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Wang Dayuan (1328-1339) Daoyi Zhilue
Taken from ; W.W. Rockhill; Toung Pao 1915
(except when oterwise noted.)
Also called Wang Ta-Yuan (Tao-I chih-lueh)
Wang Dayuan made two trips from Quanzhou on Chinese ships. In 1328-1333 he
visited Luzon & Mindanao in the Philippines, many places in Southeast Asia, Sir Lanka and India, and reached Dhofar and Aden. In 1334-1339 he went to Aden, and joined Arab ships to visit north Africa (reaching the Atlantic coast of Morocco) and East Africa (including Mogadishu, and Kilwa in Tanzania).
|Pillar tombs in Kaole ruins
These are located 5 km south of Bagamoyo, on the coastal side. It consists of the ruins of two mosques and a series of about 30 tombs, some of the tombs have stone pillars of up to 5m in height.
These are thought to mark one of the earliest contacts of Islam with Africa. They were constructed from coral. A pillar tomb near Bagamoyo (Kaole) was decorated with sea-green bowls of the Yuan period, exactly contemporary with the description of Wang Ta-yuan.
|This Chinese flask was found in about 50 parts on the bottom of a well in excavations in the medieval city of Kilwa. It is kept in the Dar es Salaam museum and became so well known that every history book about East Africa carries its picture. It was imported into Kilwa about the time of Wang dayuan's visit.|
|Wang Dayuan sailed a small wooden boat to the coast of East Africa. The gold, red sandalwood, ivory, and other exotic materials he brought back to the Middle Kingdom piqued the interest of the Chinese court.
His book includes details on cultures, navigation, and commerce. He describes or mentions more than a hundred ports and cities. Indian cotton fabrics were popular in Southeast Asia and Africa. Chinese ships were delivering colored satin, blue and white ceramics, and ironware to Quilon and Mogadishu; Suzhou and Hangzhou silks to Aden, etc, and were also engaged in entrepot trade of sappanwood, rice, cloves, cardamon, cotton fabrics, ironware etc.
Chinese porcelain, mostly from Jingdezhen ,was shipped and marketed to more than 40 countries and regions as far as Africa. Jingdezhen also specially made ceramics for export to Africa.
He also talks about a flourishing entrepot trade between India and the Mediterranean that was run by merchants from Karami in Egypt, and Muslims dominated an East African trade in gold, ivory and slaves. Promising import items included Aceh horses, cheap Malabar rice, Calicut pepper, ambergris and gold ore from Malindi, and cobalt resin from Mogadishu.
(The following two paragraphs are taken from: www.1421.tv (Translation by Martin Tai) not all writters agree with this translation)
In 1330, Wang Da Yuan was only twenty years old: he boarded a commercial deep ocean ship and set sail from Quan Zhou returning in summer/ autumn of 1334.....crossed Indian Ocean back to Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Java, then to Australia, from Australia to Kalimantan, through the Philippines Isles and finally to Quanzhou.
In 1337, Wang Da Yuan embarked the second time from Quan Zhou.....[traveled through] the Strait of Mozambique and various places in Australia and returned to Quan Zhou two years later.
Ts'eng-yao-lo (or Zengbaluo or Tsang-b'uat-la)
This country is to the south-west of the Ta Shih (Arabs). There are no trees on the coast; most of the land is saline. The arable ground is poor, so there is but little grain of any kind, and they mostly raise yams to take its place. If any ship going there to trade carries rice as cargo, it makes very large profits. The climate is irregular. In their habits they have the rectitude of olden times. Men and women twist up their hair; they wear a short seamless shirt. The occupation of the people is netting birds and beasts for food. They boil sea-water to make salt and ferment the juice of the sugar cane to make spirits. They have a ruler. The native products comprise red sandal-wood, dark red sugar-cane elephants' tusks, ambergris, native gold, ya-tsui tan-fan (lit. duck-bill sulfate of copper). The goods used in trading are ivory boxes, trade silver, colored satins, and the like.
He also mentions Kam-mai-lji (or Kan-ma-li)(not yet located, maybe Comoros)
Li-ch'ieh-t'a (supposed to be on the Berbera coast)
This kingdom is in the extreme western part of the world, but the king lives on the sea coast. The land is poor, glutinous millet (durah) is raised on it. The people make their dwellings with tiers of stones. They excavate the earth to a depth of over ten feet to store the grain in, and it will keep for three years without rotting. The climate is hot in the autumn and cool in the summer. The customs are simple. Men and women are long and lank and of strange appearance. Their hair is two inches long, and does not seem to get longer. They wear pu-t'ung garments with a black sarong tied around them. They boil sea-water to make salt, and ferment glutinous millet (durah) to make spirits. They live on cow's milk. Among the local products is the ch'ing-lang-kan coral-tree. This tree is from over ten feet to seven or eight or even only one foot in height. In autumn and winter the people go in boats to gather it. To a wooden cross-pole they fasten a net with strings attached to it above. Then they fasten ropes at both ends of a wooden (cross-pole), and the men in the boats haul it along cutting off the trees which are pulled up in the net. The goods used in trading are silver, colored satins, Wu-lun cotton cloth, and such like things.
Lo-p'o-ssu, (supposedly on the Berbera coast.)
This country is adjoining the mountains to the right (the west) of Ma-kia-na. A weird-looking peak rises aloft in shape like a phantom horse dashing away. This locality is situated close to the sea. Males and females are strange looking. They do not weave, and they have no clothing; they cover their bodies with birds' feathers. They do not use fire in preparing their food, but the skin (and all), and drink the blood. They nest in caves, and nothing more. But though their food and lodgings are primitive it matters not. Silk, fine and coarse hemp, the succession of cold and heat, can they not be disregarded? What are the differences in climate a thousand li to the north and south of the Lo (river) compared to those of the miserable countries in the Ocean. This country is scorching hot, so the inhabitants need not be concerned at not having any clothing, and they naturally follow the moving chariot of space and time. No wonder they gobble their food, that they do not choose their nesting places, and that they are not concerned with trade; it is the paradise of remote antiquity.
This place is surrounded by water and swamps. There are oyster beds who grow on the mountain rocks. Few people had ever come to visit Manali. The soil is of poor condition, not suitable for the cultivation of rice. The natives love decorating themselves. Men and women plait their hair tied with strings. They use golden bracelets. The natives are said to be wearing short-sleeve shirts made of colorful silk and one-piece skirts made of Bengal cloth. Adjoining to Manali is Lousasi (or Nusasu)
This land has immortal cranes, more than six foot tall, eating stones. On hearing the beats of clapping hands, they outstretch their wings and dance. Their dancing performance is absolutely majestic. They are indeed some incredibly curious birds!
Ta Wu-tieh: (a place linked to Africa and other areas.)
|Taken from; Mr Lam Yee Din - A Third Research on the Discovery of America by Zheng He's fleet (internet article) I give this with some reservations.
The country of Mahesili, is 8000lis away from Dashi, and near the country of Jingbannu. There is a river that is navigable up to 200lis from the sea. (Then) there is a rugged rocky road, which becomes as flat as a mat on the floor after 300lis from the governmental quarter.
Note: 8000lis are about 4000km. The capital of Dashi is Baghdad. Four thousand kilometers south of Baghdad is the northern part of Mombasa, where there is a river named Galana. (Most authors however think this country is marocco and the name a transliteration of the ruling dynasty.)
The country is at the southwest corner, called Xiaoshi. The governmental quarter is deeply located behind a cliff and safely guarded by it; at the back is a cave, around which the land is densely populated. The soil is waterlogged and the field fertile. There is a stream running across the country, which has a floodgate before it ends in the sea. The floodgate will be lifted in spring or in case of drought to irrigate the field, and closed in the rainy season. People are free from the danger of floods and droughts, and the rulers are enjoying sustainable harvest. As a result, its called a paradise. The climate is regular. A pristine custom is maintained, and people, either men or women, bind their hair like Chinese kids and wear black turbans. (People) boil seawater for salt, brew leaves for wine, roast lamb for feast. Yellow wax is a natural resource here, and sheep are as tall as 4 chis (1chi ? 1 foot). Pineapples are as big as a keg, melons has a perimeter of 3-4 chis. Popular goods include linen, silk of various colors, brocade, copper cauldron, red waxed cloth and so on.
|Some remark about the trade in cotton mentioned by Wang Dayuan: Under a Cotton gin in China; right: textile industry in Pre-colonial Mogadishu. These things made some authors to believe that much of the imports into East Africa stayed at the coast; from where then local produce got exported into the interior|
|On top: A weaver in Mogadishu; beneath women weavers in Mogadishu 1882|
|A cotton gin from the 1637 edition of Thien Kung Khai Wu. The rollers are ungeared, and the operator turns one with his hand, and the other by means of a treadle stick, which is attached to the roller handle by a string|
|According to Shen Fuwei 1990: From Tangier, he returned to East Africa where he reached Bacati (Lijiata) in Northern Somalia. Having rounded Cape Guardafui, he then followed the coast line and travelled south. He stopped in Mogadishu (Bandali), Malindi (Zengyaoluo), Gedi (Qianlima) and Mantuolang (Idrisiís Madouna), a town in Kenya to the south of Kilifi. From there he proceeded to Kilindini Harbour of Mombasa (Jialiína), Kilwa Kisiwani (Jiajiangmenli) and a small island near Kilwa called Songo Mnara (Maínali).
According to Su Jiqing 1981: Lijiata is Mukatein near Aden; Bandali is Fandrina north of Calicut; Qianlima is Trinkomalee on Sri lanka; Zengyaoluo is Zanzibar; Mantuolang is Mundra in the Gulf of Kutch; Jialiína is Ras Halilah in the Persian Gulf; Jiajiangmenli is Quelimane in Mozambique; and Maínali is Malindi