Chapter 22

Arabia (Tashi) -- Chau Ju Kua's Works Simplified

January 17, 2022
Activity Method
Trade Bullion
Food Cereals, Mutton

The Arabs are to the very far northwest of Guangzhou. This makes it hard for foreign ships to trade to it directly.

After these ships have left Guangzhou, they arrive in Srilanka after 40 days to to trade. The next year, they go out to sea again and make the journey in 60 days in regular wind.

Their products are brought to Palembang Sumatra where they are forwarded by merchants to China.

Arabia is powerful and warlike. Its area is very large. Its inhabitants are pre-eminent among all foreigners for their distinguished bearing.

The climate is mostly cold with snow falling to 2-3 feet. This makes rugs valuable.

Its capital is Misuli (some make it to be Malopa), an important trade center for foreigners.

The king wears a turban of silk brocade and foreign cotton.

On each new moon and full moon, he puts on an eight-sided flat-topped headdress of pure gold, set with the most precious jewels in the world. His robe is of sik brocade and is bound around him with a jade girdle.

He wears golden shoes. His residence has pillars arc of

(Note= It as transparent is as crystal), the tiles of rock-crystal, the bricks of green stone (^ ^(“jasper?), and the mortar of hvo stone (y^ ^). The curtains and screens are of brocade with rich designs woven in all kinds of colour in silk and pure gold thread.

The king’s throne is set with pearls and precious stones, and the steps The various of the throne are covered with pure gold. around the throne are of gold or 20 the screen behind screen, and it. silver, vessels and utensils and precious pearls are knotted in In great court ceremonies the king sits behind this on either side, protecting him, «the ministers of state surround him)) bearing golden bucklers and helmets and armed with precious swords. command of them has the ^f); each of some twenty thousand horsemen. The horses are seven feet high and are shod His other 25 (Note: moon he puts on an full cornelian stone, the walls of lu-kan stone (^|j 15 falling to :f^), is an important centre for the trade of «The king wears a turban of ^. snow much «officers are called with iron. Tai-wei His army is (^ brave and excels in all military exercises.

The is streets of the capital are more than broad; in the middle 50 feet use of camels, a roadway twenty feet broad and four feet high for the convenience of for the and oxen carrying goods about. On either side, horses, 30 pedestrians' business, there are sidewalks paved with green and black (or ^ blueish black, H) flagstones of surpassing beauty.

The houses are like those of the Chinese, except they use instead of tiles difference that here thin flagstones (slates?) are

The food 85 strips of fraits is dough is and other cereals;

mutton stewed with considered a delicacy. The poor live on sour only; sweet dishes are preferred to made out

consists of rice of the juice of grapes, and there decoction of sugar and

is also spices.

fish, fine vegetables and

Wine the drink (called) ssi By mixing of honey and116

spices they is make very heating

a drink (called) mei-ssi’ta-Ma

Very rich persons use a measure instead of scales in business

transactions in gold or silver. «The markets» are noisy and bustling, and «are with great store of gold and silver damasks, brocades, and such like filled wares. The The have the true artisans king, the officials and the people

They also have .

Every Buddha by the name also a spirit» ( JC artistic of all Ma-hia-wu whole month they The peasants work At and chant prayers fast Daily they pray to Heaven serve (or revere 7 days they cut their hair and clip their finger nails. for a Heaven. Every the New Year and sow their is that an official supplied by a river whose source There hundred (^) is appointed to watch the river and to who then plough people, 20- a great harbour (or anchorage -j^ feet deep, bank it rise& ^. which opens connecting with either is not in progress, the level of the 15 is when he sunmions the level, is “When they have had enough water, the river returns fields. to its former level H)' ' river remains even with the banks; with the beginning of cultivation it is in this country, over to the south-east on the sea,

quarters of the country all of the harbour daily are held fairs fish, The products two and has branches

On the people have their dwellings and here boats and wagons, all ), where crowd

loaded with hemp, wheat, millet, beans, sugar, meal, sheep, geese, ducks, lo their fields without fear of inundations or droughts; known. During the season when no cultivation await the highest water ^ five times. a sufficiency of water for irrigation day by day. Then j^ 5 shrimps, date-cakes (^ oil, 25 firewood, fowls,

grapes and other fruits.

Its exports are:

  • pearls
  • ivory
  • rhinoceros horns
  • frankincense
  • ambergris
  • putchuck
  • cloves
  • nutmegs
  • benzoin
  • aloes
  • myrrh
  • dragon’s-blood
  • asofoetida
  • wu-na-isH,
  • borax,
  • opaque and transparent glass,
  • rose-water, yellow wax,
  • nut-galls, tm-lo cottonades

shell, coral,

  • cat’s-eyes soft
  • gardenia flowers,
  • gold brocades
  • camel’s-hair cloth,
  • foreign satins

The foreign traders bring them to Sumatra and to Kedah to barter.

Their dependencies are:

  • Malomo

  • Shiho

  • Lossimei

  • Mukulan

  • Kieliki

  • Pinoye

  • Ilu

  • Baghdad (Paita)

  • Ssi-lien

  • Pailien

  • Nufa

  • Yassipauhien

  • Puhualo

  • Tsongpa


  • Pipalo (Ethiopia)

Arab Coast

  • Yemen (Wupa)
  • Oman (Wongli)
  • Kish


  • Makia
  • Pissilo
  • Ghazni (Kitzini)
  • Herat (Wussili)

This country was originally a branch of the Persians. Around 605-617, a high-minded and wise Persian found a stone in a deep hole bearing an inscription, and this he took for a good omen.

So he got the people together, took weapons by force and enrolled followers, increased in number until he became powerful enough to make himself king. He then conquered Western Possi.

Since 650-656, they have come repeatedly to our Court to present tribute.

Abu’l ‘Abbds) they called «Black-robed Ta-shi[» “. were

In the fourth year of the kHen-to period of the reigning dynasty (A. U, 25 (^ 966) the bonze Hing-k’in this occasion sympathy In an (Imperial) HJj) journeyed letter to their toi the Western Regions; on king was granted to enlist his “. the’ first year of the k’ai-pau period (A. D. 968) they sent envoys with tribute to our Court.

In 971, they sent presents with South Vietnam and Java to Li Yu in Kiang-nan. Yu did not go to accept them, so the envoys submitted the matter to the Court, and an Order in Council was issued forbidding that tribute presents should henceforth be brought.

In 993, they sent tribute through the Assistant Envoy Liawu who stated, at an audience granted him in the Ch’ung-chong Audience Hall (of the Palace), that his country bordered on Baghdad and that it produced ivory and rhinoceros horns.

The Emperor Taitsung asked him how rhinoceros and elephants were captured.

He replied= To capture elephants, we use decoy elephants to get near them. We then catch them with a big lasso. To bow and arrow

To capture a rhinoceros, a man with a big bow and arrow climbs a big tree, where he shoots it. The young rhinoceros are not shot as they can be caught.

The envoy was presented with a court dress, a hat and girdle, and, besides these, with as much gold as the tribute presents were worth

In 986, Arab envoys came to Court with a mission from the Pintunglung country.

In 1003, they sent Mani and others a tribute of pearls and a request that return presents should not be made them.

Nevertheless, Emperor Chon-tsung gave them extraordinary honours before returning home.

In 1004, the Arab envoy remained behind at the capital, together with the envoys from Sumatra, and Pukan, to celebrate the Feast of Lanterns where they were treated to their heart’s content with money and wine.

In 1007, they accompanied a tribute mission from Southern Vietnam and were treated with most particular attention,. They were allowed to visit the Buddhist and Taoist temples and the Imperial gardens and parks.

In 1008-1017, while the Emperor was absent in the eastern part of the poses, the chief Topoli — 1017), while the Empire for sacrificial pur- expressed the wish to be’allowed to 25 present his tribute presents in person (to the Emperor) on the T’ai-shan (where he had gone to sacrifice).

In 1011, while the Emperor had gone to Fonyin to make sacrifices, the envoy (T’o-p’o-li) came again, and was ordered by the Emperor to follow the Court.

According to an old Cantonese tradition, an Arab man named Wusihuluhua 130 years. He had double ear-beadings and an extraordinarily imposing aspect. Stated that long ago, impelled by the journey to China. gown and a silver girdle, to” He himself his high regard for the civilization of the 35 Empire, he had embarked on a ship of the Ku-lo ("^ made He country and had The Emperor presented him with a brocade which he added a piece of silk

1205— 1208) 1094

In 1086-1094 and 1205-1208, the Arabs sent missions to Court with tribute.

An Arab trader named of Shi-na-wei, living in Canton disdained wealth, but was charitable and filled with Arabian spirit.

He built a charnel house in the south-western corner of the suburb as a last resting-place for the abandoned bodies of foreign traders.

The Customs Inspector Lin Chiki has recorded this.

30. Mecca

Mecca can be reached by 80 days land westward travel from Basra (Malopa).

This is where Mohammad was born. In the house of God, the walls are made of precious stones of every colour.

During the death anniversary of Mohammad, all the Arabs gather here where they bring presents of gold, silver, jewels and precious stones. Then the House is adorned anew with silk brocade.

Farther there is the tomb of the Buddha. Continually by day and at this place such a brilliant refulgence is can approach there oif he who does it

Whosoever from this tomb,

that no one loses his sight. in the hour of his death rubs his breast with dirt taken will, they say, be restored to life again by the power of the Buddha. Note.

of The journey from Mirbat on the H^dramaut coast, through the Tehama (south-west coast Arabia) to Mecca was the old trade-route of the Sabeans, it is presumably the one referred to in our text. The whole of Mecca, which reached is 15 country of Ma-li-pa. (^ House (^)-of is taken from Ch6u K’tt-fei (3,2*’). He says= aThere is the country one journeys for eighty days and more westward by land from the of this chapter It is ^) if the place, where the Buddha Ma-hia-wu (Mohammed) was born. In the Buddha, the facings of the walls of the rooms are of precious stones ~)j every colour. Every year, when the anniversary of the Buddha’s death comes roiind, all of the the princes of the Ta-shi send people bearing presents of jewels, gold and silver, and they cover the House (yjf i. e., the Kaaba) with silk brocades. Yearly the (various) countries (of the ^^ 20 Ta-shi) come here to visit the House and to offer prayers. Furthermore the high countries are not deterred by a journey of a myriad U; they ccFarther off (literally, Bbehind» .:i^) there night there eyes is tomb and smears it on his breast, he K’ii-fei is, is restored to lam aware, of Mohammed (|$ so far as ^ ^^’^ the life, first officials of these assemble to worship the House. the tomb of the Buddha, where day and such a brilliant refulgence that no one can approach (’^ BM’ Chou is all ^^ it, those who do shut dying and takes some so great is the power of dirt this from their oif this Buddha!» Chinese author who wrote of Mecca. The ^) (^ (22l’’,23) speaks and of Medina =|n[ Jjjj ^|5), of the Black Stone of the Kaaba, but not of Mecca. It gives, however, some interesting information about Islam which our author might with advantage have incorporated in his work^ Among other 30 things, it speaks of the five daily prayers to the nSpirit of Heavenu (^^ )Iiw)i ^°^ of the mosques, which it calls li-t’ang (mp ^), and which can hold many hundreds of people. aHere T’ang-shu every seven days the king from a high seat speaks to those below saying= ‘Those who die fighting shall be born in Heaven; those who The oHouse 85 kill an enemy of the Buddha)) of Chou’s text shall receive happiness)). is not the Prophet’s birthplace (Maulid el Naby) Mecca, but the oHouse of Allah» (Bayt Ullah), better known as the Kaaba or ocube housei); has the same sense. In the Yuan and Ming periods Mecca was the Chinese name {~fj ~^)j ^^ abbreviation of the earlier name. called «The Heavenly square)) in ^) (^ Burton, Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah, II, 278 says that the birthday of the Prophet (twelfth of the month Eabi’ el Auwal) is celebrated in Mecca with great festivities, feasts, 40 prayers and perusals of the Koran. On the brilliant light which is said to emanate from the tomb of the Prophet, con£ what Barthema, who was in Medina in 1503, says ofit in his travels (Purchas, His Pilgrimes, IX, 66). When visiting the tomb of the Prophet, the Elders who accompanied him and the Captain of his party suddenly cried out; awe asked what was the cause of that exclamation. The Elders 45 answered= Saw you, not the lightning which shone out of the Sepulchre of the Prophet Mahumet, Our Captaine answered, that he saw nothing; and we also being demanded, answered in like It is therefore to be understood, that none other shining came out of the Sepulchre, than a (iertaine flame which the Priests caused to come out of the place of the Tower spoken of here before, whereby they would have deceived us)). manner . .’ 1)23 ZANGUEBAK. 126 Burton, op. cit., I, 309, n. 311, n., says that there is a superstitious story connected with, the that when the tomb of the Prophet (Masjid El Nabawi or .(Prophet’s Mosque») in Medina, tomb a new kiswah, the over place to baldaquin eunuchs who have charge of the tomb enter the from the tomb. pour which splendours supernatural the against veils they guard their eyes with at once blinded by These eunuchs say that anyone who ventures to approach the tomb would be the supernatural light.

24. Bandar Abbas (Tsongpa)

Bandar Abbas is on an island of the sea south of Gujarat. It has a great mountain to the West.

The Arabs wrap themselves in blue foreign cotton stuffs and wear red leather shoes.

Their daily food consists of meal, baked cakes and mutton.

There are many villages, and a succession of wooded hills and terraced rocks.

The climate is warm, and there is no cold season.

Their exports are:

  • elephants’ tusks
  • native gold
  • ambergris
  • yellow sandal-wood

Every year, Gujarat and the Arabs send ships to trade here with:

  • white cotton cloth
  • porcelain
  • copper
  • red cotton