Part 28

Cubebs -- Chau Ju Kua's Works Simplified


Pitongkie come from a plant of creeping habits, which blossoms in the spring and bears fruit in the summer, resembling the kienniutzi. It has a white flower and black seeds, which are packed up after being dried in the sun.

It is grown in Central Java.

29. Asofatida

A-wei comes from the country of Mukulan in Arabia.

The tree is not a very high or large one, but the resin exudes freely from its bark.

The natives wind a piece of string round a twig, remove its tip and cover it with a bamboo tube which fills with resin.

The bamboo tube is broken up in the winter, when the resin is gathered and packed in skin bags.

Some say that this resin is so poisonous that people do not dare to come near it themselves, but, when the drug has to be gathered, tie up a sheep at the foot of the tree and shoot arrows at it from a distance.

The poison of the resin then drops upon the sheep, which dies of it, and its decayed flesh turns into asofaetida.

I do not know which of the two accounts is correct, meanwhile they are both placed here on record.

30. Aloes

Luwei comes from the land of Nufa of the Arab country.

It derived from a vegetable product, which looks like the tail of a king-crab.

The natives gather it and pound it with implements made of jadestone, after which it is boiled into an ointment and packed in skin bags, and this is called luwei.


The shanhushu comes from the country of Pinoye of the Arabs.

The tree grows in the deepest parts of the sea. Its colour is at first white, as the buds form and the twigs put forth, after rather more than a year, the colour gradually turns yellow, and the branches begin to interlace.

The greatest height it attains is three or four feet, and large specimens are a foot in circumference.

The natives, in fishing for it, first make use of a grappling iron of five prongs fastened to a silk rope.

It is kept under water by leaden sinkers. The whole apparatus is thrown into the sea.

When the root has been detached, the rope is made fast to the boat and the tree is hauled on board through a windlass.

They are not always sure to get the whole tree, though probably they will get a branch.

At first

and hardens when exposed The higher the missed, tree, the first to the air,

is hauled on board by means to get the (whole) tree, though pro- covered with a slimy coating, it dries up 20 and then assumes a dull carnation colour.

sea. boat and the tree bably they will get a branch. At of a grappling-iron of five is kept under water by leaden sinkers, the whole apparatus being thrown into the the rope make use

more valuable it is.

If the proper time for fishing is missed, it will be destroyed by worms.