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0208 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 208 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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nameMalabar is often styled,1 and thence to the foot of Mount Kaffir, on which there are great cities, one of which is KAMRUN, from which comes the green wood called Handal Kamruni. There also is the city called SANF, which gives its name to the Sanfi aloes-wood. At another foot of the mountain towards the north is the city called SAIMUR, whose inhabitants are of great beauty, and said to be descended from Turks and Chinese. From this place also the SAIMURI wood is named, though it is only brought thither for sale, etc.2 After describing JAJALI, a city on a great mountain overlooking the sea, he goes to KASHMIR, where there is a great observatory made of Chinese iron which is indestructible ;3 thence to KABUL and its chief city THABAN (see supra, p. clxxxv). He then returns rapidly to the shore of the Indian Sea, and describes the city called MANDURAFIN (or KIN), a place which has not been identified; and thence to KULAM, where grow teak, brazil, and bamboos, and respecting which various other perplexing particulars are stated. From the cities of the shore he visits MULTAN, where he gives a romancing description of the great idol so celebrated among the early Arab invaders.4 According to Abu Dulif it was a hundred cubits high, and hung suspended in air, without support, a hundred cubits from the ground. Thence he goes to MANSURA and DABIL, etc.5

1 E.g., see Ibn Batuta infra, p. 476, and Cosmas, supra, p. clxxvii.

2 This passage is a strange jumble, but it may be doubted whether the author has been fairly represented in the extracts. For in Gildemeister (p. 70) will be found a quotation from Kazwini which seems to represent the same passage, in which the cities named are Kamarnn, Kumâ,r, and Sanf, but nothing is said of Saimur. Kamri'tn is generally understood to be intended for Icamrûp or Assam, though the notices of Abulfeda (ib., p. 191) leave this very doubtful. Sanf is Champa, and Kumar has been spoken of at pp. 469, 519 infra. Saimur was the name of a seaport not far from Bombay, the exact site of which has not been ascertained. According to Reinaud it is the Simylla of Ptolemy and the Periplus, and perhaps the Chimolo of Hiwen Thsang (Vie de H. T., p. 420). It seems to be called by Al-Biruni Jaimur. He puts it south of Tanah in the country of Ldrdn (see Reinaud's Mem. sur l'Inde in Atem. Acad., p. 220, and his extracts in J. As., ser. iv, tom. iv, p. 263-4). Putting all these forms of the name together, and looking to the approximate position, it seems likely that the old name was something like Chaimul or Chânwul, and that the port was no other than CHAUL, some thirty miles south of Bombay, which continued to be a noted port down to the seventeenth century.

3 Compare Pliny at p. xliii, as to Seric iron.

4 According to Edrisi the image was mounted on a throne of plastered brick. The temple was in the form of a dome (probably the Hindu bulging pyramidal spire) which was gilt ; the walls were painted. When Multan was taken in the time of the Khalif Walid by Mahomed Ibn Kasiln, he left the temple of the idol standing, but hung a piece of beef round the neck of the latter (Edrisi, i, 167; Reinaud, MMlem., p. 185). As to Daibal see p. lxxix supra. Mansura, the capital of the Musulman conquerors of Sind, was two parasangs from the old Hindu city of Bahmanabad; and this lay on an old channel forty-three miles to the north-west of Haidarabad (see Proc. R. G. S., vol. x, p. 131).