  with  a  trader  who  had  seen 
and  felt  the  tails  of  such  a  race  inhabiting  the  north-east  coast  of  that 
Island.  The  appendage  was  4  inches  long  and  very  stiff ;  so  the  people 
all  used  perforated  seats.  This  Borneo  story  has  lately  been  brought 
forward  in  Calcutta,  and  stoutly  maintained,  on  native  evidence,  by  an 
English  merchant.  The  Chinese  also  have  their  tailed  men  in  the 
mountains  above  Canton.  In  Africa  there  have  been  many  such 
stories,  of  some  of  which  an  account  will  be  found  in  the  Bulletin  de 
la  Soc.  de  Geog.  ser.  4,  tom.  iii.  p.  31.  It  was  a  story  among  medieval 
Mahomedans  that  the  members  of  the  Imperial  House  of  Trebizond 
were  endowed  with  short  tails,  whilst  medieval  Continentals  had  like 
stories  about  Englishmen,  as  Matthew  Paris  relates.  Thus  we  find  in 
the  Romance  of  Cceur  de  Lion,  Richard’s  messengers  addressed  by  the 
“  Emperor  of  Cyprus  — 

‘  ‘  Out,  Tay lards,  of  my  palys  ! 

Now  go,  and  say  your  tayled  King 

That  I  owe  him  nothing.” 

—  Weber ,  II.  83. 

(Ethels  Kazwini ,  p.  221  ;  Anderson ,  p.  210;  St.  John,  Forests  of  the 
Far  East,  I.  40;  Galvano,  Hak.  Soc.  108,  120;  Gildemeister ,  194; 
Ailed s  Indian  Mail,  July  28,  1869;  Mid.  Kingd.  I.  293;  N.  et  Ext. 
XIII.  i.  380  ;  Mat.  Paris  under  a.d.  1250.) 

Note  3. — The  Camphor  called  Fansuri  is  celebrated  by  Arab 
writers  at  least  as  old  as  the  9th  century,  e.g,  by  the  author  of  the  first 
part  of  the  Relations,  by  Mas’udi  in  the  next  century,  also  by  Avicenna, 
by  Abulfeda,  by  Kazwini,  and  by  Abul  Fazl,  &c.  In  the  second  and 
third  the  name  is  miswritten  Kansur,  and  by  the  last  Kaisuri,  but  there 
can  be  no  doubt  of  the  correction  required.  ( Reinaud ,  I.  7  ;  Mas. 
I.  338  ;  Liber  Canonis ,  Yen.  1544,  I.  116 ;  Biisching ,  IV.  277  ;  Gildem. 
p.  209;  Ain-i-Akb.  p.  78.)  In  Serapion  we  find  the  same  camphor 
described  as  that  of  Pa?isor  ;  and  when,  leaving  Arab  authorities  and  the 

Chap.  XI. 



Middle  Ages  we  come  to  Garcias,  he  speaks  of  the  same  article  under 
the  name  of  Camphor  of  Barros.  And  this  is  the  name — Kapur-Bdnis , 
— derived  from  the  port  which  has  been  the  chief  shipping-place  of  Suma¬ 
tran  camphor  for  at  least  three  centuries,  by  which  the  native  camphor  is 
still  known  in  eastern  trade,  as  distinguished  from  the  Kdpur-Chind  or 
Kdpur-Japun ,  as  the  Malays  term  the  article  derived  in  those  countries 
by  distillation  from  the  Laurns  Camphor  a.  The  earliest  western  mention 
of  camphor  is  in  the  same  prescription  by  the  physician  Aetius  (circa 
a.d.  540)  that  contains  one  of  the  earliest  mentions  of  musk  {supra, 
I.  p.  245.)  The  prescription  ends  :  “and  if  you  have  a  supply  of  camphor 
add  two  ounces  of  that.”  {Aetii Medici  Graeci  Tetrabiblos.  &c.,  Froben, 
I549>  P-  9ia) 

I  am  inclined  to  think  that  Fansiir  and  Barus  may  be  not  only  the 
same  locality  but  mere  variations  of  the  same  name.  The  place  is  called 
in  the  Shijarat  Malayu,  Pasuri,  a  name  which  the  Arabs  certainly  made 
into  Fansuri  in  one  direction,  and  which  might  easily  in  another,  by  a 
very  common  kind  of  Oriental  metathesis,  pass  into  Banisi.  Whether 
Ptolemy’s  Insulae  Barussae  have  to  do  with  the  same  name  I  will  not 
venture  to  say.  The  legend  in  the  Shijarat  Malayu  relates  to  the  first 
Mahomedan  mission  for  the  conversion  of  Sumatra,  sent  by  the  Sherff  of 
Mecca  via  India.  After  sailing  from  Malabar  the  first  place  the  party 
arrived  at  was  Pasuri,  the  people  of  which  embraced  Islam.  They  then 
proceeded  to  Lambri,  which  also  accepted  the  Faith.  Then  they  sailed 
on  till  they  reached  Haru  (see  on  my  map  Aru  on  the  East  Coast)  which 
did  likewise.  At  this  last  place  they  enquired  for  Samudra,  which  seems 
to  have  been  the  special  object  of  their  mission,  and  found  that  they  had 
passed  it.  Accordingly  they  retraced  their  course  to  Perlak,  and  after 
converting  that  place  went  on  to  Samudra  where  they  converted  Mara 
Silu  the  King  (see  note  1,  chap.  x.  above).  This  passage  is  of  extreme 
interest  as  naming  four  out  of  Marco’s  six  kingdoms,  and  in  positions 
quite  accordant  with  his  indications.  As  noticed  by  Mr.  Braddell,  from 
whose  abstract  I  take  the  passage,  the  circumstance  of  the  party  having 
passed  Samudra  unwittingly  is  especially  consistent  with  the  site  we 
have  assigned  to  it  at  the  head  of  the  Bay  of  Pasei,  as  a  glance  at  the 
map  will  show. 

Somewhat  against  what  I  have  said  of  the  identity  of  Barus  and 
Fansur  is  an  interesting  remark  of  Valentyn’s  :  “  Fansur  can  be  nought 
else  than  the  famous  Pantsur,  no  longer  known  indeed  by  that  name, 
but  a  kingdom  which  we  become  acquainted  with  through  Hamza  Pant - 
suri,  a  celebrated  Poet,  and  native  of  this  Pantsur.  It  lay  in  the  north 
angle  of  the  Island,  and  a  little  west  of  Achin ;  it  formerly  was  rife  with 
trade  and  population,  but  would  have  been  utterly  lost  in  oblivion  had 
not  Hamza  Pantsuri  made  us  again  acquainted  with  it.”  Nothing  indeed 
could  well  be  “a  little  west  of  Achin;”  this  is  doubtless  a  slip  for  “a 
little  down  the  west  coast  from  Achin.”  We  can  scarcely  say  that 
Barus  is  only  a  little  in  that  direction,  (f.  Ind.  Arch.  Y.  312  seqq. ; 
Valentyn,  Sumatra,  in  Vol.  V.,  p.  21.) 



Book  III. 

Mas’udi  says  that  the  Fansur  Camphor  was  found  most  plentifully  in 
years  rife  with  storms  and  earthquakes.  Ibn  Batuta  gives  a  jumbled  and 
highly  incorrect  account  of  the  product,  but  one  circumstance  that  he 
mentions  is  possibly  founded  on  a  real  superstition,  viz.,  that  no  camphor 
was  formed  unless  some  animal  had  been  sacrificed  at  the  root  of 
the  tree,  and  the  best  quality  only  then  when  a  human  victim  had  been 
offered.  Nicolo  Conti  has  a  similar  statement :  “  The  Camphor  is  found 
inside  the  tree,  and  if  they  do  not  sacrifice  to  the  gods  before  they  cut 
the  bark,  it  disappears  and  is  no  more  seen.”  These  superstitions 
hinged  on  the  great  uncertainty  of  finding  camphor  in  any  given  tree, 
after  the  laborious  process  of  cutting  it  down  and  splitting  it,  an  uncer¬ 
tainty  which  also  helps  to  account  for  the  high  price.  By  far  the  best 
of  the  old  accounts  of  the  product  is  that  quoted  by  Kazwini  from 
Mahomed  Ben  Zakaria  Al-Razi :  “  Among  the  number  of  marvellous 
things  in  this  Island”  (Zanij  for  Z&baj ,  i.e.,  Java  or  Sumatra)  “is  the 
Camphor  Tree,  which  is  of  vast  size,  insomuch  that  its  shade  will  cover 
100  persons  and  more.  They  bore  into  the  highest  part  of  the  tree 
and  thence  flows  out  the  Camphor  Water,  enough  to  fill  many  pitchers. 
Then  they  open  the  tree  lower  down  about  the  middle,  and  extract  the 
camphor  in  lumps.”  Compare  this  with  what  is  probably  the  best 
modern  account,  Junghuhn’s  :  “  Among  the  forest  trees  (of  Tapanuli 
adjoining  Barus)  the  Camphor  Tree  (Dryabanalops  Camphor  a)  attracts 
beyond  all  the  traveller’s  observation,  by  its  straight  columnar  and 
colossal  grey  trunk,  and  its  mighty  crown  of  foliage,  rising  high  above  the 
canopy  of  the  forest.  It  exceeds  in  dimensions  the  Rasamala ,  the 
loftiest  tree  of  Java,  and  is  probably  the  greatest  tree  of  the  Archipelago, 
if  not  of  the  world,*  reaching  a  height  of  200  feet.  One  of  middling 
size  which  I  had  cut  down  measured  at  the  base,  where  the  camphor 
leaks  out,  7^  Paris  feet  in  diameter  (about  8  feet  English) ;  its  trunk  rose 
to  100  feet,  with  an  upper  diameter  of  5  feet  before  dividing,  and  the 
height  of  the  whole  tree  to  the  crown  was  150  feet.  The  precious  con¬ 
solidated  camphor  is  found  in  small  quantities,  i  lb.  to  1  lb.  in  a  single 
tree,  in  fissure-like  hollows  in  the  stem.  Yet  many  are  cut  down  in 
vain,  or  split  up  the  side  without  finding  camphor.  The  camphor  oil  is 
prepared  by  the  natives  by  bruising  and  boiling  the  twigs.”  The  oil 
however  appears  also  to  be  found  in  the  tree,  as  Crawfurd  and  Colling- 
wood  mention,  corroborating  the  ancient  Arab. 

It  is  well  known  that  the  Chinese  attach  an  extravagantly  superior 
value  to  the  Malay  camphor,  and  probably  its  value  in  Marco’s  day  was 
higher  than  it  is  now,  but  still  his  estimate  as  worth  its  weight  in  gold 
looks  like  hyperbole.  Forrest,  a  century  ago,  says  Barus  Camphor  was 
in  the  Chinese  market  worth  nearly  its  weight  in  silver ,  and  this  is  true 
still.  The  price  is  commonly  estimated  at  100  times  that  of  the  Chinese 
camphor.  The  whole  quantity  exported  from  the  Barus  territory  goes 

*  The  Californian  and  Australian  giants  were  not  then  known. 

Chap.  XI. 



to  China.  De  Vriese  reckons  the  average  annual  export  from  Sumatra 
between  1839  and  1844  at  less  than  400  kilogrammes.  The  follow¬ 
ing  table  shows  the  wholesale  rates  in  the  Chinese  market  as  given  by- 
Ron  dot  in  1848  : — 

Qualities  of  Camphor. 

Per  pikul  of  133' 

Ordinary  China,  1st  quality  . 

.  20  dollars. 

„  „  2nd  ,,  . 

.  14  „ 

Formosa  . 

.  25  „ 

Japan  . 

.  30  „ 

China  ngai  (ext.  from  an  Artemisia) 

.  250  „ 

Barus,  1st  quality  . 

. 2000  , , 

,,  2nd  ,,  . 

. 1000  ,, 

The  Chinese  call  the  Sumatran  (or  Borneo)  Camphor  Ping-pien  “Icicle 
flakes,”  and  Lung-nau  “  Dragon’s  Brains.”  It  is  just  to  remark  however 
that  in  the  Ain  Akbari  we  find  the  price  of  the  Sumatran  Camphor 
known  as  Bhim  Seni  (why?),  varying  from  3  rupees  as  high  as  2  mohurs 
(or  20  rupees)  for  a  rupee’s  weight,  which  latter  price  would  be  twice 
the  weight  in  gold.  Abul  Fazl  says  the  worst  camphor  went  by  the 
name  of  Baliis.  I  should  suspect  some  mistake,  as  we  know  from  Garcias 
that  the  fine  camphor  was  already  known  as  Barus  ( Ain-i-Akb .  75-79). 

(Mas'udi,  I.  338;  I.  B.  IV.  241  ;  J.  A.  ser.  4,  tom.  viii.  216  ;  Batta- 
lander,  I.  107  ;  Crawf.  Hist.  III.  418,  and  Desc.  Did.  81  ;  Hedde  et Ron- 
dot,  Com.  de  la  Chine ,  36-37  ;  Chin.  Comm.  Guide ;  Dr.  F.  A.  Fliickiger , 
Zur  Geschichte  des  Camp  hers,  in  Schweiz.  Wochenschr.  filr  Pharmacie , 
Sept.,  Oct.,  1867.) 

Note  4. — An  interesting  notice  of  the  Sago-tree,  of  which  Odoric  also 
gives  an  account.  Ramusio  is  however  here  fuller  and  more  accurate  : 
“  Removing  the  first  bark,  which  is  but  thin,  you  come  on  the  wood  of 
the  tree  which  forms  a  thickness  all  round  of  some  three  fingers,  but  all 
inside  this  is  a  pith  of  flour,  like  that  of  the  Carvolo.  The  trees  are  so 
big  that  it  will  take  two  men  to  span  them.  They  put  this  flour  into 
tubs  of  water,  and  beat  it  up  with  a  stick,  and  then  the  bran  and  other 
impurities  come  to  the  top,  whilst  the  pure  flour  sinks  to  the  bottom. 
The  water  is  then  thrown  away,  and  the  cleaned  flour  that  remains  is 
taken  and  made  into  pasta  in  strips  and  other  forms.  These  Messer  Marco 
often  partook  of,  and  brought  some  with  him  to  Venice.  It  resembles 
barley  bread  and  tastes  much  the  same.  The  wood  of  this  tree  is  like 
iron,  for  if  thrown  into  the  water  it  goes  straight  to  the  bottom.  It  can 
be  split  straight  from  end  to  end  like  a  cane.  When  the  flour  has  been 
removed  the  wood  remains  as  has  been  said,  three  inches  thick.  Of  this 
the  people  make  short  lances,  not  long  ones,  because  they  are  so  heavy 
that  no  one  could  carry  or  handle  them  if  long.  One  end  is  sharpened 
and  charred  in  the  fire,  and  when  thus  prepared  they  will  pierce  any 
armour,  and  much  better  than  iron  would  do.”  Marsden  points  out 
that  this  heavy  lance-wood  is  not  that  of  the  true  Sago-palm,  but  of  the 
Nibong  or  Caryota  Urens ;  which  does  indeed  give  some  amount  of 



Book  III. 

Note  5. — In  quitting  the  subject  of  these  Sumatran  Kingdoms  it 
may  appear  to  some  readers  that  our  explanations  compress  them  too 
much,  especially  as  Polo  seems  to  allow  only  two  kingdoms  for  the  rest 
of  the  Island.  In  this  he  was  doubtless  wrong,  and  we  may  the  less 
scruple  to  say  so  as  he  had  not  visited  that  other  portion  of  the  Island. 
We  may  note  that  in  the  space  to  which  we  assign  the  six  kingdoms 
which  Polo  visited,  De  Barros  assigns  twelve,  viz.  :  Bara  (corresponding 
generally  to  Ferlec ),  Pacem  (. Basma ),  Pirada,  Lide,  Pedir,  Biar,  Achin, 
Daya,  Lambri ,  Mancopa,  Quinchel,  Barros  ( Fansur ).  {Dec.  III.  v.  1.) 


Concerning  the  Island  of  Necuveran. 

When  you  leave  the  Island  of  Java  (the  less)  and  the  king¬ 
dom  of  Lambri,  you  sail  north  about  150  miles,  and  then 
you  come  to  two  Islands,  one  of  which  is  called  Necuveran. 
In  this  Island  they  have  no  king  nor  chief,  but  live  like 
beasts.  And  I  tell  you  they  go  all  naked,  both  men  and 
women,  and  do  not  use  the  slightest  covering  of  any  kind. 
They  are  idolaters.  Their  woods  are  all  of  noble  and 
valuable  kinds  of  trees  ;  such  as  Red  Sanders  and  Indian-nut 
and  Cloves  and  Brazil  and  sundry  other  good  spices.1 

There  is  nothing  else  worth  relating ;  so  we  will  go  on, 
and  I  will  tell  you  of  an  Island  called  Angamanain. 

Note  1. — The  end  of  the  last  chapter  and  the  commencement  of  this 
I  have  taken  from  the  G.  Text.  There  has  been  some  confusion  in  the 
notes  of  the  original  dictation  which  that  represents,  and  corrections 
have  made  it  worse.  Thus  Pauthier’s  text  runs  :  “  I  will  tell  you  of  two 
small  Islands,  one  called  Gauenispola  and  the  other  Necouran,”  and 
then  :  “You  sail  north  about  150  miles  and  find  two  Islands,  one  called 
Necouran  and  the  other  Gauenispola.”  Ramusio  does  not  mention 
Gauenispola,  but  says  in  the  former  passage  :  ”  I  will  tell  you  of  a  small 
Island  called  Nocueran” — and  then  :  “You  find  two  islands,  one  called 
Nocueran  and  the  other  Angaman.” 

Knowing  the  position  of  Gauenispola  there  is  no  difficulty  in  seeing 
how  the  passage  should  be  explained.  Something  has  interrupted  the 

Chap.  XII. 



dictation  after  the  last  chapter.  Polo  asks  Rusticiano  “  where  were  we  ?  ” 
“  Leaving  the  Great  Island.”  Polo  forgets  the  “  very  small  Island  called 
Gauenispola,”  and  passes  to  the  north  where  he  has  to  tell  us  of  two 
islands,  “one  called  Necuveran  and  the  other  Angamanain.”  So,  I  do 
not  doubt,  the  passage  should  run. 

Let  us  observe  that  his  point  of  departure  in  sailing  north  to  the 
Nicobar  Islands  was  the  Kingdom  of  Lambri.  This  seems  to  indicate 
that  Lambri  included  Achin  Head  or  came  very  near  it,  an  indication 
which  we  shall  presently  see  confirmed. 

As  regards  Gauenispola,  of  which  he  promised  to  tell  us  and  forgot 
his  promise,  its  name  has  disappeared  from  our  modern  maps,  but  it  is 
easily  traced  in  the  maps  of  the  16th  and  17th  centuries,  and  in  the 
books  of  navigators  of  that  time.  The  latest  in  which  I  have  observed 
it  is  the  Neptune  Oriental ’  Paris  1775,  which  calls  it Pulo  Gommes.  The 
name  is  there  applied  to  a  small  island  off  Achin  Head,  outside  of  which 
lie  the  somewhat  larger  Islands  of  Pulo  Nankai  and  Pulo  Bras,  whilst 
Pulo  We  lies  further  east.  I  imagine,  however,  that  the  name  was  by 
the  older  navigators  applied  to  the  larger  Island  of  Pulo  Bras,  or  to  the 
whole  group.  Thus  Alexander  Hamilton,  who  calls  it  Gomus  and  Pulo 
Gomuis ,  says  that  “  from  the  Island  of  Gomus  and  Pulo  Wey  .  .  .  .  the 
southernmost  of  the  Nicobars  may  be  seen.”  Dampier  most  precisely 
applies  the  name  of  Pulo  Gomez  to  the  larger  island  which  modern 
charts  call  Pulo  Bras.  So  also  Beaulieu  couples  the  islands  of  “  Gomis- 
poda  and  Pulo  Way  ”  in  front  of  the  roadstead  of  Achin.  Giovanni 
Botero  mentions  that  Gaspar  d’Acosta  was  lost  on  the  Island  of  Gomis- 
pola.  Linschoten,  describing  the  course  from  Cochin  to  Malacca,  says  : 
“You  take  your  course  towards  the  small  Isles  of  Gomespola,  which 
are  in  6°,  near  the  corner  of  Achin  in  the  Island  of  Sumatra.”  And  the 
Turkish  author  of  the  Mohit ,  in  speaking  of  the  same  navigation,  says  : 
“If  you  wish  to  reach  Malacca,  guard  against  seeing  Jamisfulah 
because  the  mountains  of  Lamri  advance  into  the  sea, 
and  the  flood  is  there  very  strong.”  The  editor  has  misunderstood  the 
geography  of  this  passage,  which  evidently  means  “  Don’t  go  near  enough 
to  Achin  Head  to  see  even  the  islands  in  front  of  it.”  And  here  we  see 
again  that  Lambri  is  made  to  extend  to  Achin  Head.  (Nept.  Orient. 
Charts  38  and  39,  and  pp.  126-7  \  Hamilton ,  II.  66  and  Map  ;  Dampier , 
ed.  1699,  II.  122  ;  H.  Gen.  des  Voyages,  XII.  310;  Linschoten ,  Routier, 
p.  30  j  Bot.  Pel.  Univ.,  1597  II.  3;  J.  A.  S.  B.,  VI.  807.) 

The  two  islands  (or  rather  groups  of  islands)  Necuveran  and  Anga¬ 
manain  are  the  Nicobar  and  Andaman  groups.  A  nearer  trace  of  the 
form  Necuveran,  or  Necouran  as  it  stands  in  some  MSS.,  is  perhaps  pre¬ 
served  in  Nancouri  the  existing  name  of  one  of  the  islands.  They  are 
perhaps  the  Nalo-kilo-cheu  (. Narikela-dvipa )  or  Coco-nut  Islands  of  which 
Hwen  Thsang  speaks  as  existing  some  thousand  li  to  the  south  of 
Ceylon.  The  men,  he  had  heard,  were  but  3  feet  high,  and  had  the 
beaks  of  birds.  They  had  no  cultivation  and  lived  on  coco-nuts.  The 



Book  III. 

islands  are  also  believed  to  be  the  Lanja  bdlus  or  Lankha  balus  of  the 
old  Arab  navigators  :  “  These  Islands  support  a  numerous  population. 
Both  men  and  women  go  naked,  only  the  women  wear  a  girdle  of  the 
leaves  of  trees.  When  a  ship  passes  near,  the  men  come  out  in  boats  of 
various  sizes  and  barter  ambergris  and  coco-nuts  for  iron,”  a  description 
which  has  applied  accurately  for  many  centuries.  Rashiduddin  writes  of 
them  nearly  in  the  same  terms  under  the  name  of  Lakwaram  (but  read 
Nakwaram)  opposite  Lamuri.  Odoric  also  has  a  chapter  on  the  island 
of  Nicoveran,  but  it  is  one  full  of  fable.  (H.  Thsang, ;  III.  144  and  517  ; 
Relations ,  p.  8;  Elliot,  p.  71  ;  Cathay ,  p.  97.) 

The  chief  part  of  the  population  is  believed  to  be  of  race  akin  to  the 
Malays,  but  they  seem  to  be  of  more  than  one  race,  and  there  is  great 
variety  in  dialect.  There  have  long  been  reports  of  a  black  tribe  with 
woolly  hair  in  the  unknown  interior  of  the  Great  Nicobar,  and  my  friend 
Col.  H.  Man,  the  Superintendent  of  our  Andaman  Settlements,  lately 
received  spontaneous  corroboration  of  this  from  natives  of  the  former 
island,  who  were  on  a  visit  to  Port  Blair.  On  seeing  the  Andaman 
aborigines  they  said  at  once  that  there  was  a  similar  race  on  their  island. 
The  natives  do  not  now  go  quite  naked ;  the  men  wear  a  narrow  cloth ;  and 
the  women  a  grass  girdle.  They  are  very  skilful  in  management  of  their 
canoes.  Of  late  years  there  have  been  frightful  disclosures  regarding  the 
massacres  of  the  crews  of  vessels  touching  at  these  islands,  and  these 
have  led  to  their  being  visited  by  ships  of  war  and  eventually  to  their 
occupation  by  the  Indian  Government.  Trinkat  and  Nancouri  are  the 
islands  which  have  been  guilty.  A  woman  of  Trinkat  who  could  speak 
Malay  was  examined  by  Col.  Man,  and  she  acknowledged  having  seen 
19  vessels  scuttled,  after  their  cargoes  had  been  plundered  and  their  crews 
massacred.  “  The  natives  who  were  captured  at  Trinkat,”  says  Col. 
Man  in  another  letter,  “were  a  most  savage-looking  set,  with  remarkably 
long  arms,  and  very  projecting  eye-teeth.” 

The  islands  have  always  been  famous  for  the  quality  and  abundance 
of  their  “  Indian  Nuts,”  i.e.,  cocos.  The  tree  of  next  importance  to  the 
natives  is  a  kind  of  Pandanus,  from  the  cooked  fruit  of  which  they  express 
an  edible  substance  called  Melori,  of  which  you  may  read  in  Dampier ; 
they  have  the  areca ;  and  they  grow  yams,  but  only  for  barter.  As 
regards  the  other  vegetation  mentioned  by  Polo,  I  will  quote  what  Col. 
Man  writes  to  me  from  the  Andamans,  which  probably  is  in  great 
measure  applicable  to  the  Nicobars  also  :  “  Our  woods  are  very  fine,  and 
doubtless  resemble  those  of  the  Nicobars.  Sapan  wood  (i.e.,  Polo’s 
Brazil)  is  in  abundance ;  coco-nuts,  so  numerous  in  the  Nicobars,  and  to 
the  north  in  the  Cocos,  are  not  found  naturally  with  us,  though  they 
grow  admirably  when  cultivated.  There  is  said  to  be  sandal-wood  in 
our  forests,  and  camphor,  but  I  have  not  yet  come  across  them.  I  do  not 
believe  in  cloves,  but  we  have  lots  of  the  wild  nutmeg.”  A  detail  of  the 
various  European  attempts  to  colonize  the  Nicobar  Islands,  with  other 
particulars,  will  be  found  in  the  Voyage  of  the  Novara ,  vol.  II.  (see  also 
/  A.  S.  3.,  XV.  344,  seqq.). 

Marco  Polo  —  BookHI;ateaidof  Chap.10. 

1**42$ 0'f.tviujffijr  A.rKun ft  m/op:  uopuoj 

Chap.  XIII. 




Concerning  the  Island  of  Angamanain. 

Angamanain  is  a  very  large  Island.  The  people  are  with¬ 
out  a  king  and  are  idolaters,  and  no  better  than  wild  beasts. 
And  I  assure  you  all  the  men  of  this  Island  of  Angamanain 
have  heads  like  dogs,  and  teeth  and  eyes  likewise  ;  in  fact, 
in  the  face  they  are  all  just  like  big  mastiff  dogs !  They 
have  a  quantity  of  spices  ;  but  they  are  a  most  cruel  genera¬ 
tion,  and  eat  everybody  that  they  can  catch,  if  not  of  their 
own  race.1  They  live  on  flesh  and  rice  and  milk,  and  have 
fruits  different  from  any  of  ours. 

Now  that  I  have  told  you  about  this  race  of  people,  as 
indeed  it  was  highly  proper  to  do  in  this  our  book,  I  will 
go  on  to  tell  you  about  an  Island  called  Sedan,  as  you  shall 

Note  1. — Here  Marco  speaks  of  the  remarkable  population  of  the 
Andaman  Islands, — Oriental  negroes  in  the  lowest  state  of  barbarism, — 
who  have  remained  in  their  isolated  and  degraded  condition,  so  near  the 
shores  of  great  civilized  countries,  for  so  many  ages. 

I  imagine  our  traveller’s  form  Angamanain  to  be  an  Arabic  (oblique) 
dual — “The  Two  Andamans,”  viz.,  The  Great  and  The  Little,  the 
former  being  in  truth  a  chain  of  three  islands,  but  so  close  and  nearly  con¬ 
tinuous  as  to  form  apparently  one,  which  they  were  long  believed  to  be. 

The  origin  of  the  name  seems  to  be  unknown.  The  only  person  to 
my  knowledge  who  has  given  a  meaning  to  it  is  Nicolo  Conti,  who  says 
it  means  “Island  of  Gold;”  probably  a  mere  sailor’s  yarn.  The 
name  however  is  very  old,  and  may  perhaps  be  traced  in  Ptolemy  once 
if  not  twice.  Thus  the  most  northerly  island  in  the  Bay  of  Bengal 
which  he  mentions  is  called  Bazacata.  It  produces  quantities  of  shells  ; 
its  inhabitants  go  naked,  and  are  called  Agmatae ,  in  which  we  seem 
to  trace  our  author’s  form  Angaman.  But  Ptolemy  has  in  the  same  sea 
also  an  island  of  cannibals  called  that  of  Good  Fortune ,  ’Aya Oov  Sai/wos. 
It  seems  probable  enough  that  this  was  ’AySai/xoVoi  or  the  like,  “  The 
Agdamans,”  misunderstood.* 

*  It  is  quite  possible  ( e.g .)  that  the  Isles  of  the  Agmatae,  Sindae,  and  Iabadiu  on 
one  hand,  and  the  Agathou  Daimonos  Island,  Borussae  and  Sabadibae  on  the  other, 
represent  the  reports  of  two  logs,  but  the  same  series  of  islands.  Such  duplicates  are 
not  uncommon  in  modern  map-making. 

VOL.  II. 




Book  III. 

The  description  of  the  natives  of  the  Andaman  Islands  in  the  early 
Arab  Relations  has  been  often  quoted,  but  it  is  too  like  our  traveller’s 
account  to  be  omitted  :  “  The  inhabitants  of  these  islands  eat  men  alive. 
They  are  black  with  woolly  hair,  and  in  their  eyes  and  countenance  there 

is  something  quite  frightful .  They  go  naked,  and  have  no  boats. 

If  they  had  they  would  devour  all  who  passed  near  them.  Sometimes 
ships  that  are  wind-bound,  and  have  exhausted  their  provision  of  water, 
touch  here  and  apply  to  the  natives  for  it ;  in  such  cases  the  crew  some¬ 
times  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  latter,  and  most  of  them  are  massacred  ” 
(P-  9)- 

The  traditional  charge  of  cannibalism  against  these  people  has  been 
very  persistent,  though  generally  rejected  since  our  recent  settlement  upon 
the  group.  Of  their  murdering  the  crews  of  wrecked  vessels,  like  their 
Nicobar  neighbours,  I  believe  there  is  no  doubt ;  and  it  has  happened 
in  our  own  day.  Cesare  Federici  in  Ramusio,  speaks  of  the  terrible  fate 
of  crews  wrecked  on  the  Andamans ;  all  such  were  killed  and  eaten  by 
the  natives,  who  refused  all  intercourse  with  strangers.  A.  Hamilton 
mentions  a  friend  of  his  who  was  wrecked  on  the  islands ;  nothing  more 
was  ever  heard  of  the  ship’s  company,  “which  gave  ground  to  conjecture 
that  they  were  all  devoured  by  those  savage  cannibals.” 

They  do  not  in  modern  times,  I  believe,  in  their  canoes,  quit  their 
own  immediate  coast,  but  Hamilton  says  they  used,  in  his  time,  to  come 
on  forays  to  the  Nicobar  Islands.  They  have  retained  all  the  aversion  to 
intercourse  anciently  ascribed  to  them,  and  they  still  go  naked  as  of  old, 
the  utmost  exception  being  a  leaf-apron  worn  by  the  women  near  the 
British  Settlement. 

The  Dog-head  feature  is  at  least  as  old  as  Ctesias.  The  story 
originated,  I  imagine,  in  the  disgust  with  which  “  allophylian  ”  types  of 
countenance  are  regarded,  kindred  to  the  feeling  which  makes  the 
Hindus  and  other  eastern  nations  represent  the  aborigines  whom  they 
superseded  as  demons.  The  Cubans  described  the  Caribs  to  Columbus 
as  man-eaters  with  dog’s  muzzles ;  and  the  old  Danes  had  tales  of  Cyno- 
cephali  in  Finland.  Ibn  Batuta  describes  an  Indo-Chinese  tribe  on 
the  coast  of  Arakan  or  Pegu  as  having  dogs’  mouths,  but  says  the  women 
were  beautiful.  Friar  Jordanus  had  heard  the  same  of  the  dog-headed 
islanders.  And  one  odd  form  of  the  story,  found,  strange  to  say,  both  in 
China  and  diffused  over  Ethiopia,  represents  the  males  as  actual  dogs 
whilst  the  females  are  women.  Oddly  too,  Pere  Barbe  tells  us  that 
a  tradition  of  the  Nicobar  people  themselves  represents  them  as  of 
canine  descent,  but  on  the  female  side  !  The  like  tale  in  early  Portuguese 
days  was  told  of  the  Peguans,  viz.,  that  they  sprang  from  a  dog  and 
a  Chinese  woman.  It  is  mentioned  by  Camoens  (X.  122).  Note  how¬ 
ever  that  in  Col.  Man’s  notice  of  the  wilder  part  of  the  Nicobar  people 
the  projecting  canine  teeth  are  spoken  of. 

Abraham  Roger  tells  us  that  the  Coromandel  Brahmins  used  to  say 
that  the  Rakshasas  or  Demons  had  their  abode  “  on  the  Island  of 
Andaman  lying  on  the  route  from  Pulicat  to  Pegu,”  and  also  that  they 

Chap.  XIV. 



were  man-eaters.  This  would  be  very  curious  if  it  were  a  genuine  old 
Brahminical  Saga ;  but  I  fear  it  may  have  been  gathered  from  the  Arab 
seamen.  Still  it  is  remarkable  that  a  strange  weird-looking  island,  which 
rises  covered  with  forest,  a  steep  and  regular  volcanic  cone,  straight 
out  of  the  deep  sea  to  the  eastward  of  the  Andaman  group,  bears  the 

name  of  Narkandam ,  in  which  one  cannot  but  recognize  Narak , 

“  Hell.”  Can  it  be  that  in  old  times,  but  still  contemporary  with  Hindu 
navigation,  this  volcano  was  active,  and  that  some  Brahmin  St.  Brandon 
recognized  in  it  the  mouth  of  Hell,  congenial  to  the  Rakshasas  of  the 
adjacent  group  ?  * 

(. Ramusio ,  III.  391 ;  Ham.,  II.  65 ;  Navarrete  (Fr.  Ed.),  II.  101  ; 
Cathay ,  467  ;  Bullet,  de  la  Soc.  de  Geog,  ser.  4,  tom.  iii.  36-7  ;  J.  A. 
S.  3.,  u.  s. ;  La  Porte  Ouverte ,  p.  188.) 


Concerning  the  Island  of  Seilan. 

When  you  leave  the  Island  of  Angamanain  and  sail  about 
a  thousand  miles  in  a  direction  a  little  south  of  west,  you 
.come  to  the  Island  of  Seilan,  which  is  in  good  sooth  the 
best  Island  of  its  size  in  the  world.  You  must  know  that 
it  has  a  compass  of  2400  miles,  but  in  old  times  it  was 
greater  still,  for  it  then  had  a  circuit  of  about  3600  miles, 
as  you  find  in  the  charts  of  the  mariners  of  those  seas.  But 
the  north  wind  there  blows  with  such  strength  that  it  has 
caused  the  sea  to  submerge  a  large  part  of  the  Island ;  and 
that  is  the  reason  why  it  is  not  so  big  now  as  it  used  to  be. 
For  you  must  know  that  on  the  side  where  the  north  wind 
strikes  the  Island  is  very  low  and  flat,  insomuch  that  in 
approaching  on  board  ship  from  the  high  seas  you  do  not 
see  the  land  till  you  are  right  upon  it.1  Now  I  will  tell  you 
all  about  this  Island. 

They  have  a  king  there  whom  they  call  Sendemain, 
and  are  tributary  to  nobody.2  The  people  are  idolaters, 

*  I  cannot  trace  any  probable  meaning  of  Andam  ;  yet  it  looks  as  if  Narak -anddm 
and  Andam-an  were  akin. 

S  2 



Book  III. 

and  go  quite  naked  except  that  they  cover  the  middle. 
They  have  no  wheat,  but  have  rice,  and  sesamum  of  which 
they  make  their  oil.  They  live  on  flesh  and  milk,  and  have 
tree-wine  such  as  I  have  told  you  of.  And  they  have 
brazil-wood,  much  the  best  in  the  world.3 

Now  I  will  quit  these  particulars,  and  tell  you  of  the 
most  precious  article  that  exists  in  the  world.  You  must 
know  that  rubies  are  found  in  this  Island  and  in  no  other 
country  in  the  world  but  this.  They  find  there  also 
sapphires  and  topazes  and  amethysts,  and  many  other  stones 
of  price.  And  the  King  of  this  Island  possesses  a  ruby 
which  is  the  finest  and  biggest  in  the  world  ;  I  will  tell  you 
what  it  is  like.  It  is  about  a  palm  in  length,  and  as  thick 
as  a  man’s  arm  ;  to  look  at,  it  is  the  most  resplendent  object 
upon  earth  ;  it  is  quite  free  from  flaw  and  as  red  as  fire. 
Its  value  is  so  great  that  a  price  for  it  in  money  could  hardly 
be  named  at  all.  You  must  know  that  the  Great  Kaan 
sent  an  embassy  and  begged  the  King  as  a  favour  greatly 
desired  by  him  to  sell  him  this  ruby,  offering  to  give  for  it 
the  ransom  of  a  city,  or  in  fact  what  the  King  would.  But 
the  King  replied  that  on  no  account  whatever  would  he  sell 
it,  for  it  had  come  to  him  from  his  ancestors.4 

The  people  of  Seilan  are  no  soldiers,  but  poor  cowardly 
creatures.  And  when  they  have  need  of  soldiers  they  get 
Saracen  troops  from  foreign  parts. 

Note  1. — Yalentyn  appears  to  be  repeating  a  native  tradition  when 
he  says :  “  In  old  times  the  island  had,  as  they  loos’ely  say,  a  good  400 
miles  (i.e.,  Dutch,  say  1600  miles)  of  compass,  but  at  the  north  end  the 
sea  has  from  time  to  time  carried  away  a  large  part  of  it”  ( Ceylon ,  in 
vol.  V.,  p.  18).  Curious  particulars  touching  the  exaggerated  ideas  of  the 
ancients,  inherited  by  the  Arabs,  as  to  the  dimensions  of  Ceylon,  will  be 
found  in  Tenneitf  s  Ceylon,  chap.  i.  We  see  from  Marco’s  curious  notice 
of  the  old  charts  (G.  T.  “  selonc  qe  se  treuve  en  la  mapemondi  des  mariner 
de  cel  mer  ”)  that  travellers  had  begun  to  find  that  the  dimensions  were 
exaggerated.  The  real  circuit  is  under  700  miles  ! 

All  the  derivations  of  the  name  Sailan  or  Ceylon  from  the  old 
Sinhala ,  Serendib,  and  what  not,  seem  forced.  Van  der  Tuuk  suggests 

Chap.  XIV. 



that  the  name  is  originally  Javanese,  being  formed  (he  says)  according 
to  the  rules  of  that  language  from  Sela *  “  a  precious  stone,”  so  that  Pulo 
Selan  would  be  the  “  Island  of  Gems.”  The  Island  is  really  called  by  an 
Arab  Historian  of  the  9th  century  Jazirat  ul  Yakut ,  “  The  Isle  of  Rubies.” 
As  a  matter  of  fact  we  derive  originally  from  the  Malays  nearly  all  the 
forms  we  have  adopted  for  names  of  countries  reached  by  sea  to  the  east 
of  the  Bay  of  Bengal,  e.g.,  Awa ,  Barma ,  Paigu,  Siyam ,  China ,  Kochi 
(Cochin  China),  Champa ,  Kamhoja ,  Tanasari,  Martavan ,  & c.  It  is  less 
obvious  how  Ceylon  should  have  acquired  a  name  from  the  same  quarter, 
but  the  very  fact  that  between  the  10th  and  the  13th  centuries  the  name 
of  Sarandib  should  have  been  practically  dropt  by  the  Arabs,  and  that  of 
Sailan  adopted,  requires  to  be  accounted  for.  That  accidents  in  the 
history  of  marine  affairs  in  those  seas  should  have  led  to  the  adoption  of 
the  Malay  and  Javanese  name  is  at  least  conceivable.  Tennent  ( Ceylon , 
I.  549)  and  Crawfurd  {Malay  Diet.  p.  171)  ascribe  the  name  Selan, 
Zeilan,  to  the  Portuguese,  but  this  is  quite  unfounded,  as  our  author 
sufficiently  testifies.  The  name  Sailan  also  occurs  in  Rashiduddin,  in 
Hayton,  and  in  Jordanus  (see  next  note).  (See  Van  der  Tuuk ,  work 
quoted  above  (p.  229),  p.  118;  J.  As.,  ser.  4,  tom.  viii.  145  ;  J.  Ind. 
Arch.,  IV.  187  ;  Elliot,  I.  70.) 

Note  2. — The  native  king  at  this  time  was  Pandita  Prakrama  Bahu 
III.,  who  reigned  from  1267  to  1301  at  Dambadenia,  about  50  m.  N.N.W. 
of  Columbo.  But  the  Tamuls  of  the  continent  had  recently  been 
in  possession  of  the  whole  northern  half  of  the  island.  The  Singhalese 
Chronicle  represents  Prakrama  to  have  recovered  it  from  them,  but  they 
are  so  soon  again  found  in  full  force  that  the  completeness  of  this  recovery 
may  be  doubted.  There  were  also  two  invasions  of  Malays  {Javaku) 
during  this  reign,  under  the  lead  of  a  chief  called  Chandra  Banu.  On 
the  second  occasion  this  invader  was  joined  by  a  large  Tamul  reinforce¬ 
ment.  Sir  E.  Tennent  suggests  that  this  Chandra  Banu  may  be  Polo’s 
Sende-mam  or  Sendernaz  as  Ramusio  has  it.  Or  he  may  have  been  the 
Tamul  chief  in  the  north  ;  the  first  part  of  the  name  may  have  been 
either  Chandra  or  Sundara. 

Note  3. — I  do  not  find  Ceylonese  Brazil,  i.e.,  Sapan-wood,  recently 
mentioned,  but  Kazwini  names  it,  Ibn  Batuta  speaks  of  its  abundance 
(IV.  166),  and  Ribeyro  does  the  like  (ed.  of  Columbo,  1847,  p.  16)  ; 
see  also  Ritter,  VI.  39,  122. 

Sir  E.  Tennent  has  observed  that  Ibn  Batuta  is  the  first  to  speak  of 
the  Ceylon  cinnamon.  It  is,  however,  mentioned  by  Kazwini  (circa  a.d. 
1275),  and  in  a  letter  written  from  Mabar  by  John  of  Montecorvino 
about  the  very  time  that  Marco  was  in  these  seas.  (See  Ethds  Kazwini , 
229,  and  Cathay ,  213.) 

*  The  inflexion  Selan  is,  I  presume,  Javanese  ;  the  word  Sela  seems  to  be  also 
Malay  ;  and  in  both  no  doubt  from  Sanskrit,  Sila,  “  a  stone.” 



Book  III . 

Note  4. — There  seems  to  have  been  always  afloat  among  Indian  tra¬ 
vellers,  at  least  from  the  time  of  Cosmas  (6th  century),  some  wonderful 
story  about  the  ruby  or  rubies  of  the  King  of  Ceylon.  With  Cosmas,  and 
with  the  Chinese  Hwen  Thsang,  in  the  following  century,  this  precious 
object  is  fixed  on  the  top  of  a  pagoda,  “  a  hyacinth,  they  say,  of  great  size 
and  brilliant  ruddy  colour,  as  big  as  a  great  pine-cone ;  and  when  ’tis  seen 
from  a  distance  flashing,  especially  if  the  sun’s  rays  strike  upon  it,  ’tis 
a  glorious  and  incomparable  spectacle.”  Our  author’s  contemporary, 
Hay  ton,  had  heard  of  the  great  ruby  :  “  The  king  of  that  Island  of  Celan 
hath  the  largest  and  finest  ruby  in  existence.  When  his  coronation 
takes  place  this  ruby  is  placed  in  his  hand,  and  he  goes  round  the  city  on 
horseback  holding  it  in  his  hand,  and  thenceforth  all  recognize  and  obey 
him  as  their  king.”  Odoric  too  speaks  of  the  great  ruby  and  the  Kaan’s 
endeavours  to  get  it,  though  by  some  bungle  the  circumstance  is  referred 
to  Nicoveran  instead  of  Ceylon.  Ibn  Batuta  saw  in  the  possession  of 
Arya  Chakravarti,  a  Tamul  chief  ruling  at  Patlam,  a  ruby  bowl  as  big 
as  the  palm  of  one’s  hand.  Friar  Jordanus  speaks  of  two  great  rubies 
belonging  to  the  king  of  Sylen,  each  so  large  that  when  grasped  in  the 
hand  it  projected  a  finger’s  breadth  at  either  side.  The  fame,  at  least,  of 
these  survived  to  the  16th  century,  for  Andrea  Corsali  (1515)  says: 
“  They  tell  that  the  king  of  this  island  possesses  two  rubies  of  colour 
so  brilliant  and  vivid  that  they  look  like  a  flame  of  fire.” 

Sir  E.  Tennent,  on  this  subject,  quotes  from  a  Chinese  work  a  state¬ 
ment  that  early  in  the  14th  century  the  Emperor  sent  an  officer  to  Ceylon 
to  purchase  a  carbuncle  of  unusual  lustre.  This  was  fitted  as  a  ball  to 
the  Emperor’s  cap ;  it  was  upwards  of  an  ounce  in  weight  and  cost 
100,000  strings  of  cash.  Every  time  a  grand  levee  was  held  at  night  the 
red  lustre  filled  the  palace,  and  hence  it  was  designated  “  The  Red 
Palace -Illuminator.”  (/.  B.,  IV.  174-5;  Cathay ,  p.  clxxvii ;  Hayton , 
ch.  vi. ;  Jord.  p.  30  ;  Ramus.  I.  180;  Ceylon ,  I.  568.) 


The  Same  continued.  The  History  of  Sagamoni  Borcan  and 


Furthermore  you  must  know  that  in  this  Island  of  Seilan 
there  is  an  exceeding  high  mountain  ;  it  rises  right  up  so 
steep  and  precipitous  that  no  one  could  ascend  it,  were  it 
not  that  they  have  taken  and  fixed  to  it  several  great  and 
massive  iron  chains,  so  disposed  that  by  help  of  these  men 
are  able  to  mount  to  the  top.  And  I  tell  you  they  say 

Chap.  XV. 



that  on  this  mountain  is  the  sepulchre  of  Adam  our  first 
parent;  at  least  that  is  what  the  Saracens  say.  But  the 
Idolaters  say  that  it  is  the  sepulchre  of  Sagamoni  Borcan, 
before  whose  time  there  were  no  idols.  They  hold  him  to 
have  been  the  best  of  men,  a  great  saint  in  fact,  according  to 
their  fashion,  and  the  first  in  whose  name  idols  were  made.1 

He  was  the  son,  as  their  story  goes,  of  a  great  and 
wealthy  king.  And  he  was  of  such  an  holy  temper  that  he 
would  never  listen  to  any  worldly  talk,  nor  would  he  con¬ 
sent  to  be  king.  And  when  the  father  saw  that  his  son 
would  not  be  king,  nor  yet  take  any  part  in  affairs,  he  took 
it  sorely  to  heart.  And  first  he  tried  to  tempt  him  with 
great  promises,  offering  to  crown  him  king,  and  to  sur¬ 
render  all  authority  into  his  hands.  The  son,  however, 
would  none  of  his  offers  ;  so  the  father  was  in  great  trouble, 
and  all  the  more  that  he  had  no  other  son  but  him,  to 
whom  he  might  bequeath  the  kingdom  at  his  own  death. 
So,  after  taking  thought  on  the  matter,  the  King  caused  a 
great  palace  to  be  built,  and  placed  his  son  therein,  and 
caused  him  to  be  waited  on  there  by  a  number  of  maidens, 
the  most  beautiful  that,  could  anywhere  be  found.  And 
he  ordered  them  to  divert  themselves  with  the  prince,  night 
and  day,  and  to  sing  and  dance  before  him,  so  as  to  draw 
his  heart  towards  worldly  enjoyments.  But  ’twas  all  of  no 
avail,  for  none  of  those  maidens  could  ever  tempt  the 
king’s  son  to  any  wantonness,  and  he  only  abode  the  firmer 
in  his  chastity,  leading  a  most  holy  life,  after  their  manner 
thereof.  And  I  assure  you  he  was  so  staid  a  youth  that 
he  had  never  gone  out  of  the  palace,  and  thus  he  had  never 
seen  a  dead  man,  nor  any  one  who  was  not  hale  and  sound ; 
for  the  father  never  allowed  any  man  that  was  aged  or  infirm 
to  come  into  his  presence.  It  came  to  pass  however  one 
day,  that  the  young  gentleman  took  a  ride,  and  by  the  road¬ 
side  he  beheld  a  dead  man.  The  sight  dismayed  him 
greatly,  as  he  never  had  seen  such  a  sight  before.  Incon¬ 
tinently  he  demanded  of  those  who  were  with  him  what 



Book  III. 

thing  that  was  ?  and  then  they  told  him  it  was  a  dead  man. 
“  How,  then,”  quoth  the  king’s  son,  “do  all  men  die?” 
“Yea,  forsooth,”  said  they.  Whereupon  the  young  gentle¬ 
man  said  never  a  word,  but  rode  on  right  pensively.  And 
after  he  had  ridden  a  good  way  he  fell  in  with  a  very  aged 
man  who  could  no  longer  walk,  and  had  not  a  tooth  in  his 
head,  having  lost  all  because  of  his  great  age.  And  when 
the  king’s  son  beheld  this  old  man  he  asked  what  that 
might  mean,  and  wherefore  the  man  could  not  walk  ? 
Those  who  were  him  replied  thas  it  was  through  old  age 
the  man  could  walk  no  longer,  and  had  lost  all  his  teeth. 
And  so  when  the  king’s  son  had  thus  learned  about  the 
dead  man  and  about  the  aged  man,  he  turned  back  to  his 
palace  and  said  to  himself  that  he  would  abide  no  longer 
in  this  evil  world,  but  would  go  in  search  of  Him  Who 
dieth  not,  and  Who  had  created  him.2 

So  what  did  he  one  night  but  take  his  departure  from 
the  palace  privily,  and  betake  himself  to  certain  lofty  and 
pathless  mountains.  And  there  he  did  abide,  leading  a  life 
of  great  hardship  and  sanctity,  and  keeping  great  abstinence, 
just  as  if  he  had  been  a  Christian.  Indeed,  if  he  had  but 
been  so,  he  would  have  been  a  great  saint  of  Our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ,  so  good  and  pure  was  the  life  he  led.3  And 
when  he  died  they  found  his  body  and  brought  it  to  his 
father.  And  when  the  father  saw  dead  before  him  that  son 
whom  he  loved  better  than  himself,  he  was  near  going  dis¬ 
traught  with  sorrow.  And  he  caused  an  image  in  the 
similitude  of  his  son  to  be  wrought  in  gold  and  precious 
stones,  and  caused  all  his  people  to  adore  it.  And  they  all 
declared  him  to  be  a  god ;  and  so  they  still  say.4 

They  tell  moreover  that  he  hath  died  fourscore  and 
four  times.  The  first  time  he  died  as  a  man,  and  came  to 
life  again  as  an  ox ;  and  then  he  died  as  an  ox  and  came  to 
life  again  as  a  horse,  and  so  on  until  he  had  died  fourscore 
and  four  times ;  and  every  time  he  became  some  kind  of 
animal.  But  when  he  died  the  eighty-fourth  time  they 

Chap.  XV. 



Say  he  became  a  god.  And  they  do  hold  him  for  the 
greatest  of  all  their  gods.  And  they  tell  that  the  aforesaid 
image  of  him  was  the  first  idol  that  the  idolaters  ever  had ; 
and  from  that  have  originated  all  the  other  idols.  And 
this  befel  in  the  Island  of  Sedan  in  India. 

The  idolaters  come  thither  on  pilgrimage  from  very 
long  distances  and  with  great  devotion,  just  as  Christians 
go  to  the  shrine  of  Messer  Saint  James  in  Gallicia.  And 
they  maintain  that  the  monument  on  the  mountain  is  that 
of  the  king’s  son,  according  to  the  story  I  have  been  telling 
you ;  and  that  the  teeth,  and  the  hair,  and  the  dish  that 
are  there  were  those  of  the  same  king’s  son,  whose  name 
was  Sogomoni  Borcan,  or  Sogomoni  the  Saint.  But  the 
Saracens  also  come  thither  on  pilgrimage  in  great  numbers, 
and  they  say  that  it  is  the  sepulchre  of  Adam  our  first 
father,  and  that  the  teeth,  and  the  hair,  and  the  dish  were 
those  of  Adam.5 

Whose  they  were  in  truth,  God  knoweth !  Howbeit, 
according  to  the  Holy  Scripture  of  our  Church,  the 
sepulchre  of  Adam  is  not  in  that  part  of  the  world. 

Now  it  befel  that  the  Great  Kaan  heard  how  on  that 
mountain  there  was  the  sepulchre  of  our  first  father  Adam, 
and  that  some  of  his  hair  and  of  his  teeth,  and  the  dish 
from  which  he  used  to  eat,  were  still  preserved  there.  So 
he  thought  he  would  get  hold  of  them  somehow  or  another, 
and  despatched  a  great  embassy  for  the  purpose,  in  the  year 
of  Christ  1284.  The  ambassadors,  with  a  great  company, 
travelled  on  by  sea  and  by  land  until  they  arrived  at  the 
island  of  Sedan,  and  presented  themselves  before  the  king. 
And  they  were  so  urgent  with  him  that  they  succeeded  in 
getting  two  of  the  grinder  teeth,  which  were  passing  great 
and  thick  ;  and  they  also  got  some  of  the  hair,  and  the 
dish  from  which  that  personage  used  to  eat,  which  is  of  a 
very  beautiful  green  porphyry.  And  when  the  Great  Kaan’s 
ambassadors  had  attained  the  object  for  which  they  had 
come  they  were  greatly  rejoiced,  and  returned  to  their  lord. 



Book  III. 

And  when  they  drew  near  to  the  great  city  of  Cambaluc 
where  the  Great  Kaan  was  staying,  they  sent  him  word  that 
they  had  brought  back  that  for  which  he  had  sent  them. 
On  learning  this  the  Great  Kaan  was  passing  glad,  and 
ordered  all  the  ecclesiastics  and  others  to  go  forth  to  meet 
these  reliques,  which  he  was  led  to  believe  were  those  of  Adam. 

And  why  should  I  make  a  long  story  of  it?  In  sooth, 
the  whole  population  of  Cambaluc  went  forth  to  meet  those 
reliques,  and  the  ecclesiastics  took  them  over  and  carried 
them  to  the  Great  Kaan,  who  received  them  with  great  joy 
and  reverence.6  And  they  find  it  written  in  their  Scriptures 
that  the  virtue  of  that  dish  is  such  that  if  food  for  one 
man  be  put  therein  it  shall  become  enough  for  five  men ; 
and  the  Great  Kaan  averred  that  he  had  proved  the  thing 
and  found  that  it  was  really  true.7 

So  now  you  have  heard  how  the  Great  Kaan  came  by 
those  reliques ;  and  a  mighty  great  treasure  it  did  cost 
him !  The  reliques  being,  according  to  the  idolaters,  those 
of  that  king’s  son. 

Note  1. — Scigamoni  Borcan  is,  as  Marsden  points  out,  Sakya- 
Muni,  or  Gautama- Buddha,  with  the  affix  Burkhan,  or  “  Divinity,” 
which  is  used  by  the  Mongols  as  the  synonym  of  Buddha. 

“The  Dewa  of  Samantakuta  (Adam’s  Peak),  Samana,  having  heard 
of  the  arrival  of  Budha  (in  Lanka  or  Ceylon)  .  .  .  presented  a  request 
that  he  would  leave  an  impression  of  his  foot  upon  the  mountain  of 
which  he  was  guardian.  ...  In  the  midst  of  the  assembled  Dewas, 
Budha,  looking  towards  the  East,  made  the  impression  of  his  foot,  in 
length  three  inches  less  than  the  cubit  of  the  carpenter ;  and  the  impres¬ 
sion  remained  as  a  seal  to  show  that  Lanka  is  the  inheritance  of  Budha, 
and  that  his  religion  will  here  flourish.”  (Hardy's  Manual ,  p.  212.) 

“  The  veneration  with  which  this  majestic  mountain  has  been  regarded 
for  ages,  took  its  rise  in  all  probability  amongst  the  aborigines  of  Ceylon. 

.  .  .  .  In  a  later  age,  ....  the  hollow  in  the  lofty  rock  that  crowns 
the  summit  was  said  by  the  Brahmans  to  be  the  footstep  of  Siva,  by  the 
Buddhists  of  Buddha,  ...  by  the  Gnostics  of  leu,  by  the  Mahometans 
of  Adam,  whilst  the  Portuguese  authorities  were  divided  between  the 
conflicting  claims  of  St.  Thomas  and  the  eunuch  of  Candace,  Queen  of 
Ethiopia.”  ( Tennent ,  II.  133.) 

Polo,  however,  says  nothing  of  the  foot ;  he  speaks  only  of  the 

Chap.  XV. 



sepulchre  of  Adam,  or  of  Sakya-muni.  I  have  been  unable  to  find  any 
modern  indication  of  the  monument  that  was  shown  by  the  Mahomedans 
as  the  tomb,  and  sometimes  as  the  house,  of  Adam ;  but  such  a  structure 
there  certainly  was,  perhaps  an  ancient  Kist-vaen,  or  the  like.  John 
Marignolli,  who  was  there  about  1349,  has  an  interesting  passage  on 
the  subject :  “  That  exceeding  high  mountain  hath  a  pinnacle  of  sur¬ 
passing  height,  which  on  account  of  the  clouds  can  rarely  be  seen.  But 
God,  pitying  our  tears,  lighted  it  up  one  morning  just  before  the  sun 
rose,  so  that  we  beheld  it  glowing  with  the  brightest  flame.  In  the  way 
down  from  this  mountain  there  is  a  fine  level  spot,  still  at  a  great  height, 
and  there  you  find  in  order :  first,  the  mark  of  Adam’s  foot ;  secondly, 
a  certain  statue  of  a  sitting  figure,  with  the  left  hand  resting  on  the  knee, 
and  the  right  hand  raised  and  extended  towards  the  west ;  lastly,  there 
is  the  house  (of  Adam)  which  he  made  with  his  own  hands.  It  is  of  an 
oblong  quadrangular  shape  like  a  sepulchre,  with  a  door  in  the  middle, 
and  is  formed  of  great  tabular  slabs  of  marble,  not  cemented,  but  merely 
laid  one  upon  another.”  ( Cathay ,  358.)  A  Chinese  account,  translated 
in  Amyot’s  Memoires ,  says  that  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  is  a  Monas¬ 
tery  of  Bonzes,  in  which  is  seen  the  veritable  body  of  Fo,  in  the  attitude 
of  a  man  lying  on  his  side”  (XIV.  25).  Osorio,  also,  in  his  history  of 
Emanuel  of  Portugal,  says  :  “Not  far  from  it  (the  Peak)  people  go  to 
see  a  small  temple  in  which  are  two  sepulchres,  which  are  the  objects  of 
an  extraordinary  degree  of  superstitious  devotion.  For  they  believe 
that  in  these  were  buried  the  bodies  of  the  first  man  and  his  wife” 
(f.  129  v.).  A  German  traveller  (F)a?iiel  Parthey ,  Niirnberg,  1698) 
also  speaks  of  the  tomb  of  Adam  and  his  sons  on  the  mountain  (see 
Fabricius ,  Cod.  Pseudep.  Vet.  Test.  II.  31 ;  also  what  is  said  in  Ouse  ley's 
Travels ,  I.  59). 

It  is  a  perplexing  circumstance  that  there  is  a  double  set  of  indica¬ 
tions  about  the  footmark.  The  Ceylon  traditions,  quoted  above  from 
Hardy,  call  its  length  3  inches  less  than  a  carpenter’s  cubit.  Modern 
observers  estimate  it  at  5  feet  or  5^  feet.  Hardy  accounts  for  this  by 
supposing  that  the  original  footmark  was  destroyed  in  the  end  of  the 
1 6th  century.  But  Ibn  Batuta,  in  the  14th,  states  it  at  11  spans,  or 
more  than  the  modern  report.  Marignolli,  on  the  other  hand,  says  that 
he  measured  it  and  found  it  to  be  2%  palms,  or  about  half  a  Prague  ell, 
which  corresponds  in  a  general  way  with  Hardy’s  tradition.  Valentyn 
calls  it  ell  in  length  ;  Knox,  I  think,  2  feet ;  Herman  Bree  (De  Bry?), 
quoted  by  Fabricius,  8£  spans  ;  a  Chinese  account,  quoted  below,  8  feet. 
These  discrepancies  remind  one  of  the  ancient  Buddhist  belief  regarding 
such  footmarks,  that  they  seemed  greater  or  smaller  in  proportion  to  the 
faith  of  the  visitor  !  (See  Koeppen ,  I.  529,  and  Beal's  Fah-hian ,  p.  27.) 

The  chains  are  still  maintained.  Ibn  Batuta  gives  a  particular 
account  of  them.  The  highest  was  called  (he  says)  the  chain  of  the 
Shahddat ,  or  Credo,  because  the  fearful  abyss  below  made  pilgrims 
recite  the  profession  of  belief.  Ashraf,  a  Persian  poet  of  the  15  th 



Book  III. 

century,  who  has  written  a  poem  on  the  conquests  of  Alexander,  ascribes 
the  establishment  of  these  chains  to  the  great  conqueror,  who  devised 
them,  with  the  assistance  of  the  philosopher  Bolinas  (?),  in  order  to 
scale  the  mountain,  and  reach  the  sepulchre  of  Adam.  (See  Ouseley ,  I. 
54,  seqq.) 

Note  2. — The  general  correctness  with  which  Marco  has  here  related 
the  legendary  history  of  Sakya’s  devotion  to  an  ascetic  life,  as  the  pre¬ 
liminary  to  his  becoming  the  Buddha  or  Divinely  Perfect  Being,  shows 
what  a  strong  impression  the  tale  had  made  upon  him.  He  is,  of 
course,  wrong  in  placing  the  scene  of  the  history  in  Ceylon,  though 
probably  it  was  so  told  him,  as  the  vulgar  in  all  Buddhist  countries  do 
seem  to  localize  the  legends  in  regions  known  to  them. 

Sakya  Sinha,  Sakya  Muni,  or  Gautama,  originally  called  Siddharta, 
was  the  son  of  Suddhodhana,  the  Kshatriya  prince  of  Kapilavastu,  a 
small  state  north  of  the  Ganges,  near  the  borders  of  Oudh.  His  high 
destiny  had  been  foretold,  as  well  as  the  objects  that  would  move  him  to 
adopt  the  ascetic  life.  To  keep  these  from  his  knowledge,  his  father 
caused  three  palaces  to  be  built,  within  the  limits  of  which  the  prince 
should  pass  the  three  seasons  of  the  year,  whilst  guards  were  posted  to 
bar  the  approach  of  the  dreaded  objects.  But  these  precautions  were 
defeated  by  inevitable  destiny  and  the  power  of  the  Devas. 

When  the  prince  was  16  he  was  married  to  the  beautiful  Yasodhara, 
daughter  of  the  King  of  Koli,  and  40,000  other  princesses  also  became 
the  inmates  of  his  harem. 

“  Whilst  living  in  the  midst  of  the  full  enjoyment  of  every  kind  of 
pleasure,  Siddharta  one  day  commanded  his  principal  charioteer  to  pre¬ 
pare  his  festive  chariot ;  and  in  obedience  to  his  commands  four  lily- 
white  horses  were  yoked.  The  prince  leaped  into  the  chariot,  and  pro¬ 
ceeded  towards  a  garden  at  a  little  distance  from  the  palace,  attended 
by  a  great  retinue.  On  his  way  he  saw  a  decrepid  old  man,  with  broken 
teeth,  grey  locks,  and  a  form  bending  towards  the  ground,  his  trembling 
steps  supported  by  a  staff  (a  Deva  had  taken  this  form).  .  .  .  The  prince 
enquired  what  strange  figure  it  was  that  he  saw ;  and  he  was  informed 
that  it  was  an  old  man.  He  then  asked  if  the  man  was  born  so,  and 
the  charioteer  answered  that  he  was  not,  as  he  was  once  young  like 
themselves.  ‘Are  there,’  said  the  prince,  ‘  many  such  beings  in  the 
world  ?’  ‘  Your  highness,’  said  the  charioteer,  £  there  are  many.’  The 

prince  again  enquired,  ‘Shall  I  become  thus  old  and  decrepid?’  and  he 
was  told  that  it  was  a  state  at  which  all  beings  must  arrive.” 

The  prince  returns  home  and  informs  his  father  of  his  intention  to 
become  an  ascetic,  seeing  how  undesirable  is  life  tending  to  such  decay. 
His  father  conjures  him  to  put  away  such  thoughts,  and  to  enjoy  himself 
with  his  princesses,  and  he  strengthens  the  guards  about  the  palaces. 
Four  months  later  like  circumstances  recur,  and  the  prince  sees  a  leper, 
and  after  the  same  interval  a  dead  body  in  corruption.  Lastly,  he  sees 

Chap.  XV. 



a  religious  recluse,  radiant  with  peace  and  tranquillity,  and  resolves  to 
delay  no  longer.  He  leaves  his  palace  at  night,  after  a  look  at  his  wife 
Yasodhara  and  the  boy  just  born  to  him,  and  betakes  himself  to  the 
forests  of  Magadha,  where  he  passes  seven  years  in  extreme  asceticism. 
At  the  end  of  that  time  he  attains  the  Buddhahood  (see  Hardy’s  Manual , 
p.  15 1,  seqq. ).  The  latter  part  of  the  story  told  by  Marco,  about  the 
body  of  the  prince  being  brought  to  his  father,  &c.,  is  erroneous.  Sakya 
was  80  years  of  age  when  he  died  under  the  Sal  trees  in  Kusinara. 

In  ignorance  that  the  matter  had  been  previously  handled,  I  had  pre¬ 
pared  a  long  note  upon  the  extraordinary  conversion  of  the  story  of  the 
youthful  Buddha  into  the  Christian  didactic  romance  of  Barlaam  and 
Josaphat,  written  by  St.  John  of  Damascus  in  the  8th  century,  and 
the  still  more  extraordinary  conversion  which  the  popularity  of  that 
romance  brought  about  of  Buddha  himself  into  a  saint  of  the  Greek  and 
Roman  calendars,  under  the  name  of  Saint  Josaphat.  But  I  have  been 
anticipated  in  this  by  Professor  Max  Muller,  who  has  treated  the  sub¬ 
ject  with  characteristic  learning  and  grace.  (See  Contemporary  Review 
for  July,  1870,  On  the  Migration  of  Fables.)* 

Note  3. — Marco  is  not  the  only  eminent  person  who  has  expressed 
this  view  of  Sakyamuni’s  life  in  such  words.  Prof,  Max  Muller,  in  con¬ 
cluding  his  luminous  exposition  of  the  story  just  referred  to,  says  :  “  And 
whatever  we  may  think  of  the  sanctity  of  saints,  let  those  who  doubt 
the  right  of  Buddha  to  a  place  among  them,  read  the  story  of  his  life  as 
it  is  told  in  the  Buddhistic  canon.  If  he  lived  the  life  which  is  there 
described,  few  saints  have  a  better  claim  to  the  title  than  Buddha ;  and 
no  one  either  in  the  Greek  or  the  Roman  Church  need  be  ashamed  of 
having  paid  to  his  memory  the  honour  that  was  intended  for  St.  Josa¬ 
phat,  the  prince,  the  hermit,  and  the  saint.” 

Note  4. — This  is  curiously  like  a  passage  in  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon : 
“  Neque  enim  erant  (idola)  ab  initio,  neque  erunt  in  perpetuum  .  .  . 
acerbo  enim  luctu  dolens  pater  cito  sibi  rapti  filii  fecit  imaginem  :  et 
ilium  qui  tunc  quasi  homo  mortuus  fuerat  nunc  tamquam  deum  colere 
ccepit,  et  constituit  inter  servos  suos  sacra  et  sacrificia  ”  (xiv.  13-15). 
The  same  story  seems  to  be  alluded  to  by  Gower,  though  I  know  not 
whence  he  takes  it — 

“  Of  Cirophanes  seeth  the  booke 
That  he  for  sorow  which  he  toke 
Of  that  he  sigh  his  sonne  dede 
Of  comfort  knewe  none  other  rede 

*  Besides  the  many  versions  of  the  story  itself,  extending  geographically  from  the 
Icelandic  to  the  Tagal  of  the  Philippines,  the  episodes  and  apologues  with  which  it  is 
rife  have  directly  or  indirectly  furnished  material  to  Poets  and  Story-tellers  in  various 
ages  and  of  very  divers  characters,  e.g.,  to  Gower  and  to  Boccaccio,  to  the  compiler 
of  the  Gesta  Romanorum,  to  Shakspeare,  and  to  the  late  W.  Adams  (author  of  The 
King's  Messengers).  I  recently  saw  in  the  Library  of  Monte  Cassino  a  long  French 
Poem  on  the  Story,  in  a  MS.  of  our  Traveller’s  age. 



Book  III. 

But  lete  do  make  in  remembrance 
A  faire  image  of  his  semblance, 

And  set  it  in  the  market  place, 

Whiche  openly  tofore  his  face 
Stood  every  day  to  done  him  ease  ; 

And  thei  that  than  wolden  please 
The  Fader,  obeye, 

When  that  thei  comen  thilke  weye.” 

—  Confessio  Amantis ,  lib.  v.  fol.  xci.  v. , 
in  London  Ed.  of  1544. 

Note  5. — Adam’s  Peak  has  for  ages  been  a  place  of  pilgrimage  to 
Buddhists,  Hindus,  and  Mahomedans,  and  appears  still  to  be  so.  Ibn 
Batuta  says  the  Mussulman  pilgrimage  was  instituted  in  the  10th  century. 
Marignolli,  on  his  visit  to  the  mountain,  mentions  “  another  pilgrim,  a 
Saracen  of  Spain  ;  for  many  go  on  pilgrimage  to  Adam.” 

Note  6. — The  Pcitra ,  or  alms-pot,  was  the  most  valued  legacy  of 
Buddha.  It  had  served  the  three  previous  Buddhas  of  this  world-period, 
and  was  destined  to  serve  the  future  one,  Maitreya.  The  Great  Asoka 
sent  it  to  Ceylon.  Thence  it  was  carried  off  by  a  Tamul  chief  in  the 
1st  century,  a.d.,  but  brought  back  we  know  not  how,  and  is  still  shown 
in  the  Malagawa  Vihara  at  Kandy.  As  usual  in  such  cases,  there  were 
rival  reliques,  for  Fahian  found  the  alms-pot  preserved  at  Peshawar. 
Hwen  Thsang  says  in  his  time  it  was  no  longer  there,  but  in  Persia. 
(. Koeppen ,  I.  526  ;  Fah-hian ,  p.  36  ;  H.  Thsang, ;  II.  106.) 

Sir  J.  Tennent,  through  Mr.  Wylie  of  Shanghai,  obtained  the  follow¬ 
ing  curious  extract  referring  to  Ceylon,  from  a  Chinese  work  written  in 
1350  :  “  In  front  of  the  image  of  Buddha  there  is  a  sacred  bowl,  which 
is  neither  made  of  jade  nor  copper,  nor  iron ;  it  is  of  a  purple  colour, 
and  glossy,  and  when  struck  it  sounds  like  glass.  At  the  commence¬ 
ment  of  the  Yuen  dynasty  (/.<?.,  under  Kublai)  three  separate  envoys  were 
sent  to  obtain  it.”  Sanang  Setzen  also  corroborates  Marco’s  statement : 
“  Thus  did' the  Khaghan  (Kublai)  cause  the  sun  of  religion  to  rise  over 
the  dark  land  of  the  Mongols ;  he  also  procured  from  India  images  and 
reliques  of  Buddha ;  among  others  the  Patra  of  Buddha,  which  was  pre¬ 
sented  to  him  by  the  four  kings  (of  the  cardinal  points),  and  also  the 
chandana  chu  ”  (a  miraculous  sandal-wood  image).  ( Tennent ,  I.  622  ; 
Schmidt ,  p.  119.) 

The  text  also  says  that  several  teeth  of  Buddha  were  preserved  in 
Ceylon,  and  that  the  Kaan’s  embassy  obtained  two  molars.  Doubtless 
the  envoys  were  imposed  on ;  no  solitary  case  in  the  amazing  history  of 
that  relique,  for  the  Dalada,  or  tooth-relique,  seems  in  all  historic  times 
to  have  been  unique.  This,  “  the  left  canine  tooth  ”  of  the  Buddha,  is 
related  to  have  been  preserved  for  800  years  at  Dantapura  (“  Odonto- 
polis  ”),  in  Kalinga,  the  modern  Puri  or  Jaganath.  Here  the  Brahmins 
once  captured  it  and  carried  it  off  to  Palibothra,  where  they  tried  in 
vain  to  destroy  it.  Its  miraculous  resistance  converted  the  king,  who 
sent  it  back  to  Kalinga.  About  a.d.  31  i  the  daughter  of  King  Guhasiva 

Chap.  XV. 



fled  with  it  to  Ceylon.  In  the  beginning  of  the  14th  century  it  was 
captured  by  the  Tamuls  and  carried  to  the  Pandya  country  on  the  con¬ 
tinent,  but  recovered  some  years  later  by  King  Parakrama  III.,  who 
went  in  person  to  treat  for  it.  In  1560  the  Portuguese  got  possession 
of  it  and  took  it  to  Goa.  The  King  of  Pegu  who  then  reigned,  probably 
the  most  powerful  and  wealthy  monarch  who  has  ever  ruled  in  Further 
India,  made  unlimited  offers  in  exchange  for  the  tooth ;  but  the  arch¬ 
bishop  prevented  the  viceroy  from  yielding  to  these  temptations,  and  it 
was  solemnly  pounded  to 
atoms  by  the  prelate,  then 
cast  into  a  charcoal  fire,  and 
finally  its  ashes  thrown  into 
the  river  of  Goa. 

The  King  of  Pegu  was, 
however,  informed  by  a 
crafty  minister  of  the  King 
of  Ceylon  that  only  a  sham 
tooth  *  had  been  destroyed 
by  the  Portuguese,  and  that 
the  real  relique  was  still 
safe.  This  he  obtained  by 
extraordinary  presents,  and 
the  account  of  its  reception 
at  Pegu,  as  quoted  by  Ten- 
nent  from  De  Couto,  is  a 
curious  parallel  to  Marco’s 
narrative  of  the  Great  Kaan’s 
reception  of  the  Ceylon  rel- 
iques  at  Cambaluc.  The 
extraordinary  object  still  so 
solemnly  preserved  at  Kandy 
is  another  forgery,  set  up 
about  the  same  time.  So 
the  immediate  result  of  the 
viceroy’s  virtue  was  that  two  reliques  were  worshipped  instead  of  one  ! 

The  possession  of  the  tooth  has  always  been  a  great  object  of  desire 
to  Buddhist  sovereigns.  In  the  nth  century  King  Anarauhta,  of  Bur- 
mah,  sent  a  mission  to  Ceylon  to  endeavour  to  procure  it,  but  he  could 
obtain  only  a  “  miraculous  emanation  ”  of  the  relique.  A  tower  to 
contain  the  sacred  tooth  was  (1855),  however,  one  of  the  buildings  in 
the  palace  court  of  Amarapura.  A  few  years  ago  the  present  King 
of  Burma  repeated  the  mission  of  his  remote  predecessor,  but  obtained 
only  a  model, ,  and  this  has  been  deposited  within  the  walls  of  the  palace 
at  Mandale,  the  new  capital.  (Tumour  in  J.  A.  S.  P.,  VI.  856,  seqq. ; 
Koeppen ,  I.  521;  Tennent ,  I.  388,  II.  198,  seqq. ;  MS.  Note  by  Sir 
A.  Phayre ;  Mission  to  Ava,  136.) 

Teeth  of  Buddha. 

At  Candy,  after  Tennent.  2.  At  Fuchau,  from  Fortune. 



Book  III. 

Of  the  four  eye-teeth  of  Sakya,  one,  it  is  related,  passed  to  the  heaven 
of  Indra ;  the  second  to  the  capital  of  Gandhara  ;  the  third  to  Kalinga  ; 
the  fourth  to  the  snake-gods.  The  Gandhara  tooth  was  perhaps,  like 
the  alms-bowl,  carried  off  by  a  Sassanid  invasion,  and  may  be  identical 
with  that  tooth  of  Fo,  which  the  Chinese  annals  state  to  have  been 
brought  to  China  in  a.d.  530  by  a  Persian  embassy.  A  tooth  of  Buddha 
is  now  shown  in  a  monastery  at  Fuchau ;  but  whether  this  be  either  the 
Sassanian  present,  or  that  got  from  Ceylon  by  Kublai,  is  unknown. 
Other  teeth  of  Buddha  were  shown  in  Hwen  Thsang’s  time  at  Balkh, 
and  at  Kanauj.  ( Koeppen ,  u.  s.  ;  Fortune,  II.  108  ;  H.  Thsang, ;  II.  31, 

Note  7. — Fahian  writes  of  the  alms-pot  at  Peshawar,  that  poor  people 
could  fill  it  with  a  few  flowers,  whilst  a  rich  man  should  not  be  able  to 
do  so  with  100,  nay,  with  1000  or  10,000  bushels  of  rice;  a  parable 
doubtless  originally  carrying  a  lesson  like  Our  Lord’s  remark  on  the 
widow’s  mite,  but  which  hardened  eventually  into  some  foolish  story  like 
that  in  the  text. 

This  Patra  is  the  Holy  Grail  of  Buddhism.  Mystical  powers  of 
nourishment  are  ascribed  also  to  the  Grail  in  the  European  legends. 
German  scholars  have  traced  in  the  romances  of  the  Grail  remarkable 
indications  of  Oriental  origin.  It  is  not  impossible  that  the  alms-pot  of 
Buddha  was  the  prime  source  of  them.  Read  the  prophetic  history  of 
the  Patra  as  Fahian  heard  it  in  India ;  its  mysterious  wanderings  over 
Asia  till  it  is  taken  up  into  the  Heaven  Tusita,  where  Maitreya  the  Future 
Buddha  dwells.  When  it  has  disappeared  from  earth  the  Law  gradually 
perishes,  and  violence  and  wickedness  more  and  more  prevail : 

-  “  What  is  it? 

The  phantom  of  a  cup  that  comes  and  goes  ? 

*  *  *  *  *  If  a  man 

Could  touch  or  see  it,  he  was  healed  at  once 
By  faith  of  all  his  ills.  But  then  the  times 
Grew  to  such  evil,  that  the  holy  cup 
Was  caught  away  to  heaven  and  disappeared.” 

—  Tennyson! s  Holy  Grail. 


Concerning  the  great  Province  of  Maabar,  which  is  called 
India  the  Greater,  and  is  on  the  Main  Land. 

When  you  leave  the  Island  of  Sedan  and  sail  westward 
about  60  miles,  you  come  to  the  great  province  of  Maabar 


which  is  styled  India  the  Greater  ;  it  is  the  best  of  all 
the  Indies  and  is  on  the  mainland. 

You  must  know  that  in  this  province  there  are  five 
kings,  who  are  own  brothers.  I  will  tell  you  about  each  in 
turn.  The  Province  is  the  finest  and  noblest  in  the 

At  this  end  of  the  Province  reigns  one  of  those  five 
Royal  Brothers,  who  is  a  crowned  King,  and  his  name  is 
Sonder  Bandi  Davar.  In  his  kingdom  they  find  very 
fine  and  great  pearls ;  and  I  will  tell  you  how  they  are  got.1 

You  must  know  that  the  sea  here  forms  a  gulf  between 
the  Island  of  Sedan  and  the  main  land.  And  all  round  this 
gulf  the  water  has  a  depth  of  no  more  than  10  or  12 
fathoms,  and  in  some  places  no  more  than  two  fathoms. 
The  pearl-fishers  take  their  vessels,  great  and  small,  and  pro¬ 
ceed  into  this  gulf  where  they  stop  from  the  beginning  of 
April  till  the  middle  of  May.  They  go  first  to  a  place 
called  Bettelar,  and  (then)  go  60  miles  into  the  gulf. 
Here  they  cast  anchor  and  shift  from  their  large  vessels  into 
small  boats.  You  must  know  that  the  many  merchants 
who  go  divide  into  various  companies,  and  each  of  these 
must  engage  a  number  of  men  on  wages,  hiring  them  for 
April  and  half  of  May.  Of  all  the  produce  they  have  first 
to  pay  the  King,  as  his  royalty,  the  tenth  part.  And  they 
must  also  pay  those  men  who  charm  the  great  fishes  to  pre¬ 
vent  them  from  injuring  the  divers  whilst  engaged  in  seeking 
pearls  under  water,  one  twentieth  part  of  all  that  they  take. 
These  fish-charmers  are  termed  A  braiaman ;  and  their 
charm  holds  good  for  that  day  only,  for  at  night  they 
dissolve  the  charm  so  that  the  fishes  can  work  mischief  at 
their  will.  These  Abraiaman  know  also  how  to  charm 
beasts  and  birds  and  every  living  thing.  When  the  men 
have  got  into  the  small  boats  they  jump  into  the  water  and 
dive  to  the  bottom,  which  may  be  at  a  depth  of  from  4  to 
12  fathoms,  and  there  they  remain  as  long  as  they  are  able. 
And  there  they  find  the  shells  that  contain  the  pearls  [and 

VOL.  11. 




Book  III. 

these  they  put  into  a  net  bag  tied  round  the  waist,  and 
mount  up  to  the  surface  with  them,  and  then  dive  anew. 
When  they  can’t  hold  their  breath  any  longer  they  come 
up  again,  and  after  a  little  down  they  go  once  more,  and  so 
they  go  on  all  day].2  The  shells  are  in  fashion  like  oysters 
or  sea-hoods.  And  in  these  shells  are  found  pearls,  great 
and  small,  of  every  kind,  sticking  in  the  flesh  of  the  shell¬ 

In  this  manner  pearls  are  fished  in  great  quantities,  for 
thence  in  fact  come  the  pearls  which  are  spread  all  over  the 
world.  And  I  can  tell  you  the  King  of  that  State  hath 
a  very  great  receipt  and  treasure  from  his  dues  upon  those 

As  soon  as  the  middle  of  May  is  past  no  more  of  those 
pearl-shells  are  found  there.  It  is  true,  however,  that  a 
long  way  from  that  spot,  some  300  miles  distant,  they  are 
also  found ;  but  that  is  in  September  and  the  first  half  of 

Note  1. — Maabar  (Ma'bar)  was  the  name  given  by  the  Mahomedans 
at  this  time  (13th  and  14th  centuries)  to  a  tract  corresponding  in  a 
general  way  to  what  we  call  the  Coromandel  Coast.  The  word  in 
Arabic  signifies  the  Passage  or  Ferry,  and  may  have  referred  either  to 
the  communication  with  Ceylon,  or,  as  is  more  probable,  to  its  being  in 
that  age  the  coast  most  frequented  by  travellers  from  Arabia  and  the 
Gulf.*  The  name  does  not  appear  in  Edrisi,  nor  I  believe  in  any  of  the 
older  geographers,  and  the  earliest  use  of  it  that  I  am  aware  of  is  in 
Abdallatif’s  account  of  Egypt,  a  work  written  about  1203-4  (De  Sacy,  Rel. 
de  V Egypt,  p.  31).  Abulfeda  distinctly  names  Cape  Comorin  as  the 
point  where  Malabar  ended  and  Ma’bar  began,  and  other  authority  to 
be  quoted  presently  informs  us  that  it  extended  to  Nilawar ,  i.e.,  Nellore. 

There  are  difficulties  as  to  the  particular  locality  of  the  port  or  city 
which  Polo  visited  in  the  territory  of  the  Prince  whom  he  calls  Sondar 
Bandi  Davar ;  and  there  are  like  doubts  as  to  the  identification,  from  the 
dark  and  scanty  Tamul  records,  of  the  Prince  himself,  and  the  family  to 
which  he  belonged ;  though  he  is  mentioned  by  more  than  one  foreign 
writer  besides  Polo. 

*  So  the  Barbary  coast  from  Tunis  westward  was  called  by  the  Arabs  Bar-ul- 
’ Adwah ,  “  Terra  Transitus,”  because  thence  they  used  to  pass  into  Spain  {J.  As.  for 
Jan.  1846,  p.  228). 

Chap.  XVI. 



Thus  Wassdf :  “  Ma’bar  extends  in  length  from  Kaulam  to  Nildwar, 
nearly  300  parasangs  along  the  sea-coast ;  and  in  the  language  of  that 
country  the  king  is  called  Dewar,  which  signifies,  “  the  Lord  of  Empire.” 
The  curiosities  of  Chin  and  Mdchi'n,  and  the  beautiful  products  of  Hind 
and  Sind,  laden  on  large  ships  which  they  call  Junks ,  sailing  like  mountains 
with  the  wings  of  the  wind  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  are  always 
arriving  there.  The  wealth  of  the  Isles  of  the  Persian  Gulf  in  particular, 
and  in  part  the  beauty  and  adornment  of  other  countries,  from  ’Irak  and 
Khurdsdn  as  far  as  Rum  and  Europe,  are  derived  from  Ma’bar,  which  is 
so  situated  as  to  be  the  key  of  Hind. 

“A  few  years  since  the  Dewar  was  Sundar  Pandi,  who  had  three 
brothers,  each  of  whom  established  himself  in  independence  in  some 
different  country.  The  eminent  prince,  the  Margrave  (Marzban)  of 
Hind,  Taki-uddfn  Abdu-r  Rahmdn,  son  of  Muhammad-ut-Ti'bf,  whose 
virtues  and  accomplishments  have  for  a  long  time  been  the  theme  of 
praise  and  admiration  among  the  chief  inhabitants  of  that  beautiful 
country,  was  the  Dewar’s  deputy,  minister,  and  adviser,  and  was  a  man 
of  sound  judgment.  Fattan,  Malifattan  and  Kail  *  were  made  over  to 

his  possession .  In  the  months  of  the  year  692  H.  (a.d.  1293) 

the  above-mentioned  Dewar,  the  ruler  of  Ma’bar,  died  and  left  behind 
him  much  wealth  and  treasure.  It  is  related  by  Malik-ul-Islam  Jamal- 
uddi'n,  that  out  of  that  treasure  7000  oxen  laden  with  precious  stones 
and  pure  gold  and  silver  fell  to  the  share  of  the  brother  who  succeeded 
him.  Malik-i  ’Azam  Taki-uddfn  continued  prime  minister  as  before,  and 
in  fact  ruler  of  that  kingdom,  and  his  glory  and  magnificence  were 
raised  a  thousand  times  higher.”  f 

*  Wassaf  has  Fitan ,  Mali  Fit  an,  Kabil,  and  meant  the  names  so,  as  he  shows  by 
silly  puns.  For  my  justification  in  presuming  to  correct  the  names,  I  must  refer  to 
an  article,  in  the  J.  R.  As.  Soc.  for  1869,  on  Rashiduddin’s  Geography. 

f  The  same  information  is  given  in  almost  the  same  terms  by  Rashiduddin  (see 
Elliot ,  I.  69).  But  he  (at  least  in  Elliot’s  translation)  makes  Shaikh  Jumaluddin  the 
successor  of  the  Dewar,  instead  of  merely  the  narrator  of  the  circumstances.  This  is 
evidently  a  mistake,  probably  of  transcription,  and  Wassaf  gives  us  the  true  version. 

The  members  of  the  Arab  family  bearing  the  surname  of  Al-Thaibi  (or  Thibf) 
appear  to  have  been  powerful  on  the  coasts  of  the  Indian  Sea  at  this  time.  1.  The 
Malik-ul-Islam  Jumaluddin  Ibrahim  A1  Thaibi  was  Farmer- General  of  Fars,  besides 
being  quasi-independent  Prince  of  Kais  and  other  Islands  in  the  Persian  Gulf,  and 
at  the  time  of  his  death  (1306)  governor  of  Shiraz.  He  had  the  horse  trade  with 
India  greatly  in  his  hands,  as  is  mentioned  in  a  note  (7)  on  next  chapter.  2.  The 
son  of  Jumaluddin,  Fakhruddin  Ahmed,  goes  ambassador  to  the  Great  Kaan  in  1297, 
and  dies  near  the  coast  of  Ma’bar  on  his  way  back  in  1305.  A  Fakhruddin  Ahmed 
Bin  Ibrahim  al-Thaibi  also  appears  in  Hammer’s  extracts  as  ruler  of  Hormuz  about 
the  time  of  Polo’s  return  (see  ante  vol.  I.  p.  1 14)  ;  and  though  he  is  there  repre¬ 
sented  as  opposed  by  Shaikh  Jumaluddin  (perhaps  through  one  of  Hammer’s  too 
frequent  confusions),  one  should  suppose  that  he  must  be  the  son  just  mentioned. 
3.  Takiuddin  Abdurrahman,  the  Wazir  and  Marzban  in  Ma’bar;  who  was  succeeded 
in  that  position  by  his  son  Surajuddin,  and  his  grandson  Nizam uddin.  ( Ilchan .  II. 
49-5°>  J97-8,  205-6 ;  Elliot x  III.  32,  34-5,  45-7.) 

T  2 



Book  III. 

Seventeen  years  later  (1310)  Wassdf  introduces  another  king  of  Ma’bar 
called  Kales  Dewar ,  who  had  ruled  for  40  years  in  prosperity,  and  had 
accumulated  in  the  treasury  of  Shahr-Mandi  (i.e.,  as  Dr.  Caldwell  informs 
me  Madura,  entitled  by  the  Mahomedan  invaders  Shahr-Pandi,  and 
still  occasionally  mispronounced  Shahr-Mandi)  1200  crores  (!)  in  gold. 
Pie  had  two  sons,  Sundar  Bandi  by  a  lawful  wife,  and  Pirabandi  (Vira 
Pandi  ?)  illegitimate.  He  designated  the  latter  as  his  successor.  Sundar 
Bandi,  enraged  at  this,  slew  his  father  and  took  forcible  possession  of 
Shahr-Mandi  and  its  treasures.  Pirabandi  succeeded  in  driving  him  out ; 
Sundar  Bandi  went  to  Alauddin,  Sultan  of  Delhi,  and  sought  help.  The 
Sultan  eventually  sent  his  general  Hazardinari  (alias  Malik  Kafur)  to 
conquer  Ma’bar. 

In  the  3rd  (as  yet  unpublished)  volume  of  Elliot  we  find  some  of  the 
same  main  facts,  with  some  differences  and  greater  details,  as  recounted 
by  Amir  Khusru.  Bir  Pandiya  and  Sundara  Pandiya  are  the  Rais  of 
Ma’bar,  and  are  at  war  with  one  another,  when  the  army  of  Alauddin, 
after  reducing  Bilal  Deo  of  Dwara  Samudra,  descends  upon  Ma’bar 
in  the  beginning  of  13 11  (p.  87,  seqq.). 

We  see  here  two  rulers  of  Ma’bar,  within  less  than  20  years,  bearing 
the  name  of  Sundara  Pandi. 

In  a  note  with  which  Dr.  Caldwell  has  favoured  me  he  considers 
that  the  Sundar  Bandi  of  Polo  and  the  Persian  Historians  is  undoubtedly 
to  be  identified  with  Sundara  Pandi  Devar,  in  the  Tamul  catalogues  the 
last  king  of  the  ancient  Pandya  line,  and  who  was  (says  Dr.  Caldwell) 
“  succeeded  by  Mahomedans,  by  a  new  line  of  Pandyas,  by  the  Nayak 
Kings,  by  the  Nabobs  of  Arcot,  and  finally  by  the  English.  He  became 
for  a  time  a  Jaina,  but  was  reconverted  to  the  worship  of  Siva,  when  his 
name  was  changed  from  Kim  or  Kubja ,  “  Crook-backed,”  to  Sundara 
“  Beautiful,”  in  accordance  with  a  change  which  then  took  place,  the 
Saivas  say,  in  his  personal  appearance.  Probably  his  name,  from  the 

beginning,  was  Sundara .  In  the  inscriptions  belonging  to  the 

period  of  his  reign  he  is  invariably  represented,  not  as  a  joint  king 
or  viceroy,  but  as  an  absolute  monarch  ruling  over  an  extensive  tract  of 
country,  including  the  Chola  county  or  Tanj ore,  and  Conjeveram,  and  as 
the  only  possessor  for  the  time  being  of  the  title  Pandi  Devar.  It  is 
clear  from  the  agreement  of  Rashiduddin  with  Marco  Polo  that  Sundara 
Pandi’s  power  was  shared  in  some  way  with  his  brothers,  but  it  seems 
certain  also  from  the  inscriptions  that  there  was  a  sense  in  which  he  alone 
was  king.” 

I  do  not  give  the  whole  of  Dr.  Caldwell’s  remarks  on  this  subject 
because  he  had  not  before  him  the  whole  of  the  information  from  the  Musul- 
man  historians  which  shows  so  clearly  that  two  princes  bearing  the  name 
of  Sundara  Pandi  are  mentioned  by  them,  and  because  I  cannot  see  my 
way  to  adopt  his  view,  great  as  is  the  weight  due  to  his  opinion  on  any 
such  question. 

Extraordinary  darkness  hangs  over  the  chronology  of  the  South 

Chap.  XVI. 



Indian  kingdoms,  as  we  may  judge  from  the  fact  that  Dr.  Caldwell  would 
thus  place  at  the  end  of  the  13  th  century,  on  the  evidence  of  Polo  and 
Rashiduddin,  the  reign  of  the  last  of  the  genuine  Pandya  kings,  whom 
other  calculations  place  earlier  even  by  centuries.  Thus,  to  omit  views 
more  extravagant,  Mr.  Nelson,  the  learned  official  historian  of  Madura, 
supposes  it  on  the  whole  most  probable  that  Kun  Pandya,  alias  Sundara, 
reigned  in  the  latter  half  of  the  nth  century.  “The  Sri  Tala  Book, 
which  appears  to  have  been  written  about  60  years  ago,  and  was  probably 
complied  from  brief  Tamil  chronicles  then  in  existence,  states  that  the 
Pandya  race  became  extinct  upon  the  death  of  Kun  Pandya ;  and  the 
children  of  concubines  and  of  younger  brothers  who  (had)  lived  in  former 
ages,  fought  against  one  another,  split  up  the  country  into  factions,  and 
got  themselves  crowned,  and  ruled  one  in  one  place,  another  in  another. 
But  none  of  these  families  succeeded  in  getting  possession  of  Madura, 
the  capital,  which  consequently  fell  into  decay.  And  further  on  it  tells 
us,  rather  inconsistently,  that  up  to  a.d.  1324  the  kings,  ‘who  ruled  the 
Madura  country  were  part  of  the  time  Pandyas,  at  other  times  foreigners.’  ” 
And  a  variety  of  traditions  referred  to  by  Mr.  Nelson  appear  to  interpose 
such  a  period  of  unsettlement  and  shifting  and  divided  sovereignty, 
extending  over  a  considerable  time,  between  the  end  of  the  genuine 
Pandya  Dynasty  and  the  Mahomedan  invasion ;  whilst  lists  of  numerous 
princes  who  reigned  in  this  period  have  been  handed  down.  Now  we 
have  just  seen  that  the  Mahomedan  invasion  took  place  in  13 n,  and  we 
must  throw  aside  the  traditions  and  the  lists  altogether  if  we  suppose 
that  the  Sundara  Pandi  of  1292  was  the  last  prince  of  the  Old  Line. 
Indeed,  though  the  indication  is  faint,  the  manner  in  which  Wassaf 
speaks  of  Polo’s  Sundara  and  his  brothers  as  having  established  them¬ 
selves  in  different  territories,  and  as  in  constant  war  with  each  other,  is 
suggestive  of  the  state  of  unsettlement  which  the  Sri  Tala  and  the  tradi¬ 
tions  describe. 

There  is  a  difficulty  in  co-ordinating  these  four  or  five  brothers  at 
constant  war,  whom  Polo  found  in  possession  of  different  provinces 
of  Ma’bar  about  1290,  with  the  Devar  Kalesa,  of  whom  Wassaf  speaks  as 
slain  in  1310  after  a  prosperous  reign  of  40  years.  Possibly  the  brothers 
were  adventurers  who  had  divided  the  coast  districts,  whilst  Kalesa  still 
reigned  with  a  more  legitimate  claim  at  Shahr-Mandi  or  Madura.  And 
it  is  worthy  of  notice  that  the  Ceylon  Annals  call  the  Pandi  king  whose 
army  carried  off  the  sacred  tooth  in  1303  Kulasaikera ,  a  name  which  we 
may  easily  believe  to  represent  Wassdf’s  Kalesa.  (Nelson’s  Madura ,  55, 
67,  7 1-75  ;  Tumour’s  Epitome ,  p.  47.) 

As  regards  the  position  of  the  port  of  Ma’bar  visited,  but  not  named, 
by  Marco  Polo,  and  at  or  near  which  his  Sundara  Pandi  seems  to  have 
resided,  I  am  inclined  to  look  for  it  rather  in  Tanjore  than  on  the  Gulf 
of  Manar  south  of  the  Rameshwaram  shallows.  The  difficulties  in  this 
view  are  the  indication  of  its  being  “  60  miles  west  of  Ceylon,”  and  the 
special  mention  of  the  Pearl  Fishery  in  connexion  with  it.  We  cannot 



Book  III. 

however  lay  much  stress  upon  Polo’s  orientation.  When  his  general 
direction  is  from  east  to  west,  every  new  place  reached  is  for  him  west  of 
that  last  visited ;  whilst  the  Kaveri  Delta  is  as  near  the  north  point  of 
Ceylon  as  Ramnad  is  to  Aripo.  The  pearl  difficulty  may  be  solved  by 
the  probability  that  the  dominion  of  Sonder  Bandi  extended  to  the  coast 
of  the  Gulf  of  Manar. 

On  the  other  hand  Polo,  below  (chap,  xx.),  calls  the  province  of 
Sundara  Pandi  Soli ,  which  we  can  scarcely  doubt  to  be  Chola  or  Sola- 
desam ,  i.e.,  Tanjore.  He  calls  it  also  “the best  and  noblest  Province  of 
India,”  a  description  which  even  with  his  limited  knowledge  of  India  he 
would  scarcely  apply  to  the  coast  of  Ramnad,  but  which  might  be  justifi¬ 
ably  applied  to  the  well-watered  plains  of  Tanjore,  even  when  as  yet 
Arthur  Cotton  was  not.  Let  it  be  noticed  too  that  Polo  in  speaking 
(chapter  xix.)  of  Mutfili  (or  Telingana)  specifies  its  distance  from 
Ma’bar  as  if  he  had  made  the  run  by  sea  from  one  to  the  other ;  but 
afterwards  when  he  proceeds  to  speak  of  Cail ,  which  stands  on  the  Gulf 
of  Manar,  he  does  not  specify  its  position  or  distance  in  regard  to 
Sundara  Pandi’s  territory ;  an  omission  which  he  would  not  have  been 
likely  to  make  had  both  lain  on  the  Gulf  of  Manar. 

Abulfeda  tells  us  that  the  capital  of  the  Prince  of  Ma’bar,  who  was 
the  great  horse-importer,  was  called  Biyyardawal *  The  name  is  per¬ 
plexing,  but  it  now  appears  in  the  extracts  from  Amir  Khusru  (. Elliot ,  III. 
90-91),  as  Birdhul  the  capital  of  Bir  Pandi  mentioned  above,  whilst 
Madura  was  the  residence  of  his  brother,  the  later  Sundara  Pandi. 
And  from  the  indications  in  those  extracts  it  can  be  gathered,  I  think, 
that  Birdhul  was  not  far  from  the  Kaveri  (called  Kanobari),  not  far  from 
the  sea,  and  5  or  6  days’  march  from  Madura.  These  indications  point 
to  Tanjore  or  some  other  city  in  the  Kaveri  Delta.  I  should  suppose 
that  this  Birdhul  was  the  capital  of  Polo’s  Sundara  Pandi,  and  that  the 
port  visited  was  either  Negapatam  or  Kaveripatam.  The  latter  was 
a  great  sea-port  at  one  of  the  mouths  of  the  Kaveri,  which  is  said  to  have 
been  destroyed  by  an  inundation  about  the  year  1300. 

Some  corroboration  of  the  supposition  that  the  Tanjore  ports  were 
those  frequented  by  Chinese  trade  may  be  found  in  the  fact  that  a 
remarkable  Pagoda  of  uncemented  brickwork,  about  a  mile  to  the  N.W. 
of  Negapatam,  popularly  bears  (or  bore)  the  name  of  the  Chinese  Pa¬ 
goda.  I  do  not  mean  to  imply  that  the  building  was  Chinese,  but  that  the 
application  of  that  name  to  a  ruin  of  strange  character  pointed  to  some 
tradition  of  Chinese  visitors.  Sir  Walter  Elliott,  to  whom  I  am  indebted 
for  the  sketch  of  it  given  on  next  page,  states  that  this  building  differed 
essentially  from  any  type  of  Hindu  architecture  with  which  he  was 
acquainted,  but  being  without  inscription  or  sculpture  it  was  impossible 
to  assign  to  it  any  authentic  origin.  Negapatam  was,  however,  cele- 

Chap.  XVI. 



brated  as  a  seat  of  Buddhist  worship,  and  this  may  have  been  a  remnant 
of  their  work.  In  1 846  it  consisted  of  3  stories  divided  by  cornices  of 
stepped  brickwork.  The  interior  was  open  to  the  top,  and  showed  the 
marks  of  a  floor  about  20  feet  from  the  ground.  Its  general  appearance 
is  shown  by  the  cut.  This  interesting  building  was  reported  in  1859  to 
be  in  too  dilapidated  a  state  for  repair,  and  I  believe  it  now  exists  no 
longer.  Sir  W.  Elliott  also  tells  me  that  collectors  employed  by  him 
picked  up  in  the  sand,  at  several  stations  on  this  coast,  numerous  Byzan¬ 
tine  and  Chinese  as  well  as  Hindu  coins.  The  brickwork  of  the  pagoda, 
as  described  by  him,  very  fine  and  closely  fitted  but  without  cement,  cor¬ 
responds  to  that  of  the  Burmese  and  Ceylonese  medieval  Buddhist  build¬ 
ings.  The  architecture  has  a  slight  resemblance  to  that  of  Pollanarua  in 
Ceylon  (see  Fergusson,  II.  p.  512).  ( Abulf.  in  Gildemeister ,  p.  185  ; 
Nelson ,  part  II.  p.  27,  seqq. ;  Taylor's  Catalogue  Raisonne ,  III.  386-89.) 

Chinese  Pagoda  (so  called)  at  Negapatam.  From  a  sketch  taken  in  1846  by  Sir  Walter  Elliott. 

Ma’bar  is  mentioned  (Maparh)  in  the  Chinese  Annals  as  one  of  the 
foreign  kingdoms  which  sent  tribute  to  Kublai  in  1286  (supra,  p.  239)  ; 
and  Pauthier  has  given  some  very  curious  and  novel  extracts  from 
Chinese  sources  regarding  the  diplomatic  intercourse  with  Ma’bar  in 
1280  and  the  following  years.  Among  other  points  these  mention  the 
“  five  brothers  who  were  Sultans  ”  ( Suantan ),  an  envoy  Chamalating 
(Jumaluddm)  who  had  been  sent  from  Ma’bar  to  the  Mongol  Court,  &c. 
(see  pp.  603,  seqq). 



Book  III. 

Note  2. — Marco’s  account  of  the  pearl-fishery  is  still  substantially 
correct.  Marsden  has  identified  Bettelar  the  rendezvous  of  the  fishery 
with  Vedala  or  Vadaulay  on  the  spit  near  Rameshwaram.  But  it  seems 
to  me  highly  probable  that  the  place  intended  may  have  been  Patlam  on 
the  coast  of  Ceylon,  called  by  Ibn  Batuta  Batthala.  Though  the  centre 
of  the  pearl-fishery  is  now  at  Aripo  and  Kondachi  further  north,  its  site 
has  varied  sometimes  as  low  as  Chilaw,  the  name  of  which  is,  according 
to  Tennent,  a  corruption  of  that  given  by  the  Tamuls,  Salabham,  “  The 
Sea  of  Gain.”  ( Ceylon ,  I.  440;  Pridham ,  409;  Ibn  Bat .  IV.  166; 
Ribeyro ,  ed.  Columbo,  1847,  App.  p.  196.) 

The  shark-charmers  do  not  now  seem  to  have  any  claim  to  be  called 
Abraiaman  or  Brahmans,  but  they  may  have  been  so  in  former  days.  At 
the  diamond-mines  of  the  northern  Circars  Brahmans  are  employed 
in  the  analogous  office  of  propitiating  the  tutelary  genii.  The  shark- 
charmers  are  called  in  Tamul  Kadal-Katti ,  and  in  Hindustani  Hai-banda 
or  “  Shark-binders.”  At  Aripo  they  belong  to  one  family,  supposed  to 
have  the  monopoly  of  the  charm.  The  chief  operator  is  (or  was,  not 
many  years  ago)  paid  by  Government,  and  he  also  received  ten  oysters 
from  each  boat  daily  during  the  fishery.  Tennent,  on  his  visit,  found 
the  incumbent  of  the  office  to  be  a  Roman  Catholic  Christian,  but  that 
did  not  seem  to  affect  the  exercise  or  the  validity  of  his  functions.  It  is 
remarkable  that,  when  Tennent  wrote,  not  more  than  one  authenticated 
accident  from  sharks  had  taken  place,  during  the  whole  period  of  the 
British  occupation. 

The  time  of  the  fishery  is  a  little  earlier  than  Marco  mentions,  viz., 
in  March  and  April,  just  between  the  cessation  of  the  N.E.  and  com¬ 
mencement  of  the  S.W.  monsoon.  His  statement  of  the  depth  is  quite 
correct ;  the  diving  is  carried  on  in  water  of  4  to  10  fathoms  deep,  and 
never  in  a  greater  depth  than  thirteen. 

I  do  not  know  what  is  the  site  of  the  other  fishery  to  which  he 
alludes  as  practised  in  September  and  October,  but  it  may  have  been  on 
the  east  side  of  the  island,  for  I  see  that  in  1750  there  was  a  fishery  at 
Trincomalee.  ( Stewart  in  Traits.  R.  A.  S.,  III.  456,  seqq. ;  Pridham , 
u.  s.  ;  Tennent ,  II.  564-5  ;  Ribeyro,  as  above,  Ap.  p.  196.) 


Continues  to  steak  of  the  Province  of  Maabar. 

You  must  know  that  in  ail  this  Province  of  Maabar  there 
is  never  a  Tailor  to  cut  a  coat  or  stitch  it,  seeing  that 
everybody  goes  naked!  For  decency  only  they  do  wear  a 

Chap.  XVII. 



scrap  of  cloth  ;  and  so  ’tis  with  men  and  women,  with  rich 
and  poor,  aye,  and  with  the  King  himself,  except  what 
I  am  going  to  mention.1 

It  is  a  fact  that  the  King  goes  as  bare  as  the  rest,  only 
round  his  loins  he  has  a  piece  of  fine  cloth,  and  round  his 
neck  he  has  a  necklace  entirely  of  precious  stones, — rubies, 
sapphires,  emeralds  and  the  like,  insomuch  that  this  collar 
is  of  great  value.2  He  wears  also  hanging  in  front  of  his 
chest  from  the  neck  downwards,  a  fine  silk  thread  strung 
with  104  large  pearls  and  rubies  of  great  price.  The  reason 
why  he  wears  this  cord  with  the  104  great  pearls  and  rubies, 
is  (according  to  what  they  tell)  that  every  day,  morning 
and  evening,  he  has  to  say  104  prayers  to  his  idols.  Such 
is  their  religion,  and  their  custom.  And  thus  did  all  the 
Kings  his  ancestors  before  him,  and  they  bequeathed  the 
string  of  pearls  to  him  that  he  should  do  the  like.  [The 
prayer  that  they  say  daily  consists  of  these  words,  Pacauta  ! 
Pacauta  !  Pacauta  !  And  this  they  repeat  104  times.3] 

The  King  aforesaid  also  wears  on  his  arms  three  golden 
bracelets  thickly  set  with  pearls  of  great  value,  and  anklets 
also  of  like  kind  he  wears  on  his  legs,  and  rings  on  his  toes 
likewise.  So  let  me  tell  you,  what  this  King  wears,  between 
gold  and  gems  and  pearls,  is  worth  more  than  a  city’s 
ransom.  And  ’tis  no  wonder;  for  he  hath  great  store  of 
such  gear ;  and  besides  they  are  found  in  his  kingdom. 
Moreover  nobody  is  permitted  to  take  out  of  the  kingdom 
a  pearl  weighing  more  than  half  a  saggio ,  unless  he  manages 
to  do  it  secretly.4  This  order  has  been  given  because  the 
King  desires  to  reserve  all  such  to  himself ;  and  so  in  fact 
the  quantity  he  has  is  something  almost  incredible.  More¬ 
over  several  times  every  year  he  sends  his  proclamation 
through  the  realm  that  if  any  one  who  possesses  a  pearl  or 
stone  of  great  value  will  bring  it  to  him,  he  will  pay  for  it 
twice  as  much  as  it  cost.  Everybody  is  glad  to  do  this, 
and  thus  the  King  gets  all  into  his  own  hands,  giving  every 
man  his  price. 

2  y6 


Book  III. 

Furthermore,  this  King  hath  some  five  hundred  wives, 
for  whenever  he  hears  of  a  beautiful  damsel  he  takes  her  to 
wife.  Indeed  he  did  a  very  sorry  deed  as  I  shall  tell  you. 
For  seeing  that  his  brother  had  a  handsome  wife,  he  took 
her  by  force  and  kept  her  for  himself.  His' brother,  being  a 
discreet  man,  took  the  thing  quietly  and  made  no  noise 
about  it.  The  King  hath  many  children. 

And  there  are  about  the  King  a  number  of  Barons  in 
attendance  upon  him.  These  ride  with  him,  and  keep 
always  near  him,  and  have  great  authority  in  the  kingdom ; 
they  are  called  the  King’s  Trusty  Lieges.  And  you  must 
know  that  when  the  King  dies,  and  they  put  him  on  the 
fire  to  burn  him,  these  Lieges  cast  themselves  into  the  fire 
round  about  his  body,  and  suffer  themselves  to  be  burnt 
along  with  him.  For  they  say  they  have  been  his  comrades 
in  this  world,  and  that  they  ought  also  to  keep  him  com¬ 
pany  in  the  other  world.5 

When  the  King  dies  none  of  his  children  dares  to 
touch  his  treasure.  For  they  say,  “as  our  father  did  gather 
together  all  this  treasure,  so  we  ought  to  accumulate  as 
much  in  our  turn.”  And  in  this  way  it  comes  to  pass  that 
there  is  an  immensity  of  treasure  accumulated  in  this 

Here  are  no  horses  bred ;  and  thus  a  great  part  of  the 
wealth  of  the  country  is  wasted  in  purchasing  horses ;  I  will 
tell  you  how.  You  must  know  that  the  merchants  of  Kis 
and  Hormes,  Dofar  and  Soer  and  Aden  collect  great 
numbers  of  destriers  and  other  horses,  and  these  they  bring 
to  the  territories  of  this  King,  and  of  his  four  brothers,  who 
are  kings  likewise  as  I  told  you.  For  a  horse  will  fetch 
among  them  500  saggi  of  gold,  worth  more  than  100 
marks  of  silver,  and  vast  numbers  are  sold  there  every  year. 
Indeed  this  King  wants  to  buy  more  than  2000  horses 
every  year,  and  so  do  his  four  brothers  who  are  kings 
likewise.  The  reason  why  they  want  so  many  horses  every 
year  is  that  by  the  end  of  the  year  there  shall  not  be  one 

Chap.  XVII. 


2  77 

hundred  of  them  remaining,  for  they  all  die  off.  And  this 
arises  from  mismanagement,  for  those  people  do  not  know 
in  the  least  how  to  treat  a  horse ;  and  besides  they  have 
no  farriers.  The  horse-merchants  not  only  never  bring 
any  farriers  with  them,  but  also  prevent  any  farrier  from 
going  thither,  lest  that  should  in  any  degree  baulk  the  sale 
of  horses,  which  brings  them  in  every  year  such  vast  gains. 
They  bring  these  horses  by  sea  aboard  ship.7 

They  have  in  this  country  the  custom  which  I  am 
going  to  relate.  When  a  man  is  doomed  to  die  for  any 
crime,  he  may  declare  that  he  will  put  himself  to  death  in 
honour  of  such  or  such  an  idol ;  and  the  government  then 
grants  him  permission  to  do  so.  His  kinsfolk  and  friends 
then  set  him  up  on  a  cart,  and  provide  him  with  twelve 
knives,  and  proceed  to  conduct  him  all  about  the  city, 
proclaiming  aloud  :  “  This  valiant  man  is  going  to  slay 
himself  for  the  love  of  (such  an  idol).”  And  when  they 
be  come  to  the  place  of  execution  he  takes  a  knife  and 
sticks  it  through  his  arm,  and  cries  :  “  I  slay  myself  for  the 
love  of  (such  a  god)!”  Then  he  takes  another  knife  and 
sticks  it  through  his  other  arm,  and  takes  a  third  knife 
and  runs  it  into  his  belly,  and  so  on  until  he  kills  himself 
outright.  And  when  he  is  dead  his  kinsfolk  take  the  body 
and  burn  it  with  a  joyful  celebration.8  Many  of  the 
women  also,  when  their  husbands  die  and  are  placed  on 
the  pile  to  be  burnt,  do  burn  themselves  along  with  the 
bodies.  And  such  women  as  do  this  have  great  praise 
from  all.9 

The  people  are  Idolaters,  and  many  of  them  worship 
the  ox,  because  (say  they),  it  is  a  creature  of  such  excel¬ 
lence.  They  would  not  eat  beef  for  anything  in  the  world, 
nor  would  they  on  any  account  kill  an  ox.  But  there  is 
another  class  of  people  who  are  called  Govy ,  and  these  are 
very  glad  to  eat  beef,  though  they  dare  not  kill  the  animal. 
Howbeit  if  an  ox  dies,  naturally  or  otherwise,  then  they 
eat  him.10 



Book  III. 

And  let  me  tell  you,  the  people  of  this  country  have 
a  custom  of  rubbing  their  houses  all  over  with  cow-dung.11 
Moreover  all  of  them,  great  and  small,  King  and  Barons 
included,  do  sit  upon  the  ground  only,  and  the  reason  they 
give  is  that  this  is  the  most  honourable  way  to  sit,  because 
we  all  spring  from  the  Earth  and  to  the  Earth  we  must 
return ;  so  no  one  can  pay  the  Earth  too  much  honour, 
and  no  one  ought  to  despise  it. 

And  about  that  race  of  Govis,  I  should  tell  you  that 
nothing  on  earth  would  induce  them  to  enter  the  place 
where  Messer  St.  Thomas  is — I  mean  where  his  body  lies, 
which  is  in  a  certain  city  of  the  province  of  Maabar. 
Indeed,  were  even  20  or  30  men  to  lay  hold  of  one  of  these 
Govis  and  to  try  to  hold  him  in  the  place  where  the  Body 
of  the  Blessed  Apostle  of  Jesus  Christ  lies  buried,  they 
could  not  do  it !  Such  is  the  influence  of  the  Saint ;  for  it 
was  by  people  of  this  generation  that  he  was  slain,  as  you 
shall  presently  hear.12 

No  wheat  grows  in  this  province,  but  rice  only. 

And  another  strange  thing  to  be  told  is  that  there  is  no 
possibility  of  breeding  horses  in  this  country,  as  hath  often 
been  proved  by  trial.  For  even  when  a  great  blood-mare 
here  has  been  covered  by  a  great  blood-horse,  the  produce 
is  nothing  but  a  wretched  wry-legged  weed,  not  fit  to 

The  people  of  the  country  go  to  battle  all  naked,  with 
only  a  lance  and  a  shield ;  and  they  are  most  wretched 
soldiers.  They  will  kill  neither  beast  nor  bird,  nor  any¬ 
thing  that  hath  life  ;  and  for  such  animal  food  as  they  eat, 
they  make  the  Saracens,  or  others  who  are  not  of  their  own 
religion,  play  the  butcher. 

It  is  their  practice  that  every  one,  male  and  female,  do 
wash  the  whole  body  twice  every  day  ;  and  those  who  do 
not  wash  are  looked  on  much  as  we  look  on  the  Patarins. 
[You  must  know  also  that  in  eating  they  use  the  right 
hand  only,  and  would  on  no  account  touch  their  food  with 

Chap.  XVII. 



the  left  hand.  All  cleanly  and  becoming  uses  are  minis¬ 
tered  to  by  the  right  hand,  whilst  the  left  is  reserved  for 
uncleanly  and  disagreeable  necessities,  such  as  cleansing  the 
secret  parts  of  the  body  and  the  like.  So  also  they  drink 
only  from  drinking  vessels,  and  every  man  hath  his  own ; 
nor  will  any  one  drink  from  another’s  vessel.  And  when 
they  drink  they  do  not  put  the  vessel  to  the  lips,  but  hold 
it  aloft  and  let  the  drink  spout  into  the  mouth.  No  one 
would  on  any  account  touch  the  vessel  with  his  mouth, 
nor  give  a  stranger  drink  with  it.  But  if  the  stranger  have 
no  vessel  of  his  own  they  will  pour  the  drink  into  his  hands 
and  he  may  thus  drink  from  his  hands  as  from  a  cup.] 

They  are  very  strict  in  executing  justice  upon  criminals, 
and  as  strict  in  abstaining  from  wine.  Indeed  they  have  made 
a  rule  that  wine-drinkers  and  seafaring  men  are  never  to  be 
accepted  as  sureties.  For  they  say  that  to  be  a  seafaring 
man  is  all  the  same  as  to  be  an  utter  desperado,  and  that 
his  testimony  is  good  for  nothing.  Howbeit  they  look  on 
lechery  as  no  sin. 

[They  have  the  following  rule  about  debts.  If  a  debtor 
shall  have  been  several  times  asked  by  his  creditor  for  pay¬ 
ment,  and  shall  have  put  him  off  from  day  to  day  with 
promises,  then  if  the  creditor  can  once  meet  the  debtor 
and  succeed  in  drawing  a  circle  round  him,  the  latter  must 
not  pass  out  of  this  circle  until  he  shall  have  satisfied  the 
claim,  or  given  security  for  its  discharge.  If  he  in  any 
other  case  presume  to  pass  the  circle  he  is  punished  with 
death  as  a  transgressor  against  right  and  justice.  And  the 
said  Messer  Marco,  when  in  this  kingdom  on  his  return 
home,  did  himself  witness  a  case  of  this.  It  was  the  King, 
who  owed  a  foreign  merchant  a  certain  sum  of  money,  and 
though  the  claim  had  often  been  presented,  he  always  put 
it  off  with  promises.  Now,  one  day  when  the  King  was 
riding  through  the  city,  the  merchant  found  his  oppor¬ 
tunity  and  drew  a  circle  round  both  King  and  horse.  The 
King,  on  seeing  this,  halted,  and  would  ride  no  further ; 



Book  III. 

nor  did  he  stir  from  the  spot  until  the  merchant  was 
satisfied.  And  when  the  bystanders  saw  this  they  marvelled 
greatly,  saying  that  the  King  was  a  most  just  King  indeed, 
having  thus  submitted  to  justice.14] 

You  must  know  that  the  heat  here  is  sometimes  so 
great  that  ’tis  something  wonderful.  And  rain  falls  only 
for  three  months  in  the  year,  viz.,  in  June,  July,  and 
August.  Indeed  but  for  the  rain  that  falls  in  these  three 
months,  refreshing  the  earth  and  cooling  the  air,  the  drought 
would  be  so  great  that  no  one  could  exist.15 

They  have  many  experts  in  an  art  which  they  call  Phy¬ 
siognomy,  by  which  they  discern  a  man’s  character  and 
qualities  at  once.  They  also  know  the  import  of  meeting 
with  any  particular  bird  or  beast;  for  such  omens  are 
regarded  by  them  more  than  by  any  people  in  the  world. 
Thus  if  a  man  is  going  along  the  road  and  hears  some  one 
sneeze,  if  he  deems  it  (say)  a  good  token  for  himself  he 
goes  on,  but  if  otherwise  he  stops  a  bit,  or  peradventure 
turns  back  altogether  from  his  journey.16 

As  soon  as  a  child  is  born  they  write  down  his  nativity, 
that  is  to  say  the  day  and  hour,  the  month,  and  the  moon’s 
age.  This  custom  they  observe  because  every  single  thing 
they  do  is  done  with  reference  to  astrology,  and  by  advice 
of  diviners  skilled  in  Sorcery  and  Magic  and  Geomancy,  and 
such  like  diabolical  arts ;  and  some  of  them  are  also 
acquainted  with  Astrology. 

[All  parents  who  have  male  children,  as  soon  as  these 
have  attained  the  age  of  13,  dismiss  them  from  their  home, 
and  do  not  allow  them  further  maintenance  in  the  family. 
For  they  say  that  the  boys  are  then  of  an  age  to  get  their 
living  by  trade ;  so  off  they  pack  them  with  some  20  or 
four  and  twenty  groats,  or  at  least  with  money  equivalent 
to  that.  And  these  urchins  are  running  about  all  day  from 
pillar  to  post,  buying  and  selling.  At  the  time  of  the 
pearl-fishery  they  run  to  the  beach  and  purchase,  from 
the  fishers  or  others,  five  or  six  pearls,  according  to  their 

Chap.  XVII. 



ability,  and  take  these  to  the  merchants,  who  are  keeping 
indoors  for  fear  of  the  sun,  and  say  to  them :  “  These  cost 
me  such  a  price ;  now  give  me  what  profit  you  please 
on  them.”  So  the  merchant  gives  something  over  the  cost 
price  for  their  profit.  They  do  in  the  same  way  with  many 
other  articles,  so  that  they  become  trained  to  be  very  dex¬ 
terous  and  keen  traders.  And  every  day  they  take  their 
food  to  their  mothers  to  be  cooked  and  served,  but  do  not 
eat  a  scrap  at  the  expense  of  their  fathers.] 

In  this  kingdom  and  all  over  India  the  birds  and  beasts 
are  entirely  different  from  ours,  all  but  one  bird  which 
is  exactly  like  ours,  and  that  is  the  Quail.  But  everything 
else  is  totally  different.  For  example  they  have  bats, — 
I  mean  those  birds  that  fly  by  night  and  have  no  feathers 
of  any  kind ;  —well  their  birds  of  this  kind  are  as  big  as  a 
goshawk !  Their  goshawks  again  are  as  black  as  crows, 
a  good  deal  bigger  than  ours,  and  very  swift  and  sure. 

Another  strange  thing  is  that  they  feed  their  horses  with 
boiled  rice  and  boiled  meat,  and  various  other  kinds  of 
cooked  food.  That  is  the  reason  why  all  the  horses  die  off.17 

They  have  certain  abbeys  in  which  are  gods  and  god¬ 
desses  to  whom  many  young  girls  are  consecrated  ;  their 
fathers  and  mothers  presenting  them  to  that  idol  for  which 
they  entertain  the  greatest  devotion.  And  when  the  [monks] 
of  a  convent*  desire  to  make  a  feast  to  their  god,  they 
send  for  all  those  consecrated  damsels  and  make  them  sing 
and  dance  before  the  idol  with  great  festivity.  They  also 
bring  meats  to  feed  their  idol  withal,  that  is  to  say  the 
damsels  prepare  dishes  of  meat  and  other  good  things  and 
put  the  food  before  the  idol,  and  leave  it  there  a  good 
while,  and  then  the  damsels  all  go  to  their  dancing  and 
singing  and  festivity  for  about  as  long  as  a  great  Baron 
might  require  to  eat  his  dinner.  By  that  time  they  say 

*  The  (G.  T.).  has  nuns ,  11  Li  nosnain  do  mo s  tier”  But  in  Ramusio  it  is  monks , 
which  is  more  probable,  and  I  have  adopted  it. 



Book  III. 

the  spirit  of  the  idols  has  consumed  the  substance  of  the 
food,  so  they  remove  the  viands  to  be  eaten  by  them¬ 
selves  with  great  jollity.  This  is  performed  by  these 
damsels  several  times  every  year  until  they  are  married.18 

[The  reason  assigned  for  summoning  the  damsels  to 
these  feasts  is,  as  the  monks  say,  that  the  god  is  vexed  and 
angry  with  the  goddess,  and  will  hold  no  communication  with 
her ;  and  they  say  that  if  peace  be  not  established  between 
them  things  will  go  from  bad  to  worse,  and  they  never  will 
bestow  their  grace  and  benediction.  So  they  make  those 
girls  come  in  the  way  described,  to  dance  and  sing,  all  but 
naked,  before  the  god  and  the  goddess.  And  those  people 
believe  that  the  god  often  solaces  himself  with  the  society 
of  the  goddess. 

The  men  of  this  country  have  their  beds  made  of  very 
light  canework,  so  arranged  that,  when  they  have  got  in 
and  are  going  to  sleep,  they  are  drawn  up  by  cords  nearly 
to  the  ceiling  and  fixed  there  for  the  night.  This  is  done 
to  get  out  of  the  way  of  tarantulas  which  give  terrible 
bites,  as  well  as  of  fleas  and  such  vermin,  and  at  the  same 
time  to  get  as  much  air  as  possible  in  the  great  heat  which 
prevails  in  that  region.  Not  that  everybody  does  this, 
but  only  the  nobles  and  great  folks,  for  the  others  sleep  on 
the  streets.19] 

Now  I  have  told  you  about  this  kingdom  of  the  pro¬ 
vince  of  Maabar,  and  I  must  pass  on  to  the  other  kingdoms 
of  the  same  province,  for  I  have  much  to  tell  of  their  pecu¬ 

Note  1. — Ibn  Batuta  describes  the  King  of  Calicut,  the  great  “  Za- 
morin,”  coming  down  to  the  beach  to  see  the  wreck  of  certain  Junks; — 
“  his  clothing  consisted  of  a  great  piece  of  white  stuff  rolled  about  him 
from  the  navel  to  the  knees,  and  a  little  bit  of  a  turban  on  his  head ; 
his  feet  were  bare,  and  a  young  slave  carried  an  umbrella  over  him.” 
(IV.  97-) 

Note  2. — The  necklace  taken  from  the  neck  of  the  Hindu  King 
Jaipal,  captured  by  Mahmud  in  a.d.  iooi,  was  composed  of  large  pearls, 

Chap.  XVII. 



rubies,  &c.,  and  was  valued  at  200,000  dinars ,  or  a  good  deal  more  than 
100,000/.  (Elliott,  II.  26.)  Compare  Correa’s  account  of  the  King  of 
Calicut,  in  Stanley’s  V  da  Gama ,  194. 

Note  3. — The  word  is  printed  in  Ramusio  Pacauca ,  but  no  doubt 
Pacauta  is  the  true  reading.  Dr.  Caldwell  has  favoured  me  with  a  note 
on  this  :  “  The  word  ....  was  probably  Bagava  or  Pagavd ,  the  Tamil 
form  of  the  vocative  of  Bhagavata ,  “  Lord,”  pronounced  in  the  Tamil 
manner.  This  word  is  frequently  repeated  by  Hindus  of  all  sects  in 
the  utterance  of  their  sacred  formulae,  especially  by  Vaishnava  devotees, 
some  of  whom  go  about  repeating  this  one  word  alone.  When  I  men¬ 
tioned  Marco  Polo’s  word  to  two  learned  Hindus  at  different  times,  they 
said,  ‘No  doubt  he  meant  Bagava The  Saiva  Rosary  contains  32 
beads  ;  the  doubled  form  of  the  same,  sometimes  used,  contains  64 ;  the 
Vaishnava  Rosary  contains  108.  Possibly  the  latter  may  have  been 
meant  by  Marco.” 

Ward  says  :  “The  Hindus  believe  the  repetition  of  the  name  of  God 
is  an  act  of  adoration  ....  Japa  (as  this  act  is  called)  makes  an  essen¬ 
tial  part  of  the  daily  worship.  .  .  .  The  worshipper,  taking  a  string  of 
beads,  repeats  the  name  of  his  guardian  deity,  or  that  of  any  other  god, 
counting  by  his  beads  10,  28,  108,  208,  adding  to  every  108  not  less 
than  100  more.  (Madras  ed.  1863,  p.  217-18.) 

No  doubt  the  number  in  the  text  should  have  been  108,  which  is  ap¬ 
parently  a  mystic  number  among  both  Brahmans  and  Buddhists.  Thus  at 
Gautama’s  birth  108  Brahmans  were  summoned  to  foretell  his  destiny; 
round  the  great  White  Pagoda  at  Peking  are  108  pillars  for  illumination ; 
108  is  the  number  of  volumes  constituting  the  Tibetan  scripture  called 
Kahgyur;  the  merit  of  copying  this  work  is  enhanced  by  the  quality  of 
the  ink  used,  thus  a  copy  in  red  is  108  times  more  meritorious  than  one 
in  black,  one  in  silver  108 2  times,  one  in  gold  108 3  times;  according 
to  the  Malabar  Chronicle  Parasurama  established  in  that  country  108 
Iswars,  108  places  of  worship,  and  108  Durga  images;  108  rupees  is 
frequently  a  sum  devoted  to  alms  ;  the  rules  of  the  Chinese  Triad  Society 
assign  108  blows  as  the  punishment  for  certain  offences,  &c.,  &c.  I  find 
a  Tibetan  Tract  quoted  (by  Koeppen ,  II.  284)  as  entitled  “  The  Entire 
Victor  over  all  the  104  Devils,”  and  this  is  the  only  example  I  have  met 
with  of  104  as  a  mystic  number. 

Note  4. — The  Saggio ,  here  as  elsewhere,  probably  stands  for  the 

Note  5. — This  is  stated  also  by  Abu  Zaid  in  the  beginning  of  the 
10th  century.  And  Reinaud  in  his  note  refers  to  Mas’udi,  who  has  a 
like  passage  in  which  he  gives  a  name  to  these  companions  exactly  corre¬ 
sponding  to  Polo’s  Feoilz  or  Trusty  Lieges  :  “  When  a  King  in  India 
dies,  many  persons  voluntarily  burn  themselves  with  him.  These  are 
called  Baldnjariyah  (sing.  Balanjar ),  as  if  you  should  say  ‘  Faithful 

*  M.  Pauthier  has  suggested  the  same  explanation  in  his  notes. 

VOL.  II.  U 



Book  III. 

Friends  ’  of  the  deceased,  whose  life  was  life  to  them,  and  whose  death 
was  death  to  them.”  (Anc.  Rel.  I.  121  and  note;  Mas.  II.  85.) 

Barbosa  briefly  notices  a  like  institution  in  reference  to  the  King  of 
Narsinga,  i.e .,  Vijayanagar  {Ram.  I.  f.  302).  Another  form  of  the  same 
bond  seems  to  be  that  mentioned  by  other  travellers  as  prevalent  in 
Malabar,  where  certain  of  the  Nairs  bore  the  name  of  Amuki ,  and  were 
bound  not  only  to  defend  the  King’s  life  with  their  own,  but,  if  he  fell, 
to  sacrifice  themselves  by  dashing  among  the  enemy  and  slaying  until 
slain.  Even  Christian  churches  in  Malabar  had  such  hereditary  Amuki. 
(See  P.  Vine.  Maria ,  Bk.  IV.  ch.  vii.  and  Cesar e  Federici  in  Ram.  III. 
390.)  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  this  is  the  Malay  Amuk ,  which 
would  therefore  appear  to  be  of  Indian  origin,  both  in  name  and  prac¬ 
tice.  I  see  that  De  Gubernatis,  without  noticing  the  Malay  phrase, 
traces  the  term  applied  to  the  Malabar  champions  to  the  Sanskrit 
Amokhya ,  “indissoluble,”  and  Amukta,  “not  free,  bound”  (Picc.  Encic. 
Ind.  I.  88).  The  same  practice  by  which  the  followers  of  a  defeated 
prince  devote  themselves  in  amuk,  ( vulgo  running  a-muck),  is  called  in 
the  island  of  Bali  Bela ,  a  term  applied  also  to  one  kind  of  female  Suttee, 
probably  from  S.  Bal, ’  “  a  sacrifice.”  (See  Friedrich  in  Batavian  Trans. 
XXIII.)  In  the  Balanjar  of  Mas’udi  we  have  probably  the  same  word, 
compounded  perhaps  with  angdr  “fire,”  or  with  anug,  “a  follower.”  The 
King  of  the  Russians  in  the  10th  century,  according  to  Ibn  Fozlan,  had 
400  followers  bound  by  the  like  bond;  and  so,  at  an  earlier  date, 
according  to  a  quotation  in  Athenaeus,  had  the  king  of  a  Celtic  tribe 
called  Sotiani.  His  600  Feoilz  were  called  Siloduri,  or  “  Bound  under 
a  Vow,”  to  live  and  die  with  him.  ( Fraehn ,  p.  22  ;  Yonge’s  Athen.  VI. 
54.)  The  Likamankwas  of  the  Abyssinian  kings,  who  in  battle  wear 
the  same  dress  with  their  master  to  mislead  the  enemy — “  Six  Rich¬ 
monds  in  the  field  ” — form  apparently  a  kindred  institution. 

Note  6. — However  frequent  may  have  been  wars  between  adjoining 
states,  the  south  of  the  peninsula  appears  to  have  been  for  ages  free 
from  foreign  invasion  until  the  Delhi  expeditions,  which  occurred  a  few 
years  later  than  our  traveller’s  visit ;  and  there  are  many  testimonies 
to  the  enormous  accumulations  of  treasure.  Gold,  according  to  the 
Masalak-al-Absdr ,  had  been  flowing  into  India  for  3000  years,  and  had 
never  been  exported.  Firishta  speaks  of  the  enormous  spoils  carried 
off  by  Alauddin,  every  soldier’s  share  amounting  to  25  lbs.  of  gold ! 
Some  years  later  Mahomed  Tughlak  loads  200  elephants  and  several 
thousand  bullocks  with  the  precious  spoil  of  a  single  temple.  We  have 
quoted  a  like  statement  from  Wassaf  as  to  the  wealth  found  in  the 
treasury  of  this  very  Suhdara  Pandi  Dewar,  but  the  same  author  goes 
far  beyond  this  when  he  tells  that  Kales  Dewar,  Raja  of  Ma’abar  about 
1309,  had  accumulated  1200  crores  of  gold,  i.e.,  12,000  millions  of 
dinars,  enough  to  girdle  the  earth  with  a  fourfold  belt  of  bezants  ! 
{IV.  and  E.  XIII.  218,  220-1  ;  Briggs’s  Firishta ,  I.  373-4;  Hammer’s 
Ilkhans,  II.  205.) 

Chap.  XVII. 



Note  7. — Of  the  ports  mentioned  as  exporting  horses  to  India  we 
have  already  made  acquaintance  with  Kais  and  Hormuz  ;  of  Dofar 
and  Aden  we  shall  hear  further  on  ;  Soer  is  Suhar,  the  former  capital 
of  Oman,  and  still  a  place  of  some  little  trade.  Edrisi  calls  it  “  one  of 
the  oldest  cities  of  Oman,  and  of  the  richest.  Anciently  it  was  frequented 
by  merchants  from  all  parts  of  the  world  ;  and  voyages  to  China  used  to 
be  made  from  it.”  (I.  152.) 

Rashiduddin  and  Wassdf  have  identical  statements  about  the  horse- 
trade,  and  so  similar  to  Polo’s  in  this  chapter  that  one  almost  sus¬ 
pects  that  he  must  have  been  their  authority.  Wassaf  says  :  “  It  was 
a  matter  of  agreement  that  Malik-ul-Isldm  Jamdluddin  and  the  mer¬ 
chants  should  embark  every  year  from  the  island  of  Kais  and  land  at 

Ma’bar  1400  horses  of  his  own  breed . It  was  also  agreed  that 

he  should  embark  as  many  as  he  could  procure  from  all  the  isles  of 
Persia,  such  as  Katif,  Lahsd,  Bahrein,  Hurmuz,  and  Kalhatu.  The 
price  of  each  horse  was  fixed  from  of  old  at  220  dinars  of  red  gold,  on 
this  condition,  that  if  any  horses  should  happen  to  die,  the  value  of 
them  should  be  paid  from  the  royal  treasury.  It  is  related  by  authentic 
writers  that  in  the  reign  of  Atabek  Abu  Bakr  (of  Fars)  10,000  horses 
were  annually  exported  from  these  places  to  Ma’bar,  Kambayat,  and 
other  ports  in  their  neighbourhood,  and  the  sum  total  of  their  value 
amounted  to  2,200,000  dinars.  .*  .  .  .  They  bind  them  for  40  days  in  a 
stable  with  ropes  and  pegs,  in  order  that  they  may  get  fat ;  and  after¬ 
wards,  without  taking  measures  for  training,  and  without  stirrups  and 
other  appurtenances  of  riding,  the  Indian  soldiers  ride  upon  them  like 

demons . In  a  short  time  the  most  strong,  swift,  fresh,  and  active 

horses  become  weak,  slow,  useless,  and  stupid.  In  short,  they  all  be¬ 
come  wretched  and  good  for  nothing . There  is,  therefore,  a  con¬ 

stant  necessity  of  getting  new  horses  annually.”  {Elliot,  III.  34.) 

The  price  mentioned  by  Polo  appears  to  be  intended  for  500  dinars, 
which  in  the  then  existing  relations  of  the  precious  metals  in  Asia  would 
be  worth  just  about  100  marks  of  silver.  Wassaf’s  price,  220  dinars  of 
red  gold,  seems  very  inconsistent  with  this,  but  is  not  so  materially, 
for  it  would  appear  that  the  dinar  of  red  gold  (so  called)  was  worth  two 
dinars.  * 

Note  8. — I  have  not  found  other  mention  of  a  condemned  criminal 
being  allowed  thus  to  sacrifice  himself ;  but  such  suicides  in  performance 
of  religious  vows  have  occurred  in  almost  all  parts  of  India  in  all  ages. 
Friar  Jordanus,  after  giving  a  similar  account  to  that  in  the  text  of  the 
parade  of  the  victim,  represents  him  as  cutting  off  his  own  head  before 
the  idol,  with  a  peculiar  two-handled  knife  “like  those  used  in  currying 
leather.”  And  strange  as  this  sounds,  it  is  undoubtedly  true.  Ibn 
Batuta  witnessed  the  suicidal  feat  at  the  court  of  the  Pagan  King  of 
Mul-Java  (somewhere  on  the  coast  of  the  Gulf  of  Siam),  and  Mr.  Ward, 

*  See  Journ.  Asiat.  ser.  6,  tom.  xi.  pp.  505  and  512. 

U  2 



Book  III. 

without  any  knowledge  of  these  authorities,  had  heard  that  an  instru¬ 
ment  for  this  purpose  was  formerly  preserved  at  Kshfra,  a  village  of 
Bengal  near  Nadiya.  The  thing  was  called  Karavat ;  it  was  a  crescent¬ 
shaped  knife,  with  chains  attached  to  it  forming  stirrups,  so  adjusted 
that  when  the  fanatic  placed  the  edge  to  the  back  "of  his  neck  and  his 
feet  in  the  stirrups,  by  giving  the  latter  a  violent  jerk  his  head  was. cut 
off.  According  to  a  wild  legend  told  at  Ujjain,  the  great  king  Vikra- 
majit  was  in  the  habit  of  cutting  off  his  own  head  daily,  as  an  offering 
to  Devi.  On  the  last  performance  the  head  failed  to  reattach  itself  as 
usual ;  and  it  is  now  preserved,  petrified,  in  the  temple  of  Harsuddi  at 
that  place. 

I  never  heard  of  anybody  in  Europe  performing  this  extraordinary 
feat  except  Sir  Jonah  Barrington’s  Irish  mower,  who  made  a  dig  at  a 
salmon  with  the  butt  of  his  scythe-handle  and  dropt  his  own  head  in  the 
pool !  (Jord.  33  ;  I.  B.  IV.  246  ;  Ward,  Madras  ed.  249-50 ;  f.  A.  S.  B. 
XVII.  833.) 

Note  9. — On  the  former  prevalence  of  Suttee  in  certain  parts 
at  least  of  the  South  of  India,  see  a  note  in  Cathay,  p.  80.  In  1815 
there  are  said  to  have  been  one  hundred  in  Tanjore  alone.  {Ritter, 
VI.  303.) 

Note  10. — “The  people  in  this  part  of  the  country  (Southern 
Mysore)  consider  the  ox  as  a  living  god,  who  gives  them  bread ;  and  in 
every  village  there  are  one  or  two  bulls  to  whom  weekly  or  monthly 
worship  is  performed.”  {F.  Buchatian,  II.  174.) 

“  The  low-caste  Hindus,  called  Gavi  by  Marco  Polo,  were  probably 
the  caste  now  called  Paraiyar  (by  the  English,  Pariahs).  The  people  of 
this  caste  do  not  venture  to  kill  the  cow,  but  when  they  find  the  carcase 
of  a  cow  which  has  died  from  disease,  or  any  other  cause,  they  cook  and 
eat  it.  The  name  Paraiyar,  which  means  ‘  Drummers,’  does  not  appear 
to  be  ancient.  The  name  given  to  this  class  in  the  ancient  poems  is 
Kayavar ,  which  means  ‘  low  people.’  Possibly  this  was  the  name  which 
Marco  meant  to  denote  when  he  said  they  were  called  Gavi.”  {Note 
by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Caldwell.) 

Foreigners  may  have  imagined  the  name  mentioned  by  Dr.  C.  to 
be  connected  with  the  beef-eating  which  distinguished  the  caste,  and  so 
corrupted  it  into  Gaui  or  Gavi  (Pers.  Gao,  “  an  ox  ”).  The  low  castes 
are  often  styled  from  their  unrestricted  diet,  e.g.  Halal-Khor  (Pers.  “  to 
whom  all  food  is  lawful  ”),  Sab-khawa  (Hind.  “  omnivorous  ”). 

Note  11. — The  word  in  the  G.  T.  is  losci  de  buef,  which  Pauthier’s 
text  has  converted  into  suif  de  buef- — in  reference  to  Hindus  a  prepos¬ 
terous  statement.  Yet  the  very  old  Latin  of  the  Soc.  Geog.  also  has 
pinguedinem,  and  in  a  parallel  passage  about  the  Jogis  {infra,  chap,  xx.), 
Ramusio’s  text  describes  them  as  daubing  themselves  with  powder  of 
ox-bones  {fossa).  Apparently  Vosci  was  not  understood  (It.  uscito). 

Chap.  XVII. 



Note  12. — Later  travellers  describe  the  descendants  of  St.  Thomas’s 
murderers  as  marked  by  having  one  leg  of  immense  size,  i.e.,  by  elephan¬ 
tiasis.  The  disease  was  therefore  called  by  the  Portuguese  Pejo  de 
Santo  Toma. 

Note  13. — Mr.  Nelson  says  of  the  Madura  country  :  “  The  horse  is 
a  miserable,  weedy,  and  vicious  pony;  having  but  one  good  quality, 
endurance.  The  breed  is  not  indigenous,  but  the  result  of  constant 
importations  and  a  very  limited  amount  of  breeding.”  ( The  Madura 
Country,  pt.  ii.  p.  94.)  The  ill  success  in  breeding  horses  was  exag¬ 
gerated  to  impossibility,  and  made  to  extend  to  all  India.  Thus  a 
Persian  historian,  speaking  of  an  elephant  that  was  born  in  the  stables 
of  Khosru  Parviz,  observes  that  “  never  till  then  had  a  she-elephant 
borne  young  in  Iran,  any  more  than  a  lioness  in  Rum,  a  tabby-cat  in 
China  (!),  or  a  mare  in  India?  (J.  A.  S.  ser.  3,  tom.  iii.  p.  127.) 

Note  14. — This  custom  is  described  in  much  the  same  way  by  the 
Arabo-Persian  Zakariah  Kazwini,  by  Ludovico  Varthema,  and  by  Alex¬ 
ander  Hamilton.  Kazwini  ascribes  it  to  Ceylon.  “  If  a  debtor  does 
not  pay,  the  King  sends  to  him  a  person  who  draws  a  line  round  him, 
wheresoever  he  chance  to  be ;  and  beyond  that  circle  he  dares  not  to 
move  until  he  shall  have  paid  what  he  owes,  or  come  to  an  agreement 
with  his  creditor.  For  if  he  should  pass  the  circle  the  King  fines  him 
three  times  the  amount  of  his  debt ;  one-third  of  this  fine  goes  to  the 
creditor  and  two-thirds  to  the  King.”  Pere  Bouchet  describes  the  strict 
regard  paid  to  the  arrest,  but  does  not  notice  the  symbolic  circle. 
( Gildem .  197  ;  Varthema ,  147;  Ham.  I.  318;  Lett.  Edif.  XIV.  370.) 

“  The  custom  undoubtedly  prevailed  in  this  part  of  India  at  a  former 
time.  It  is  said  that  it  still  survives  amongst  the  poorer  classes  in  out- 
of-the-way  parts  of  the  country,  but  it  is  kept  up  by  schoolboys  in  a 
serio-comic  spirit  as  vigorously  as  ever.  Marco  does  not  mention  a  very 
essential  part  of  the  ceremony.  The  person  who  draws  a  circle  round 
another  imprecates  upon  him  the  name  of  a  particular  divinity,  whose 
curse  is  to  fall  upon  him  if  he  breaks  through  the  circle  without  satisfying 
the  claim.”  {MS.  Note  by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Caldwell.) 

Note  15. — The  statement  about  the  only  rains  falling  in  June,  July, 
and  August,  is  perplexing.  “  It  is  entirely  inapplicable  to  every  part  of  the 
Coromandel  coast,  to  which  alone  the  name  Ma’bar  seems  to  have  been 
given,  but  it  is  quite  true  of  the  western  coast  generally.”  (Rev.  Dr.  C.) 
One  can  only  suppose  that  Polo  inadvertently  applied  to  Maabar  that 
which  he  knew  to  be  true  of  the  regions  both  west  of  it  and  east  of  it. 
The  Coromandel  coast  derives  its  chief  supply  of  rain  from  the  N.E. 
monsoon  beginning  in  October,  whereas  both  eastern  and  western  India 
have  theirs  from  the  S.W.  monsoon  between  June  and  September. 

Note  16. — Abraham  Roger  says  of  the  Hindus  of  the  Coromandel 
coast :  “  They  judge  of  lucky  hours  and  moments  also  by  trivial  acci¬ 
dents,  to  which  they  pay  great  heed.  Thus  ’tis  held  to  be  a  good  omen 



Book  III. 

to  everybody  when  the  bird  Garuda  (which  is  a  red  hawk  with  a  white 
ring  round  its  neck)  or  the  bird  Pala  flies  across  the  road  in  front  of  the 
person  from  right  to  left;  but  as  regards  other  birds  they  have  just 

the  opposite  notion . If  they  are  in  a  house  anywhere,  and  have 

moved  to  go,  and  then  any  one  should  sneeze,  they  will  go  in  again, 
regarding  it  as  an  ill  omen,”  &c.  (Abr.  Roger ,  p.  75-6.) 

Note  17. — Quoth  Wassaf :  “  It  is  a  strange  thing  that  when  these 
horses  arrive  there,  instead  of  giving  them  raw  barley,  they  give  them 
roasted  barley  and  grain  dressed  with  butter,  and  boiled  cow’s  milk  to 
drink  : — 

‘  ‘  Who  gives  sugar  to  an  owl  or  a  crow  ? 

Or  who  feeds  a  parrot  with  a  carcase  ? 

A  crow  should  be  fed  with  carrion, 

And  a  parrot  with  candy  and  sugar. 

Who  loads  jewels  on  the  back  of  an  ass  ? 

Or  who  would  approve  of  giving  dressed  almonds  to  a  cow  ?” 

-■ Elliot,  III.  33. 

“  Horses,”  says  Athanasius  Nikitin,  “  are  fed  on  peas ;  also  on 
Kicheri ,  boiled  with  sugar  and  oil ;  early  in  the  morning  they  get  shishe- 
nivo .”  This  last  word  is  a  mystery.  ( India  in  XVth  Century ,  p.  10.) 

“  Rice  is  frequently  given  by  natives  to  their  horses  to  fatten  them, 
and  a  sheep’s  head  occasionally  to  strengthen  them.”  (Note  by  Dr. 

The  sheep’s  head  is  peculiar  to  the  Deccan,  but  ghee  (boiled  butter) 
is  given  by  natives  to  their  horses,  I  believe,  all  over  India.  Even  in 
the  stables  of  Akbar  an  imperial  horse  drew  daily  2  lbs.  of  flour,  ij-  lb. 
of  sugar,  and  in  winter  \  lb.  of  ghee!  (Ain  Akb.  134.) 

It  is  told  of  Sir  J ohn  Malcolm  that  at  an  English  table  where  he  was 
present,  a  brother  officer  from  India  had  ventured  to  speak  of  the  sheep’s- 
head  custom  to  an  unbelieving  audience.  He  appealed  to  Sir  John, 
who  only  shook  his  head  deprecatingly.  After  dinner  the  unfortunate 
story-teller  remonstrated,  but  Sir  John’s  answer  was  only,  “  My  dear 
fellow,  they  took  you  for  one  Munchausen ;  they  would  only  have  taken 
me  for  another !” 

Note  18. — The  nature  of  the  institution  of  the  Temple  dancing-girls 
seems  to  have  been  scarcely  understood  by  the  Traveller.  The  like 
existed  at  ancient  Corinth  under  the  name  of  UpoSovXoi,  which  is  nearly 
a  translation  of  the  Hindi  name  of  the  girls,  Deva-dasi  (Strabo,  VIII.  6, 
§20).  “  Each  (Dasi)  is  married  to  an  idol  when  quite  young.  The 

female  children  are  generally  brought  up  to  the  trade  of  the  mothers. 
It  is  customary  with  a  few  castes  to  present  their  superfluous  daughters 
to  the  Pagodas.”  (Nelson's  Madura  Country ,  pt.  ii.  79.)  A  full  account 
of  this  matter  appears  to  have  been  recently  read  by  Dr.  Shortt  of 
Madras  before  the  Anthropological  Society.  But  I  have  only  seen  a 
newspaper  notice  of  it. 



«  Note  19-— The  first  part  of  this  paragraph  is  rendered  by  Marsden  : 

le  natives  make  use  of  a  kind  of  bedstead  or  cot  of  very  light  cane 
work,  so  ingeniously  contrived  that  when  they  repose  on  them  and  are 
inclined  fa}  sleep,  they  can  draw  close  the  curtains  about  them  by  pulling 
1S  1S  not  translation.  An  approximate  illustration  of  the 

Isknders)me“  Th  71  “  ^  VaI>  Wh°  says  (of  the  Maldive 

Islanders  Their  beds  are  hung  up  by  four  cords  to  a  bar  supported 

L7e  m°adPe  tb"  '  A  V  ^  ^  °f **  ^  the  ^odees,  and  **  folk 
(Charwn,  IVU17jT  th6y  ^  SWUng  and  r0cked  facility.” 

Pagoda  at  Tanjore. 



Book  III. 


Discoursing  of  the  Place  where  lieth  the  Body  of  St.  Thomas 
the  Apostle  ;  and  of  the  Miracles  thereof. 

The  Body  of  Messer  St.  Thomas  the  Apostle  lies  in  this 
province  of  Maabar  at  a  certain  little  town  having  no  great 
population  ;  ’tis  a  place  whither  few  traders  go,  because  there 
is  very  little  merchandize  to  be  got  there,  and  it  is  a  place 
not  very  accessible.1  Both  Christians  and  Saracens,  how¬ 
ever,  greatly  frequent  it  in  pilgrimage.  For  the  Saracens 
also  do  hold  the  Saint  in  great  reverence,  and  say  that  he 
was  one  of  their  own  Saracens  and  a  great  prophet,  giving 
him  the  title  of  Avarian ,  which  is  as  much  as  to  say 
“  Holy  Man.” 2  The  Christians  who  go  thither  in  pil¬ 
grimage  take  of  the  earth  from  the  place  where  the  Saint 
was  killed,  and  give  a  potion  thereof  to  any  one  who  is 
sick  of  a  quartan  or  a  tertian  fever  ;  and  by  the  power  of 
God  and  of  St.  Thomas  the  sick  man  is  incontinently 
cured.3  The  earth,  I  should  tell  you,  is  red.  A  very  fine 
miracle  occurred  there  in  the  year  of  Christ,  1288,  as  I  will 
now  relate. 

A  certain  Baron  of  that  country,  having  great  store  of 
a  certain  kind  of  corn  that  is  called  rice ,  had  filled  up  with 
it  all  the  houses  that  belonged  to  the  church,  and  stood 
round  about  it.  The  Christian  people  in  charge  of  the 
church  were  much  distressed  by  his  having  thus  stuffed 
their  houses  with  his  rice ;  the  pilgrims  too  had  nowhere 
to  lay  their  heads ;  and  they  often  begged  the  pagan  Baron 
to  remove  his  grain,  but  he  would  do  nothing  of  the  kind. 
So  one  night  the  Saint  himself  appeared  with  a  fork  in  his 
hand,  which  he  set  at  the  Baron’s  throat,  saying :  “If  thou 
void  not  my  houses,  that  my  pilgrims  may  have  room,  thou 
shalt  die  an  evil  death,”  and  therewithal  the  Saint  pressed 
him  so  hard  with  the  fork  that  he  thought  himself  a  dead 
man.  And  when  morning  came  he  caused  all  the  houses 

Chap.  XVIII. 



to  be  voided  of  his  rice,  and  told  everybody  what  had 
befallen  him  at  the  Saint’s  hands.  So  the  Christians  were 
greatly  rejoiced  at  this,  grand  miracle,  and  rendered  thanks 
to  God  and  to  the  blessed  St.  Thomas.  Other  great 
miracles  do  often  come  to  pass  there,  such  as  the  healing 
of  those  who  are  sick  or  deformed,  or  the  like,  especially 
such  as  be  Christians. 

[The  Christians  who  have  charge  of  the  church  have 
a  great  number  of  the  Indian  Nut  trees,  whereby  they  get 
their  living ;  and  they  pay  to  one  of  those  brother  Kings 
six  groats  for  each  tree  every  month.*] 

Now,  I  will  tell  you  the  manner  in  which  the  Christian 
brethren  who  keep  the  church  relate  the  story  of  the 
Saint’s  death. 

They  tell  that  the  Saint  was  in  the  wood  outside  his  her¬ 
mitage  saying  his  prayers  ;  and  round  about  him  were  many 
peacocks,  for  these  are  more  plentiful  in  that  country  than 
anywhere  else.  And  one  of  the  idolaters  of  that  country, 
being  of  the  lineage  of  those  called  Govi  that  I  told  you 
of,  having  gone  with  his  bow  and  arrows  to  shoot  peafowl, 
not  seeing  the  Saint,  let  fly  an  arrow  at  one  of  the 
peacocks ;  and  this  arrow  struck  the  holy  man  in  the  right 
side,  insomuch  that  he  died  of  the  wound,  sweetly  address¬ 
ing  himself  to  his  Creator.  Before  he  came  to  that  place 
where  he  thus  died  he  had  been  in  Nubia,  where  he  con¬ 
verted  much  people  to  the  faith  of  Jesus  Christ.4 

The  children  that  are  born  here  are  black  enough,  but 
the  blacker  they  be  the  more  they  are  thought  of;  where¬ 
fore  from  the  day  of  their  birth  their  parents  do  rub  them 
every  week  with  oil  of  sesame,  so  that  they  become  as  black 
as  devils.  Moreover,  they  make  their  gods  black  and  their 
devils  white,  and  the  images  of  their  saints  they  do  paint 
black  all  over.5 

They  have  such  faith  in  the  ox,  and  hold  it  for  a  thing 

*  Should  be  “year”  no  doubt. 



Book  III 

so  holy,  that  when  they  go  to  the  wars  they  take  of  the 
hair  of  the  wild-ox,  whereof  I  have  elsewhere  spoken,  and 
wear  it  tied  to  the  necks  of  their  horses  ;  or,  if  serving  on 
foot,  they  hang  this  hair  to  their  shields,  or  attach  it  to 
their  own  hair.  And  so  this  hair  bears  a  high  price,  since 
without  it  nobody  goes  to  the  wars  in  any  good  heart.  For 
they  believe  that  any  one  who  has  it  shall  come  scatheless 
out  of  battle.6 

Note  1. — The  little  town  where  the  body  of  St.  Thomas  lay  was 
Mailapur,  the  name  of  which  is  still  applied  to  a  suburb  of  Madras 
about  3^  miles  South  of  Fort  St.  George. 

The  Little  Mount  of  St.  Thomas,  near  Madras. 

Note  2. — The  title  of  Avarian,  given  to  St.  Thomas  by  the  Saracens, 
is  judiciously  explained  by  Joseph  Scaliger  to  be  the  Arabic  Hawdriy 
(pi.  Hawariyun ),  “An  Apostle  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ.”  Scaliger 
somewhat  hypercritically  for  the  occasion  finds  fault  with  Marco  for 
saying  the  word  means  “  a  holy  man.”  (De  Emendatione  Temp  or  um, 
Lib.  VII.,  Geneva,  1629,  p.  680.) 

Note  3. — The  use  of  the  earth  from  the  tomb  of  St.  Thomas  for 
miraculous  cures  is  mentioned  also  by  John  Marignolli  who  was  there 
about  1348-49.  Assemani  gives  a  special  formula  of  the  Nestorians  for 
use  in  the  application  of  this  dust  which  was  administered  to  the  sick  in 
place  of  the  unction  of  the  Catholics.  It  ends  with  the  words  :  “  Signatur 

Chap.  XVIII. 



et  sanctificatur  hie  Hanana  (pulvis)  cum  hac  Taibutha  (gratia)  Sancti 
Thomae  Apostoli  in  sanitatem  et  medelam  corporis  et  animae ,  in  nomen 
P.  et  F.  et  S.S (III.  Pt.  2,  278).  The  Abyssinians  make  a  similar 
use  of  the  earth  from  the  tomb  of  their  national  Saint  Tekla  Haimanot. 
(/  R.  G.  S.,  X.  483.) 

Fahian  tells  that  the  people  of  Magadha  did  the  like,  for  the  cure  of 
headache,  with  earth  from  the  place  where  lay  the  body  of  Kasyapa  a 
former  Buddha.  (Peat,  p.  133). 

Note  4. — Vague  as  is  Polo’s  indication  of  the  position  of  the  Shrine 
of  St.  Thomas,  it  is  the  first  geographical  identification  of  it  that  I  know 
of.  About  the  very  time  of  Polo’s  homeward  voyage,  John  of  Monte 
Corvino  on  his  way  to  China  spent  13  months  in  Maabar.  He  also 
speaks  of  the  church  of  St.  Thomas  there,  and  buried  in  it  the  companion 
of  his  travels,  Friar  Nicholas  of  Pistoia. 

But  the  tradition  of  Thomas’s  preaching  in  India  is  very  old,  so  old 
that  it  probably  is  in  its  simple  form  true.  St.  Jerome  accepts  it,  speaking 
of  the  Divine  Word  as  being  everywhere  present  in  His  fulness  :  u  cum 
Thoma  in  India ,  cum  Petro  Romae,  cum  Paulo  in  Illyrico,”  &c.  (Scti. 
Hieron.  Epistolae ,  LIX.,  ad  Marcellam).  I  do  not  know  if  the  date  is 
ascertained  of  the  very  remarkable  legend  of  St.  Thomas  in  the  apocryphal 
Acts  of  the  Apostles,  but  it  is  presumably  very  old,  though  subsequent 
to  the  translation  of  the  relics  (real  or  supposed)  to  Edessa,  in  the  year 
394,  which  is  alluded  to  in  the  story.  And  it  is  worthy  of  note  that  this 
legend  places  the  martyrdom  and  original  burial-place  of  the  Saint  upo?t 
a  mount.  Gregory  of  Tours  (a.d.  544-595)  relates  that  “in  that  place 
in  India  where  the  body  of  Thomas  lay  before  it  was  transported  to 
Edessa,  there  is  a  monastery  and  a  temple  of  great  size  and  excellent 
structure  and  ornament.  In  it  God  shows  a  wonderful  miracle ;  for  the 
lamp  that  stands  alight  before  the  place  of  sepulture  keeps  burning  per¬ 
petually,  night  and  day,  by  divine  influence,  for  neither  oil  nor  wick  are 
ever  renewed  by  human  hands;”  and  this  Gregory  learned  from  one 
Theodorus  who  had  visited  the  spot. 

The  Roman  Martyrology  calls  the  city  of  martyrdom  Calamina ,  but 
there  is  (I  think)  a  fair  presumption  that  the  spot  alluded  to  by  Gregory 
was  Mailapur,  and  that  the  Shrine  visited  by  King  Alfred’s  envoy, 
Sighelm,  was  the  same. 

Marco,  as  we  see,  speaks  of  certain  houses  belonging  to  the  church, 
and  of  certain  Christians  who  kept  it.  Odoric,  some  30  years  later,  found 
beside  the  church  “  some  15  houses  of  Nestorians,”  but  the  church  itself 
filled  with  idols.  Conti,  in  the  following  century,  speaks  of  the  church 
in  which  St.  Thomas  lay  buried,  as  large  and  beautiful,  and  says  there 
were  1000  Nestorians  in  the  city.  Joseph  of  Cranganore,  the  Malabar 
Christian  who  came  to  Europe  in  1501,  speaks  like  our  traveller  of  the 
worship  paid  to  the  Saint  even  by  the  heathen,  and  compares  the  church 
to  that  of  St.  John  and  St.  Paul  at  Venice.  Certain  Syrian  bishops  sent 
to  India  in  1504,  whose  report  is  given  by  Assemani,  heard  that  the 



Book  III. 

church  had  begun  to  be  occupied  by  some  Christian  people.  But  Barbosa, 
a  few  years  later  found  it  half  in  ruins,  and  in  the  charge  of  a  Mahomedan 
Fakir,  who  kept  a  lamp  burning. 

There  are  two  St.  Thomas’s  Mounts  in  the  same  vicinity,  the  Great 
and  the  Little  Mount.  A  church  was  built  upon  the  former  by  the 
Portuguese  and  some  sanctity  attributed  to  it,  but  I  believe  there  is  no 
doubt  that  the  Little  Mount  was  the  site  of  the  ancient  church. 

The  Portuguese  ignored  the  ancient  translation  of  the  Saint’s  remains 
to  Edessa,  and  in  1522,  under  the  Viceroyalty  of  Duarte  Menezes,  a  com¬ 
mission  was  sent  to  Mailapur,  or  San  Tome  as  they  called  it,  to  search 
for  the  body.  The  narrative  states  circumstantially  that  the  Apostle’s 
bones  were  found,  besides  those  of  the  king  whom  he  had  converted,  &c. 
The  supposed  relics  were  transferred  to  Goa,  where  they  are  still  pre¬ 
served  in  the  Church  of  St.  Thomas  in  that  city.  The  question  ap¬ 
pears  to  have  become  a  party  one  among  Romanists  in  India,  in  con¬ 
nexion  with  other  differences,  and  I  see  that  the  authorities  now  ruling 
the  Catholics  at  Madras  are  strong  in  disparagement  of  the  special 
sanctity  of  the  localities,  and  of  the  whole  story  connecting  St.  Thomas 
with  Mailapur.  (Greg.  Turon.  Lib.  Mirac .,  I.  p.  85  ;  Assemani ,  III. 
pt.  ii.  p.  32,  450;  Novus  Orbis  (ed.  1555),  p.  210;  Maffei,  Bk.  VIII.  ; 
Cathay ,  pp.  81,  197,  374-7,  &c.) 

The  account  of  the  Saint’s  death  was  no  doubt  that  current  among 
the  native  Christians,  for  it  is  told  in  much  the  same  way  by  Marignolli 
and  by  Barbosa,  and  was  related  also  in  the  same  manner  by  one  Diogo 
Fernandes,  who  gave  evidence  before  the  commission  of  Duarte  Menezes, 
and  who  claimed  to  have  been  the  first  Portuguese  visitor  of  the  site  (see 
extract  from  De  Couto  in  Valentyn,  V.  p.  382).  Camoens  again  sub¬ 
stitutes  the  old  legend  from  the  Martyrologia  (X.  117). 

Note  5. — Dr.  Caldwell,  speaking  of  the  devil-worship  of  the  Shanars 
of  Tinnevelly  (an  important  part  of  Ma’bar),  says  :  “  Where  they  erect 
an  image  in  imitation  of  their  Brahman  neighbours,  the  devil  is  generally 
of  Brahmanical  lineage.  Such  images  generally  accord  with  those 
monstrous  figures  with  which  all  over  India  orthodox  Hindus  depict  the 
enemies  of  their  gods,  or  the  terrific  forms  of  Siva  or  Durga.  They  are 
generally  made  of  earthenware,  and  painted  white  to  look  horrible  in  Hindu 
eyes?  (The  Tinnevelly  Shanars ,  Madras,  1849,  P-  J8). 

Note  6. — The  use  of  the  Yak’s  tail  as  a  military  ornament  had 
nothing  to  do  with  the  sanctity  of  the  Brahmani  ox,  but  is  one  of  the 
Pan-Asiatic  usages  of  which  there  are  so  many.  A  striking  account 
of  the  extravagant  profusion  with  which  swaggering  heroes  in  South 
India  used  those  ornaments  will  be  found  in  P.  della  Valle ,  II,  662, 

Chap.  XIX. 




Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Mutfili. 

When  you  leave  Maabar  and  go  about  1000  miles  in  a 
northerly  direction  you  come  to  the  kingdom  of  Mutfili. 
This  was  formerly  under  the  rule  of  a  King,  and  since  his 
death,  some  forty  years  past,  it  has  been  under  his  Queen, 
a  lady  of  much  discretion,  who  for  the  great  love  she  bore 
him  never  would  marry  another  husband.  And  I  can 
assure  you  that  during  all  that  space  of  forty  years  she  had 
administered  her  realm  as  well  as  ever  her  husband  did,  or 
better  ;  and  as  she  was  a  lover  of  justice,  of  equity,  and  of 
peace,  she  was  more  beloved  by  those  of  her  kingdom  than 
ever  was  Lady  or  Lord  of  theirs  before.  The  people  are 
idolaters,  and  are  tributary  to  nobody.  They  live  on  flesh, 
and  rice,  and  milk.1 

It  is  in  this  kingdom  that  diamonds  are  got ;  and  I  will 
tell  you  how.  There  are  certain  lofty  mountains  in  those 
parts ;  and  when  the  winter  rains  fall,  which  are  very  heavy, 
the  waters  come  roaring  down  the  mountains  in  great 
torrents.  When  the  rains  are  over,  and  the  waters  from  the 
mountains  have  ceased  to  flow,  they  search  the  beds  of  the 
torrents  and  find  plenty  of  diamonds.  In  summer  also 
there  are  plenty  to  be  found  in  the  mountains,  but  the  heat 
of  the  sun  is  so  great  that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  go 
thither,  nor  is  there  then  a  drop  of  water  to  be  found. 
Moreover  in  those  mountains  great  serpents  are  rife  to  a 
marvellous  degree,  besides  other  vermin,  and  this  owing  to 
the  great  heat.  The  serpents  are  also  the  most  venomous 
in  existence,  insomuch  that  any  one  going  to  that  region 
runs  fearful  peril ;  for  many  have  been  destroyed  by  those 
evil  reptiles. 

Now,  among  these  mountains  there  are  certain  great 
and  deep  valleys,  to  the  bottom  of  which  there  is  no  access. 



Book  III. 

Wherefore  the  men  who  go  in  search  of  the  diamonds  take 
with  them  pieces  of  flesh,  as  lean  as  they  can  get,  and  these 
they  cast  into  the  bottom  of  a  valley.  Now  there  are 
numbers  of  white  eagles  that  haunt  those  mountains  and 
feed  upon  the  serpents.  When  the  eagles  see  the  meat 
thrown  down  they  pounce  upon  it  and  carry  it  up  to  some 
rocky  hill-top  where  they  begin  to  rend  it.  But  there  are 
men  on  the  watch,  and  as  soon  as  they  see  that  the  eagles 
have  settled  they  raise  a  loud  shouting  to  drive  them  away. 
And  when  the  eagles  are  thus  frightened  away  the  men 
recover  the  pieces  of  meat,  and  find  them  full  of  diamonds 
which  have  stuck  to  the  meat  down  in  the  bottom.  For 
the  abundance  of  diamonds  down  there  in  the  depths  of 
the  valleys  is  astonishing,  but  nobody  can  get  down ;  and 
if  one  could,  it  would  be  only  to  be  incontinently  devoured 
by  the  serpents  which  are  so  rife  there. 

There  is  also  another  way  of  getting  the  diamonds. 
The  people  go  to  the  nests  of  those  white  eagles,  of  which 
there  are  many,  and  in  their  droppings  they  find  plenty  of 
diamonds  which  the  birds  have  swallowed  in  devouring  the 
meat  that  was  cast  into  the  valleys.  And,  when  the  eagles 
themselves  are  taken,  diamonds  are  found  in  their  stomachs. 

So  now  I  have  told  you  three  different  ways  in  which 
these  stones  are  found.  No  other  country  but  this  kingdom 
of  Mutfili  produces  them,  but  there  they  are  found  both 
abundantly  and  of  large  size.  Those  that  are  brought  to 
our  part  of  the  world  are  only  the  refuse,  as  it  were,  of  the 
finer  and  larger  stones.  For  the  flower  of  the  diamonds 
and  other  large  gems,  as  well  as  the  largest  pearls,  are  all 
carried  to  the  Great  Kaan  and  other  Kings  and  Princes  of 
those  regions  ;  in  truth  they  possess  all  the  great  treasures 
of  the  world.2 

In  this  kingdom  also  are  made  the  best  and  most  delicate 
buckrams,  and  those  of  highest  price  ;  in  sooth  they  look 
like  tissue  of  spider’s  web !  There  is  no  King  nor  Queen 
in  the  world  but  might  be  glad  to  wear  them.3  The  people 

Ch  ap.  XIX. 



have  also  the  largest  sheep  in  the  world,  and  great  abundance 
of  all  the  necessaries  of  life. 

There  is  now  no  more  to  say ;  so  I  will  now  tell  you 
about  a  province  called  Lar  from  which  the  Abraiaman 

Note  1. — There  is  no  doubt  that  the  kingdom  here  spoken  of  is  that 
of  Telingana  ( Tiling  of  the  Mahomedan  writers)  then  ruled  by  the 
Kakateya  or  Ganapati  dynasty  reigning  at  Warangol,  N.E.  of  Hyderabad. 
But  Marco,  according  to  a  practice  which  he  seems  to  have  followed  on 
several  occasions,  gives  the  kingdom  the  name  of  that  place  in  it  which 
was  visited '  by  himself  or  his  informants.  Mutfili  is,  with  the  usual 
Arab  modification  (e.g.,  Perlec,  Ferlec — Pattan,  Fattan)  a  port  called 
Motupalle,  in  the  Gantur  district  of  the  Madras  Presidency,  about 
170  miles  north  of  Fort  St.  George.  Though  it  has  dropt  out  of  most 
of  our  modern  Maps  it  still  exists,  and  a  notice  of  it  is  to  be  found  in 
W.  Hamilton  and  in  Milburne.  The  former  says:  u  Mutapali,  a  town 
situated  near  the  S.  extremity  of  the  northern  Circars.  A  considerable 
coasting  trade  is  carried  on  from  hence  in  the  craft  navigated  by  natives,’’ 
which  can  come  in  closer  to  shore  than  at  other  ports  on  that  coast. 
(I)  esc.  of  Hind.,  II.  94;  see  Milburne ,  II.  85  ;  Note  by  Mr.  A.  Burnell). 

The  proper  territory  of  the  kingdom  of  Warangol  lay  inland,  but  the 
last  reigning  prince  before  Polo’s  visit  to  India,  by  name  Kakateya 
Pratapa  Ganapati  Rudra  Deva,  had  made  extensive  conquests  on  the 
coast,  including  Nellore,  and  thence  northward  to  the  frontier  of  Orissa. 
This  prince  left  no  male  issue,  and  his  widow,  Rudrama  Devi,  daughter 
of  the  Raja  of  Devagiri,  assumed  the  government  and  continued  to  hold 
it  for  28,  or  as  another  record  states  for  38,  years,  till  the  son  of  her 
daughter  had  attained  majority.  This  was  in  1292,  or  by  the  other 
account  1295,  when  she  transferred  the  royal  authority  to  this  grandson 
Pratapa  Vira  Rudra  Deva,  the  “  Luddur  Deo  ”  of  Firishta,  and  the  last 
Granapati  of  any  political  moment.  He  was  taken  prisoner  by  the  Delhi 
forces  about  1323.  We  have  evidently  in  Rudrama  Devi  the  just  and 
beloved  Queen  of  our  Traveller,  who  thus  enables  us  to  attach  colour 
and  character  to  what  was  an  empty  name  in  a  dynastic  list.  (Compare 
Wilson's  Mackenzie,  I.  cxxx ;  Taylor's  Or.  Hist.  MSS.,  I.  18;  Do.’s 
Catalogue  Raisonne,  III.  483.) 

I  may  add  that  Mutfili  appears  in  the  Carta  Catalana  as  Butiflis,  and 
is  there  by  some  mistake  made  the  site  of  St.  Thomas’s  Shrine. 

The  distance  from  Maabar  is  in  Ramusio  500  miles  instead  of  1000  ; 
this  is  a  preferable  reading. 

Note  2. — Some  of  the  Diamond  Mines  once  so  famous  under  the 
name  of  Golconda  are  in  the  alluvium  of  the  Kistna  River,  some 
distance  above  the  Delta,  and  others  in  the  vicinity  of  Kadapah  and 



Book  III. 

Karnul,  both  localities  being  in  the  territory  of  the  kingdom  we  have 
been  speaking  of. 

The  strange  legend  related  here  is  very  ancient  and  widely  diffused. 
Its  earliest  known  occurrence  is  in  the  treatise  of  St.  Epiphanius,  Bishop 
of  Salamis  in  Cyprus,  concerning  the  12  Jewels  in  the  Rationale  or 
Breastplate  of  the  Hebrew  High  Priest,  a  work  written  before  the  end  of 
the  fourth  century,  wherein  the  tale  is  told  of  the  Jacinth.  It  is  distinctly 
referred  to  by  Edrisi  who  assigns  its  locality  to  the  land  of  the  Kirkhir 
(probably  Khirghiz)  in  Upper  Asia.  It  appears  in  Kazwini’s  Wonders 
of  Creation ,  and  is  assigned  by  him  to  the  Valley  of  the  Moon  among 
the  Mountains  of  Serendib.  Sindbad  the  Sailor  relates  the  story,  as  is 
well  known,  and  his  version  is  the  closest  of  all  to  our  author’s.  It  is 
found  in  the  Chinese  Narrative  of  the  Campaigns  of  Hulaku,  translated 
by  both  Remusat  and  Pauthier.  It  is  told  in  two  different  versions,  once 
of  the  Diamond,  and  again  of  the  Jacinth  of  Serendib,  in  the  work  on 
Precious  Stones  by  Ahmed  Taifashi.  Nicolo  Conti  relates  it  of  a 
mountain  called  Albenigaras,  15  days’  journey  in  a  northerly  direction 
from  Vijayanagar ;  and  it  is  told  again,  apparently  after  Conti,  by  Julius 
Caesar  Scaliger.  It  is  related  of  diamonds  and  Balasses  in  the  old 
Genoese  MS.,  called  that  of  Usodimare.  A  feeble  form  of  the  tale 
is  quoted  contemptuously  by  Garcias  from  one  Francisco  de  Ta- 
marra.  And  Haxthausen  found  it  as  a  popular  legend  in  Armenia. 
(S.  Epiph.  de  XII.  Gemmis ,  &c.,  Romae,  1743;  Jaubert ,  Edrisi ,  I.  500 ; 
J.  A.  S.  B .,  XIII.  657  ;  Lands  Ar.  Nights ,  III.  93;  Rem.  Nouv.  Mel. 
Asiat.,  I.  183  ;  Raineri ,  Fior  di  Pensieri  di  Ahmed  Teifascite ,  pp.  13  and 
30;  India  in  XVth  Cent.,  p.  29-30  ;  J.  C.  Seal,  de  Subtilitate ,  CXIII. 
No.  3;  An.  des  Voyages,  VIII.  195;  Garcias,  p.  71;  Transcaucasia , 
p.  360.) 

The  story  has  a  considerable  resemblance  to  that  which  Herodotus 
tells  of  the  way  in  which  cinnamon  was  got  by  the  Arabs  (III.  1 1 1). 
No  doubt  the  two  are  ramifications  of  the  same  legend. 

Note  3. — Her z  buckram  is  clearly  applied  to  fine  cotton  stuffs.  The 
districts  about  Masulipatam  were  long  famous  both  for  muslins  and  for 
coloured  chintzes. 


Concerning  the  Province  of  Lar  whence  the  Brahmins  come. 

Lar  is  a  Province  lying  towards  the  west  when  you  quit 
the  place  where  the  Body  of  St.  Thomas  lies ;  and  all  the 
Abraiaman  in  the  world  come  from  that  province.1 

Chap.  XX. 


299  ' 

You  must  know  that  these  Abraiaman  are  the  best 
merchants  in  the  world,  and  the  most  truthful,  for  they 
would  not  tell  a  lie  for  anything  on  earth.  [If  a  foreign 
merchant  who  does  not  know  the  ways  of  the  country 
applies  to  them  and  entrusts  his  goods  to  them,  they  will 
take  charge  of  these,  and  sell  them  in  the  most  loyal 
manner,  seeking  zealously  the  profit  of  the  foreigner  and 
asking  no  commission  except  what  he  pleases  to  bestow.] 
They  eat  no  flesh,  and  drink  no  wine,  and  live  a  life  of  great 
chastity,  having  intercourse  with  no  women  except  with 
their  wives ;  nor  would  they  on  any  account  take  what 
belongs  to  another ;  so  their  law  commands.  And  they  are 
all  distinguished  by  wearing  a  thread  of  cotton  over  one 
shoulder  and  tied  under  the  other  arm,  so  that  it  crosses 
the  breast  and  the  back. 

They  have  a  rich  and  powerful  King  who  is  eager  to 
purchase  precious  stones  and  large  pearls ;  and  he  sends 
these  Abraiaman  merchants  into  the  kingdom  of  Maabar 
called  Soli,  which  is  the  best  and  noblest  Province  of 
India,  and  where  the  best  pearls  are  found,  to  fetch  him  as 
many  of  these  as  they  can  get,  and  he  pays  them  double 
the  cost  price  for  all.  So  in  this  way  he  has  a  vast  treasure 
of  such  valuables.2 

These  Abraiaman  are  Idolaters ;  and  they  pay  greater 
heed  to  signs  and  omens  than  any  people  that  exists.  I  will 
mention  as  an  example  one  of  their  customs.  To  every 
day  of  the  week  they  assign  an  augury  of  this  sort.  Sup¬ 
pose  that  there  is  some  purchase  in  hand,  he  who  proposes 
to  buy,  when  he  gets  up  in  the  morning  takes  note  of  his 
own  shadow  in  the  sun,  which  he  says  ought  to  be  on  that 
day  of  such  and  such  a  length ;  and  if  his  shadow  be  of  the 
proper  length  for  the  day  he  completes  his  purchase ;  if  not, 
he  will  on  no  account  do  so,  but  waits  till  his  shadow  cor¬ 
responds  with  that  prescribed.  For  there  is  a  length  esta¬ 
blished  for  the  shadow  for  every  individual  day  of  the 
week ;  and  the  merchant  will  complete  no  business  unless 

VOL.  11. 


3' oo 


Book  III. 

he  finds  his  shadow  of  the  length  set  down  for  that  parti¬ 
cular  day.  [Also  to  each  day  in  the  week  they  assign  one 
unlucky  hour,  which  they  term  Choiach.  For  example, 
on  Monday  the  hour  of  Half-tierce,  on  Tuesday  'that  of 
Tierce,  on  Wednesday  Nones,  and  so  on.5] 

Again,  if  one  of  them  is  in  the  house,  and  is  meditating 
a  purchase,  should  he  see  a  tarantula  (such  as  are  very 
common  in  that  country)  on  the  wall,  provided  it  advances 
from  a  quarter  that  he  deems  lucky,  he  will  complete  his 
purchase  at  once ;  but  if  it  comes  from  a  quarter  that  he 
considers  unlucky  he  will  not  do  so  on  any  inducement. 
Moreover,  if  in  going  out,  he  hears  any  one  sneeze,  if  it 
seems  to  him  a  good  omen  he  will  go  on,  but  if  the  reverse 
he  will  sit  down  on  the  spot  where  he  is,  as  long  as  he  thinks 
that  he  ought  to  tarry  before  going  on  again.  Or,  if  in 
travelling  along  the  road  he  sees  a  swallow  fly  by,  should 
its  direction  be  lucky  he  will  proceed,  but  if  not  he  will 
turn  back  again ;  in  fact  they  are  worse  (in  these  whims) 
than  so  many  Patarins  !4 

These  Abraiaman  are  very  long  lived,  owing  to  their 
extreme  abstinence  in  eating.  And  they  never  allow  them¬ 
selves  to  be  let  blood  in  any  part  of  the  body.  They  have 
capital  teeth,  which  is  owing  to  a  certain  herb  they  chew, 
which  greatly  improves  their  appearance,  and  is  also  very 
good  for  the  health. 

There  is  another  class  of  people  called  Chughi ,  who  are 
indeed  properly  Abraiaman,  but  they  form  a  religious  order 
devoted  to  the  Idols.  They  are  extremely  long-lived,  every 
man  of  them  living  to  150  or  200  years.  They  eat  very 
little,  but  what  they  do  eat  is  good ;  rice  and  milk  chiefly. 
And  these  people  make  use  of  a  very  strange  beverage  ;  for 
they  make  a  potion  of  sulphur  and  quicksilver  mixt  to¬ 
gether  and  this  they  drink  twice  every  month.  This,  they 
say,  gives  them  long  life ;  and  it  is  a  potion  they  are  used 
to  take  from  their  childhood.5 

There  are  certain  members  of  this  Order  who  lead  the 

Chap.  XX. 



most  ascetic  life  in  the  world,  going  stark  naked ;  and  these 
worship  the  Ox.  Most  of  them  have  a  small  ox  of  brass 
or  pewter  or  gold  which  they  wear  tied  over  the  forehead. 
Moreover  they  take  cow-dung  and  burn  it,  and  make  a 
powder  thereof;  and  make  an  ointment  of  it,  and  daub 
themselves  withal,  doing  this  with  as  great  devotion  as 
Christians  do  show  in  using  Holy  Water.  [Also  if  they 
meet  any  one  who  treats  them  well,  they  daub  a  little  of 
this  powder  on  the  middle  of  his  forehead.6] 

They  eat  not  from  bowls  or  trenchers,  but  put  their 
victuals  on  leaves  of  the  Apple  of  Paradise  and  other  big 
leaves;  these  however  they  use  dry,  never  green.  For  they 
say  the  green  leaves  have  a  soul  in  them,  and  so  it  would  be 
a  sin.  And  they  would  rather  die  than  do  what  they  deem 
their  Law  pronounces  to  be  sin.  If  any  one  asks  how  it 
comes  that  they  are  not  ashamed  to  go  stark  naked  as  they 
do,  they  say,  “  We  go  naked  because  naked  we  came  into 
the  world,  and  we  desire  to  have  nothing  about  us  that  is  of 
this  world.  Moreover  we  have  no  sin  of  the  flesh  to  be 
conscious  of,  and  therefore  we  are  not  ashamed  of  our 
nakedness,  any  more  than  you  are  to  show  your  hand  or 
your  face.  You  who  are  conscious  of  the  sins  of  the  flesh 
do  well  to  have  shame,  and  to  cover  your  nakedness.” 

They  would  not  kill  an  animal  on  any  account,  not 
even  a  fly,  or  a  flea,  or  a  louse,7  or  anything  in  fact  that  has 
life  ;  for  they  say  these  have  all  souls,  and  it  would  be  sin  to 
do  so.  They  eat  no  vegetable  in  a  green  state,  only  such 
as  are  dry.  And  they  sleep  on  the  ground  stark  naked, 
without  a  scrap  of  clothing  on  them  or  under  them,  so  that 
it  is  a  marvel  they  don’t  all  die,  in  place  of  living  so  long  as 
I  have  told  you.  They  fast  every  day  in  the  year,  and 
drink  nought  but  water.  And  when  a  novice  has  to  be 
received  among  them  they  keep  him  awhile  in  their  convent, 
and  make  him  follow  their  rule  of  life.  And  then,  when 
they  desire  to  put  him  to  the  test,  they  send  for  some  of 
those  girls  who  are  devoted  to  the  Idols,  and  make  them  try 

2  x 



Book  III. 

the  continence  of  the  novice  with  their  blandishments.  If 
he  remains  indifferent  they  retain  him,  but  if  he  shows  any 
emotion  they  expel  him  from  their  society.  For  they  say 
they  will  have  no  man  of  loose  desires  among  them. 

They  are  such  cruel  and  perfidious  Idolaters  that  it  is 
very  devilry !  They  say  that  they  burn  the  bodies  of  the 
dead,  because  if  they  were  not  burnt  worms  would  be  bred 
which  would  eat  the  body  ;  and  when  no  more  food  remained 
for  them  these  worms  would  die,  and  the  soul  belonging  to 
that  body  would  bear  the  sin  and  the  punishment  of  their 
death.  And  that  is  why  they  burn  their  dead ! 

Now  I  have  told  you  about  a  great  part  of  the  people  of 
the  great  Province  of  Maabar  and  their  customs;  but  I  have 
still  other  things  to  tell  of  this  same  province  of  Maabar, 
so  I  will  speak  of  a  city  thereof  which  is  called  Cail. 

Note  1. — The  form  of  the  word  Abraiaman ,  -Main  or  -min ,  by 
which  Marco  here  and  previously  denotes  the  Brahmans,  is  ascribed  by 
Pauthier  to  a  phonetic  practice  in  Tamul.  There  appears  to  be  no 
foundation  for  this.  I  suspect  it  represents  an  incorrect  Arabic  plural, 
such  as  Abrahamin ;  the  correct  form  is  Barahimah . 

What  is  said  here  of  the  Brahmans  coming  from  “  Lar,  a  province 
west  of  St.  Thomas’s,”  of  their  having  a  special  King,  &c.,  is  all  very 
obscure,  and  that  I  suspect  through  erroneous  notions. 

Lar-Desa,  “  The  Country  of  Lar,”  was  an  early  name  for  the  terri¬ 
tory  of  Guzerat  and  the  northern  Konkan,  embracing  Saimur  (the 
modern  Chaul  as  I  believe),  Tana,  and  Baroch.  It  appears  in  Ptolemy 
in  the  form  Larike.  The  sea  to  the  west  of  that  coast  was  in  the  early 
Mahomedan  times  called  the  Sea  of  Lar,  and  the  language  spoken  on 
its  shores  is  called  by  Mas’udi  Lari.  Abulfeda’s  authority,  Ibn  Said, 
speaks  of  Lar  and  Guzerat  as  identical.  That  position  would  certainly 
be  very  ill  described  as  lying  west  of  Madras.  The  kingdom  most  nearly 
answering  to  that  description  in  Polo’s  age  would  be  that  of  the  Belial 
Rajas  of  Dwara  Samudra,  which  corresponded  in  a  general  way  to  modern 
Mysore.  (Mas’udi,  I.  330,  381 ;  II.  85  ;  Gildem.  185  ;  Elliot ,  I.  66.) 

That  Polo’s  ideas  on  this  subject  were  incorrect  seems  clear  from  his 
conception  of  the  Brahmans  as  a  class  of  merchants.  Occasionally  they 
may  have  acted  as  such,  and  especially  as  agents ;  but  the  only  case  I  can 
find  of  Brahmans  as  a  class  adopting  trade  is  that  of  the  Konkani  Brah¬ 
mans,  and  they  are  said  to  have  taken  this  step  when  expelled  from  Goa, 
which  was  their  chief  seat,  by  the  Portuguese.  Marsden  supposes  that 

Chap.  XX. 



there  has  been  confusion  between  Brahmans  and  Banyans;  and,  as  Gu- 
zerat  was  the  country  from  which  the  latter  chiefly  came,  there  is  some 
probability  in  this. 

The  high  virtues  ascribed  to  the  Brahmans  and  Indian  merchants 
were  perhaps  in  part  matter  of  tradition,  come  down  from  the  stories  of 
Palladius  and  the  like  ;  but  similar  testimony  is  so  constant  among 
medieval  travellers  that  it  must  have  had  some  solid  foundation.  We 
may  also  refer  to  the  high  character  given  to  the  Hindus  by  Abul  Fazl 
(Gladwin's  Ayeen  Akbery,  III.  8).  After  150  years  of  European  trade 
we  find  a  sad  deterioration.  Padre  Vincenzo  (1672)  speaks  of  fraud  as 
greatly  prevalent  among  the  Hindu  traders.  It  was  then  commonly 
said  at  Surat  that  it  took  3  Jews  to  make  a  Chinaman,  and  3  Chinamen 
to  make  a  Banyan  (p.  114).  But  what  shall  be  said  on  the  other  side? 
Does  the  character  of  English  trade  and  English  goods  stand  as  high  in 
Asia  as  it  did  half  a  century  ago  ? 

Note  2. — The  kingdom  of  Maabar  called  Soli  is  Chola  or  Sola- 
desam,  of  which  Kanchi  (Conjeveram)  was  the  ancient  capital.  In  the 
Ceylon  Annals  the  continental  invaders  are  frequently  termed  Solli. 
The  high  terms  of  praise  applied  to  it  as  “  the  best  and  noblest  province 
of  India,”  seem  to  point  to  the  well-watered  fertility  of  Tanjore ;  but 
what  is  said  of  the  pearls  would  extend  the  territory  included  to  the 
shores  of  the  Gulf  of  Manaar. 

Note  3. — Abraham  Roger  gives  from  the  Calendar  of  the  Coro¬ 
mandel  Brahmans  the  character,  lucky  or  unlucky,  of  every  hour  of  every 
day  of  the  week;  and  there  is  also  a  chapter  on  the  subject  in  Sonnerat 
(I.  304,  seqq.).  For  a  happy  explanation  of  the  term  Choiach  I  am 
indebted  to  Dr.  Caldwell :  “This  apparently  difficult  word  can  be  iden¬ 
tified  much  more  easily  than  most  others.  Hindu  astrologers  teach  that 
there  is  an  unlucky  hour  every  day  in  the  month,  i.e.,  during  the  period 
of  the  moon’s  abode  in  every  nakshatra ,  or  lunar  mansion,  throughout 
the  lunation.  This  inauspicious  period  is  called  Tyajya ,  ‘  rejected.’  Its 
mean  length  is  one  hour  and  thirty-six  minutes,  European  time.  The 
precise  moment  when  this  period  commences  differs  in  each  nakshatra, 
or  (which  comes  to  the  same  thing)  in  every  day  in  the  lunar  month. 
It  sometimes  occurs  in  the  daytime  and  sometimes  at  night ; — see  Col. 
Warren  s  Kala  Sankatila,  Madras,  1825,  p.  388.  The  Tamil  pronuncia¬ 
tion  of  the  word  is  tiyacham ,  and  when  the  nominative  case-termination 
of  the  word  is  rejected,  as  all  the  Tamil  case- terminations  were  by  the 
Mahomedans,  who  were  probably  Marco  Polo’s  informants,  it  becomes 
tiyach ,  to  which  form  of  the  word  Marco’s  Choiach  is  as  near  as  could  be 
expected.”  (MS.  Note)* 

The  phrases  used  in  the  passage  from  Ramusio  to  express  the  time 
of  day  are  taken  from  the  canonical  hours  of  prayer.  The  following  pas¬ 
sage  from  Robert  de  Borron’s  Romance  of  Merlin  illustrates  these  terms : 

I  may  add  that  quite  possibly  the  real  reading  may  have  been  thoiach. 



Book  III. 

Gauvain  “quand  il  se  levoit  le  matin,  avoit  la  force  al  millor  chevalier 
del  monde ;  et  quant  vint  a  heure  de  prime  si  li  doubloit,  et  a  heure  de 
tierce  aussi ;  et  quant  il  vint  a  eure  de  midi  si  revenoit  a  sa  premiere 
force  ou  il  avoit  este  le  matin ;  et  quant  vint  h  eure  de  nonne  et  a  toutes 
les  eures  de  la  nuit  estoit-il  toudis  en  sa  premiere  force.”  (Quoted  in 
introd.  to  Messire  Gauvain ,  &c.,  edited  by  C.  Hippeau ,  Paris,  1862, 
p.  xii-xiii.)  The  term  Half-Tierce  is  frequent  in  medieval  Italian,  e.g., 
in  Dante  : — 

“  Levati  su,  disse  V  Maestro ,  in  piede, 

La  via  e  lunga ,  e  ’/  cammino  e  malvagio , 

E  gia  il  Sole  a  mezza  terza  riede,”  (Inf.  xxxiv.). 

Definitions  of  these  terms  as  given  by  Sir  H.  Nicolas  and  Mr.  Thomas 
Wright  ( Chron .  of  Hist.,  p.  195,  and  Marco  Polo ,  p.  392)  do  not  agree 
with  those  of  Italian  authorities  ;  perhaps  in  the  North  they  were  applied 
with  variation.  Dante  dwells  on  the  matter  in  two  passages  of  his 
Convito  (Tratt.  III.  cap.  6,  and  Tratt.  IV.  cap.  23) ;  and  the  following 
diagram  elucidates  the  terms  in  accordance  with  his  words,  and  with 
other  Italian  authority,  oral  and  literary  : — 









Ecclesiastical  Hours. 

9  10  11  12  1  2 

a.m.  Civil  Hours.  p.m. 

















<— f 







..* . 


. t 











Note  4. — Valentyn  mentions  among  what  the  Coromandel  Hindus 
reckon  unlucky  rencounters  which  will  induce  a  man  to  turn  back  on 
the  road  :  an  empty  can,  buffaloes,  donkeys,  a  dog  or  he-goat  without  food 
in  his  mouth,  a  monkey,  a  loose  hart,  a  goldsmith,  a  carpenter,  a  barber, 
a  tailor,  a  cotton-cleaner,  a  smith,  a  widow,  a  corpse,  a  person  coming 
from  a  funeral  without  having  washed  or  changed,  men  carrying  butter, 
oil,  sweet  milk,  molasses,  acids,  iron,  or  weapons  of  war.  Lucky  objects 
to  meet  are  an  elephant,  a  camel,  a  laden  cart,  an  unladen  horse,  a  cow 
or  bullock  laden  with  water  (if  unladen  ’tis  an  ill  omen),  a  dog  or  he-goat 
with  food  in  the  mouth,  a  cat  on  the  right  hand,  one  carrying  meat, 
curds  or  sugar,  &c.,  &c.  (p.  91).  See  also  Sonnerat,  I.  73. 

Note  5. — Chughi  of  course  stands  for  Jogi,  used  loosely  for  any 
Hindu  ascetic.  Arghun  Khan  of  Persia  (see  Prologue,  ch.  xvii.),  who  was 
much  given  to  alchemy  and  secret  science,  had  asked  of  the  Indian 
Bakhshis  how  they  prolonged  their  lives  to  such  an  extent.  They  assured 
him  that  a  mixture  of  sulphur  and  mercury  was  the  Elixir  of  Longevity. 
Arghun  accordingly  took  this  precious  potion  for  eight  months  J — and 
died  shortly  after  !  (See  Hammer,  Ilkhans ,  I.  391-3,  and  Q.  R.  p.  194.) 

Chap.  XXI. 



Bernier  mentions  wandering  Jogis  who  had  the  art  of  preparing  mercury 
so  admirably  that  one  or  two  grains  taken  e\ery  morning  restored  the 
body  to  perfect  health  (II.  130).  The  Mercurius  Vitae  of  Paracelsus, 
which  according  to  him  renewed  youth,  was  composed  chiefly  of  mercury 
and  antimony  (Opera,  II.  20).  Sulphur  and  mercury,  combined  under 
different  conditions  and  proportions,  were  regarded  by  the  Alchemists  both 
of  East  and  West  as  the  origin  of  all  the  metals.  Quicksilver  was  called 
the  mother  of  the  metals,  and  sulphur  the  father.  (See  Vincent.  Bellov. 
Spec.  Natur.  VII.  c.  60,  62,  and  Bl.  Ain-i-Akbari,  p.  40.) 

“  The  worship  of  the  ox  is  still  common  enough,  but  I  can  find  no 
trace  of  the  use  of  the  effigy  worn  on  the  forehead.  The  two  Tamil 
Pundits  whom  I  consulted,  said  that  there  was  no  trace  of  the  custom 
in  Tamil  literature,  but  they  added  that  the  usage  was  so  truly  Hindu  in 
character,  and  was  so  particularly  described,  that  they  had  no  doubt  it 
prevailed  in  the  time  of  the  person  who  described  it.”  (MS.  Note  by  the 
Rev.  Dr.  Caldwell.) 

I  may  add  that  the  Jogis  alluded  to  probably  belonged  to  the  Jan- 
gamas ,  a  Linga-worshipping  sect  of  Southern  India,  who  also  pay  special 
worship  to  the  Nandi  or  sacred  bull.  It  is  stated  in  one  of  the  Mac¬ 
kenzie  documents  that  they  wear  a  copper  or  silver  linga  either  round  the 
neck  or  on  the  forehead;  whilst  they  are  particularly  addicted  to  smearing 
themselves  with  ashes.  The  name  of  Jangama  is  stated  to  be  derived  from 
Jangam ,  “  movable,”  owing  to  their  wearing  and  worshipping  the  portable 
symbol  instead  of  the  fixed  one  like  the  proper  Saivas.  (See  Lassen ,  IV. 
623-4;  Wilson,  Mack.  Coll.  II.  3;  Athenceum,  June  25,  1870,  p.  841.) 

Note  6. — In  G.  T.  proques ,  which  the  Glossary  to  that  edition 
absurdly  renders  pore ;  it  is  some  form  apparently  of  pidocchio. 

Note  7. — It  would  seem  that  there  is  no  eccentricity  of  man  in  any 
part  of  the  world  for  which  a  close  parallel  shall  not  be  found  in  some 
other  part.  Such  strange  probation  as  is  here  spoken  of  appears  to  have 
had  too  close  a  parallel  in  the  old  Celtic  Church,  and  perhaps  even,  at 
an  earlier  date,  in  the  Churches  of  Africa.  See  Todd's  Life  of  St.  Patrick, 
p.  91,  note  and  references,  and  Saturday  Review  of  13th  July,  1867, 
p.  65.  The  latter  describes  a  system  absolutely  like  that  in  the  text, 
but  does  not  quote  authorities. 


Concerning  the  City  of  Cail. 

Cail  is  a  great  and  noble  city,  and  belongs  to  Ashar,  the 
eldest  of  the  five  brother  Kings.  It  is  at  this  city  that  all 
the  ships  touch  that  come  from  the  west,  as  from  Hormos  and 

3  °6 


Book  III. 

from  Kis  and  from  Aden,  and  all  Arabia,  laden  with  horses 
and  with  other  things  for  sale.  And  this  brings  a  great 
concourse  of  people  from  the  country  round  about,  and  so 
there  is  great  business  done  in  this  city  of  Cail.1 

The  King  possesses  vast  treasures,  and  wears  upon  his 
person  great  store  of  rich  jewels.  He  maintains  great  state 
and  administers  his  kingdom  with  great  equity,  and  extends 
great  favour  to  merchants  and  foreigners,  so  that  they  are 
very  glad  to  visit  his  city.2 

This  King  has  some  300  wives ;  for  in  those  parts  the 
man  who  has  most  wives  is  most  thought  of. 

As  I  told  you  before,  there  are  in  this  great  province  of 
Maabar  five  crowned  Kings,  who  are  all  own  brothers  born 
of  one  father  and  of  one  mother,  and  this  King  is  one  of 
them.  Their  mother  is  still  living.  And  when  they  dis¬ 
agree  and  go  forth  to  war  against  one  another,  their  mother 
throws  herself  between  them  to  prevent  their  fighting.  And 
should  they  persist  in  desiring  to  fight,  she  will  take  a  knife 
and  threaten  that  if  they  will  do  so  she  will  cut  off  the 
paps  that  suckled  them  and  rip  open  the  womb  that  bare 
them,  and  so  perish  before  their  eyes.  In  this  way  hath 
she  full  many  a  time  brought  them  to  desist.  But  when 
she  dies  it  will  most  assuredly  happen  that  they  will  fall 
out  and  destroy  one  another. 

[All  the  people  of  this  city,  as  well  as  of  the  rest  of 
India,  have  a  custom  of  perpetually  keeping  in  the  mouth 
a  certain  leaf  called  Tembul ,  to  gratify  a  certain  habit  and 
desire  they  have,  continually  chewing  it  and  spitting  out 
the  saliva  that  it  excites.  The  lords  and  gentlefolks  and 
the  King  have  these  leaves  prepared  with  camphor  and  other 
aromatic  spices,  and  also  mixt  with  quicklime.  And  this 
practice  was  said  to  be  very  good  for  the  health.3  If  any 
one  desires  to  offer  a  gross  insult  to  another,  when  he  meets 
him  he  spits  this  leaf  or  its  juice  in  his  face.  The  other 
immediately  runs  before  the  King,  relates  the  insult  that 
has  been  offered  him,  and  demands  leave  to  fight  the 

MARCO  POLO _ _ _ To  late  Cliuplcr  20  ot‘  Booklll. 

_ 08I _ < 0£  o9L 

Chap.  XXI. 



offender.  The  King  supplies  the  arms,  which  are  sword 
and  target,  and  all  the  people  flock  to  see,  and  there  the 
two  fight  till  one  of  them  is  killed.  They  must  not  use 
the  point  of  the  sword,  for  this  the  King  forbids.4] 

Note  1. — Kail,  now  forgotten,  was  long  a  famous  port  on  the  coast 
of  what  is  now  the  Tinnevelly  District  of  the  Madras  Presidency.  It  is 
mentioned  as  a  port  of  Ma’bar  by  our  author’s  contemporary  Rashid- 
uddin,  though  the  name  has  been  perverted  by  careless  transcription 
into  Bawal  and  Kdbal  (see  Elliot ,  I.  pp.  69,  72).  It  is  also  mis¬ 
transcribed  as  Kdbil  in  Quatremere’s  publication  of  Abdurrazzdk,  who 
mentions  it  as  “  a  place  situated  opposite  the  island  of  Serendib,  other¬ 
wise  called  Ceylon,”  and  as  being  the  extremity  of  what  he  was  led  to 
regard  as  Malabar  (p.  19).  It  is  mentioned  as  Cahila,  the  site  of  the 
pearl-fishery,  by  Nicolo  Conti  (p.  7).  The  Roteiro  of  Vasco  da  Gama,  in 
the  report  of  what  was  learned  on  his  first  voyage,  notes  it  as  Caell ,  a 
state  having  a  Mussulman  King  and  a  Christian  (for  which  read  Kafir ) 
people.  Here  were  many  pearls.  Giovanni  d’  Empoli  notices  it  {Gael) 
also  for  the  pearl-fishery,  as  do  Varthema  and  Barbosa.  From  the  latter 
we  learn  that  it  was  still  a  considerable  sea-port,  having  rich  Mahomedan 
merchants,  and  was  visited  by  many  ships  from  Malabar,  Coromandel, 
and  Bengal.  In  the  time  of  the  last  writers  it  belonged  to  the  King  of 
Kaulam,  who  generally  resided  at  Kail. 

The  real  site  of  this  once  celebrated  port  has,  I  believe,  till  now 
never  been  identified  in  any  published  work.  I  had,  like  others  before 
me,  supposed  the  still  existing  Kayal  Pattanam  to  have  been  in  all 
probability  the  place,  and  I  am  again  indebted  to  the  kindness  of  the 
Rev.  Dr.  Caldwell  for  conclusive  and  most  interesting  information  on 
this  subject.  He  writes  : 

“  The  identification  of  Cail  with  Kayalpattanam  is  found  on  careful 
examination  to  be  inadmissible ;  for  there  are  no  relics  of  ancient  great¬ 
ness  in  Kayalpattanam,  and  no  traditions  of  foreign  trade,  and  it  is 
admitted  by  its  inhabitants  to  be  a  place  of  recent  origin,  which  came 
into  existence  after  the  abandonment  of  the  true  Kayal.  They  state 
also  that  the  name  of  Kayalpattanam  has  only  recently  been  given  to  it, 
as  a  reminiscence  of  the  older  city,  and  that  its  original  name  was 
Sonagarpattanam.  * 

“  There  is  another  small  port  in  the  same  neighbourhood,  a  little 
to  the  north  of  Kayalpattanam,  called  Pinna  Cael  in  the  maps,  properly 

*  “  Sonagar  or  Jonagar  is  a  Tamil  corruption  of  Yavanar,  the  Yavanas,  the  name 
by  which  the  Arabs  were  known,  and  is  the  name  most  commonly  used  in  the  Tamil 
country  to  designate  the  mixed  race  descended  from  Arab  colonists,  who  are  called 
Mdpillas  on  the  Malabar  coast,  and  Lubbies  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Madras  ” 
(Dr.  C.’s  note). 



Book  III. 

Punnei-Kayal,  from  Punnei ,  the  Indian  Laurel ;  but  this  is  also  a  place 
of  recent  origin,  and  many  of  the  inhabitants  of  this  place,  as  of  Kayal- 
pattanam,  state  that  their  ancestors  came  originally  from  Kayal,  sub¬ 
sequently  to  the  removal  of  the  Portuguese  from  that  place  to  Tuticorin. 

“  The  Cail  of  Marco  Polo,  commonly  called  in  the  neighbourhood 
Old  Kayal,  and  erroneously  named  Koil  in  the  Ordnance  Map  of  India, 
is  situated  on  the  Tamraparni  River,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  from  its 
mouth.  The  Tamil  word  Kayal  means  “a  backwater,  a  lagoon,”  and 
the  map  shows  the  existence  of  a  large  number  of  these  Kdyals  or  back¬ 
waters  near  the  mouth  of  the  river.  Many  of  these  Kayals  have  now 
dried  up  more  or  less  completely,  and  in  several  of  them  salt-pans  have 
been  established.  The  name  of  Kayal  was  naturally  given  to  a  town 
erected  on  the  margin  of  a  kayal;  and  this  circumstance  occasioned 
also  the  adoption  of  the  name  of  Punnei  Kayal,  and  served  to  give 
currency  to  the  name  of  Kayalpattanam  assumed  by  Sonagarpattanam, 
both  those  places  being  in  the  vicinity  of  kayals. 

“  Kayal  stood  originally  on  or  near  the  sea-beach,  but  it  is  now 
about  a  mile  and  a  half  inland,  the  sand  carried  down  by  the  river 
having  silted  up  the  ancient  harbour,  and  formed  a  waste  sandy  tract 
between  the  sea  and  the  town.  It  has  now  shrunk  into  a  petty  village, 
inhabited  partly  by  Mahommedans  and  partly  by  Roman-Catholic  fisher¬ 
men  of  the  Parava  caste,  with  a  still  smaller  hamlet  adjoining  inhabited 
by  Brahmans  and  Vellalars  ;  but  unlikely  as  the  place  may  now  seem  to 
have  been  identical  with  “  the  great  and  noble  city  ”  described  by  Marco 
Polo,  its  identity  is  established  by  the  relics  of  its  ancient  greatness  which 
it  still  retains.  Ruins  of  old  fortifications,  temples,  storehouses,  wells, 
and  tanks,  are  found  everywhere  along  the  coast  for  two  or  three  miles 
north  of  the  village  of  Kayal,  and  a  mile  and  a  half  inland ;  the  whole 
plain  is  covered  with  broken  tiles  and  remnants  of  pottery,  chiefly  of 
China  manufacture,  and  several  mounds  are  apparent,  in  which,  besides 
the  shells  of  the  pearl-oyster  and  broken  pottery,  mineral  drugs  (cinnabar, 
brimstone,  &c.)  such  as  are  sold  in  the  bazaars  of  sea-port  towns,  and 
a  few  ancient  coins  have  been  found.  I  send  you  herewith  an  interest¬ 
ing  coin  discovered  in  one  of  those  mounds  by  Mr.  R.  Puckle,  collector 
of  Tinnevelly.'* 

“  The  people  of  the  place  have  forgotten  the  existence  of  any  trade 
between  Kayal  and  China,  though  the  China  pottery  that  lies  all  about 
testifies  to  its  existence  at  some  former  period ;  but  they  retain  a  distinct 
tradition  of  its  trade  with  the  Arabian  and  Persian  coasts,  as  vouched 
for  by  Marco  Polo,  that  trade  having  in  some  degree  survived  to  com¬ 
paratively  recent  times,  t 

*  I  am  sorry  to  say  that  the  coin  never  reached  its  destination, 
f  Dr.  Caldwell  here  goes  at  some  length  into  the  identity  of  Kayal  with  the 
Fattan  of  Ibn  Batuta,  which  he  strongly  maintains.  I  have  put  before  him  some 
difficulties  in  reference  to  that  view  ;  but  in  any  case  a  full  discussion  of  the  subject 
scarcely  appertains  to  Marco  Polo,  so  I  omit  it. 

Chap.  XXI. 



“  Captain  Phipps,  the  Master  Attendant  at  Tuticorin,  says  :  ‘  The 
roadstead  of  Old  Cael  (Kayal)  is  still  used  by  native  craft  when  upon 
the  coast  and  meeting  with  south  winds,  from  which  it  is  sheltered.  The 

depth  of  water  is  16  to  14  feet ;  I  fancy  years  ago  it  was  deeper . 

There  is  a  surf  on  the  bar  at  the  entrance  (of  the  river),  but  boats  go 
through  it  at  all  times.’ 

“  The  importance  of  Kayal  in  the  times  of  which  we  are  treating,  and 
the  probability  of  identity  with  the  place  which  Ibn  Batuta  calls  Fcittcin, 
or  ‘  The  City,’  are  further  illustrated  by  a  tradition  preserved  by  the 
Mahommedans  in  Ceylon.  Casie  Chitty,  a  learned  Singhalese  Judge,  in 
a  letter  quoted  in  Sir  Emerson  Tennent’s  Ceylon  (I.  p.  631),  speaking 
of  the  ‘  Moors,’  or  half-Arab  half-native  Mahommedans  of  Ceylon,  says  : 

‘  Their  first  settlement  in  India  was  formed  at  Kailpatam  (properly,  as 
we  have  seen,  Kayal )  to  the  east  of  Cape  Comorin,  and  that  place  is 
still  regarded  as  the  “  fatherland  of  the  Moors.”  This  settlement  is  said 
to  have  taken  place  in  the  early  part  of  the  8th  century.’ 

“  I  am  tempted  to  carry  this  long  account  of  Kayal  a  little  further, 
so  as  to  bring  to  light  the  Kolkhoi  [KoA^ot  e/xi ropiov]  of  the  Greek  mer¬ 
chants,  the  situation  of  the  older  city  being  nearly  identical  with  that 
of  the  more  modern  one.  Kolkhoi ,  described  by  Ptolemy  and  the  author 
of  the  Periplus  as  an  emporium  of  the  pearl-trade,  as  situated  on  the 
sea-coast  to  the  east  of  Cape  Comorin,  and  as  giving  its  name  to  the 
Kolkhic  Gulf  or  Gulf  of  Manaar,  has  been  identified  by  Lassen  with 
Keelkarei;  but  this  identification  is  merely  conjectural,  founded  on 
nothing  better  than  a  slight  apparent  resemblance  in  the  names.  Lassen 
could  not  have  failed  to  identify  Kolkhoi  with  Korkai,  the  mother- 
city  of  Kayal,  if  he  had  been  acquainted  with  its  existence  and  claims. 
Korkai,  properly  Kolkai  (the  /  being  changed  into  r  by  a  modern 
refinement — it  is  still  called  Kolka  in  Malayalam)  holds  an  important 
place  in  Tamil  traditions,  being  regarded  as  the  birthplace  of  the  Pan- 
dyan  dynasty,  the  place  where  the  princes  of  that  race  ruled  previously 
to  their  removal  to  Madura.  One  of  the  titles  of  the  Pandyan  Kings 
is  ‘  Ruler  of  Korkai.’  Korkai  is  situated  two  or  three  miles  inland  from 
Kayal,  higher  up  the  river.  It  is  not  marked  in  the  Ordnance  Map  of 
India,  but  a  village  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  it,  called  Mara- 
mangalam ,  ‘  the  Good-fortune  of  the  Pandyas,’  will  be  found  in  the  map. 
This  place,  together  with  several  others  in  the  neighbourhood,  on  both 
sides  of  the  river,  is  proved  by  inscriptions  and  relics  to  have  been 
formerly  included  in  Korkai,  and  the  whole  intervening  space  between 
Korkai  and  Kayal  exhibits  traces  of  ancient  dwellings.  The  people  of 
Kayal  maintain  that  their  city  was  originally  so  large  as  to  include 
Korkai,  but  there  is  much  more  probability  in  the  tradition  of  the 
people  of  Korkai,  which  is  to  the  effect  that  Korkai  itself  was  originally  a 
sea-port ;  that  as  the  sea  retired  it  became  less  and  less  suitable  for  trade, 
that  Kayal  rose  as  Korkai  fell,  and  that  at  length  as  the  sea  continued  to 
retire  Kayal  also  was  abandoned.  They  add  that  the  trade  for  which 



Book  III. 

the  place  was  famous  in  ancient  times  was  the  trade  in  pearls.”  In  an 
article  in  the  Madras  Journal  (VII.  379)  it  is  stated  that  at  the  great 
Siva  Pagoda  at  Tinnevelly  the  earth  used  ceremonially  at  the  annual 
festival  is  brought  from  Korkai. 

Note  2. — Dr.  Caldwell  again  brings  his  invaluable  aid  : — 

“  Marco  Polo  represents  Kayal  as  being  governed  by  a  king  whom 
he  calls  Asciar  (a  name  which  you  suppose  to  be  intended  to  be  pro¬ 
nounced  Ashar),  and  says  that  this  king  of  Kayal  was  the  elder 
brother  of  Sonderbandi,  the  king  of  that,  part  of  the  district  of  Maabar 
where  he  landed.  There  is  a  distinct  tradition,  not  only  amongst  the 
people  now  inhabiting  Kayal,  but  in  the  District  of  Tinnevelly  generally, 
that  Kayal,  during  the  period  of  its  greatness,  was  ruled  by  a  king. 
This  king  is '  sometimes  spoken  of  as  one  of  ‘  the  Five  Kings  ’  who 
reigned  in  various  parts  of  Tinnevelly,  but  whether  he  was  independent 
of  the  King  of  Madura,  or  only  a  viceroy,  the  people  cannot  now  say. 
We  may  conjecture  that  he  was  nominally  subject  to  Madura,  but  that 
he  made  himself  at  times  virtually  independent.  The  tradition  of  the 
people  of  Kayal  is  that  Sura-padma-Raja  was  the  name  of  the  king  by 
whom  the  fortifications  of  the  place  were  erected,  and  that  Sur-Raja 
was  the  name  of  the  last  king  of  the  place.  They  state  that  this  last 
king  was  a  Mahommedan,  a  statement  which  agrees  with  that  of 
Rashiduddin,  but  though  Sur-Raja  does  not  sound  like  the  name  of  a 
Mahommedan  prince,  they  all  agree  in  asserting  that  this  was  his  name. 
The  priest  of  the  small  temple  of  Minakshi  in  Kayal  asserts  that  there 
is  a  copper  plate  preserved  in  the  temple  recording  a  grant  made  to  it 
by  this  Sur-Raja.  He  refused  to  show  the  plate,  but  as  he  also  asserted 
that  Sur-Raja  was  a  Mahommedan,  and  as  grants  of  land  from  Mahom¬ 
medan  princes  to  Hindu  temples,  though  not  unknown,  are  very  rare, 
there  may  be  some  truth  in  a  story  which  is  not  in  accordance  with 
ordinary  events.  Can  this  Sur  be  the  person  whom  Marco  calls  Asciar  ? 
Probably  not,  as  Asciar  seems  to  have  been  a  Hindu  by  religion.  I 
have  discovered  what  appears  to  be  a  more  probable  identification  in 
the  name  of  a  prince  mentioned  in  an  inscription  on  the  walls  of  a 
temple  at  Sri-vai-Kuntham,  a  town  on  the  Tamraparni  R.,  about  20 
miles  from  Kayal.  In  the  inscription  in  question  a  donation  to  the 
temple  is  recorded  as  having  been  given  in  the  time  of  ‘  Asadia-deva 
called  also  Surya-deval  This  name  ‘  Asadia’  is  neither  Sanscrit  nor 
Tamil ;  and  as  the  hard  d  is  often  changed  into  r,  Marco’s  Ashar  may 
have  been  an  attempt  to  render  this  Asad.  If  this  Asadia  or  Surya-deva 
were  really  Sundara-pandi-deva’s  brother,  he  must  have  ruled  over  a  nar¬ 
row  range  of  country,  probably  over  Kayal  alone,  whilst  his  more  eminent 
brother  was  alive ;  for  there  is  an  inscription  on  the  walls  of  a  temple  at 
Sindamangalam,  a  place  only  a  few  miles  from  Kayal,  which  records  a 
donation  made  to  the  place  4  in  the  reign  of  Sundara-pandi-deva.’  ”  * 

*  See  above,  p.  270,  as  to  Dr.  Caldwell’s  view  of  Polo’s  Sonderbandi. 

Chap.  XXI. 



Note  3. — Tembiil  is  the  Persian  name  for  the  betel-leaf  or  pan . 
Marsden  supposes  the  mention  of  camphor  among  the  ingredients  with 
which  the  pan  is  prepared  to  be  a  mistake,  and  suggests  as  a  possible 
origin  of  the  error  that  Kapur  in  the  Malay  language  means  not  only 
camphor  but  quicklime.  This  is  curious,  but  in  addition  to  the  fact 
that  the  lime  is  mentioned  in  the  text,  there  seems  ample  evidence  that 
his  doubt  about  camphor  is  unfounded. 

Garcias  da  Horta  says  distinctly  :  “In  chewing  betre  ....  they  mix 
areca  with  it  and  a  little  lime.  .  .  .  Some  add  Licio  (/.<?.,  catechu),  but 
the  rich  and  grandees  add  some  Borneo  camphor ,  and  some  also  lign-aloes, 
musk,  and  ambergris”  (31  v.  and  32).  Abdurrazzak  also  says  :  “The 
manner  of  eating  it  is  as  follows.  They  bruise  a  portion  of  faufel  (areca), 
otherwise  called  sipari ,  and  put  it  in  the  mouth.  Moistening  a  leaf  of 
the  betel,  together  with  a  grain  of  lime,  they  rub  the  one  upon  the  other, 
roll  them  together,  and  then  place  them  in  the  mouth.  They  thus  take 
as  many  as  four  leaves  of  betel  at  a  time  and  chew  them.  Sometimes 
they  add  camphor  to  it”  (p.  32).  And  Abul  Fazl :  “  They  also  put  some 
betel-nut  and  kath  (catechu)  on  one  leaf,  and  some  lime-paste  on  another, 
and  roll  them  up ;  this  is  called  a  berah.  Some  put  camphor  and  musk 
into  it ,  and  tie  both  leaves  with  a  silk  thread,”  & c.  (See  Blochmanri s 
Transl.  p.  73.)  Finally,  one  of  the  Chinese  notices  of  Kamboja,  trans¬ 
lated  by  Abel  Remusat,  says  :  “  When  a  guest  comes  it  is  usual  to  present 
him  with  areca ,  camphor ,  and  other  aromatics .”  ( Nouv .  Mel.  I.  84.) 

Note  4. — Barbosa,  speaking  of  the  Kingdom  of  Battecala  in  Canara, 
says  :  “In  this  kingdom  it  is  a  common  custom  for  two  men  to  defy 
each  other  to  mortal  combat  on  account  of  any  trifle  about  which  they 
may  have  fallen  out.  The  King  immediately  appoints  the  time,  the 
place,  and  the  weapons,  and  likewise  gives  each  a  second  who  stands 
by  his  principal.  They  engage  without  armour,  only  from  the  waist 
upwards  they  wear  a  tight  jacket,  and  have  a  quantity  of  cotton  cloth 
wrapt  tight  round  the  chest  and  shoulders.  Their  arms  are  sword  and 
target,  of  dimensions  prescribed  by  the  King ;  and  so  they  commence 
their  sword-play,  showing  great  dexterity  therein,  but  making  no  use  of 
the  point,  for  that  is  prohibited.  The  combat  lasts  till  one  or  both  be 
left  for  dead  in  the  presence  of  the  King  and  all  the  people,  and  no  one 
dares  say  a  word  except  the  seconds,  who  are  constantly  cheering  them 
on.”  {Ram.  I.  f.  300.) 

This  is  the  only  passage  of  Ramusio’s  version,  so  far  as  I  know,  that 
suggests  the  possibility  of  interpolation  from  a  recent  author,  as  dis¬ 
tinguished  from  mere  editorial  modification. 



Book  III. 


Of  the  Kingdom  of  Coilum. 

When  you  quit  Maabar  and  go  500  miles  towards  the 
south-west  you  come  to  the  kingdom  of  Coilum.  The 
people  are  idolaters,  but  there  are  also  some  Christians  and 
some  Jews.  The  natives  have  a  language  of  their  own, 
and  a  King  of  their  own,  and  are  tributary  to  no  one.1 

A  great  deal  of  Brazil  is  got  here  which  is  called  Brazil 
Coilumin  from  the  country  which  produces  it ;  ’tis  of  very 
fine  quality.2  Good  ginger  also  grows  here,  and  it  is  known 
by  the  same  name  of  Coilumin  after  the  country.3  Pepper 
too  grows  in  great  abundance  throughout  this  country,  and 
I  will  tell  you  how.  You  must  know  that  the  pepper-trees 
are  (not  wild  but)  cultivated,  being  regularly  planted  and 
watered ;  and  the  pepper  is  gathered  in  the  months  of  May, 
June,  and  July.  They  have  also  abundance  of  very  fine 
indigo.  This  is  made  of  a  certain  herb  which  is  gathered, 
and  [after  the  roots  have  been  removed]  is  put  into  great 
vessels  upon  which  they  pour  water  and  then  leave  it  till  the 
whole  of  the  plant  is  decomposed.  They  then  put  this' 
liquid  in  the  sun,  which  is  tremendously  hot  there,  so  that 
it  boils  and  coagulates,  and  becomes  such  as  we  see  it. 
[They  then  divide  it  into  pieces  of  four  ounces  each,  and  in 
that  form  it  is  exported  to  our  parts.]  4  And  I  assure  you 
that  the  heat  of  the  sun  is  so  great  there  that  it  is  scarcely 
to  be  endured  ;  in  fact  if  you  put  an  egg  into  one  of  the 
rivers  it  will  be  boiled,  before  you  have  had  time  to  go  any 
distance,  by  the  mere  heat  of  the  sun ! 

The  merchants  fromManzi,  and  from  Arabia,  and  from 
the  Levant  come  thither  with  their  ships  and  their  mer¬ 
chandize  and  make  great  profits  both  by  what  they  import 
and  by  what  they  export. 

There  are  in  this  country  many  and  divers  beasts  quite 

Chap.  XXII. 



different  from  those  of  other  parts  of  the  world.  Thus 
there  are  lions  black  all  over,  with  no  mixture  of  any  other 
colour ;  and  there  are  parrots  of  many  sorts,  for  some  are 
white  as  snow  with  red  beak  and  feet,  and  some  are  red, 
and  some  are  blue,  forming  the  most  charming  sight  in  the 
world ;  there  are  green  ones  too.  There  are  also  some 
parrots  of  exceeding  small  size,  beautiful  creatures.5  They 
have  also  very  beautiful  peacocks,  larger  than  ours,  and 
different ;  and  they  have  cocks  and  hens  quite  different  from 
ours  ;  and  what  more  shall  I  say  ?  In  short,  everything  they 
have  is  different  from  ours,  and  finer  and  better.  Neither  is 
their  fruit  like  ours,  nor  their  beasts,  nor  their  birds ;  and 
this  difference  all  comes  of  the  excessive  heat. 

Corn  they  have  none  but  rice.  So  also  their  wine  they 
make  from  [palm-]  sugar  ;  capital  drink  it  is,  and  very 
speedily  it  makes  a  man  drunk.  All  other  necessaries  of 
man’s  life  they  have  in  great  plenty  and  cheapness.  They 
have  very  good  astrologers  and  physicians.  Man  and 
woman,  they  are  all  black,  and  go  naked,  all  save  a  fine 
cloth  worn  about  the  middle.  They  look  not  on  any  sin  of 
the  flesh  as  a  sin.  They  marry  their  cousins  german,  and 
a  man  takes  his  brother’s  wife  after  the  brother’s  death ; 
and  all  the  people  of  India  have  this  custom.6 

There  is  no  more  to  tell  you  there  ;  so  we  will  proceed, 
and  I  will  tell  you  of  another  country  called  Comari. 

Note  1.- — Futile  doubts  have  been  raised  by  Baldello  Boni  and  Hugh 
Murray  as  to  the  position  of  Coilum,  because  of  Marco’s  mentioning  it 
before  Comari,  or  Cape  Comorin  ;  and  they  have  insisted  on  finding 
a  Coilum  to  the  east  of  that  promontory.  There  is  however  in  reality 
no  room  for  any  question  on  this  subject.  For  ages  Coilum,  Kaulam, 
or,  as  we  now  write  it,  Quilon,  and  properly  Kollam  (the  name  means 
‘  a  Tank,’)  was  one  of  the  greatest  ports  of  trade  with  Western  Asia. 
The  earliest  mention  of  it  that  I  can  indicate  is  in  a  letter  written  by  the 
Nestorian  Patriarch,  Jesujabus  of  Adiabene,  who  died  a.d.  660,  to  Simon 
Metropolitan  of  Fars,  blaming  his  neglect  of  duty,  through  which  he  says, 
not  only  is  India,  “  which  extends  from  the  coast  of  the  Kingdom  of 
Fars  to  Colon,  a  distance  of  1200  parasangs,  deprived  of  a  regular 



Book  III. 

ministry,  but  Fars  itself  is  lying  in  darkness.”  (Assem.  III.  pt.  ii.  437.) 
The  same  place  appears  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  Arab  Relations  (a.d. 
851)  as  Kaulam-  Male ,  the  port  of  India  made  by  vessels  from  Maskat, 
and  already  frequented  by  great  Chinese  Junks. 

Abulfeda  defines  the  position  of  Kaulam  as  at  the  extreme  end 
of  Ballad-ul-Falfal ,  i.e.,  the  Pepper  Country  or  Malabar,  as  you  go  east¬ 
ward,  standing  on  an  inlet  of  the  sea,  in  a  sandy  plain,  adorned  with 
many  gardens.  The  Brazil-tree  grew  there,  and  the  Mahommedans  had 
a  fine  mosque  and  square.  Ibn  Batuta  also  notices  the  fine  mosque  and 
says  the  city  was  one  of  the  finest  in  Malabar,  with  splendid  markets 
and  rich  merchants,  and  was  the  chief  resort  of  the  Chinese  traders  in 
India.  Odoric  describes  it  as  “  at  the  extremity  of  the  Pepper  Forest 
towards  the  south,”  and  astonishing  in  the  abundance  of  its  merchandize. 
Friar  Jordanus  of  Severac  was  there  as  a  missionary  some  time  previous 
to  1328,  in  which  year  he  was  at  home  and  was  nominated  Bishop  of  the 
See  of  Kaulam,  Latinized  as  Columbum  or  Columbus.  Twenty  years 
later  John  Marignolli  visited  “the  very  noble  city  of  Columbum,  where 
the  whole  world’s  pepper  is  produced,”  and  found  there  a  Latin  church 
of  St.  George,  probably  founded  by  Jordanus*  Kaulam  or  Coilon  con¬ 
tinued  to  be  an  important  place  to  the  beginning  of  the  16th  century, 
when  Varthema  speaks  of  it  as  a  fine  port,  and  Barbosa  as  “  a  very  great 
city,”  with  a  very  good  haven,  and  with  many  great  merchants,  Moors 
and  Gentoos,  whose  ships  traded  to  all  the  Eastern  ports  as  far  as 
Bengal,  Pegu,  and  the  Archipelago.  But  after  this  its  decay  must  have 
bpen  rapid,  and  in  the  following  century  it  had  sunk  into  entire  in¬ 
significance.  Throughout  the  middle  ages  it  appears  to  have  been  one 
of  the  chief  seats  of  the  St.  Thomas  Christians. 

How  Polo  comes  to  mention  Coilum  before  Comari  is  a  question 
that  will  be  treated  further  on,  with  other  misplacements  of  like  kind  that 
occur  in  succeeding  chapters. 

Kublai  had  a  good  deal  of  diplomatic  intercourse  of  his  usual  kind 
with  Kaulam.  Demailla  mentions  the  arrival  at  Thsiuanchau  (or  Zayton) 
in  1282  of  envoys  from  Kiulan  an  Indian  State,  bringing  presents 
of  various  rarities,  including  a  black  ape  as  big  as  a  man.  The  Emperor 
had  three  times  sent  thither  an  officer  called  Yangtingpi  (IX.  415). 
Some  rather  curious  details  of  these  missions  are  extracted  by  Pauthier 
from  the  Chinese  Annals.  The  royal  residence  is  in  these  called 
A-pu-hota. f  The  king  is  styled  Pinati.  I  may  note  that  Barbosa  also 
tells  us  that  the  King  of  Kaulam  was  called  Benate-deri  (devar  ?).  And 
Dr.  Caldwell’s  kindness  enables  me  to  explain  this  title.  Pinati  or  Benate 

*  There  is  still  a  Syrian  church  of  St.  George  at  Quilon,  and  a  mosque  of  some 
importance  ; — the  representatives  at  least  of  those  noted  above.  A  vague  tradition  of 
extensive  trade  with  China  yet  survives. 

f  The  translated  passage  about  ’ Apuhota  is  a  little  obscure.  The  name  looks  like 
Kapnikada,  which  was  the  site  of  a  palace  north  of  Calicut  (not  in  Kaulam),  the 
Capucate  of  the  Portuguese. 

Chap.  XXII. 



represents  Venadan ,  “  the  Lord  of  the  Venadu,”  or  Venattu ,  that  being 
the  name  of  the  district  to  which  belonged  the  family  of  the  old  kings 
of  Kollam,  and  Venadan  being  their  regular  dynastic  name.  The  Raja 
of  Travancore  who  inherits  their  titles  is  still  poetically  styled  Venadan. 
( Pauthier ,  p.  603,  seqq. ;  Ram.  I.  f.  304.) 

Note  2. — The  Brazil-wood  of  Kaulam  appears  in  the  Commercial 
Handbook  of  Pegolotti  (circa  1340)  as  Verzino  Colombino ,  and  under 
the  same  name  in  that  of  Giov.  d’Uzzano  a  century  later.  Pegolotti  in 
one  passage  details  kinds  of  Brazil  under  the  names  of  Verzino  salvatico , 
dimestico ,  and  colombino.  In  another  passage  where  he  enters  into  some 
detail  as  to  the  respective  values  of  different  qualities  he  names  three 
kinds,  as  Colomni ,  Ameri ,  and  Seni,  of  which  the  Colomni  (or  Colombino) 
was  worth  a  sixth  more  than  the  Ameri  and  three  times  as  much  as  the 
Seni.  I  have  already  conjectured  that  Ameri  may  stand  for  Lamer i 
referring  to  Lambri  in  Sumatra  ( supra  ch.  xi.,  note  1);  and  perhaps 
Seni  is  Sini  or  Chinese,  indicating  an  article  brought  to  India  by  the 
Chinese  traders,  probably  from  Siam. 

We  have  seen  in  the  last  note  that  the  Kaulam  Brazil  is  spoken  of  by 
Abulfeda;  and  Ibn  Batuta,  in  describing  his  voyage  by  the  backwaters 
from  Calicut  to  Kaulam,  says  :  “  All  the  Trees  that  grow  by  this  river 
are  either  Cinnamon  or  Brazil  Trees.  They  use  these  for  firewood,  and 
we  cooked  with  them  throughout  our  journey.”  Friar  Odoric  makes  the 
same  hyperbolic  statement :  “  Here  they  burn  Brazil-wood  for  fuel.” 

It  has  been  supposed  popularly  that  the  Brazil-wood  of  commerce 
took  its  name  from  the  great  country  so  called ;  but  the  Verzino  of  the 
old  Italian  writers  is  only  a  form  of  the  same  word,  and  Bresil  is  in  fact 
the  word  used  by  Polo.  So  Chaucer : — 

“  Him  nedeth  not  his  colour  for  to  dien 
With  Brazil ,  ne  with  grain  of  Portingale.” 

—  The  Nun's  Priest's  Tale. 

The  Eastern-woodi  in  question  is  now  known  in  commerce  by  its  Malay 
name  of  Sappati  (properly  Sapang ),  which  again  seems  to  be  identical 
with  the  Tamil  name  Chapangam.  It  is  the  wood  of  the  Caesalpinia 
Sapan ,  and  is  known  in  Arabic  (and  in  Hindustani)  as  Bakam.  It  is 
a  thorny  tree,  indigenous  in  Western  India  from  Goa  to  Trevandrum, 
and  growing  luxuriantly  in  South  Malabar.  It  is  extensively  used  by 
native  dyers,  chiefly  for  common  and  cheap  cloths,  and  for  fine  mats. 
The  dye  is  precipitated  dark-brown  with  iron,  and  red  with  alum.  The 
tree  is  both  wild  and  cultivated,  and  is  grown  rather  extensively  by  the 
Mahommedans  of  Malabar,  called  Moplahs  (. Mapillas ,  see  p.  307),  whose 
custom  it  is  to  plant  a  number  of  seeds  at  the  birth  of  a  daughter. 
The  trees  require  fourteen  or  fifteen  years  to  come  to  maturity,  and 
then  become  the  girl’s  dowry. 

Though  to  a  great  extent  superseded  by  the  kindred  wood  from 
Brazil,  the  Sappan  is  still  a  substantial  object  of  importation  into  England. 

VOL.  II. 



Book  III. 


That  American  dye-stuff  which  now  bears  the  name  of  Brazil-wood 
is  believed  to  be  the  produce  of  two  species  of  Caesalpinia,  but  the 
question  seems  to  partake  of  the  singular  obscurity  which  hangs  over 
the  origin  of  so  many  useful  drugs  and  dye-stuffs. 

The  name  of  Brazil  has  had  a  curious  history.  Etymologists  refer  it 
to  the  colour  of  braise  or  hot  coals,  and  its  first  application  was  to  this 
dye-wood  from  the  far  East.  Then  it  was  applied  to  a  newly-discovered 
tract  of  South  America,  perhaps  because  producing  a  kindred  dye-wood 
in  large  quantities  :  finally  the  original  wood  is  robbed  of  its  name,  which 
is  monopolized  by  that  imported  from  the  new  country.  The  Region  of 
Brazil  had  been  originally  styled  Sancta  Cruz ,  and  De  Barros  attributes 
the  change  of  name  to  the  suggestion  of  the  Evil  One,  u  as  if  the  name 
of  a  wood  for  colouring  cloth  were  of  more  moment  than  that  of  the 
Wood  which  imbues  the  Sacraments  with  the  tincture  of  Salvation. ” 

There  may  perhaps  be  a  doubt  if  the  Land  of  Brazil  derived  its  name 
from  the  dye-wood.  For  the  Isle  of  Brazil,  long  before  the  discovery  of 
America,  was  a  name  applied  to  an  imaginary  Island  in  the  Atlantic. 
This  island  appears  in  the  map  of  Andrea  Bianco  and  in  many  others, 
down  at  least  to  Coronelli’s  splendid  Venetian  Atlas  (1696) ;  the  Irish 
used  to  fancy  that  they  could  see  it  from  the  Isles  of  Arran  ;  and  I  lately 
have  noted  a  curious  instance  of  the  persistence  of  nautical  traditions 
in  a  passage  which  shows  that  the  legend  of  this  Island  of  Brazil  still 
survived  among  sailors  in  the  last  century.*  The  story  was  no  doubt  the 
same  as  that  of  the  Green  Island,  or  Island  of  Youth,  which  Mr.  Camp¬ 
bell  tells  us  the  Hebrideans  fancy  to  be  sometimes  seen  to  the  west 
of  their  own  Islands.  (See  Once  a  Week ,  Nov.  16th,  1867  ;  and  Pop . 
Tales  of  West  Highlands ,  IV.  163.  For  previous  references,  Pella 
Decima ,  III.  298,  361  ;  IV.  60;  /.  P.,  IV.  99;  Cathay,  p.  77  ;  Note  by 
Pr.  H.  Cleghorn ;  Marsh's  ed.  of  Wedgwood's  Etym .  Piet. ,  I.  123; 
Southey ,  H.  of  Brazil,  I.  2  2.) 

Note  3.— This  is  the  Colombme  ginger  which  appears  not  un- 
frequently  in  medieval  writings.  Pegolotti  tells  us  that  “  ginger  is  of 
several  sorts,  to  wit,  Belledi,  Colombino,  and  Mecchino.  And  these 
names  are  bestowed  from  the  producing  countries,  at  least  this  is  the 
case  with  the  Colombino  and  Mecchino,  for  the  Belledi  is  produced  in 
many  districts  of  India.  The  Colombino  grows  in  the  Island  of  Colombo 
of  India,  and  has  a  smooth,  delicate,  ash-coloured  rind  ;  whilst  the 
Mecchino  comes  from  the  districts  about  Mecca  and  is  a  small  kind, 
hard  to  cut,”  &c.  {Pella  Pec.  III.  359.)  A  century  later,  in  G.  da 
Uzzano,  we  still  find  the  Colombino  and  Belladi  ginger  (IV.  hi,  210, 
&c.).  The  Baladi  is  also  mentioned  by  Rashiduddin  as  an  export  of 
Guzerat,  and  by  Barbosa  and  others  as  one  of  Calicut  in  the  beginning  of 
the  1 6th  century.  The  Mecchino  too  is  mentioned  again  in  that  era  by 

*  Indeed,  Humboldt  speaks  of  Brazil  Isle  as  appearing  to  the  west  of  Ireland  in  a 
modern  English  map, — Purdy's ;  but  I  do  not  know  its  date.  (See  Examen ,  &c., 
II.  244-5.) 

Chap.  XXII. 



a  Venetian  traveller  as  grown  in  the  Island  of  Camran  in  the  Red  Sea. 
Both  Columbine  (gigembre  Columbia),  and  Baladi  ginger  (gig.  baladit ) 
appear  among  the  purchases  for  King  John  of  France,  during  his  captivity- 
in  England.  And  we  gather  from  his  accounts  that  the  price  of  the 
former  was  1 3d.  a  pound,  and  of  the  latter  12 d.,  sums  representing  three 
times  the  amount  of  silver  that  they  now  indicate,  with  a  higher  value  of 
silver  also,  and  hence  equivalent  to  about  4^.  and  4s.  4 d.  a  pound.  The 
term  Baladi  (Ar.),  Indigenous  or  “Country”  ginger,  indicated  ordinary 
qualities  of  no  particular  repute.  The  word  Baladi  seems  to  have 
become  naturalized  in  Spanish  with  the  meaning  “  of  small  value.” 
(Elliot,  I.  67  ;  Ramusio,  I.  f.  275  v.  323  ;  Dozy  and  Engelm.  p.  232-3  ; 
Douet  d'Arcq,  p.  218;  Philobiblon  Soc.  Miscellanies ,  vol.  II.  p.  116.) 

Note  4. — In  Bengal  Indigo  factories  artificial  heat  is  employed  to 
promote  the  drying  of  the  precipitated  dye ;  but  this  is  not  essential  to 
the  manufacture.  Marco’s  account,  though  grotesque  in  its  baldness, 
does  describe  the  chief  features  of  the  manufacture  of  Indigo  by  fermen¬ 
tation.  The  branches  are  cut  and  placed  stem  upwards  in  the  vat  till  it 
is  three  parts  full ;  they  are  loaded,  and  then  the  vat  is  filled  with  water. 
Fermentation  soon  begins  and  goes  on  till  in  24  hours  the  contents  of  the 
vat  are  so  hot  that  the  hand  cannot  be  retamed  in  it.  This  is  what  Marco 
ascribes  to  the  sun’s  heat.  The  liquor  is  then  drawn  off  to  another 
cistern  and  there  agitated ;  the  indigo  separates  in  flakes.  A  quantity 
of  lime-water  then  is  added,  and  the  blue  is  allowed  to  subside.  The 
clear  water  is  drawn  off ;  the  sediment  is  drained,  pressed,  and  cut  into 
small  squares,  &c.  (See  Madras  Journal ’  vol.  VIII.  198.) 

Indigo  had  been  introduced  into  Sicily  by  the  Jews  during  the  time 
of  Frederick  II.,  in  the  early  part  of  Polo’s  century.  Jews  and  Indigo 
have  long  vanished  from  Sicily.  The  dye  is  often  mentioned  in  Pegolotti’s 
Book  ;  the  finest  quality  being  termed  Indaco  Baccadeo ,  a  corruption  of 
Baldaccheo  or  Bagdadeo  (see  p.  371).  Probably  it  came  from  India  by 
way  of  Baghdad.  In  the  Barcelona  Tariffs  it  appears  as  Indigo  de 
Bagadel.  Another  quality  often  mentioned  is  Indigo  di  Golfo.  (See 
Capmany ,  Memorias,  II.  App.  p.  73.)  In  the  by-laws  of  the  London 
Painters’  Guild  of  the  13th  century,  quoted  by  Sir  F.  Palgrave  from  the 
Liber  Horne ,  it  is  forbidden  to  paint  on  gold  or  silver  except  with  fine 
(mineral)  colours,  “  e  nient  de  brasil,  tie  de  inde  de  Baidas,  ne  de  nul 
autre  mauveise  couleurP  (The  Merchant  a7id  the  Friar ,  p.  xxiii.). 

There  is  now  no  indigo  made  or  exported  at  Quilon,  but  there  is  still 
some  export  of  sappan-wood,  ginger,  and  pepper,  though  all  trade  there  is 
now  very  feeble.  These,  and  previous  particulars  as  to  the  present  Quilon, 

I  owe  to  the  kindness  of  Mr.  Ballard,  British  Resident  at  Trevandrum. 

Note  5. — The  Lions  black  all  over  were  probably  black  Leopards 
which  are  met  with  occasionally,  both  in  India  and  the  Malay  countries. 

Note  6. — These  last  lines  are  probably  founded  on  some  local  or 
caste  customs  of  marriage,  several  of  which  in  South  India  are  very 
peculiar  ;  e.g.,  see  Nelsods  Madura ,  pt.  ii.  p.  51. 

Y  2 


Book  III. 



Of  the  Country  called  Comari. 

Com ari  is  a  country  belonging  to  India,  and  there  you  can 
see  something  of  the  North  Star  which  we  had  not  been 
able  to  see  from  the  Lesser  Java  thus  far.  In  order  to  see 
it  you  must  go  some  30  miles  out  to  sea,  and  then  you  see 
it  about  a  cubit  above  the  water.1 

This  is  a  very  wild  country,  and  there  are  beasts  of  all 
kinds  there,  especially  monkeys  of  such  peculiar  fashion 
that  you  would  take  them  for  men !  There  are  also  gat- 
Pauls'1  in  wonderful  diversity,  with  bears,  lions,  and 
leopards,  in  abundance. 

Note  1. — Comari  can  only  be  the  country  about  Cape  Comorin,  the 
Ko/xdpia  d Kpov  of  Ptolemy,  a  name  derived  from  the  Sanskrit  Kumari , 
“  a  Virgin,”  an  appellation  of  the  goddess  Uurga.  The  temple  of  the 
goddess  still  exists,  and  the  bathing  in  her  honour,  spoken  of  by  the 
author  of  the  Periplus,  is  still  continued,  though  now  the  pilgrims  are 
few.  Abulfeda  speaks  of  Ras  Kumhari  as  the  limit  between  Malabar 
and  Ma’bar.  Kumari  is  the  Tamul  pronunciation  of  the  Sanskrit  word 
and  probably  Comari  was  Polo’s  pronunciation. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  Portuguese  era  in  India  we  hear  of  a  small 
Kingdom  of  Comori,  the  prince  of  which  had  succeeded  to  the  kingdom 
of  Kaulam.  Kumari  has  been  confounded  by  some  of  the  Arabian 
Geographers,  or  their  modern  commentators,  with  Kumar  one  of  the 
regions  supplying  aloes-wood,  and  which  was  apparently  Khmer  or 
Kamboja.  {Caldwell’s  Dr av.  Grammar ,  p.  67;  Gildem .  185;  Ram.  I. 

Note  2. — I  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain  with  any  precision  what 
animal  is  meant  by  Gat-paul.  The  term  occurs  again,  coupled  with 
monkeys  as  here,  at  p.  240  of  the  Geog.  Text,  where  speaking  of 
Abyssinia  it  is  said  :  “  II  ont  gat  paulz  et  autre  gat-maimon  si  divisez ,”  &c. 
Gatto  maimone  for  an  ape  of  some  kind,  is  common  in  old  Italian,  the 
latter  part  of  the  term,  from  the  Pers.  Maimun ,  being  possibly  connected 
with  our  Baboon.  And  that  the  Gat-paul  was  also  some  kind  of  ape  is 
confirmed  by  the  Spanish  Dictionaries.  Cobarrubias  gives  :  “  Gato  Paus , 
a  kind  of  tailed  monkey.  Gato  paus,  Gato  pablo ;  perhaps  as  they  call 
a  monkey  “  Martha,”  they  may  have  called  this  particular  monkey 
“Paul,”  &c.  (f.  431  v.).  So  also  the  Diccion.  de  la  Lengua  Castellana 

Chap.  XXIII. 



Cape  Comorin,  from  a  sketch  by  Mr.  Foote,  of  the  Geological  Survey  of  India. 



Book  III. 

comp,  porla  Real  Academia  (1783)  gives  :  “  Gato  Paul,  a  kind  of  monkey 
of  a  grey  colour,  black  muzzle  and  very  broad  tail.”  In  fact,  the  word 
is  used  by  Columbus,  who,  in  his  own  account  of  his  third  voyage,  de¬ 
scribes  a  hill  on  the  coast  of  Paria  as  covered  with  a  species  of  Gatos 
Paulas ;  (see  Navarrete ,  Fr.  ed.  III.  21,  also  147-8).  It  is  worth  noting 
that  the  revisers  of  the  text  adopted  by  Pauthier  have  not  understood  the 
word.  For  they  substitute  for  the  “  II  hi  a  gat  paul  si  divisez  qe  ce  estoit 
mervoille  ”  of  the  Geog.  Text,  “  et  si  a  moult  de  granz  paluz  et  moult  grans 
pantains  a  7nerveilles',', — wonderful  swamps  and  marshes  !  The  Pipino 
Latin  has  adhered  to  the  correct  reading — u  Ibi  sunt  cati  qui  dicuntur 
pauli,  valde  diver  si  ab  aliisP 


Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Eli. 

Eli  is  a  kingdom  towards  the  west,  about  300  miles  from 
Comari.  The  people  are  idolaters  and  have  a  king,  and 
are  tributary  to  nobody;  and  have  a  peculiar  language. 
We  will  tell  you  particulars  about  their  manners  and  their 
products,  and  you  will  better  understand  things  now  because 
we  are  drawing  near  to  places  that  are  not  so  outlandish.1 

There  is  no  proper  harbour  in  the  country,  but  there 
are  many  great  rivers  with  good  estuaries,  wide  and  deep.2 
Pepper  and  ginger  grow  there,  and  other  spices  in  quanti¬ 
ties.3  The  King  is  rich  in  treasure,  but  not  very  strong  in 
forces.  The  approach  to  his  kingdom  however  is  so  strong 
by  nature  that  no  one  can  attack  him,  so  he  is  afraid  of 

And  you  must  know  that  if  any  ship  enters  their  estuary 
and  anchors  there,  having  been  bound  for  some  other  port, 
they  seize  her  and  plunder  the  cargo.  For  they  say,  “You 
were  bound  for  somewhere  else,  and  ’tis  God  has  sent  you 
hither  to  us,  so  we  have  a  right  to  all  your  goods.”  And 
they  think  it  no  sin  to  act  thus.  And  this  naughty  custom 
prevails  all  over  these  provinces  of  India,  to  wit,  that  if  a 
ship  be  driven  by  stress  of  weather  into  some  other  port 
than  that  to  which  it  was  bound,  it  is  sure  to  be  plundered. 

Chap.  XXIV. 



But  if  a  ship  come  bound  originally  to  the  place  they 
receive  it  with  all  honour,  and  give  it  due  protection.4  The 
ships  of  Manzi  and  other  countries  that  come  hither  in 
summer  lay  in  their  cargoes  in  6  or  8  days  and  depart  as 
fast  as  possible,  because  there  is  no  harbour  other  than  the 
river-mouth,  a  mere  roadstead  and  sandbanks,  so  that  it  is 
perilous  to  tarry  there.  The  ships  of  Manzi  indeed  are  not 
so  much  afraid  of  these  roadsteads  as  others  are,  because 
they  have  such  huge  wooden  anchors,  which  hold  in  all 

There  are  many  lions  and  other  wild  beasts  here  and 
plenty  of  game,  both  beast  and  bird. 

Note  1. — No  city  or  district  is  now  known  by  the  name  of  Ely,  but 
the  name  survives  in  that  of  Mount  Dely,  properly  Monte  d’ELY,  the 
Yeli-mala  of  the  Malabar  people,  and  called  also  in  the  legends  of  the 
coast  Sapta-shaila ,  or  the  Seven  Hills,  an  isolated  and  very  conspicuous 
hill,  or  cluster  of  hills,  forming  a  promontory  some  16  miles  north  of 
Cananore,  the  first  Indian  land  seen  by  Vasco  da  Gama,  on  that  memor¬ 
able  August  morning  in  1498,  and  formerly  very  well  known  to  navi¬ 
gators,  though  it  has  been  allowed  to  drop  out  of  some  of  our  most 
ambitious  modern  maps.*  Abulfeda  describes  it  as  “a  great  mountain 
projecting  into  the  sea,  and  descried  from  a  great  distance,  called  Ras 
Haili and  it  appears  in  Fra  Mauro’s  map  as  Cavo  de  Eli .  This  part 
of  Malabar  was  noted  for  the  export  of  cardamoms ;  and  as  the  great 
cardamom  was  called  by  the  Arabs  Hil  or  Hail ,- — in  Sanskrit  Ela , — it 
seems  possible  that  the  name  is  connected  with  this. 

There  is,  perhaps,  a  trace  of  Eli  in  the  Ela- Barake  of  the  Periplus, 
but  the  passage  is  defective  and  obscure.  There  is  a  clearer  one  in  the 
Elima  of  the  Ravenna  geographer,  who  mentions  it  next  below  Nelcinna 
or  Nelcynda,  generally  supposed  to  be  Nileshweram,  some  miles  north 
of  Mount  d'Ely.  Rashiduddin  mentions  simply  “  the  country  of  Hili,’’ 
between  Manjarur  (Mangalore)  and  Fandaraina  (miswritten  in  Elliot’s 
copy  Sadarsa).  Ibn  Batuta  speaks  of  Hili,  which  he  reached  on  leaving 
Manjarur,  as  “  a  great  and  well-built  city,  situated  on  a  large  estuary 
accessible  to  great  ships.  The  vessels  of  China  come  hither;  this, 
Kaulam,  and  Kalikut,  are  the  only  ports  that  they  enter.”  From  Hili 

*  I  have  to  apologize  for  having  in  another  work  included  the  Atlas  of  India  in 
this  charge  ;  it  does  not  apply  to  that  work. 



Book  III. 

he  proceeds  1 2  miles  further  down  the  coast  to  Jor-fattan ,  which  pro¬ 
bably  corresponds  to  Baliapatan.  Elly  appears  in  the  Carta  Catalana, 
and  is  marked  as  a  Christian  city.  Nicolo  Conti  is  the  last  to  speak 
distinctly  of  the  city.  Sailing  from  Cambay,  in  20  days  he  arrived  at 
two  cities  on  the  sea-shore,  Pacamurici  ( Faknur ,  of  Rashid  and  Firishta, 
probably  Baccanor )  and  Helli.  But  we  read  that  in  1527  the  Portu¬ 
guese  under  Simon  de  Melo  burned  the  cities  of  Marabia  and  Monte 
d'Elli.  When  Da  Gama  on  his  second  voyage  was  on  his  way  from 
Baticala  (in  Canara)  to  Cananor,  a  squall  having  sprung  his  mainmast 
just  before  reaching  Mt.  d’Ely,  “  the  captain-major  anchored  in  the  Bay 
of  Marabia,  because  he  saw  there  several  Moorish  ships,  in  order  to  get 
a  mast  from  them.”  It  seems  clear  that  this  was  the  bay  just  behind 
Mt.  d’Ely. 

Indeed  the  name  of  Marabia  or  Marawi  is  still  preserved  in  Madavi 
or  Madai,  corruptly  termed  Maudoy  in  some  of  our  maps,  a  township  upon 
the  river  which  enters  the  bay  about  7  or  8  miles  south-east  of  Mt.  d’Ely, 
and  which  is  called  by  De  Barros  the  Rio  Marabia*  Mr.  Ballard  in¬ 
forms  me  that  he  never  heard  of  ruins  of  importance  at  Madai,  but  there 
is  a  place  on  the  river  just  mentioned,  and  within  the  Madai  township, 
called  Payangddi  (“Old  Town”),  which  has  the  remains  of  an  old  fort  of 
the  Kolastri  (or  Kolatiri)  Rajas.  A  palace  at  Madai  (perhaps  this  fort) 
is  alluded  to  by  Dr.  Gundert  in  the  Madras  Journal,  and  a  Buddhist 
Vihara  is  spoken  of  in  an  old  Malayalim  poem  as  having  existed  at  the 
same  place.  The  same  paper  speaks  of  “  the  famous  emporium 
of  Cachilpatnam  near  Mt.  d’Ely,”  which  may  have  been  our  city  of 
Hili,  as  the  cities  Hili  and  Marawi  were  apparently  separate  though 
very  near. 

The  state  of  Hili-Marawi  is  also  mentioned  in  the  Arabic  work  on 
the  early  history  of  the  Mahomedans  in  Malabar,  called  Tuhfat-al- Muja¬ 
hidin,  and  translated  by  Rowlandson ;  and  as  the  prince  is  there  called 
Kolturee ,  this  would  seem  to  identify  him  either  in  family  or  person  with 
the  Raja  of  Cananor,  for  that  old  dynasty  has  always  borne  the  name  of 
Kolatiri.  f 

The  Ramusian  version  of  Barbosa  is  very  defective  here,  but  in 
Stanley’s  version  (Hak.  Soc.  East  African  and  Malabar  Coasts ,  p.  149) 
we  find  the  topography  in  a  passage  from  a  Munich  MS.  clear  enough  : 
“  After  passing  this  place  ”  (the  river  of  Nirapura  or  Nileshweram)  “  along 
the  coast  is  the  mountain  Dely  (of  Ely)  on  the  edge  of  the  sea ;  it  is  a 

*  I  had  unfortunately  not  recognized  this  when  the  map  was  engraved,  and 
Maudoy  has  been  omitted.  Its  position  is  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river  just  at  the 
top  of  the  H  in  “  Hili  Marawi.’1 

f  As  printed  by  Rowlandson,  the  name  is  corrupt  (like  many  others  in  the  book), 
being  given  as  Hubaee  Murawee.  But  suspecting  what  this  pointed  to,  I  examined 
the  MS.  in  the  R.  A.  Society’s  Library.  The  knowledge  of  the  Arabic  character  was 
quite  sufficient  to  enable  me  to  trace  the  name  as  Hilt  Maraud. 

(See  Rowlandson,  pp.  54,  58-59,  and  MS.  pp.  23  and  26.) 

Chap.  XXIV. 



round  mountain,  very  lofty,  in  the  midst  of  low  land  ;  all  the  ships  of 
the  Moors  and  Gentiles  that  navigate  in  this  sea  of  India,  sight  this 
mountain  when  coming  from  without,  and  make  their  reckoning  by  it ; 
.  .  .  .  after  this,  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  to  the  south,  is  a  town 
called  Marave,  very  ancient  and  well  off,  in  which  live  Moors  and 
Gentiles  and  Jews;  these  Jews  are  of  the  language  of  the  country;  it  is 
a  long  time  that  they  have  dwelt  in  this  place.” 

(* Stanleys  Correa ,  Hak.  Soc.  p.  145,  312-13;  Gildem.  p.  185; 
Elliot,  I.  68;  I.  B.,  IV.  81 ;  Conti ,  p.  6  ;  H.  Gen .  des  Voyages  (i2mo.), 

II.  9;  Madras  Journal,  XIII.  No.  31,  p.  14,  99,  102,  104  ;  De  Barros, 

III.  2,  cap.  5,  and  IV.  2,  cap.  13.) 

Mount  d’Ely,  from  the  Sea,  in  last  century. 

Note  2. — This  is  from  Pauthier’s  text,  and  the  map  illustrates  the 
fact  of  the  many  wide  rivers.  The  G.  T.  has  “  a  good  river  with  a  very 
good  estuary  ”  or  mouth.  The  latter  word  is  in  the  G.  T.  faces,  after¬ 
wards  more  correctly  foces  (and  in  Pauthier  fouis),  equivalent,  I  believe, 
to  the  Italian  face  from  fauces.  We  have  seen  that  I  bn  Batuta  also 
speaks  of  the  estuary  or  inlet  at  Hili.  It  may  have  been  either  that 
immediately  east  of  Mount  d’Ely,  communicating  with  the  Nileshweram 
River,  or  the  Madai  River  alluded  to  above.  Neither  could  be  entered 
by  vessels  now,  but  there  have  been  great  littoral  changes. 

Note  3. — Barbosa  says  that  throughout  the  kingdom  of  Cananor  the 
pepper  was  of  excellent  quality,  though  not  in  great  quantity.  There 
was  much  ginger,  not  first-rate,  which  was  called  Hely  from  its  growing 
about  Mount  d’Ely,  with  cardamoms,  mirobolans,  cassia  fistula,  zerum- 
bet,  and  zedoary.  The  two  last  items  are  two  species  of  curcuma,  for- 



Book  III. 

merly  in  much  demand  as  aromatics ;  the  last  is,  I  believe,  the  setewale 
of  Chaucer : — 

“  There  was  eke  wexing  many  a  spice, 

As  clowe  gilofre  and  Licorice, 

Ginger  and  grein  de  Paradis, 

Can  ell  and  setewale  of  pris, 

And  many  a  spice  delitable 

To  eaten  when  men  rise  from  table.” — R.  of  the  Rose. 

The  Hely  ginger  is  also  mentioned  by  Conti. 

Note  4. — This  piratical  practice  is  noted  by  Abdurrazzak  also  :  “  In 
other  parts  (than  Calicut)  a  strange  practice  is  adopted.  When  a  vessel 
sets  sail  for  a  certain  point,  and  suddenly  is  driven  by  a  decree  of  Divine 
Providence  into  another  roadstead,  the  inhabitants,  under  the  pretext 
that  the  wind  has  driven  it  thither,  plunder  the  ship.  But  at  Calicut 
every  ship,  whatever  place  it  comes  from,  or  wherever  it  may  be  bound, 
when  it  puts  into  this  port,  is  treated  like  other  vessels,  and  has  no 
trouble  of  any  kind  to  put  up  with”  (p.  14). 

Note  5. — It  is  interesting  to  compare  the  notice  in  the  Periplus  of 
the  ports  immediately  adjoining  Mount  d’Ely  :  “  There  is  another  town 
called  Barake  (or  Ela-Barake)  at  the  mouth  of  the  river,  at  which  the 
ships  touch  on  leaving  Nelcynda,  and  ride  at  anchor  in  the  roads  (i-rrl 

craXov)  to  take  in  their  cargo . Many  ships  visit  these  ports  for 

pepper  and  Malabathrum.”  It  is  not  impossible  that  Barake  (or  Ela- 
Barake)  was  Marawi  or  Hili-Marawi . 

With  regard  to  the  anchors,  Pauthier’s  text  has  just  the  opposite  of 
the  G.  T.  which  we  have  preferred:  11  Les  nefs  du  Manzi  portent  si 
grans  ancres  de  fust  que  il  seuffrent  moult  de  grans  fortunes  aus  plajesP 
Demailla  says  the  Chinese  consider  their  ironwood  anchors  to  be  much 
better  than  those  of  iron,  because  the  latter  are  subject  to  strain  {Lett. 
Edif  XIV.  10).  Capt.  Owen  has  a  good  word  for  wooden  anchors 
(Narr.  of  Voyages,  &*c.  I.  385). 


Concerning  the  Kingdom  of  Melibar. 

Melibar  is  a  great  kingdom  lying  towards  the  west.  The 
people  are  idolaters ;  they  have  a  language  of  their  own, 
and  a  king  of  their  own,  and  pay  tribute  to  nobody.1 

In  this  country  you  see  more  of  the  North  Star,  for  it 
shows  two  cubits  above  the  water.  And  you  must  know 
that  from  this  kingdom  of  Melibar,  and  from  another  near 
it  called  Gozurat,  there  go  forth  every  year  more  than  a 
hundred  corsair  vessels  on  cruize.  These  pirates  take  with 

Chap.  XXV. 



them  their  wives  and  children,  and  stay  out  the  whole 
summer.  Their  method  is  to  join  in  fleets  of  20  or  30  of 
these  pirate  vessels  together,  and  then  they  form  what  they 
call  a  sea  cordon,2  that  is,  they  drop  off  till  there  is  an 
interval  of  5  or  6  miles  between  ship  and  ship,  so  that 
they  cover  something  like  an  hundred  miles  of  sea,  and  no 
merchant  ship  can  escape  them.  For  when  any  one  cor¬ 
sair  sights  a  vessel  a  signal  is  made  by  Are  or  smoke,  and 
then  the  whole  of  them  make  for  this,  and  seize  the  mer¬ 
chants  and  plunder  them.  After  they  have  plundered  them 
they  let  them  go,  saying :  “  Go  along  with  you  and  get 
more  gain,  and  that  mayhap  will  fall  to  us  also  !  ”  But 
now  the  merchants  are  aware  of  this,  and  go  so  well  manned 
and  armed,  and  with  such  great  ships,  that  they  don’t  fear 
the  corsairs.  Still  mishaps  do  befal  them  at  timesd 

There  is  in  this  kingdom  a  great  quantity  of  pepper, 
and  ginger,  and  cinnamon,  and  turbit,  and  of  nuts  of  India.4 
They  also  manufacture  very  delicate  and  beautiful  buck¬ 
rams.  The  ships  that  come  from  the  east  bring  copper 
in  ballast.  They  also  bring  hither  cloths  of  silk  and  gold, 
and  sendals ;  also  gold  and  silver,  cloves  and  spikenard,  and 
other  fine  spices  for  which  there  is  a  demand  here,  and 
exchange  them  for  the  products  of  these  countries. 

Ships  come  hither  from  many  quarters,  but  especi¬ 
ally  from  the  great  province  of  Manzi.5  Coarse  spices  are 
exported  hence  both  to  Manzi  and  to  the  west,  and  that 
which  is  carried  by  the  merchants  to  Aden  goes  on  to 
Alexandria,  but  the  ships  that  go  in  the  latter  direction  are 
not  one  to  ten  of  those  that  go  to  the  eastward ;  a  very 
notable  fact  that  I  have  mentioned  before. 

Now  I  have  told  you  about  the  kingdom  of  Melibar ; 
we  shall  now  proceed  and  tell  you  of  the  kingdom  of  Gozu- 
rat.  And  you  must  understand  that  in  speaking  of  these 
kingdoms  we  note  only  the  capitals  ;  there  are  great  num- 
|  bers  of  other  cities  and  towns  of  which  we  shall  say  nothing, 
because  it  would  make  too  long  a  story  to  speak  of  all. 



Book  III. 

Note  1. — Here  is  another  instance  of  that  confusion  which  dislocates 
Polo’s  descriptions  of  the  Indian  coast ;  we  shall  recur  to  it  under 
Ch.  30. 

Malabar  is  a  name  given  by  the  Arabs,  and  varies  in  its  form ;  Ibn 
Batuta  and  Kazwini  write  it  al-Malibdr ,  Edrisi  and  Abulfeda 

al-Manibar ,  & c.,  and  like  variations  occur  among  the  old  Euro¬ 
pean  travellers.  The  country  so-called  corresponded  to  the  Kerala  of  the 
Brahmans,  which  in  its  very  widest  sense  extended  from  about  lat.  150 
to  Cape  Comorin.  This,  too,  seems  to  be  the  extension  which  Abul¬ 
feda  gives  to  Malabar,  viz.,  from  Hunawar  to  Kumhari ;  Rashiduddin 
includes  Sinddbur,  i.e.,  Goa.  But  at  a  later  date  a  point  between  Mt. 
d’Ely  and  Mangalore  on  the  north,  and  Kaulam  on  the  south,  were  the 
limits  usually  assigned  to  Malabar. 

Note  2. — “  II  font  eschiel  en  mer  ”  (G.  T.).  Eschiel  is  the  equiva¬ 
lent  of  the  Italian  schera  or  schiera ,  a  troop  or  squadron,  and  thence 
applied  to  order  of  battle,  whether  by  land  or  sea. 

Note  3. — The  northern  part  of  Malabar,  Canara,  and  the  Konkan, 
have  been  nests  of  pirates  from  the  time  of  the  ancients  to  a  very  recent 
date.  Padre  Paolino  specifies  the  vicinity  of  Mount  d’Ely  as  a  special 
haunt  of  them  in  his  day,  the  latter  half  of  last  century.  Somewhat 
further  north  Ibn  Batuta  fell  into  their  hands,  and  was  stript  to  his 

Note  4. — There  is  something  to  be  said  about  these  Malabar  spices. 
The  cinnamon  of  Malabar  is  what  we  call  cassia,  the  canella  grossa  of 
Conti,  the  canela  brava  of  the  Portuguese.  Notices  of  it  will  be  found 
in  Rheede  (I.  107)  and  in  Garcias  (f.  26,  seqq.).  The  latter  says  the 
Ceylon  cinnamon  exceeded  it  in  value  as  4  :  1.  Uzzano  discriminates 
canella  lunga,  Salami,  and  Mabari.  The  Salami ,  I  have  no  doubt,  is 
Sailani ,  Ceylonese ;  and  as  we  do  not  hear  of  any  cassia  from  Mabar, 
probably  the  last  was  Malabar  cinnamon. 

Turbit :  Radex  Turpethi  is  still  known  in  pharmacy,  at  least  in 
some  parts  of  the  Continent  and  in  India,  though  in  England  obsolete. 
It  is  mentioned  in  the  Pharmacopoeia  of  India  (1868)  as  derived  from 
Ipomcea  Turpethum. 

But  it  is  worthy  of  note  that  Ramusio  has  cubebs  instead  of  turbit. 
The  former  does  not  seem  now  to  be  a  product  of  Western  India, 
though  Garcias  says  that  a  small  quantity  grew  there.  There  is  some 
ambiguity  in  statements  about  it,  because  its  popular  name  Kabab-chini 
seems  to  be  also  applied  to  the  cassia  bud.  Cubeb  pepper  was  much 
used  as  a  spice  in  the  middle  ages,  and  imported  into  Europe  as  such. 
But  the  importation  had  long  ceased,  when  its  medical  uses  became 
known  during  the  British  occupation  of  Java,  and  the  demand  was 

Budaeus  and  Salmasius  have  identified  this  drug  with  the  K^aKov, 
which  Theophrastus  joins  with  cinnamomum  and  cassia  as  an  ingredient 

Chap.  XXV. 



in  aromatic  confections.  The  inducement  to  this  identification  was  no 
doubt  the  singular  resemblance  which  the  word  bears  to  the  Javanese 
name  of  cubeb  pepper,  viz.,  Kumukus.  If  the  foundation  were  a  little 
firmer  this  would  be  curious  evidence  of  intercourse  and  trade  with 
Java  in  a  time  earlier  than  that  of  Theophrastus,  viz.,  the  fourth 
century  b.c. 

(Buchanan's  Mysore,  II.  31,  III.  193,  and  App.  p.  v;  Garcias ,  Ital. 
version,  1576,  f.  39-40;  Salmas.  Exerc.  Plin.  p.  923;  Bud.  on  Theoph. 
1004  and  1010.) 

Note  5. — We  see  that  Marco  speaks  of  the  merchants  and  ships  of 
Manzi,  or  Southern  China,  frequenting  Kaulam,  Hili,  and  now  Malabar, 
of  which  Calicut  was  the  chief  port.  This  quite  coincides  with  Ibn 
Batuta,  who  says  those  were  the  three  ports  of  India  w