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0079 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 79 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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we are told that they examined it, and compared it with their own.'

38. Some intercourse would seem to have been kept up after this of which no precise record has been preserved. For we are

told that early in the third century the Sovereign of Tathsin sent to the Emperor Taitsu, of the Wei dynasty which reigned in Northern China, articles of glass of a variety of colours, and some years later a person who had the art of " changing flints into crystal by means of fire," a secret which he imparted to others, and by which the fame of the people of the west was greatly enhanced in China.2

A new embassy came from Tathsin in the year 284, bringing tribute, as the presents are termed on this occasion with the usual arrogant formula of the Chinese. This must have been despatched by the Emperor Carus (282-233), whose short reign was occupied with Persian war.

A long suspension of intercourse seems to have followed, enduring till the 7th century. In the time of the Sui the Emperor Yangti (605-617) greatly desired to open communication with Tathsin, now called Fulin, but he could not succeed in his object. In 643 however during the reign of TAITSUNG, the second emperor of the Thang dynasty, and one of the greatest monarchs in Chinese history, whose power was acknowledged south of Hindu Kush and westward to the Caspian, an embassy came from Fulin bringing a present consisting of rubies, emeralds, etc. This embassy is alleged to have been sent by the King of Fulin called POTOLI or PIIEITOLI. The emperor deigned to address a gracious and conciliatory letter in reply to this mission.4 Considering

1 Deguignes in Mem. de l'Acad., xlvi, 555.

2 I bid.

3 Klaproth, op. cit. Pauthier, probably by an alternative translation, calls the presents " glasses of a red colour, stuffs of azure silk figured with gold, and the like" (p. 49).

'1 It is difficult to guess who is meant by the Wang Pheitoli, who sent this embassy. Heraclius died in February 641 ; his son Constantine three months later. Heracleonas was then proclaimed ; but speedily displaced by Constans, son of Constantine, at the age of eleven. Klaproth ascribes this embassy to Theoclorus, the brother of Heraclius, whose name might be represented in Chinese as Potoli. But he appears to have