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0051 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 51 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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  1. Other indications of ancient communication are found in the annals and traditions both of the Chinese and of western nations. Thus in the reign of Taiwti (13.0. 1634) ambassadors accompanied by interpreters, and belonging to 76 distinct kingdoms, are reported to have arrived from remote regions at the court of China.1

At a far earlier period, under the reign of Hoangti, the first historical emperor (B.c. 2698) the Chinese historians allege that the inventors of sundry arts and sciences arrived from the western kingdoms in the neighbourhood of the Kuenlung mountains.' In the time of Yao (B.c. 2353) there came the envoys of a race called Yué-shangshi, arriving from the south, and presented to the emperor " a divine tortoise, one thousand years old," having on its back inscriptions in strange charactors resembling tadpoles, in which was related the history of the world from its beginning. Yao caused these to be transcribed, and they were known thereEifter as the Annals of the Tortoise. The same nation sent a new embassy to China in B.C. 1110. As Yne-shang-shi signifies "a people with long training robes" (like those of the Assyrian monuments), and as the tadpole form ascribed to the characters is suggestive of the cuneiform writing ; as the commentators likewise say that the country of these people was reached in a year, after passing by Funan and Lini (or the modern Siam), Pauthier has conjectured that the envoys came from Chalda.3

  1. Absolute tradition in countries west of India however is found of an exceedingly early communication with China, and this is singularly confirmed by the annals of the latter country. Thus the legendary history of the Persians relates that their ancient king, the famous Jamshid, had two daughters by a daughter of Mahang king of Machin (or Great China). It has been suggested that his name indicates Micwang, of the Cheu dynasty, who reigned from B.c. 1001 to 946, dying in the latter year in the 104th year of his age, and who is related in the Chinese annals to have made

' Chine Ancienne, p. 76.   2 Ch. Anc., p. 29.

3 H. des Relations Politiques de la Chine, etc., pp. 5-7. If I remember rightly, some of the Chaldean inscriptions mentioned in Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies are considered to go back to B.C. 2000 or earlier, but I have not the book to refer to.