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0095 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 95 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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another TIYU, near the Great River MILAN or SINTEU.1 In twenty days more they came to the frontiers of another country, where there was a great lighthouse in the sea ;2 one day more brought them to Siraf, and thence they reached the mouth of the Euphrates.

The ships of China, according to some authorities, used to visit Aden as well as the mouths of Indus and Euphrates.3 I do not think that either Polo or any traveller of his age speaks of them as going further than Malabar, the ports of which appear to havé become the entrepôts for commercial exchange between China and the west, nor does it appear what led to this change. Some time in the fifteenth century again they seem to have ceased to come to Malabar, nor can it be positively gathered from Abd-ul-Razzak or Conti whether Chinese vessels continued to frequent that coast in their time (circa 1430-1442).4 We

1 The Milan or Sinteu is the Sindu or Indus, called by the Arabs 1llehrcén. Tiyu is probably, as suggested by Deguignes, the port of Diul, Dewal, or DAIBUL, which lay to the west of the Indus mouths and cannot have been far from Karâchi. Edrisi speaks of it specifically as frequented by Chinese ships. Daibul was besieged and taken by the Mahomedans before the end of the seventh century. The district at the mouths of the Indus appears to have retained the name long after the decay of the port, for Barbosa calls this territory Diul (Jaubert's Edrisi, 1, 161; G-ildemeister, p. 170, but the reading of Ibn Haukal here which places Daibul on the east of the Indus appears to be erroneous; Barbosa (Lisbon ed.), p. 266; Reinand in Mem. de l'Acad., xvii, p. 170).

Probably at the Straits of Hormuz. I do not find any light there mentioned, but Masudi mentions that at the terminus of this voyage at the entrance of the roadstead near Obollah and Abadan (i.e., off the mouth of Euphrates) there were three great platforms on which beacons were lighted every night to guide ships coming in (Prairies d' Or, i, 230).

3 See Ibn el Wardi, in Not. et Extraits, ii, 43. Edrisi says that, from Aden ships sailed for Hind, Sind, and China (i, 51). He gives a list of the wares brought from China by these ships, but except iron, sword-blades (perhaps Japanese), shagreen, rich stuffs and velvets, and various vegetable tissues, the articles rather belong to the Archipelago.

Baroch is also mentioned as a port visited by ships of China (Edrisi, i, 179) ; and Suhâ,r in Oman (the Soer of Polo), as a port from which Arab vessels traded to China (Id., i, 152).

4 Abdul Razzak, however, does mention merchants and maritime people of China among those who frequented Hormuz in his time (1442). He does not distinctly say that ships of that country cane, and the passage is perhaps too general to build upon (Ind. in XV Gent., p. 56).