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0387 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 387 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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were in a boat, wherein they had a tub full of hot water ; and they were naked, and had each of them a bag slung over his shoulder. Now they dived under water [for half a quarter of an hour or so],1 and caught the fish with their hands, stowing them in those bags that they had. And when they came up again they emptied the bags into the boat, whilst they themselves got into the tub of hot water, and others went in their turn and did as the first ; and so great numbers of fish were taken.~

32. Concerning the city of Cansay, which is the greatest city on earth.

Departing thence, I came unto the city of Cansay, a name which signifieth "the City of Heaven."3 And 'tis the greatest


2 Fortune describes this mode of fishing also. " The fisherman," he says, " is literally amphibious. He is to be seen perfectly naked, half walking, half swimming ; now he raises his arms and hands above his head, and, bringing them down, strikes a sharp blow upon the water, making a loud and splashing noise. His feet are not idle : they warn him that a fish is at hand, and they are now feeling for him amongst the mud at the bottom of the pond. The next moment the fisherman has

disappeared   he appears rubbing his face and eyes with one hand, and
in the other the poor little fish which he has just captured. It is immediately placed safely in his basket, and the work goes on as before." He says nothing of the tub of hot water (p. 109).

8 Cansay or Campsay is, of course, the Quinsai of Marco Polo (see his more detailed account of its marvels), the modern Hangcheufu, called at that time properly Lingan, but also popularly King-sze, Seat of the Court or Capital, (the term now officially applied to Pekin), from its having been the seat of the Sung dynasty from 1127 to 1279, when Northern China was in the hands of the Kin, or Tartars of Niuche and afterwards of the house of Chinghiz. That is, as Odoric expresses it : "it was the royal city in which the Kings of Manzi formerly dwelt." The city is mentioned under various forms of the same name, representing the Kingsze of the Chinese, by Marignolli, Pegolotti, Ibn Batuta and other Arabic and Persian writers. It seems to have retained the name, indeed, centuries after it ceased to be a capital. For it is marked Camse in Carletti's transcription of the name in the Chinese Atlas (dated 1595) which he brought home in 1603, and which is now in the Magliabecchian Librarh. (Baldello Boni, i, cxiii, cxxi.)

The interpretation of the name as City of Heaven, given by Polo as well as Odoric, was probably current among the Western Asiatics in the