142 THE TRAVELS OF
and so they remain standing and silent. And round about them stand the players with their banners and ensigns. And in one corner of a certain great palace abide the philosophers, who keep watch for certain hours and conjunctions ; and when the hour and conjunction waited for by the philosophers arrives, one of them calls out with a loud voice, saying, " Prostrate yourselves before the emperor4 our mighty lord !" And immediately all the barons touch the ground three times with their heads. Then he will call out again : "Rise all of you!" and immediately they get up again.' And then they wait for another auspicious moment, and when it comes he will shout out again, "Put your fingers in your ears !" and so they do. And then, "Take them out :" and they obey. And then they will abide awhile, and then he will say, "Bolt meal !" and so they go on with a number of other such words of command, which they allege to have a deep import. And there be also many officers to look diligently that none of the barons or of the players are absent. For any one of them who should absent himself would incur heavy penalties. And when the proper hour and moment for the players comes, then the philosophers say, "Make an entertainment for the lord !" and incontinently they all begin to play on their instruments of every kind, with such a clamour of music and song that 'tis enough to stun you. Then a voice is heard saying, "Silence all !" and they all cease. And after this all those of the famous princely families parade
sion of the Chinese annals in connexion with Yu, one of the most notable worthies of ancient China, who is said to have flourished B.C. 2286.
1 So the Dutch envoys in 1656 were " commanded by a herald to kneel three times, and bow their heads to the ground. After a short pause the herald spoke aloud in Chinese the following words : Ka Shan, i.e., "God bath sent the Emperor !' Que e, 'Fall upon your knees' ; Ke e, 'Stand up!' lastly, Ko e, 'Range yourselves on one side' !" The Chinese Kowtow had been fully adopted as the practice of the Mongol court. (Asiley, iii, 425; 476; 476; 574; D'Ohsson, ii, 217). Odoric is here curiously corroborated by the official account of the Court Ceremonial of the Mongol Emperors, translated by Pauthier in his notes to Polo (p. 290 seq.)