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0388 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 388 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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city in the whole world, [so great indeed that I should scarcely venture to tell of it, but that I have met at Venice people in plenty who have been there] .1 It is a good hundred miles in compass, and there is not in it a span of ground which is not well peopled. And many a tenement is there which shall have ten or twelve households comprised in

ports of China, and may have grown out of the proverb quoted by Duhalde and Davis : "Above is Paradise, but Sucheu and Hancheu are here below." The glories of these sister cities have vanished under the barbarities of Taeping occupation and imperial re-conquest, but they existed till these recent events with no vast diminution of wealth and splendour. The most enthusiastic corroboration, in comparatively modern times, of Marco Polo's details, is probably that of Father Martini in the Atlas Sinensis. He even stands up, on a certain latitude of interpretation, for the ten thousand bridges, which meet with no corroboration from modern official works ; the Imperial Geography, quoted in Chine Moderne, mentioning only two as worthy of note. But Ibn Batuta's account in the present volume may be compared with Odoric's, and also the following from

Wassaf, one of the Persian historians of the Mongols.   Khanzai," he
says, is the greatest city of China, having nearly twenty-four farsangs of compass. Its houses are of wood, adorned with beautiful paintings. From one end to the other there is a distance of three posts. Most of the streets have a length of three farsangs. The city contains sixty-four squares bordered with houses uniformly built. The produce of the salt duty amounts daily to 700 balish of paper money. One may judge of the great number of its artizans by that of the working dyers, for of these there are 30,000. The garrison amounts to seven to'mnccns (70,000). The census lets us know that there are seventy tomcins of families taxed. There are seven hundred temples, which look like fortified castles ; all full of monks. There are three hundred and sixty bridges [the number which Odoric assigns to Nanking]. An innumerable multitude of boats of all sizes serve for communication. One finds there a prodigious concourse of strangers of all countries on earth, merchants and others. Such is the capital." (In D' Ohsson, ii, 417). Extracts of other accounts of Quinsai or Khansa from Arabic and Persian authors are given by Quatre-m? re (Introd. to Rashideddin, pp. lxxxvii seq.)


2 This is absurdly converted in HAK. into "houses having ten or twelve stories, one above another ;" a circumstance which Chinese habits notoriously contradict. The real reference is probably to the Chinese mode of living, which Davis calls " a universal system of clubbing upon the most economical plan. The Emperor observes in the Sacred Institutions that nine generations once lived under the same roof, and that in the family of Changshe of Kiangchow seven hundred partook of the same daily repast" (iii, 162). I must add, however, that I find the 1Vlesalat-al-