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0207 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 207 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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palace. The wall (of the palace ?) is ninety cubits high and ninety thick ; on the top of it is a stream of water throwing off sixty branches, one at every gate. Each branch flows down the street and back to the palace, so that every street has a double canal flowing this way and that. The one supplies water, the other acts as a drain.l There is a great temple inclosure, greater than that of Jerusalem, inside of which are images and a great pagoda. The constitution of the government is very elaborate, and the laws are strict. No animals are slaughtered for food, and to kill them is a capital offence. The traveller found the king most accomplished, intelligent, and benevolent, and enjoyed his hospitality until the terms of the marriage were settled, and the princess was then committed to the escort of two hundred slaves and three hundred handmaidens to be taken to Khorasan to Noah Ben Nasr.

Leaving Sindabil, the traveller proceeded to the sea-coast and halted at KALAH, the first city of India (from the east) and the extreme point made by ships going in that direction. If they go past it they are lost. This is a great city with high walls, gardens, and canals. Here are the mines of lead called Qala'i, which is found in no part of the world except QALA'11.2 Here also are made the swords of Qala'h, the best in India. The inhabitants rebel against their king or obey him, just as they please. Like the Chinese, they do not slaughter animals (i.e., are Buddhists). The Chinese frontier is three hundred parasangs from their territory. Their money is of silver, worth three dirhems, and is called Fahri. Their king is under the King of the Chinese, and they pray for him and have a temple dedicated to him.

From Kalah Ibn Muhalhal proceeds to the PEPPER COUNTRY, by which

This is all very obscure in the Latin. I have tried to interpret into consistent meaning.

2 This difference of spelling is in the original. Kalah or Kalah-bar is spoken of by the authors of the Relations as one month's voyage from Kaulam, and as midway between Oman and China, and as a great central point of trade in aloes, camphor, sandal, ivory, the lead called al-gala's, ebony, brazil-wood, and spices, i.e. of the products of the Archipelago. Reinaud is very wild about the position of this Kalah, and whether he means it to be a port on the Coromandel coast, the Kalliana of Kosmas (i.e. a port on the West of India), or Pt. de Galle in Ceylon, is difficult to discern. It seems to me certain that it is a port of. the Archipelago. representing in a general way the modern Singapore or Malacca, and very possibly identical with Kadah (Quedah) as M. Maury has suggested. M. Reinaud objects to " the lead called al-qala'i" being translated tin, though all the light he throws on it is a suggestion that it is the brass which Cosmas says was exported from Kalliana. Yet qala'i is the word universally used in Hindustani for the tinning of pots and pans, and I see F. Johnston's Persian Dictionary simply defines it as tin. This product sufficiently fixes Kalah as in or near the Malay Peninsula. Edrisi also places the mine of qala'i at that place.

I should not have enlarged on this if Sir E. Tennent had not in his Ceylon followed up and expanded the suggestion of Reinaud that Kalah was Pt. de Galle. He refers to the arguments of Dulaurier in the Journ. Asiat., but there does not seem to be much force in them.