The Travels of Marco Polo, by Marco Polo

Book Second. — Continued.

Part iii. — Journey Southward Through Eastern Provinces of Cathay and Manzi.

LX., p. 133.


The Rev. A.C. MOULE (T’oung Pao, July, 1915, p. 417) says that “Ciang lu [Ch’anglu] was not, I think, identical with Ts’ang chou,” but does not give any reason in support of this opinion.


“To this day the sole name for this industry, the financial centre of which is T’ien Tsin, is the ‘Ch’ang-lu Superintendency.’” (E.H. PARKER, As. Quart. Review, Jan., 1904, p. 147.) “The ‘Ch’ang-lu,’ or Long Reed System, derives its name from the city Ts’ang chou, on the Grand Canal (south of T’ientsin), once so called. In 1285 Kúblái Khan ‘once more divided the Ho-kien (Chih-li) and Shan Tung interests,’ which, as above explained, are really one in working principle. There is now a First Class Commissary at Tientsin, with sixteen subordinates, and the Viceroy (who until recent years resided at Pao ting fu) has nominal supervision.” (PARKER, China, 1901, pp. 223–4.)

“Il y a 10 groupes de salines, Tch’ang, situés dans les districts de Fou ning hien, Lo t’ing hien, Loan tcheou, Fong joen hien, Pao tch’e hien, T’ien tsin hien, Tsing hai hien, Ts’ang tcheou et Yen chan hien. Il y a deux procédés employés pour la fabrication du sel: 1° On étale sur un sol uni des cendres d’herbes venues dans un terrain salé et on les arrose d’eau de mer; le liquide qui s’en écoule, d’une densité suffisante pour faire flotter un ceuf de poule ou des graines de nénuphar, Che lien, est chauffé pendant 24 heures avec de ces mêmes herbes employées comme combustible, et le sel se dépose. Les cendres des herbes servent à une autre opération. 2° L’eau de mer est simplement évaporée au soleil. . . . L’administrateur en chef de ce commerce est le Vice-roi même de la province de Tche-li.” (P. HOANG, Sel, Variétés Sinologiques, No. 15, p. 3.)

LXI., pp. 136, 138.


“Le titre chinois de tsiang kiun ‘général’ apparâit toujours dans les inscriptions de l’Orkhon sous la forme sänün, et dans les manuscrits turcs de Tourfan on trouve sangun; ces formes avaient prévalu en Asie centrale et c’est à elles que répond le sangon de Marco Polo” (éd. Yule–Cordier, II., 136, 138). PELLIOT, Kao tch’ang, J. As., Mai–Juin, 1912, p. 584 n.

LXI., p. 138.


“For Li T’an’s rebellion and the siege of Ts’i-nan, see the Yüan Shih, c. v, fol. 1, 2; c. ccvi, fol. 2x°; and c. cxviii, fol. 5r’o. From the last passage it appears that Aibuga, the father of King George of Tenduc, took some part in the siege. Prince Ha-pi-ch’i and Shih T’ien-tsê, but not, that I have seen, Agul or Mangutai, are mentioned in the Yüan Shih.” (A. C. MOULE, T’oung Pao, July, 1915, p. 417.)

LXII., p. 139.


This is Ts’i ning chau. “Sinjumatu was on a navigable stream, as Marco Polo expressly states and as its name implies. It was not long after 1276, as we learn from the Yüan Shih (lxiv), that Kúblái carried out very extensive improvements in the waterways of this very region, and there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the ma-t’ou or landing-place had moved up to the more important town, so that the name of Chi chou had become in common speech Sinjumatu (Hsin-chou-ma-t’ou) by the time that Marco Polo got to know the place.” (A.C. MOULE, Marco Polo’s Sinjumatu, T’oung Pao, July, 1912, pp. 431–3.)

LXII., p. 139 n.


“Et si voz di qu’il ont un fluns dou quel il ont grant profit et voz dirai comant. Il est voir qe ceste grant fluns vient de ver midi jusque à ceste cité de Singuimatu, et les homes de la ville cest grant fluns en ont fait deus: car il font l’une moitié aler ver levant, et l’autre moitié aler ver ponent: ce est qe le un vait au Mangi, et le autre por le Catai. Et si voz di por verité que ceste ville a si grant navile, ce est si grant quantité, qe ne est nul qe ne veisse qe peust croire. Ne entendés qe soient grant nés, mès eles sunt tel come besogne au grant fluns, et si voz di qe ceste naville portent au Mangi e por le Catai si grant abondance de mercandies qe ce est mervoille; et puis quant elles revienent, si tornent encore cargies, et por ce est merveieliosse chouse à veoir la mercandie qe por celle fluns se porte sus et jus.” (Marco Polo, Soc. de Geog., p. 152.)

LXIV., p. 144.


The Rev. A.C. Moule writes (T’oung Pao, July, 1915, p. 415): “Hai chou is the obvious though by no means perfectly satisfactory equivalent of Caigiu. For it stands not on, but thirty or forty miles from, the old bed of the river. A place which answers better as regards position is Ngan tung which was a chou (giu) in the Sung and Yuan Dynasties. The Kuang-yü-hsing-shêng, Vol. II., gives Hai Ngan as the old name of Ngan Tung in the Eastern Wei Dynasty.”

LXIV., p. 144 n.

“La voie des transports du tribut n’était navigable que de Hang tcheou au fleuve Jaune, [Koublai] la continua jusqu’auprès de sa capitale. Les travaux commencèrent en 1289 et trois ans après on en faisait l’ouverture. C’était un ruban de plus de (1800) mille huit cents li (plus de 1000 kil.). L’étendue de ce Canal, qui mérite bien d’être appelé impérial (Yu ho), de Hang Tcheou à Peking, mesure près de trois mille li, c’est-à-dire plus de quatre cents lieues.” GANDAR, Le Canal Impérial, 1894, pp. 21–22. Kwa Chau (Caiju), formerly at the head of the Grand Canal on the Kiang, was destroyed by the erosions of the river.

LXV., p. 148 n.

Instead of Kotan, note 1, read Kitan. “The ceremony of leading a sheep was insisted on in 926, when the Tungusic–Corean King of Puh-hai (or Manchuria) surrendered, and again in 946, when the puppet Chinese Emperor of the Tsin Dynasty gave in his submission to the Kitans.” (E.H. PARKER, As. Quart. Rev., January, 1904, p. 140.)

LXV., p. 149.


It is interesting to note that the spoils of Lin Ngan carried to Khan Balig were the beginning of the Imperial Library, increased by the documents of the Yuen, the Ming, and finally the Ts’ing; it is noteworthy that during the rebellion of Li Tze-ch’eng, the library was spared, though part of the palace was burnt. See N. PERI, Bul. Ecole franç. Ext. Orient, Jan.-June, 1911, p. 190.

LXVIII., p. 154 n.


Regarding Kingsmill’s note, Mr. John C. Ferguson writes in the Journal North China Branch Roy. As. Soc., XXXVII., 1906, p. 190: “It is evident that Tiju and Yanju have been correctly identified as Taichow and Yangchow. I cannot agree with Mr. Kingsmill, however, in identifying Tinju as Ichin-hien on the Great River. It is not probable that Polo would mention Ichin twice, once before reaching Yangchow and once after describing Yangchow. I am inclined to believe that Tinju is Hsien-nü-miao [Chinese], a large market-place which has close connection both with Taichow and Yangchow. It is also an important place for the collection of the revenue on salt, as Polo notices. This identification of Tinju with Hsien-nü-miao would clear up any uncertainty as to Polo’s journey, and would make a natural route for Polo to take from Kao yu to Yangchow if he wished to see an important place between these two cities.”

LXVIII., p. 154.


In a text of the Yuen tien chang, dated 1317, found by Prof. Pelliot, mention is made of a certain Ngao-la-han [Abraham?] still alive at Yang chau, who was, according to the text, the son of the founder of the Church of the Cross of the ãrkägün (Ye-li-k’o-wen she-tze-sze), one of the three Nestorian churches of Yang-chau mentioned by Odoric and omitted by Marco Polo. Cf. Cathay, II., p. 210, and PELLIOT, T’oung Pao, 1914, p. 638.

LXX., p. 167.


Prof. E.H. PARKER writes in the Journ. of the North China Branch of the Roy. As. Soc., XXXVII., 1906, p. 195: “Colonel Yule’s note requires some amendment, and he has evidently been misled by the French translations. The two Mussulmans who assisted Kúblái with guns were not ‘A-la-wa-ting of Mu-fa-li and Ysemain of Huli or Hiulie,’ but A-la-pu-tan of Mao-sa-li and Y-sz-ma-yin of Shih-la. Shih-la is Shiraz, the Serazy of Marco Polo, and Mao-sa-li is Mosul. Bretschneider cites the facts in his Mediaeval Notes, and seems to have used another edition, giving the names as A-lao-wa-ting of Mu-fa-li and Y-sz-ma-yin of Hü-lieh; but even he points out that Hulagu is meant, i.e. ‘a man from Hulagu’s country.’”

LXX., p. 169.


“Captain Gill’s testimony as to the ancient ‘guns’ used by the Chinese is, of course (as, in fact, he himself states), second-hand and hearsay. In Vol. XXIV. of the China Review I have given the name and date of a General who used p’ao so far back as the seventh century.” (E.H. PARKER, Asiatic Quart. Rev., Jan., 1904, pp. 146–7.)

LXXIV., p. 179 n.


According to the Yuen Shi and Devéria, Journ. Asiat., Nov.-Dec., 1896, 432, in 1229 and 1241, when Okkodai’s army reached the country of the Aas (Alans), their chief submitted at once and a body of one thousand Alans were kept for the private guard of the Great Khan; Mangu enlisted in his bodyguard half the troops of the Alan Prince, Arslan, whose younger son Nicholas took a part in the expedition of the Mongols against Karajang (Yun Nan). This Alan imperial guard was still in existence in 1272, 1286, and 1309, and it was divided into two corps with headquarters in the Ling pei province (Karakorúm). See also Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches, II., pp. 84–90.

The massacre of a body of Christian Alans related by Marco Polo (II., p. 178) is confirmed by Chinese sources.

LXXIV., p. 180, n. 3.


See Notes in new edition of Cathay and the Way thither, III., pp. 179 seq., 248.

The massacre of the Alans took place, according to Chinese sources, at Chen-ch’ao, not at Ch’ang chau. The Sung general who was in charge of the city, Hung Fu, after making a faint submission, got the Alans drunk at night and had them slaughtered. Cf. PELLIOT, Chrétiens d’Asie centrale et d’Extrême-Orient, T’oung Pao, Dec., 1914, p. 641.

LXXVI., pp. 184–5.


The Rev. A.C. Moule has given in the T’oung Pao, July, 1915, pp. 393 seq., the Itinerary between Lin Ngan (Hang Chau) and Shang Tu, followed by the Sung Dynasty officials who accompanied their Empress Dowager to the Court of Kúblái after the fall of Hang Chau in 1276; the diary was written by Yen Kwang-ta, a native of Shao King, who was attached to the party.

The Rev. A.C. Moule in his notes writes, p. 411: “The connexion between Hu-chou and Hang-chou is very intimate, and the north suburb of the latter, the Hu-shu, was known in Marco Polo’s day as the Hu-chou shih. The identification of Vughin with Wu-chiang is fairly satisfactory, but it is perhaps worth while to point out that there is a place called Wu chên about fifty li north of Shih-mên; and for Ciangan there is a tempting place called Ch’ang-an chên just south of Shih-mên on a canal which was often preferred to the T’ang-hsi route until the introduction of steam boats.”

LXXVI., p. 192. “There is one church only [at Kinsay], belonging to the Nestorian Christians.”

It was one of the seven churches built in China by Mar Sarghis, called Ta p’u hing sze (Great Temple of Universal Success), or Yang yi Hu-mu-la, near the Tsien k’iao men. Cf. Marco Polo, II., p. 177; VISSIÈRE, Rev. du Monde Musulman, March, 1913, p. 8.

LXXVI., p. 193.


Chinese Atlas in the Magliabecchian Library.

The Rev. A.C. Moule has devoted a long note to this Atlas in the Journ. R. As. Soc., July, 1919, pp. 393–395. He has come to the conclusion that the Atlas is no more nor less than the Kuang yü t’u, and that it seems that Camse stands neither for Ching-shih, as Yule thought, nor for Hang chau as he, Moule, suggested in 1917, but simply for the province of Kiangsi. (A Note on the Chinese Atlas in the Magliabecchian Library, with reference to Kinsay in Marco Polo.)

Mr. P. von Tanner, Commissioner of Customs at Hang chau, wrote in 1901 in the Decennial Reports, 1892–1901, of the Customs, p. 4: “While Hangchow owes its fame to the lake on the west, it certainly owes its existence towards the south-west to the construction of the sea wall, called by the Chinese by the appropriate name of bore wall. The erection of this sea wall was commenced about the year A.D. 915, by Prince Ts’ien Wu-su; it extends from Hang Chau to Chuan sha, near the opening of the Hwang pu. . . . The present sea wall, in its length of 180 miles, was built. The wall is a stupendous piece of work, and should take an equal share of fame with the Grand Canal and the Great Wall of China, as its engineering difficulties were certainly infinitely greater. . . . The fact that Marco Polo does not mention it shows almost conclusively that he never visited Hang Chau, but got his account from a Native poet. He must have taken it, besides, without the proverbial grain of salt, and without eliminating the over-numerous ‘thousands’ and ‘myriads’ prompted less by facts than by patriotic enthusiasm and poetical licence.”

LXXVI., p. 194 n.


In the heart of Hang-chau, one of the bridges spanning the canal which divides into two parts the walled city from north to south is called Hwei Hwei k’iao (Bridge of the Mohamedans) or Hwei Hwei Sin k’iao (New Bridge of the Mohamedans), while its literary name is Tsi Shan k’iao (Bridge of Accumulated Wealth); it is situated between the Tsien k’iao on the south and the Fung lo k’iao on the north. Near the Tsi Shan k’iao was a mosk, and near the Tsien k’iao, at the time of the Yuen, there existed Eight Pavilions (Pa kien lew) inhabited by wealthy Mussulmans. Mohamedans from Arabia and Turkestan were sent by the Yuen to Hang-chau; they had prominent noses, did not eat pork, and were called So mu chung (Coloured-eye race). VISSIÈRE, Rev. du Monde Musulman, March, 1913.

LXXVI., p. 199.


Pelliot proposes to see in Khanfu a transcription of Kwang-fu, an abridgment of Kwang chau fu, prefecture of Kwang chau (Canton). Cf. Bul. Ecole franç Ext. Orient, Jan.-June, 1904, p. 215 n., but I cannot very well accept this theory.

LXXX., pp. 225, 226. “They have also [in Fu Kien] a kind of fruit resembling saffron, and which serves the purpose of saffron just as well.”

Dr. Laufer writes to me: “Yule’s identification with a species of Gardenia is all right, although this is not peculiar to Fu Kien. Another explanation, however, is possible. In fact, the Chinese speak of a certain variety of saffron peculiar to Fu Kien. The Pen ts’ao kang mu shi i (Ch. 4, p. 14 b) contains the description of a ‘native saffron’ (t’u hung hwa, in opposition to the ‘Tibetan red flower’ or genuine saffron) after the Continued Gazetteer of Fu Kien, as follows: ‘As regards the native saffron, the largest specimens are seven or eight feet high. The leaves are like those of the p’i-p’a (Eriobotrya japonica), but smaller and without hair. In the autumn it produces a white flower like a grain of maize (Su-mi, Zea mays). It grows in Fu Chou and Nan Ngen Chou (now Yang Kiang in Kwang Tung) in the mountain wilderness. That of Fu Chou makes a fine creeper, resembling the fu-yung (Hibiscus mutabilis), green above and white below, the root being like that of the ko (Pachyrhizus thunbergianus). It is employed in the pharmacopeia, being finely chopped for this purpose and soaked overnight in water in which rice has been scoured; then it is soaked for another night in pure water and pounded: thus it is ready for prescriptions.’ This plant, as far as I know, has not yet been identified, but it may well be identical with Polo’s saffron of Fu Kien.”

LXXX., pp. 226, 229 n.


Tarradale, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, May 10, 1915.

In a letter lately received from my cousin Mr. George Udny Yule (St. John’s College, Cambridge) he makes a suggestion which seems to me both probable and interesting. As he is at present too busy to follow up the question himself, I have asked permission to publish his suggestion in The Athenaeum, with the hope that some reader skilled in mediaeval French and Italian may be able to throw light on the subject.

Mr. Yule writes as follows:—

“The reference [to these fowls] in ‘Marco Polo’ (p. 226 of the last edition; not p. 126 as stated in the index) is a puzzle, owing to the statement that they are black all over. A black has, I am told, been recently created, but the common breed is white, as stated in the note and by Friar Odoric.

“It has occurred to me as a possibility that what Marco Polo may have meant to say was that they were black all through, or some such phrase. The flesh of these fowls is deeply pigmented, and looks practically black; it is a feature that is very remarkable, and would certainly strike any one who saw it. The details that they ‘lay eggs just like our fowls,’ i.e., not pigmented, and are ‘very good to eat,’ are facts that would naturally deserve especial mention in this connexion. Mr. A.D. Darbishire (of Oxford and Edinburgh University) tells me that is quite correct: the flesh look horrid, but it is quite good eating. Do any texts suggest the possibility of such a reading as I suggest?”

The references in the above quotation are, of course, to my father’s version of Marco Polo. That his nephew should make this interesting little contribution to the subject would have afforded him much gratification.


The Athenaeum, No. 4570, May 29, 1915, p. 485.

LXXX., pp. 226, 230.


“I may observe that the Pêh Shï (or ‘Northern Dynasties History’) speaks of a large consumption of sugar in Cambodgia as far back as the fifth century of our era. There can be no mistake about the meaning of the words sha-t’ang, which are still used both in China and Japan (sa-to). The ‘History of the T’ang Dynasty,’ in its chapter on Magadha, says that in the year 627 the Chinese Emperor ‘sent envoys thither to procure the method of boiling out sugar, and then ordered the Yang-chou sugar-cane growers to press it out in the same way, when it appeared that both in colour and taste ours excelled that of the Western Regions’ [of which Magadha was held to be part].” (E.H. PARKER, Asiatic Quart. Rev., Jan., 1904, p. 146.)


LXXXII., p. 237.

M.G. Ferrand remarks that Tze tung = [Arabic], zitun in Arabic, inexactly read Zaytun, on account of its similitude with its homonym [Arabic], zyatun, olive. (Relat de Voy., I., p. 11.)

LXXXII., pp. 242–245.

“Perhaps it may not be generally known that in the dialect of Foochow Ts’üan-chou and Chang-chou are at the present day pronounced in exactly the same way — i.e., ‘Chiong-chiu,’ and it is by no means impossible that Marco Polo’s Tyunju is an attempt to reproduce this sound, especially as, coming to Zaitun viâ Foochow, he would probably first hear the Foochow pronunciation.” (E.H. PARKER, Asiatic Quart. Rev., Jan., 1904, p. 148)

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