PRELIMINARY ESSAY. CVii
the interval (some sixty years) since the first part of the book was composed. Events had happened which had entirely stopt the Arab trade with China, had thrown that country into anarchy, and had destroyed its power. He then proceeds to relate this revolution, which was due to a rebel whom. he calls Bgnshoa, who, after sacking many cities of the empire, including Khanfu, which he took in A.H.264 (A.D. 878), at length marched against the capital. The emperor fled to the frontiers of Tibet ; but, after obtaining the aid of the King of the Taghazghaz (a great Turkish tribe), was enabled to renew the struggle and to regain his throne. His capital, however, was in ruins ; his power and treasure had vanished ; his generals had perished, and the best of his soldiers. The provinces had been seized by rapacious adventurers who scarcely made a pretence of allegiance. Foreign merchants and shipmasters were bullied, insulted, and plundered; the staple industries of the country were destroyed ; trade could not go on ; and thus the misfortunes and anarchy of China carried ruin to many families in distant Siraf and Oman.
Klaprothl has pointed out the correspondence of this statement with the account in the Chinese Annals of the rebellion of Hwangchao, here called Banshoa, at the time mentioned by Abu Zaid ; one of those tremendous insurrections which seem to recur in China almost periodically. The chief cities of the empire, including (880) Loyang and Changgan, the two imperial capitals, really fell into the hands of this chief, who declared himself emperor, but was eventually beaten from them by the aid of Turki auxiliaries. The Chinese account of the insubordination continuing to prevail in the provinces after the emperor's restoration, also corresponds almost in so many words with that of the Arab writer.2
82. Abu Zaid adds to the notes of his predecessor many interesting particulars regarding India and the Islands, as well as regarding China. In reference to the latter country he gives a curious account of a visit which an acquaintance of his own, Ibn Wahab of Basra, paid to KHUMDAN, the capital of China (see
Tab. Historiques, p. 223-230.
Reinauci, i, p. 66-67 ; Chine Ancienne, p. 330.