Chapter 4

Cambodia (Chonla)

Activity Method
Trade Barter

Cambodia is south of South Vietnam.

  • West of Cambodia is Bagan Myanmar (Pukan)
  • South of it is Thailand (Kialohi)

This can be reached from Guanzhou by ship in a month on a good wind.

  • It has an area of 7000 square li
  • Its capital is Luwu
  • There is no cold weather
  • Its administrative divisions are similar to those of South Vietnam.

The king’s clothing is similar to that of South Vietnam. But the ceremonial at his court is more elaborate. His carriage is drawn by horses or oxen.

The people live in houses with sides of bamboo matting and thatched with reeds.

  • Only the king resides in a palace of hewn stone.

It has a granite lotus some 300 odd.

The palace buildings are solidly built and richly ornamented.

The king’s throne is made of gharu-wood and the 7 precious substances.

  • The dais is jewelled, with supports of veined wood (ebony?).
  • The screen (behind the throne) is of ivory.

When all the ministers of state have audience, they make 3 full prostrations at the foot of the throne. They then kneel with hands crossed on their breasts, in a circle round the king, and discuss state affaris.

When they have finished, they make another prostration and retire.

In the south-west corner (of the capital) there is a bronze tower, on which are 24 bronze pagodas guarded by 8 bronze elephants, each weighing 4,000 catties.

There are some 200,000 war elephants and many small horses.

The people are devout Buddhists. There are, some 300 foreign women, called a-nan or slave dancing-girls, who dance and offer food to the Buddha.

Lewdness is not considered criminal.

Theft is punished by:

  • cutting off a hand and a foot and
  • branding on the chest

The incantations of their Buddhist and Taoist priests have magical powers.

  • The Buddhists with yellow robes can marry.
  • Those in red robes lead ascetic lives in temples.

The Taoists clothe themselves with leaves and have a deity called Potoli which they worship with great devotion.

The people keep their:

  • right hand clean
  • left hand unclean

They use the right hand to mix their rice with any kind of meat broth.

The soil is rich and loamy.

  • The fields have no bounds.

Each one takes as much as he can cultivate.

Rice and cereals are cheap: for every tael of lead, one can buy 2 bushels of rice.

The native products are:

  • elephants’ tusks
  • the chan and su varieties of gharu-wood
  • yellow wax
  • kingfisher’s feathers, which are most plentiful in this country
  • dammar resin and gourd dammar
  • foreign oils
  • ginger peel
  • gold coloured incense
  • sapan-wood
  • raw silk
  • cotton fabrics

For these, foreign traders offer:

  • gold
  • silver
  • porcelain-ware
  • satinets
  • kittysols
  • skin (covered) drums
  • samshu
  • sugar
  • preserves
  • vinegar.

The following foreign countries are all dependencies of Cambodia:

  • Tongliumei
  • Possilan
  • Lohu
  • Sanlo
  • Choulifu
  • Malowon
  • Luyang
  • Tunlifu
  • Bagan Myanmar (Pukan)
  • Wali
  • Sipong
  • Tuhuaisun

Since ancient times, Cambodia has had close neighbourly relations with South Vietnam and sent it a yearly tribute of gold.

But on the 15th of the 5th lunar month of 1177, the South Vietnamese ruler surprised Luwu with its fleet. The Cambodians refused their demands and were slaughtered.

From that time, the bitterest enmity and a thirst for revenge existed among the Cambodians.

In 1199, Cambodia invaded South Vietnam and has to this day become a dependency of Cambodia.

From 618-627, Cambodia had initial relations with China. It sent its first tribute in 1120.

Cambodia is bounded on the south by Thailand (Kialohi), a dependency of Palembang Sumatra.


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