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0379 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 379 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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all manner of victuals whatever that are used by mankind. And all the people of this country are traders and artificers, and no man ever seeketh alms, however poor he be, as long as he can do anything with his own hands to help himself.' [But those who are fallen into indigence and infirmity are well looked after and provided with necessaries]

The men, as to their bodily aspect, are comely enough, but colourless, having beards of long straggling hairs like mousers,—cats I mean. And as for the women, they are the most beautiful in the world !

29. Of the great city Censcalan.

The first city to which I came in this country was called CENSCALAN,3 and 'tis a city as big as three Venices. It is

4   one day's voyage from the sea, standing upon a certain river,

in China to that of great public festivals in Europe. (Rel. della Cina,

i   1643, p. 7).

1 Davis notices the "cheerful industry" of the Chinese as a characteristic which is the first to strike all visitors of China." (Chinese, i, 200).


s This name, which is grievously mangled in most of the MSS. and

editions of Odoric, is the Cynkalan of Marignolli, the Sinkalcn of Ibn Batuta, the Chtnkaldn of Rashideddin and Wassaf the Persian historians of the Mongols, and represents, I believe, without doubt the modern Canton. Odoric's description of it as the first port reached by him, with its great estuary and vast amount of shipping, points to this identification. Ibn Batuta tells us the great junks fbr the Indian trade were built only at Zaitun and at Sinkalân. Now Zaitun, Canton, and Kanfu are known to have been the three ports for Indian trade ; and of the first and third Ibn Batuta speaks by those names, but does not mention Canton unless it be Sinkalân. He also speaks more than once of the space from Khanbalik to Sinkalân, as of the Dan and Beersheba of China, whilst the latter city is said to adjoin barbarous and. cannibal tribes. All this points to Canton. Rashideddin too indicates its position as south of the port of Zaitun.

Cincalan will also be found in its proper place, i.e. as the first port of China from the south, in the extraordinary Catalan map of 1375.

The name I have no doubt is Persian, with the meaning ascribed to it by Marignolli, Great China," and is, therefore, simply a translation of Mahachin. This would consist with the practice which seems to have prevailed among the Arab seafarers of giving a chief city the name