Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 2 by Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

Part 3 out of 23

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

_Lao-pen-kia_. The book of Father Vial contains a very valuable chapter on
the writing of the Lolos. Mr. F.S.A. Bourne writes (_Report, China_, No.
I. 1888, p. 88):--"The old Chinese name for this race was 'Ts'uan Man'--
'Ts'uan barbarians,' a name taken from one of their chiefs. The _Yun-nan
Topography_ says:--'The name of "Ts'uan Man" is a very ancient one, and
originally the tribes of Ts'uan were very numerous. There was that called
"Lu-lu Man," for instance, now improperly called "Lo-Lo."' These people
call themselves 'Nersu,' and the vocabularies show that they stretch in
scattered communities as far as Ssu-mao and along the whole southern border
of Yun-nan. It appears from the _Topography_ that they are found also on
the Burmese border."

The _Moso_ call themselves _Nashi_ and are called _Djiung_ by the
Tibetans; their ancient capital is Li-kiang fu which was taken by their
chief Meng-ts'u under the Sung Dynasty; the Mongols made of their country
the kingdom of Chaghan-djang. Li-kiang is the territory of Yue-si Chao,
called also Mo-sie (Moso), one of the six Chao of Nan-Chao. The Moso of
Li-kiang call themselves _Ho_. They have an epic styled _Djiung-Ling_
(Moso Division) recounting the invasion of part of Tibet by the Moso. The
Moso were submitted during the 8th century, by the King of Nan-Chao. They
have a special hieroglyphic scrip, a specimen of which has been given by
Deveria. (_Frontiere_, p. 166.) A manuscript was secured by Captain Gill,
on the frontier east of Li-t'ang, and presented by him to the British
Museum (_Add_ SS. Or. 2162); T. de Lacouperie gave a facsimile of it.
(Plates I., II. of _Beginnings of Writing_.) Prince Henri d'Orleans and M.
Bonin both brought home a Moso manuscript with a Chinese explanation.

Dr. Anderson (_Exped. to Yunnan_, Calcutta, p. 136) says the _Li-sus_, or
_Lissaus_ are "a small hill-people, with fair, round, flat faces, high
cheek bones, and some little obliquity of the eye." These Li-su or Li-sie,
are scattered throughout the Yunnanese prefectures of Yao-ngan, Li-kiang,
Ta-li and Yung-ch'ang; they were already in Yun-Nan in the 4th century
when the Chinese general Ch'u Chouang-kiao entered the country. (_Deveria,
Front._, p. 164.)

The _Pa-y_ or _P'o-y_ formed under the Han Dynasty the principality of
P'o-tsiu and under the T'ang Dynasty the tribes of Pu-hiung and of Si-ngo,
which were among the thirty-seven tribes dependent on the ancient state of
Nan-Chao and occupied the territory of the sub-prefectures of Kiang-Chuen
(Ch'eng-kiang fu) and of Si-ngo (Lin-ngan fu). They submitted to China at
the beginning of the Yuen Dynasty; their country bordered upon Burma
(Mien-tien) and Ch'e-li or Kiang-Hung (Xieng-Hung), in Yun-Nan, on the
right bank of the Mekong River. According to Chinese tradition, the Pa-y
descended from Muong Tsiu-ch'u, ninth son of Ti Muong-tsiu, son of
Piao-tsiu-ti (Asoka). Deveria gives (p. 105) a specimen of the Pa-y writing
(16th century). (_Deveria, Front._, 99, 117; _Bourne, Report_, p. 88.)
Chapter iv. of the Chinese work, _Sze-i-kwan-k'ao_, is devoted to the
_Pa-y_, including the sub-divisions of Muong-Yang, Muong-Ting, Nan-tien,
Tsien-ngai, Lung-chuen, Wei-yuan, Wan-tien, Chen-k'ang, Ta-how, Mang-shi,
Kin-tung, Ho-tsin, Cho-lo tien. (_Deveria, Mel. de Harlez_, p. 97.) I give
a specimen of Pa-yi writing from a Chinese work purchased by Father Amiot
at Peking, now in the Paris National Library (Fonds chinois, No. 986). (See
on this scrip, _F.W.K. Mueller, T'oung-Pao_, III. p. 1, and V. p. 329;
_E.H. Parker, The Muong Language, China Review_, I. 1891, p. 267; _P.
Lefevre-Pontalis, Etudes sur quelques alphabets et vocab. Thais, T'oung
Pao_, III. pp. 39-64.)--H.C.

[Illustration: Pa-y script.]

These ethnological matters have to be handled cautiously, for there is
great ambiguity in the nomenclature. Thus _Man-tzu_ is often used
generically for aborigines, and the _Lolos_ of Richthofen are called
Man-tzu by Garnier and Blakiston; whilst _Lolo_ again has in Yun-nan
apparently a very comprehensive generic meaning, and is so used by Garnier.
(_Richt. Letter_ VII. 67-68 and MS. notes; _Garnier_, I. 519 seqq. [_T.W.
Kingsmill, Han Wu-ti, China Review_, XXV. 103-109.])

[1] Ramusio alone has "a great _salt_ lake."



When you have passed that River you enter on the province 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 ESSENTIMUR;
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 craftsmen.[NOTE 1]

The people are of sundry kinds, for there are not only Saracens and
Idolaters, but also a few Nestorian Christians.[NOTE 2] They have wheat
and rice in plenty. Howbeit they never eat wheaten bread, because in that
country it is unwholesome.[NOTE 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.
[NOTE 4]

They have brine-wells in this country from which they 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.[NOTE 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.[NOTE 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
KARAJANG of the Mongols, which we know to be YUN-NAN, and at its capital
YACHI, which--I was about to add--we know to be YUN-NAN-FU. But I find
all the commentators make it something else. Rashiduddin, however, in his
detail of the twelve Sings or provincial governments of China under the
Mongols, thus speaks: "10th, KARAJANG. 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 Noyan 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 Yun-nan.... Its capital,
chief town also of the canton of the same name, was called _Chung-khing_,
now YUN-NAN-FU," Hence Yachi was Yun-nan-fu. This is still a large city,
having a rectangular rampart with 6 gates, and a circuit of about 6 1/2
miles. The suburbs were destroyed by the Mahomedan rebels. The most
important trade there now is in the metallic produce of the Province.
[According to _Oxenham, Historical Atlas_, there were _ten_ provinces or
_sheng_ (Liao-yang, Chung-shu, Shen-si, Ho-nan, Sze-ch'wan, _Yun-nan_,
Hu-kwang, Kiang-che, Kiang-si and Kan-suh) and _twelve_ military

_Yachi_ was perhaps an ancient corruption of the name _Yichau_, which the
territory bore (according to Martini and Biot) under the Han; but more
probably _Yichau_ 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 Ch'eng-tu fu as one fixed point, and Yun-nan-fu as
another, and we have to track the traveller's itinerary between the two,
through what Ritter called with reason a _terra incognita_. What
little was known till recently of this region came from the Catholic
missionaries. Of late the veil has begun to be lifted; the daring
excursion of Francis Garnier and his party in 1868 intersected the tract
towards the south; Mr. T.T. Cooper crossed it further north, by Ta-t'sien
lu, Lithang and Bathang; Baron v. Richthofen in 1872 had penetrated
several marches towards the heart of the mystery, when an unfortunate
mishap compelled his return, but he brought back with him much precious

[Illustration: Garden-House on the Lake at Yun-nan-fu, Yachi of Polo.
(From Garnier).

"Je boz di q'il ont un lac qe gire environ bien cent miles."]

Five days forward from Ch'eng-tu fu brought us on Tibetan ground. Five
days backward from Yun-nan 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 undisputably _Tali-fu_, is said by him to be ten days from Yachi.
The direct distance between the cities of Yun-nan and Ta-li I find by
measurement on Keith Johnston's map to be 133 Italian miles. [The distance
by road is 215 English miles. (See _Baber_, p. 191.)--H.C.] Taking half
this as radius, the compasses swept from Yun-nan-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.[1] Hence also the country north of this elbow is

I leave the preceding paragraph as it stood in the first edition, because
it shows how _near_ the true position of Caindu these unaided deductions
from our author's data had carried me. That paragraph was followed by an
erroneous hypothesis as to the intermediate part of that journey, but,
thanks to the new light shed by Baron Richthofen, we are enabled now to
lay down the whole itinerary from Ch'eng-tu fu to Yun-nan fu with
confidence in its accuracy.

The Kin-sha Kiang or Upper course of the Great Yang-tzu, descending from
Tibet to Yun-nan, forms the great bight or elbow to which allusion has
just been made, and which has been a feature known to geographers ever
since the publication of D'Anville's atlas. The tract enclosed in this
elbow is cut in two by another great Tibetan River, the Yarlung, or
Yalung-Kiang, which joins the Kin-sha not far from the middle of the great
bight; and this Yalung, just before the confluence, receives on the left a
stream of inferior calibre, the Ngan-ning Ho, which also flows in a valley
parallel to the meridian, like all that singular _fascis_ of great rivers
between Assam and Sze-ch'wan.

This River Ngan-ning waters a valley called Kien-ch'ang, containing near
its northern end a city known by the same name, but in our modern maps
marked as Ning-yuan fu; this last being the name of a department of which
it is the capital, and which embraces much more than the valley of
Kien-ch'ang. The town appears, however, as Kien-ch'ang in the _Atlas
Sinensis_ of Martini, and as _Kienchang-ouei_ in D'Anville. This remarkable
valley, imbedded as it were in a wilderness of rugged highlands and wild
races, accessible only by two or three long and difficult routes, rejoices
in a warm climate, a most productive soil, scenery that seems to excite
enthusiasm even in Chinamen, and a population noted for amiable temper.
Towns and villages are numerous. The people are said to be descended from
Chinese immigrants, but their features have little of the Chinese type, and
they have probably a large infusion of aboriginal blood. [Kien-ch'ang,
"otherwise the Prefecture of Ning-yuan, is perhaps the least known of the
Eighteen Provinces," writes Mr. Baber. (_Travels_, p. 58.) "Two or three
sentences in the book of Ser Marco, to the effect that after crossing high
mountains, he reached a fertile country containing many towns and villages,
and inhabited by a very immoral population, constitute to this day the only
description we possess of _Cain-du_, as he calls the district." Baber adds
(p. 82): "Although the main valley of Kien-ch'ang is now principally
inhabited by Chinese, yet the Sifan or Menia people are frequently met
with, and most of the villages possess two names, one Chinese, and the
other indigenous. Probably in Marco Polo's time a Menia population
predominated, and the valley was regarded as part of Menia. If Marco had
heard that name, he would certainly have recorded it; but it is not one
which is likely to reach the ears of a stranger. The Chinese people and
officials never employ it, but use in its stead an alternative name,
_Chan-tu_ or _Chan-tui_, of precisely the same application, which I make
bold to offer as the original of Marco's Caindu, or preferably Ciandu."

This valley is bounded on the east by the mountain country of the Lolos,
which extends north nearly to Yachau (supra, pp. 45, 48, 60), and which,
owing to the fierce intractable character of the race, forms throughout
its whole length an impenetrable barrier between East and West. [The Rev.
Gray Owen, of Ch'eng-tu, wrote (_Jour. China B.R.A.S._ xxviii.
1893-1894, p. 59): "The only great trade route infested by brigands is that
from Ya-chau to Ning-yuan fu, where Lo-lo brigands are numerous, especially
in the autumn. Last year I heard of a convoy of 18 mules with Shen-si goods
on the above-mentioned road captured by these brigands, muleteers and all
taken inside the Lo-lo country. It is very seldom that captives get out of
Lo-lo-dom, because the ransom asked is too high, and the Chinese officials
are not gallant enough to buy out their unfortunate countrymen. The Lo-los
hold thousands of Chinese in slavery; and more are added yearly to the
number."--H.C.] Two routes run from Ch'eng-tu fu to Yun-nan; these fork at
Ya-chau and thenceforward are entirely separated by this barrier. To the
east of it is the route which descends the Min River to Siu-chau, and then
passes by Chao-tong and Tong-chuan to Yun-nan fu: to the west of the
barrier is a route leading through Kien-ch'ang to Ta-li fu, but throwing
off a branch from Ning-yuan southward in the direction of Yun-nan fu.

This road from Ch'eng-tu fu to Ta-li by Ya-chau and Ning-yuan appears to
be that by which the greater part of the goods for Bhamo and Ava used to
travel before the recent Mahomedan rebellion; it is almost certainly the
road by which Kublai, in 1253, during the reign of his brother Mangku
Kaan, advanced to the conquest of Ta-li, then the head of an independent
kingdom in Western Yun-nan. As far as Ts'ing-k'i hien, 3 marches beyond
Ya-chau, this route coincides with the great Tibet road by Ta-t'sien lu
and Bathang to L'hasa, and then it diverges to the left.

We may now say without hesitation that by this road Marco travelled. His
_Tibet_ commences with the mountain region near Ya-chau; his 20 days'
journey through a devastated and dispeopled tract is the journey to
Ning-yuan fu. Even now, from Ts'ing-k'i onwards for several days, not a
single inhabited place is seen. The official route from Ya-chau to
Ning-yuan lays down 13 stages, but it generally takes from 15 to 18 days.
Polo, whose journeys seem often to have been shorter than the modern
average,[2] took 20. On descending from the highlands he comes once more
into a populated region, and enters the charming Valley of Kien-ch'ang.
This valley, with its capital near the upper extremity, its numerous towns
and villages, its cassia, its spiced wine, and its termination southward on
the River of the Golden Sands, is CAINDU. The traveller's road from
Ningyuan to Yunnanfu probably lay through Hwei-li, and the Kin-sha Kiang
would be crossed as already indicated, near its most southerly bend, and
almost due north of Yun-nan fu. (See _Richthofen_ as quoted at pp. 45-46.)

As regards the _name_ of CAINDU or GHEINDU (as in G.T.), I think we may
safely recognise in the last syllable the _do_ which is so frequent a
termination of Tibetan names (Amdo, Tsiamdo, etc.); whilst the _Cain_, as
Baron Richthofen has pointed out, probably survives in the first part of
the name _Kien_chang.

[Baber writes (pp. 80-81): "Colonel Yule sees in the word _Caindu_ a
variation of 'Chien-ch'ang,' and supposes the syllable 'du' to be the same
as the termination 'du,' 'do,' or 'tu,' so frequent in Tibetan names. In
such names, however, 'do' never means a district, but always a confluence,
or a town near a confluence, as might almost be guessed from a map of
Tibet.... Unsatisfied with Colonel Yule's identification, I cast about for
another, and thought for a while that a clue had been found in the term
'Chien-t'ou' (sharp-head), applied to certain Lolo tribes. But the idea
had to be abandoned, since Marco Polo's anecdote about the 'caitiff,' and
the loose manners of his family, could never have referred to the Lolos,
who are admitted even by their Chinese enemies to possess a very strict
code indeed of domestic regulations. The Lolos being eliminated, the
Si-fans remained; and before we had been many days in their neighbourhood,
stories were told us of their conduct which a polite pen refuses to record.
It is enough to say that Marco's account falls rather short of the truth,
and most obviously applies to the Si-fan."

[Illustration: Road descending from the Table-Land of Yun-nan into the
Valley of the Kin-sha Kiang (the _Brius_ of Polo).

(After Garnier.)]

Deveria (_Front._ p. 146 note) says that Kien-ch'ang is the ancient
territory of Kiung-tu which, under the Han Dynasty, fell into the hands of
the Tibetans, and was made by the Mongols the march of Kien-ch'ang
(_Che-Kong-t'u_); it is the _Caindu_ of Marco Polo; under the Han Dynasty
it was the Kiun or division of Yueh-sui or Yueh-hsi. Deveria quotes from
the _Yuen-shi-lei pien_ the following passage relating to the year 1284:
"The twelve tribes of the Barbarians to the south-west of _Kien-tou_ and
_Kin-Chi_ submitted; Kien-tou was administered by Mien (Burma); Kien-tou
submits because the Kingdom of Mien has been vanquished." Kien-tou is the
_Chien-t'ou_ of Baber, the Caindu of Marco Polo. (_Melanges de Harlez_, p.
97.) According to Mr. E.H. Parker (_China Review_, xix. p. 69), Yueh-hsi
or Yueh-sui "is the modern Kien-ch'ang Valley, the Caindu of Marco Polo,
between the Yalung and Yang-tzu Rivers; the only non-Chinese races found
there now are the Si-fan and Lolos."--H.C.]

Turning to minor particulars, the Lake of Caindu in which the pearls were
found is doubtless one lying near Ning-yuan, whose beauty Richthofen heard
greatly extolled, though nothing of the pearls. [Mr. Hosie writes (_Three
Years_, 112-113): "If the former tradition be true (the old city of
Ning-yuan having given place to a large lake in the early years of the Ming
Dynasty), the lake had no existence when Marco Polo passed through Caindu,
and yet we find him mentioning a lake in the country in which pearls were
found. Curiously enough, although I had not then read the Venetian's
narrative, one of the many things told me regarding the lake was that
pearls are found in it, and specimens were brought to me for inspection."
The lake lies to the south-east of the present city.--H.C.] A small lake
is marked by D'Anville, close to Kien-ch'ang, under the name of
_Gechoui-tang_. The large quantities of gold derived from the Kin-sha
Kiang, and the abundance of musk in that vicinity, are testified to by
Martini. The Lake mentioned by Polo as existing in the territory of Yachi
is no doubt the _Tien-chi_, the Great Lake on the shore of which the city
of Yun-nan stands, and from which boats make their way by canals along the
walls and streets. Its circumference, according to Martini, is 500 _li_.
The cut (p. 68), from Garnier, shows this lake as seen from a villa on its
banks. [Deveria (p. 129) quotes this passage from the _Yuen-shi-lei pien_:
"Yachi, of which the _U-man_ or Black Barbarians made their capital, is
surrounded by Lake _Tien-chi_ on three sides." Tien-chi is one of the names
of Lake Kwen-ming, on the shore of which is built Yun-nan fu.--H.C.]

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 Yun-nan fu, 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 Ta-li fu. 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 Ta-li as _Carazan_, whilst
Marsden, following out his system for the conversion 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
the form 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 ch.
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.

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:[3]--"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 Tangut, 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
probably it may have been a Tibetan term adopted by the Mongols, and the
colours may have applied to their clothing. The dominant race at the
Mongol invasion seems to have been Shans;[4] and black jackets are the
characteristic dress of the Shans whom one sees in Burma in modern times.
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 Li-kiang fu. (_D'Ohsson_, II. 317; _J. R. Geog.
Soc._ III. 294.) [Dr. Bretschneider (_Med. Res._ I. p. 184) says that in
the description of Yun-nan, in the _Yuen-shi_, "_Cara-jang_ and
_Chagan-jang_ are rendered by _Wu-man_ and _Po-man_ (Black and White
Barbarians). But in the biographies of _Djao-a-k'o-p'an_, _A-r-szelan_
(_Yuen-shi_, ch. cxxiii.), and others, these tribes are mentioned under the
names of _Ha-la-djang_ and _Ch'a-han-djang_, as the Mongols used to call
them; and in the biography of _Wu-liang-ho t'ai_. [Uriang kadai], the
conqueror of Yun-nan, it is stated that the capital of the Black Barbarians
was called _Yach'i_. It is described there as a city surrounded by lakes
from three sides."--H.C.]

[Illustration: A Saracen of Carajan, being a portrait of a Mahomedan
Mullah in Western Yun-nan. (From Garnier's Work.)

"Les sunt des plosors maineres, car il hi a jens qe aorent Maomet." ]

Regarding Rashiduddin's application of the name _Kandahar_ or Gandhara to
Yun-nan, and curious points connected therewith, I must refer to a paper
of mine in the _J.R.A.Society_ (N.S. IV. 356). But I may mention that
in the ecclesiastical translation of the classical localities of Indian
Buddhism to Indo-China, which is current in Burma, Yun-nan represents
Gandhara,[5] and is still so styled in state documents (_Gandalarit_).

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 Ta-li, who fled from
Kublai's invasion.

NOTE 2.--The existence of Nestorians in this remote province is very
notable [see _Bonin, J. As._ XV. 1900, pp. 589-590.--H.C.] and also
the early prevalence of Mahomedanism, which Rashiduddin 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
continued to be an important body in Yun-nan up to our own day. In 1855
began their revolt against the imperial authority, which for a time
resulted in the establishment of their independence in Western Yun-nan
under a chief whom they called 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.[6]

NOTE 3.--Wheat grows as low as Ava, but there also it is not used by
natives for bread, only for confectionery 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 should 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 Yun-nan 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
half-penny. About 1780 in Eastern Bengal 80 cowries were worth 3/8th 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 they are not now), 80
cowries were worth 3/10 of a penny.

At the time of the Mahomedan conquest of Bengal, early in the 13th
century, they found the currency exclusively composed of cowries, aided
perhaps by bullion in large transactions, but with no coined money. In
remote districts this continued to modern times. When the Hon. Robert
Lindsay 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! Down to 1801 the Silhet revenue
was entirely collected in cowries, but by 1813, the whole was realised in
specie. (_Thomas_, in _J.R.A.S._ N.S. II. 147; _Lives of the Lindsays_,
III. 169, 170.)

Klaproth's statement has ceased to be correct. Lieutenant Garnier found
cowries nowhere in use north of Luang Prabang; and among the Kakhyens in
Western Yun nan these shells are used only for ornament. [However, Mr. E.
H. Parker says (_China Review_, XXVI. p. 106) that the porcelain
money still circulates in the Shan States, and that he saw it there

[Illustration: The Canal at Yun nan fu.]

NOTE 5.--See ch. xlvii. note 4. Martini speaks of a great brine-well to
the N.E. of Yaogan (W.N.W. of the city of Yun-nan), 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 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, I. p. 73.)

[1] Baber writes (p. 107): "The river is never called locally by any other
name than _Kin-ke_ or 'Gold River.'[A] The term _Kin-sha-Kiang_ should
in strictness be confined to the Tibetan course of the stream; as
applied to other parts it is a mere book name. There is no great
objection to its adoption, except that it is unintelligible to the
inhabitants of the banks, and is liable to mislead travellers in
search of indigenous information, but at any rate it should not be
supposed to asperse Marco Polo's accuracy. _Gold River_ is the local
name from the junction of the Yalung to about P'ing-shan; below
P'ing-shan it is known by various designations, but the Ssu-ch'uanese
naturally call it 'the River,' or, by contrast with its affluents, the
'Big River' (_Ta-ho_)." I imagine that Baber here makes a slight
mistake, and that they use the name _kiang_, and not _ho_, for the

[Mr. Rockhill remarks (_Land of the Lamas_, p. 196 note) that "Marco
Polo speaks of the Yang-tzu as the _Brius_, and Orazio della Penna
calls it _Biciu_, both words representing the Tibetan _Dre ch'u_. This
last name has been frequently translated 'Cow yak River,' but this is
certainly not its meaning, as cow yak is _dri-mo_, never pronounced
_dre_, and unintelligible without the suffix, _mo_. _Dre_ may mean
either mule, dirty, or rice, but as I have never seen the word
written, I cannot decide on any of these terms, all of which have
exactly the same pronunciation. The Mongols call it _Murus osu_, and
in books this is sometimes changed to _Murui osu_, 'Tortuous river.'
The Chinese call it _Tung t'ien ho_, 'River of all Heaven.' The name
_Kin-sha kiang_, 'River of Golden Sand,' is used for it from Bat'ang
to Sui-fu, or thereabouts." The general name for the river is
_Ta-Kiang_ (Great River), or simply _Kiang_, in contradistinction to
_Ho_, for _Hwang-Ho_ (Yellow River) in Northern China.--H.C.]

[A] Marco Polo nowhere calls the river "Gold River," the name he
gives it is _Brius_.--H.Y.

[2] Baron Richthofen, who has travelled hundreds of miles in his
footsteps, considers his allowance of time to be generally from 1/4 to
1/9 greater than that now usual.

[3] See _Quatremere's Rashiduddin_, pp. 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 Benakeli, which
Quatremere shows to have been drawn from Rashiduddin, whilst it
contains some particulars not existing in his own text of that author.

[4] The title _Chao_ in _Nan-Chao_ (infra, p. 79) is said by a Chinese
author (Pauthier, 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.

[Regarding the word _Nan-Chao_, Mr. Parker (_China Review_, XX. p.
339) writes "In the barbarian tongue 'prince is _Chao_," says the
Chinese author; and there were six _Chao_, of which the _Nan_ or
Southern was the leading power. Hence the name Nan-Chao ... it is
hardly necessary for me to say that _chao_ or _kyiao_ is still the
Shan-Siamese word for 'prince.' Pallegoix (_Dict._ p. 85) has _Chao_,
Princeps, rex.--H.C.]

[5] _Gandhara_, Arabice _Kandahar_, is properly the country about
Peshawar, _Gandaritis_ of Strabo.

[6] This is printed almost in full in the French _Voyage d'Exploration_,
I. 564.



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.[NOTE 1]

In this country gold-dust is found in great quantities; that is to say in
the rivers and lakes, whilst in the mountains 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 porcelain shells as I mentioned before. These are not found in the
country, however, but are brought from India.[NOTE 2]

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 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 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 ton of liquor had been
dragged along. Now the huntsmen who go after them take them by 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 huntsman 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 huntsmen 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
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.[NOTE 3]

[Illustration: "Riding long like Frenchmen."

"Et encore sachie qe ceste gens chebauchent lonc come franchois."]

[Illustration: Suspension Bridge, neighbourhood of Tali]

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.[NOTE 4] [And I was
told as a fact that many persons, especially those meditating mischief,
constantly 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

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 murdered before
the country was conquered by the Great Kaan. But since his conquest, some
35 years ago, these crimes and this evil practice have prevailed no more;
and this through dread of the Great Kaan who will not permit such
things.[NOTE 5]

NOTE 1.--There can be no doubt 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 _Maung_, and it probably was identical with the Shan
Kingdom of Muang Maorong or of _Pong_, of which Captain Pemberton procured
a Chronicle. [In A.D. 650, the Ai-Lao, the most ancient name by which the
Shans were known to the Chinese, became the Nan-Chao. The Meng family
ruled the country from the 7th century; towards the middle of the 8th
century, P'i-lo-ko, who is the real founder of the Thai kingdom of
Nan-Chao, received from the Chinese the title of King of Yun-Nan and made
T'ai-ho, 15 _lis_ south of Ta-li, his residence; he died in 748. In A.D.
938, Twan Sze-ying, of an old Chinese family, took Ta-li and established
there an independent kingdom. In 1115 embassies with China were exchanged,
and the Emperor conferred (1119) upon Twan Ch'eng-ya the title of King of
Ta-li (_Ta-li Kwo Wang_). Twan Siang-hing was the last king of Ta-li
(1239-1251). In 1252 the Kingdom of Nan-Chao was destroyed by the Mongols;
the Emperor She Tsu (Kublai) gave the title of Maharaja (_Mo-ho Lo-tso_) to
Twan Hing-che (son of Twan Siang-hing), who had fled to Yun-Nan fu and was
captured there. Afterwards (1261) the Twan are known as the eleven
_Tsung-Kwan_ (governors); the last of them, Twan Ming, was made a prisoner
by an army sent by the Ming Emperors, and sent to Nan-King (1381). (_E. H.
Parker, Early Laos and China, China Review_, XIX. and the _Old Thai or Shan
Empire of Western Yun-Nan_, Ibid., XX.; _E. Rocher, Hist. des Princes du
Yunnan, T'oung Pao_, 1899; _E. Chavannes, Une Inscription du roy de Nan
Tchao, J.A._, November-December, 1900; _M. Tchang, Tableau des Souverains
de Nan-Tchao, Bul. Ecole Franc. d'Ext. Orient_, I. No. 4.)--H.C.] The city
of Ta-li was taken by Kublai in 1253-1254. The circumstance that it was
known to the invaders (as appeals from Polo's statement) by the name of the
province is an indication of the fact that it was the capital of Carajan
before the conquest. ["That _Yachi_ and _Carajan_ represent Yuennan-fu and
Tali, is proved by topographical and other evidence of an overwhelming
nature. I venture to add one more proof, which seems to have been

"If there is a natural feature which must strike any visitor to those two
cities, it is that they both lie on the shore of notable lakes, of so
large an extent as to be locally called seas; and for the comparison, it
should be remembered that the inhabitants of the Yuennan province have easy
access to the ocean by the Red River, or Sung Ka. Now, although Marco does
not circumstantially specify the fact of these cities lying on large
bodies of water, yet in both cases, two or three sentences further on,
will be found mention of lakes; in the case of Yachi, 'a lake of a good
hundred miles in compass'--by no means an unreasonable estimate.

"Tali-fu is renowned as the strongest hold of Western Yuennan, and it
certainly must have been impregnable to bow and spear. From the western
margin of its majestic lake, which lies approximately north and south,
rises a sloping plain of about three miles average breadth, closed in by
the huge wall of the Tien-tsang Mountains. In the midst of this plain
stands the city, the lake at its feet, the snowy summits at its back. On
either flank, at about twelve and six miles distance respectively, are
situated Shang-Kuan and Hsia-Kuan (upper and lower passes), two strongly
fortified towns guarding the confined strip between mountain and lake; for
the plain narrows at the two extremities, and is intersected by a river at
both points." (_Baber_, _Travels_ 155.)--H.C.]

The distance from Yachi to this city of Karajang is ten days, and this
corresponds well with the distance from Yun-nan 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 11
marches; Richthofen's information gives 12. Ta-li-fu is a small old city
overlooking its large lake (about 24 miles long by 6 wide), 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 Ta-li from the Ocean.
[Captain Gill (II. pp. 299-300) writes: "Ta-li fu is an ancient city ...
it is the Carajan of Marco Polo.... Marco's description of the lake of
Yun-Nan may be perfectly well applied to the Lake of Ta-li.... The fish
were particularly commended to our notice, though we were told that there
were no oysters in this lake, as there are said to be in that of Yun-Nan;
if the latter statement be true, it would illustrate Polo's account of
another lake somewhere in these regions in which are found pearls (which
are white but not round)."--H.C.]

Ta-li fu was recently the capital of Sultan Suleiman [Tu Wen-siu]. It was
reached by Lieutenant Garnier in a daring detour by the north of Yun-nan,
but his party were obliged to leave in haste on the second day after their
arrival. The city was captured by the Imperial officers in 1873, when a
horrid massacre of the Mussulmans took place [19th January]. The Sultan
took poison, but his head was cut off and sent to Peking. Momein fell soon
after [10th June], and the _Panthe_ kingdom is ended.

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 ESSENTIMUR. It
is probably a mere lapsus or error of dictation calling the latter a son
of the Kaan, for in ch. li. infra, this prince is correctly described as
the Kaan's grandson. Rashiduddin tells us that Kublai had given his son
HUKAJI (or perhaps _Hogachi_, i.e. Cogachin) the government of
Karajang,[1] 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 Esentimur at Yachi, he describes things as they stood when his visit
occurred, whilst in the second reference to "Sentemur's" being King in the
province and his father dead, he speaks from later knowledge. This
interpretation would confirm what has been already deduced from other
circumstances, that his visit to Yun-nan was prior to 1280. (_Pemberton's
Report on the Eastern Frontier_, 108 seqq.; _Quat. Rashid._ pp.
lxxxix-xc.; _Journ. Asiat._ ser. II. vol. i.)

NOTE 2.--[Captain Gill writes (II. p. 302): "There are said to be very
rich gold and silver mines within a few days' journey of the city" (of
Ta-li). Dr. Anderson says (_Mandalay to Momien_, p. 203): "Gold is brought
to Momein from Yonephin and Sherg-wan villages, fifteen days' march to the
north-east; but no information could be obtained as to the quantity found.
It is also brought in leaf, which is sent to Burma, where it is in
extensive demand."--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--It cannot be doubted that Marco's serpents here are crocodiles,
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 crocodile does not bear
this comparison, the prominent _orbits_ do, especially in the case of the
_Ghariyal_ of the Ganges, 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 recognisable 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
crocodile does sometimes frequent holes at a 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 crocodile'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. (_J.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 Nile_?"). Mr. Fergusson tells me he was once much struck
with the _snake-like_ motion of a group of crocodiles hastily descending
to the water from a high sand-bank, without apparent use of the limbs,
when surprised by the approach of a boat.[2]

Matthioli says the gall of the crocodile surpasses all medicines 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
carcass, including a very unsavoury cosmetic. (_Matt._ p. 245; _Spec.
Natur._ Lib. XVII. c. 106, 108.)

["According to Chinese notions, Han Yue, the St. Patrick of China, having
persuaded the alligators in China that he was all-powerful, induced the
stupid saurians to migrate to Ngo Hu or 'Alligators' Lake' in the
Kwang-tung province." (_North-China Herald_, 5th July, 1895, p. 5.)

Alligators have been found in 1878 at Wu-hu and at Chen-kiang (Ngan-hwei
and Kiang-Su). (See _A. A. Fauvel, Alligators in China_, in _Jour. N.
China B.R.A.S._ XIII. 1879, 1-36.)--H.C.]

NOTE 4.--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.
141). Nor can I hear of any race in those regions in modern times that
uses what we should call long stirrups. It is true that the Tartars rode
_very short--"brevissimas habent strepas,"_ as Carpini says (643); and the
Kirghiz Kazaks now do the same. Both Burmese and Shans ride what we should
call short; and Major Sladen observes of the people on the western border
of Yun-nan: "Kachyens 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_.)

[After Yung-ch'ang, Captain Gill writes (II. p. 356): "The manes were
hogged and the tails cropped of a great many of the ponies these men were
riding; but there were none of the docked tails mentioned by Marco

Armour of boiled leather--"_armes cuiraces de cuir bouilli_"; so
Pauthier's text; the material so often mentioned in mediaeval 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 Miau-tzu 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 Lu-tzu of the valley of the Lukiang, of
tribes of the hills of Laos, of the Stiens of Cambodia, and of several of
the Miau-tzu tribes of the interior of China. We give a cut copied from a
Chinese work on the Miau-tzu of Kweichau in Dr. Lockhart's possession,
which shows _three_ little men of the Sang-Miau tribe of Kweichau combining
to mend a crossbow, and a chief with _armes cuiraces_ and _jambeux_
also. [The cut (p. 83) is well explained by this passage of _Baber's
Travels_ among the Lolos (p. 71): "They make their own swords, three and a
half to five spans long, with square heads, and have bows which it takes
three men to draw, but no muskets."--H.C.]

NOTE 5.--I have nowhere met with a _precise_ parallel to this remarkable
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 Volga: "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.)

[Illustration: The Sangmiau Tribe of Kweichau, with the Crossbow. (From a
Chinese Drawing.)

"Ont armes corases de cuir de bufal, et ont lances et scuz et ont

There is some analogy also to the story Polo tells, in the curious Sindhi
tradition, related by Burton, of Baha-ul-hakk, the famous saint of Multan.
When he visited his disciples at Tatta they plotted his death, in order to
secure the blessings of his perpetual presence. The people of Multan are
said to have murdered two celebrated saints with the same view, and the
Hazaras to "make a point of killing and burying in their own country any
stranger indiscreet enough to commit a miracle or show any particular sign
of sanctity." The like practice is ascribed to the rude Moslem of Gilghit;
and such allegations must have been current in Europe, for they are the
motive of _Southey's St. Romuald_:

"'But,' quoth the Traveller, 'wherefore did he leave
A flock that knew his saintly worth so well?'

"'Why, Sir,' the Host replied,
'We thought perhaps that he might one day leave us;
And then, should strangers have
The good man's grave,
A loss like that would naturally grieve us;
For he'll be made a saint of, to be sure.
Therefore we thought it prudent to secure
His relics while we might;
And so we meant to strangle him one night.'"

(See _Sindh_, pp. 86, 388; _Ind. Antiq._ I. 13; _Southey's Ballads_,
etc., ed. Routledge, p. 330.)

[Captain Gill (I. p. 323) says that he had made up his mind to visit a
place called Li-fan Fu, near Ch'eng-tu. "I was told," he writes, "that
this place was inhabited by the Man-Tzu, or Barbarians, as the Chinese
call them; and Monseigneur Pinchon told me that, amongst other pleasing
theories, they were possessed of the belief that if they poisoned a rich
man, his wealth would accrue to the poisoner; that, therefore, the
hospitable custom prevailed amongst them of administering poison to rich
or noble guests; that this poison took no effect for some time, but that
in the course of two or three months it produced a disease akin to
dysentery, ending in certain death."--H.C.]

[1] Mr. E.H. Parker writes (_China Review_, XXIV. p. 106): "Polo's
Kogatin is _Hukoch'ih_, who was made King of Yun-nan in 1267,
with military command over Ta-li, Shen-shen, Chagan Chang,
Golden-Teeth, etc."--H.C.

[2] Though the bellowing of certain American crocodiles is often spoken
of, I have nowhere seen allusion to the roaring of the
_ghariyal_, nor does it seem to be commonly known. I have once
only heard it, whilst on the bank of the Ganges near Rampur Boliah,
waiting for a ferry-boat. It was like a loud prolonged snore; and
though it seemed to come distinctly from a crocodile on the surface of
the river, I made sure by asking a boatman who stood by: "It is the
ghariyal speaking," he answered.



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.[NOTE 1]

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[NOTE 2]
[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.[NOTE 3]

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.[NOTE 4]

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 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.[NOTE 5]

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."
[NOTE 6] 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 in summer is so impure and bad; and
any foreigners attempting it would die for certain.[NOTE 7] When these
people have any business transactions 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.
[NOTE 8]

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 their magicians, that is to say the
Devil-conjurors and those who are the keepers of the 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 shall
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 hath been meddling with the man,[NOTE 9] for that
he hath angered the spirit and done it some despite." Then they say: "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 prostrate
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, an 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.[NOTE 10] Moreover it
shall be announced that the sheep must be all black-faced, or of some
other particular colour as it may hap; and then all those things are to be
offered in sacrifice to such and such a spirit whose name is given.
[NOTE 11] 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 yea! 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 will be pardoned; so this they do.
And when all that the spirit has commanded has been done with great
ceremony, then it shall be 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 presently the
sick man gets sound and well.[NOTE 12]

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.--[Baber writes (_Travels_, p. 171) when arriving to the
Lan-tsang kiang (Mekong River): "We were now on the border-line between
Carajan and Zardandan: 'When you have travelled five days you find a
province called Zardandan,' says Messer Marco, precisely the actual number
of stages from Tali-fu to the present boundary of Yung-ch'ang. That this
river must have been the demarcation between the two provinces is obvious;
one glance into that deep rift, the only exit from which is by painful
worked artificial zigzags which, under the most favourable conditions,
cannot be called safe, will satisfy the most sceptical geographer. The
exact statement of distance is a proof that Marco entered the territory of
Yung-ch'ang." Captain Gill says (II. p. 343-344) that the five marches of
Marco Polo "would be very long ones. Our journey was eight days, but it
might easily have been done in seven, as the first march to Hsia-Kuan was
not worthy of the name. The Grosvenor expedition made eleven marches with
one day's halt--twelve days altogether, and Mr. Margary was nine or ten
days on the journey. It is true that, by camping out every night, the
marches might be longer; and, as Polo refers to the crackling of the
bamboos in the fires, it is highly probable that he found no '_fine
hostelries_' on this route. This is the way the traders still travel in
Tibet; they march until they are tired, or until they find a nice grassy
spot; they then off saddles, turn their animals loose, light a fire under
some adjacent tree, and halt for the night; thus the longest possible
distance can be performed every day, and the five days from Ta-li to
Yung-Ch'ang would not be by any means an impossibility."--H.C.]

NOTE 2.--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_, _Ardadam_, etc.; in
Ramusio as _Cardandan_, correctly enough, only the first letter
should have been printed C. 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 quotations 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 ZARDANDAN,
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. (_De Mailla_, IX.

[Baber writes (p. 159): "In Western Yuennan the betel-nut is chewed with
prepared lime, colouring the teeth red, and causing a profuse
expectoration. We first met with the practice near Tali-fu.

"Is it not possible that the red colour imparted to the teeth by the
practice of chewing betel with lime may go some way to account for the
ancient name of this region, 'Zar-dandan,' 'Chin-Ch'ih,' or
'Golden-Teeth'? Betel-chewing is, of course, common all over China; but
the use of lime is almost unknown and the teeth are not necessarily

"In the neighbourhood of Tali, one comes suddenly upon a lime-chewing
people, and is at once struck with the strange red hue of their teeth and
gums. That some of the natives used formerly to cover their teeth with
plates of gold (from which practice, mentioned by Marco Polo, and
confirmed elsewhere, the name is generally derived) can scarcely be
considered a myth; but the peculiarity remarked by ourselves would have
been equally noticeable by the early Chinese invaders, and seems not
altogether unworthy of consideration. It is interesting to find the name
'Chin-Ch'ih' still in use.

"When Tu Wen-hsiu sent his 'Panthay' mission to England with tributary
boxes of rock from the Tali Mountains, he described himself in his letter
'as a humble native of the golden-teeth country.'"--H.C.]

_Vochan_ seems undoubtedly to be, as Martini pointed out, the city called
by the Chinese YUNG-CH'ANG-FU. Some of the old printed editions read
_Unciam_, i.e. Uncham or Unchan, and it is probable that either this or
_Vocian_, i.e. VONCHAN, was the true reading, coming very close to the
proper name, which is WUNCHEN. (See _J.A.S.B._ VI. 547.) [In an itinerary
from Ava to Peking, we read on the 10th September, 1833: "Slept at the city
Wun-tsheng (Chinese Yongtchang fu and Burmese _Wun-zen_)." (_Chin. Rep._
IX. p. 474):--Mr. F.W.K. Mueller in a study on the Pa-yi language from a
Chinese manuscript entitled _Hwa-i-yi-yue_ found by Dr. F. Hirth in China,
and belonging now to the Berlin Royal Library, says the proper orthography
of the word is _Wan-chang_ in Pa-yi. (_T'oung Pao_, III. p. 20.) This helps
to find the origin of the name _Vochan_.--H.C.] 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 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, 100 feet high, at Nan-ngan, and cover it annually with
gold-leaf. Some additional particulars about the Kin-Chi, in the time of
the Mongols, will be found in Pauthier's notes (p. 398).

[In 1274, the Burmese attacked Yung ch'ang, whose inhabitants were known
under the name of _Kin-Chi_ (Golden-Teeth). (_E. Rocher, Princes du
Yun-nan_, p. 71.) From the Annals of Momein, translated by Mr. E.H. Parker
(_China Review_, XX. p. 345), we learn that: "In the year 1271, the General
of Ta-li was sent on a mission to procure the submission of the Burmese,
and managed to bring a Burmese envoy named Kiai-poh back with him. Four
years later Fu A-pih, Chief of the Golden-Teeth, was utilised as a guide,
which so angered the Burmese that they detained Fu A-pih and attacked
Golden-Teeth: but he managed to bribe himself free. A-ho, Governor of the
Golden-Teeth, was now sent as a spy, which caused the Burmese to advance to
the attack once more, but they were driven back by Twan Sin-cha-jih. These
events led to the Burmese war," which lasted till 1301.

According to the _Hwang-tsing Chi-kung t'u_ (quoted by Deveria, _Front._ p.
130), the _Pei-jen_ were _Kin-chi_ of Pa-y race, and were surnamed
Min-kia-tzu; the Min-kia, according to F. Garnier, say that they come from
Nan-king, but this is certainly an error for the Pei-jen. From another
Chinese work, Deveeria (p. 169) gives this information: The Piao are the
Kin-Chi; they submitted to the Mongols in the 13th century; they are
descended from the people of Chu-po or Piao Kwo (Kingdom of Piao), ancient
Pegu; P'u-p'iao, in a little valley between the Mekong and the Salwen
Rivers, was the place through which the P'u and the Piao entered China.

The Chinese geographical work _Fang-yu-ki-yao_ mentions the name of
Kin-Chi Ch'eng, or city of Kin-Chi, as the ancient denomination of
Yung-ch'ang. A Chinese Pa-y vocabulary, belonging to Professor Deveria,
translates Kin-Chi by Wan-Chang (Yung-ch'ang). (_Deveria, Front._ p.

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 _Kakhyens_ or
_Singphos_, who, excluding Shans, appear to form the greatest body in that
quarter, and are closely akin to each other, indeed essentially identical
in race.[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 Colonel 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 Kin-Chi as north of
Yung-ch'ang. 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). These rings appear on the Kakhyen woman in our cut.

[Illustration: Kakhyens. (From a Photograph.)]

The only other wild tribe spoken of by Major Sladen as attending the
markets on the frontier is that of the _Lissus_ already mentioned by
Lieutenant Garnier (supra, ch. xlvii. note 6), and who are said to
be the most savage and indomitable of the tribes in that quarter. Garnier
also mentions the Mossos, who are alleged once to have formed an
independent kingdom about Li-kiang fu. Possibly, however, the Gold-Teeth
may have become entirely absorbed in the Chinese and Shan population.

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 insertion
of gold studs or spots, which Buerck 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 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. (_Marsden's Sumatra_, 3rd ed., p. 52; _Raffles's Java_, I. 105;
_Bickmore's Ind. Archipelago_.)

[In his second volume of _The River of Golden Sand_, Captain Gill has two
chapters (viii. and ix.) with the title: _In the footsteps of Marco Polo
and of Augustus Margary_ devoted to _The Land of the Gold-Teeth_ and _The
Marches of the Kingdom of Mien_.--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--This is precisely the account which Lieutenant Garnier 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_, etc., p. 34.)

NOTE 4.--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, where it
formerly existed, as it does still or did recently, in some Basque
districts of Spain. [In a paper on _La Couvade chez les Basques_,
published in the _Republique Francaise_, of 19th January, 1877, and
reprinted in _Etudes de Linguistique et a' Ethnographie par A. Hovelacque
et Julien Vinson_, Paris, 1878, Prof. Vinson quotes the following curious
passage from the poem in ten cantos, _Luciniade_, by Sacombe, of
Carcassonne (Paris and Nimes, 1790):

"En Amerique, en Corse, et chez l'Iberien,
En France meme encor chez le Venarnien,
Au pays Navarrois, lorsqu'une femme accouche,
L'epouse sort du lit et le mari se couche;
Et, quoiqu'il soit tres sain et d'esprit et de corps,
Contre un mal qu'il n'a point l'art unit ses efforts.
On le met au regime, et notre faux malade,
Soigne par l'accouchee, en son lit fait _couvade_:
On ferme avec grand soin portes, volets, rideaux;
Immobile, on l'oblige a rester sur le dos,
Pour etouffer son lait, qui gene dans sa course,
Pourrait en l'etouffant remonter vers sa source.
Un mari, dans sa couche, au medecin soumis,
Recoit, en cet etat, parents, voisins, amis,
Qui viennent l'exhorter a prendre patience
Et font des voeux au ciel pour sa convalescence."

Professor Vinson, who is an authority on the subject, comes to the
conclusion that it is not possible to ascribe to the Basques the custom of
the _couvade_.

Mr. Tylor writes to me that he "did not quite begin the use of this good
French word in the sense of the 'man-child-bed' as they call it in
Germany. It occurs in Rochefort, _Iles Antilles_, and though Dr.
Murray, of the English Dictionary, maintains that it is spurious, if so,
it is better than any genuine word I know of."--H.C.] "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 neighbours."

The nearest people to the Zardandan of whom I find this custom elsewhere
recorded, is one called _Langszi_,[2] a small tribe of aborigines in
the department of Wei-ning, in Kweichau, but close to the border of
Yun-nan: "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 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 especially and widely prevailed in South
America, not only among the Carib races of Guiana, of the Spanish Main,
and (where still surviving) of the West Indies, but among many tribes of
Brazil and its borders from the Amazons to the Plate, and among the
Abipones of Paraguay; it also exists or has existed among the aborigines
of California, in West Africa, in Bouro, one of the Moluccas, and among a
wandering tribe of the Telugu-speaking districts of Southern India.
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 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

--"Chineses go to bed
And lie in, in their ladies' stead."

The custom is humorously introduced, as Pauthier has noticed, in the
Mediaeval 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;
Il 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 oir
Si comme mes ancessor fist," etc.

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 practical
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 uncivilised man. I must refer to Mr. Tylor's interesting
remarks on the rationale of the custom, for they do not bear abridgment.
Professor Max Mueller humorously suggests that "the treatment which a
husband receives among ourselves at the time of his wife's confinement,
not only from mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and other female relations,
but from nurses, and from every consequential maid-servant in the house,"
is but a "survival," as Mr. Tylor would call it, of the _couvade_; or
at least represents the same feeling which among those many uncivilised
nations thus drove the husband to his bed, and sometimes (as among the
Caribs) put him when there to systematic torture.

(_Tylor Researches_, 288-296; _Michel, Le Pays Basque_, p. 201;
_Sketches of the Meau-tsze_, transl. by _Bridgman_ in _J. of North China
Br. of R. As. Soc._, p. 277; _Hudibras_, Pt. III., canto I. 707; _Fabliaus
et Contes par Barbazan, ed. Meon_, I. 408-409; _Indian Antiq._ III. 151;
_Mueller's Chips_, II. 227 seqq.; many other references in TYLOR, and in a
capital monograph by Dr. H.H. Ploss of Leipzig, received during revision
of this sheet: '_Das Mannerkindbett_.' What a notable example of the
German power of compounding is that title!)

[This custom seems to be considered generally as a survival of the
matriarchate in a society with a patriarchal regime. We may add to the
list of authorities on this subject: _E. Westermarck, Hist. of Human
Marriage_, 106, seqq.; _G. A. Wilken, De Couvade bij de Volken v.d.
Indischen Archipel, Bijdr. Ind. Inst._, 5th ser., iv. p. 250. Dr. Ernest
Martin, late physician of the French Legation at Peking, in an article on
_La Couvade en Chine_ (_Revue Scientifique_, 24th March, 1894), gave a
drawing representing the couvade from a sketch by a native artist.

In the _China Review_ (XI. pp. 401-402), "Lao Kwang-tung" notes these
interesting facts: "The Chinese believe that certain actions performed by
the husband during the pregnancy of his wife will affect the child. If a
dish of food on the table is raised by putting another dish, or anything
else below it, it is not considered proper for a husband, who is expecting
the birth of a child, to partake of it, for fear the two dishes should
cause the child to have two tongues. It is extraordinary that the caution
thus exercised by the Chinese has not prevented many of them from being
double-tongued. This result, it is supposed, however, will only happen if
the food so raised is eaten in the house in which the future mother
happens to be. It is thought that the pasting up of the red papers
containing antithetical and felicitous sentences on them, as at New Year's
time, by a man under similar circumstances, and this whether the future
mother sees the action performed or not, will cause the child to have red
marks on the face or any part of the body. The causes producing _naevi
materni_ have probably been the origin of such marks, rather than the idea
entertained by the Chinese that the father, having performed an action by
some occult mode, influences the child yet unborn. A case is said to have
occurred in which ill effects were obviated, or rather obliterated, by the
red papers being torn down, after the birth of the infant, and soaked in
water, when as the red disappeared from the paper, so the child's face
assumed a natural hue. Lord Avebury also speaks of _la couvade_ as
existing among the Chinese of West Yun-Nan. (_Origin of Civilisation and
Primitive Condition of Man_, p. 18)."

Dr. J.A.H. Murray, editor of the _New English Dictionary_, wrote, in
_The Academy_, of 29th October, 1892, a letter with the heading of
_Couvade, The Genesis of an Anthropological Term_, which elicited an
answer from Dr. E.B. Tylor (_Academy_, 5th November): "Wanting a general
term for such customs," writes Dr. Tylor, "and finding statements in books
that this male lying-in lasted on till modern times, in the south of
France, and was there called _couvade_, that is brooding or hatching
(_couver_), I adopted this word for the set of customs, and it has since
become established in English." The discussion was carried on in _The
Academy_, 12th and 19th November, 10th and 17th December; Mr. A.L. Mayhew
wrote (12th November): "There is no doubt whatever that Dr. Tylor and
Professor Max Mueller (in a review of Dr. Tylor's book) share the glory of
having given a new technical sense to an old provincial French word, and
of seeing it accepted in France, and safely enshrined in the great
Dictionary of Littre."

Now as to the origin of the word; we have seen above that Rochefort was
the first to use the expression _faire la couvade_. This author, or at
least the author (see _Barbier, Ouvrages anonymes_) of the _Histoire
naturelle ... des Iles Antilles_, which was published for the first time
at Rotterdam, in 1658, 4to., writes: "C'est qu'au meme tems que la femme
est delivree le mary se met au lit, pour s'y plaindre et y faire
l'acouchee: coutume, qui bien que Sauvage et ridicule, se trouve
neantmoins a ce que l'on dit, parmy les paysans d'vne certaine Province de
France. Et ils appellent cela _faire la couvade_. Mais ce qui est de
facheus pour le pauvre Caraibe, qui s'est mis au lit au lieu de
l'acouchee, c'est qu'on luy fait faire diete dix on douze jours de suite,
ne luy donnant rien par jour qu'vn petit morceau de Cassave, et un peu
d'eau dans la quelle on a aussi fait boueillir un peu de ce pain de
racine.... Mais ils ne font ce grand jeusne qu'a la naissance de leur
premier enfant ..." (II. pp. 607-608).

Lafitau (_Maeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains_, I. pp. 49-50) says on the
authority of Rochefort: "Je la trouve chez les Iberiens ou les premiers
Peuples d'Espagne ... elle est aujourd'hui dans quelques unes de nos
Provinces d'Espagne."

The word _couvade_, forgotten in the sense of lying-in bed, recalled by
Sacombe, has been renovated in a happy manner by Dr. Tylor.

As to the custom itself, there can be no doubt of its existence, in spite
of some denials. Dr. Tylor, in the third edition of his valuable _Early
History of Mankind_, published in 1878 (Murray), since the last edition of
_The Book of Ser Marco Polo_, has added (pp. 291 seqq.) many more proofs
to support what he had already said on the subject.

There may be some strong doubts as to the _couvade_ in the south of
France, and the authors who speak of it in Bearn and the Basque Countries
seem to have copied one another, but there is not the slightest doubt of
its having been and of its being actually practised in South America.
There is a very curious account of it in the _Voyage dans le Nord du
Bresil_ made by Father Yves d'Evreux in 1613 and 1614 (see pp. 88-89 of
the reprint, Paris, 1864, and the note of the learned Ferdinand Denis, pp.
411-412). Compare with _Durch Central-Brasilien ... im Jahre_ 1884 _von
K.v. den Steinen_. But the following extract from _Among the Indians of
Guiana_.... _By Everard im Thurn_ (1883), will settle, I think, the

"Turning from the story of the day to the story of the life, we may begin
at the beginning, that is, at the birth of the children. And here, at
once, we meet with, perhaps, the most curious point in the habits of the
Indians; the _couvade_ or male child-bed. This custom, which is common to
the uncivilized people of many parts of the world, is probably among the
strangest ever invented by the human brain. Even before the child is born,
the father abstains for a time from certain kinds of animal food. The
woman works as usual up to a few hours before the birth of the child. At
last she retires alone, or accompanied only by some other women, to the
forest, where she ties up her hammock; and then the child is born. Then in
a few hours--often less than a day--the woman, who, like all women living
in a very unartificial condition, suffers but little, gets up and resumes
her ordinary work. According to Schomburgk, the mother, at any rate among
the Macusis, remains in her hammock for some time, and the father hangs
his hammock, and lies in it, by her side; but in all cases where the
matter came under my notice, the mother left her hammock almost at once.
In any case, no sooner is the child born than the father takes to his
hammock and, abstaining from every sort of work, from meat and all other
food, except weak gruel of cassava meal, from smoking, from washing
himself, and, above all, from touching weapons of any sort, is nursed and
cared for by all the women of the place. One other regulation, mentioned
by Schomburgk, is certainly quaint; the interesting father may not scratch
himself with his finger-nails, but he may use for this purpose a splinter,
specially provided, from the mid-rib of a cokerite palm. This continues
for many days, and sometimes even weeks. _Couvade_ is such a wide-spread
institution, that I had often read and wondered at it; but it was not
until I saw it practised around me, and found that I was often suddenly
deprived of the services of my best hunters or boat-hands, by the
necessity which they felt, and which nothing could persuade them to
disregard, of observing _couvade_, that I realized its full strangeness.
No satisfactory explanation of its origin seems attainable. It appears
based on a belief in the existence of a mysterious connection between the
child and its father-far closer than that which exists between the child
and its mother,--and of such a nature that if the father infringes any of
the rules of the _couvade_, for a time after the birth of the child, the
latter suffers. For instance, if he eats the flesh of a water-haas
(_Capybara_), a large rodent with very protruding teeth, the teeth of the
child will grow as those of the animal; or if he eats the flesh of the
spotted-skinned labba, the child's skin will become spotted. Apparently
there is also some idea that for the father to eat strong food, to wash,
to smoke, or to handle weapons, would have the same result as if the
new-born babe ate such food, washed, smoked, or played with edged tools"
(pp. 217-219.)

I have to thank Dr. Edward B. Tylor for the valuable notes he kindly sent

NOTE 5.--"The abundance of gold in Yun-nan is proverbial in China, so
that if a man lives very extravagantly they ask if his father is governor
of Yun-nan." (_Martini_, p. 140.)

Polo has told us that in Eastern Yun-nan the exchange was 8 of silver for
one of gold (ch. xlviii.); in the Western division of the province 6 of
silver for one of gold (ch. xlix.); and now, still nearer the borders of
Ava, 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 uncivilised 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 Yun-nan, 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 Zardandan.
Garnier's map shows several argentiferous sites in the Valley of the

In another work[3] 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 shown grounds for believing that in India, and
generally over civilised Asia, the ratio was 10 to 1. In Pauthier's
extracts from the _Yuen-shi_ 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. Ten to
1 must have continued to be the relation in China down to about the end of
the 17th century if we may believe Lecomte; but when Milburne 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[4]
the relative values are about the same as in Europe, viz. 1 to 15-1/2 or 1
to 16; but in Canton, in 1844, they were 1 to 17; and Timkowski states
that at Peking in 1821 the finest gold was valued at 18 to 1. And as
regards the precise territory of which this chapter speaks I find in
Lieutenant Bower's Commercial Report on Sladen's Mission that the price of
pure gold at Momein in 1868 was 13 times its weight in silver (p. 122);
whilst M. Garnier mentions that the exchange at Ta-li in 1869 was 12 to 1
(I. 522).

Does not Shakspeare 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:

"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_, etc., p. ccl. and p. 442; _Lecomte_, II. 91; _Milburne's
Oriental Commerce_, II. 510; _Sonnerat_, II. 17; _Hedde, Etude, Pratique_,
etc., p. 14; _Williams, Chinese Commercial Guide_, p. 129; _Timkowski_,
II. 202; _Alcock_, I. 281; II. 411, etc.)

NOTE 6.--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 7.--Dr. Anderson confirms the depressing and unhealthy character of
the summer climate at Momein, though standing between 5000 and 6000 feet
above the sea (p. 41).

NOTE 8.--"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, when a child, to have seen 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.)

[According to Father Crabouillet (_Missions Cath._ 1873, p. 105), the
Lolos use tallies for their contracts; Dr. Harmand mentions (_Tour du
Monde_, 1877, No. VII.) the same fact among the Khas of Central Laos; and
M. Pierre Lefevre-Pontalis _Populations du nord de l'Indo-Chine_, 1892,
p. 22, from the _J. As._ says he saw these tallies among the Khas of

"In Illustration of this custom I have to relate what follows. In the
year 1863 the Tsaubwa (or Prince) of a Shan Province adjoining Yun-nan 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 9.--Compare Mr. Hodgson's account of the sub-Himalayan 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 10.--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 11.--And again: "The god in question is asked what sacrifice he
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 12.--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_. (_Ann. de la Prop. de la Foi_, XXXVI. 323, and
XXXVII. 312-313.)

"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, 'I 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.)

See also the account of the Samoyede _Tadibei_ or Devil-dancer in
Klaproth's _Magasin Asiatique_ (II. 83).

In fact these strange rites of Shamanism, devil-dancing, or what not, are
found with wonderful identity of character among the non-Caucasian 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 infection of
Turanian blood breaking out from the very heart of Mussulman orthodoxy.

Dr. Caldwell has given a striking account of the practice of devil-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. Sometimes, to help him to work
himself up into a frenzy, he uses medicated draughts, cuts and lacerates
himself till the blood flows, lashes himself 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 possession 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
respecting 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, pp. 19-20.)

[1] "_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, pp. 3-4.) If, however, the Kakhyens, or
_Kachyens_ (as Major Sladen calls them), are represented by the
_Go-tchang_ of Pauthier's Chinese extracts, these seem to be
distinguished from the Kin-Chi, though associated with them. (See pp.
397, 411.)

[2] [Mr. E.H. Parker (_China Review_, XIV. p. 359) says that Colonel
Yule's _Langszi_ are evidently the _Szilang_, one of the six
_Chao_, but turned upside down.--H.C.]

[3] _Cathay_, etc., pp. ccl. seqq. and p. 441.

[4] Written in 1870.



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,[NOTE 1] the Great Kaan sent a large
force into the kingdoms of Carajan and Vochan, to protect them from the
ravages of ill-disposed people; 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.[NOTE 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

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 men.[NOTE 3] And besides these, he had of horsemen and
of footmen good 60,000 men. In short, he equipped a fine force, as well
befitted such a puissant prince. It was indeed a host capable of doing
great things.

And what shall I tell you? When the king had completed 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

NOTE 1.--This date is no doubt corrupt. (See note 3, ch. lii.)

NOTE 2.--MIEN is the name by which the kingdom of Burma or Ava was and is
known to the Chinese. M. Garnier informs me that _Mien-Kwe_ or
_Mien-tisong_ is the name always given in Yun-nan to that kingdom, whilst
the Shans at Kiang Hung call the Burmese _Man_ (pronounced like the English

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. He also married an Indian princess, the
daughter of the King of _Wethali_ (i. e, _Vaicali_ 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-Kara_, a part of
Bengal.[1] 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
Alaungtsi-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 _Kala-Kya Meng_ 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 _Narasinha-pati_), the king
reigning at the time of the Mongol invasion.

All these circumstances show tolerably close relations between Burma and
Bengal, and also _that the dynasty then reigning in Burma was descended
from a Bengal stock_. Sir Arthur Phayre, after noting these points,
remarks: "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
6th September, 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 1823-1824, 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 this would even 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 Borri 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; _Jord._, p. 26; _Philost._
trad. par _A. Chassaing_, liv. II. c. ii.; _Ibn Bat._ II. 223; _N. and
E._ XIV. 510; _Cochin China_, etc., London, 1633, ed. 3; _Armandi, Hist.
Militaire des Elephants_, 259 seqq. 442.)

[1] Sir A. Phayre thinks this may have been _Vikrampur_, 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-Kara_ is apparently an attempt to represent some Hindi
name such as _Patthargarh_, "The Stone-Fort."



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.[NOTE 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,
consisting of 12,000 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
meantime 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 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.[NOTE 2]

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

So when the Tartars saw that the elephants had turned tail and could not
be brought to face the fight 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 the
blows exchanged. The king's troops were far more in number than the
Tartars, but they were not of such metal, 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.[NOTE 3]

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 heard.

NOTE 1.--_Nescradin_ for Nesradin, as we had _Bascra_ for Basra.

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. Nasr-uddin retained
his position in Yun-nan 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 Fu-chau. (See _Cathay_, pp. 265, 268, and
_D'Ohsson_, II. 507-508.)

Nasr-uddin (_Nasulating_) is also frequently mentioned as employed on this
frontier by the Chinese authorities whom Pauthier cites.

[Na-su-la-ding [Nasr-uddin] was the eldest of the five sons of the
Mohammedan Sai-dien-ch'i shan-sze-ding, Sayad Ajil, a native of Bokhara,
who died in Yun-nan, where he had been governor when Kublai, in the reign
of Mangu, entered the country. Nasr-uddin "has a separate biography in ch.
cxxv of the _Yuen-shi_. He was governor of the province of Yun-nan, and
distinguished himself in the war against the southern tribes of _Kiao-chi_
(Cochin-China) and _Mien_ (Burma). He died in 1292, the father of twelve
sons, the names of five of which are given in the biography, viz.
_Bo-yen-ch'a-rh_ [Bayan], who held a high office, Omar, Djafar, Hussein,
and Saadi." (_Bretschneider, Med. Res._ I. 270-271). Mr. E.H. Parker
writes in the _China Review_, February-March, 1901, pp. 196-197, that the
Mongol history states that amongst the reforms of Nasr-uddin's father in
Yun-nan, was the introduction of coffins for the dead, instead of burning

[NOTE 2.--In his battle near Sardis, Cyrus "collected together all the
camels that had come in the train of his army to carry the provisions and
the baggage, and taking off their loads, he mounted riders upon them
accoutred as horsemen. These he commanded to advance in front of his other
troops against the Lydian horse.... The reason why Cyrus opposed his
camels to the enemy's horse was, because the horse has a natural dread of
the camel, and cannot abide either the sight or the smell of that
animal.... The two armies then joined battle, and immediately the Lydian
warhorses, seeing and smelling the camels, turned round and galloped off."
(_Herodotus_, Bk. I. i. p. 220, _Rawlinson's_ ed.)--H.C.]

NOTE 3.--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 Yung-ch'ang 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

Book of the day: