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0364 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 364 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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22. Of the land called Thalamasin, and of the trees that give flour, and other marvels.

Near to this country is another which is called PANTEN, but others call it THALAMASYN, the king whereof hath many islands Under him.' Here be found trees that produce flour, and some that produce honey, others that produce wine,' and

1 There are many places which might be supposed to answer in sound to the first of these names, Bantam, Bintang, Bandan, Patani, etc., but no one of them has a good claim to identification with it. And the probable meanings of the word have so large an application, as my respected friend Mr. Crawfurd tells me, (in Malay, Pantai or Pante, shore or beach, Pantan or Pantian, a place on the beach; Javanese, Panti, a dwelling, etc.), that they point to no definite locality. Thala Masyn, the same authority considers to be probably intended for (Malay or Javanese) Talaga Masin, The Salt Lake", though with the remark that he knows of no place so called in the Archipelago. (Might it not stand for Tanamasin, " Salt Land ?")

What, then, are the characteristics of the region to which Odoric gives these names ? They are as follows :—That it lies between Java and Champa ; that it produces sago and toddy palms ; a virulent vegetable poison and great bamboos and rattans; the use of amulets inserted under the skin ; the use of the sumpitali or blow-pipe; and its adjacency to the Southern Ocean. All these characters but the last apply to nearly the whole Archipelago. The last appears to confine our choice to the southern part of Borneo, Celebes, and the Moluccas. It is not improbable that Banjarmasin (Banjar, Order, Array, Masin, Salt, generally rendered Salt Garden) is meant. This was • established as a semi-civilised state in the eleventh century, and was tributary to Majapahit in the flourishing time of that monarchy.

I may mention, however, as suggestive for further examination, that in Steiler's Hand-Atlas, a river-delta which is shown on the coast of Biru in the east of Borneo is marked Panteh ; and that Crawfurd's own map in his Dict. of the Indian Islands marks almost at the same spot a place called Talysian. Again, that the emporium of Cambodian trade three centuries ago was called Ponteamas, which has also some resemblance to a combination of the names assigned by Odoric. And, lastly, that in Extracts of the Japanese Encyclopædia, given by Remusat, there occurs, in a list of foreign countries, the name of Tanmaling, as that of a region ten days south of Cambodia. It is moreover followed in the list by Kwawa or Java, so that it would appear to hold the same position in regard to those two countries that Odoric's Panten does. (Remusat, Mel. As., ii, 166.)

As in India, so in the islands, various palms furnish sugar and toddy. But the most important provision of these in the Archipelago comes from