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Manshu (蠻書)
by Fan Chuo, edited by Palace Museum Library, translated from Chinese by Walter Stanish and  Wikisource
A 9th century Middle Chinese text regarding the geopolitics of southwest China, particularly the historic kingdom of Nanzhao. It is an important historical source for the period. This translation is based upon a digitized version of the recompiled 1774 movable type edition edited by the 武英 (Palace Museum Library).

Translator's note[edit]

Other sources[edit]

Other sources for the Nanzhao period that could inform the translation include the following.

  • Stelae (碑)
    • The Dehua Bei (德化碑): A very large format inscribed tablet that is (was?) housed in a village between modern Dali and Xiaguan. My impression is that this chiefly records an account of Nanzhao's battles with the Tang.
    • A significant collection of stelae at the Dali Museum, including those in Sanskrit, some of which are not currently on display. It is unclear how to gain access to a list of these or published impressions.
  • Graves
    • There are a lot of funerary goods from different periods available. Some may hold information pertaining to the events or places described within the text.
  • Grottos (石窟)
    • Shizhongshan Grottos (石钟山石窟) in Jianchuan (剑川) county, today the southern portion of the Shibaoshan (石宝山) complex. Some famous historical poet fellow said the north has such-and-such famous Buddhist carvings (Something huge, like Datong), and the south has Shibaoshan. Well, it's so small they couldn't possibly have been drawing a literal equivalence but historically people from other places were still impressed. These days in my view the main draw is the undocumented yoni or oversized female genitalia, a rarely discussed if set-in-stone (and thus not quite concrete!) Hindu cultural link. Sixteen caves created from 850—1179 contain 139 statues including statues of kings, illustrations depicting politics of the monarchy, and statues of Guanyin, Pusa, and Mingwang. "The most representative items are Xi Nuluo Ji Hou Fei (illustration of Xi Nuluo with his queen and concubines), Yi Mouxun Yi Zhen Tu (illustration of Yi Mouxun discussing political affairs), Mingwangtang Badahufa Tu (illustration of the eight diamond-kings, or bodhisattvas, in their representations as fierce guardians of Vairocana), and Huayan San Sheng (illustrations of Vairocana, Manjusri, and Samantabhadra). These carvings not only reflect the influence of Buddhist principles but also show that the Nanzhao Dali rulers possessed a considerably high religious status." — more info from Academica Sinica in Taipei over here and over here.
    • Jizushan (鸡足山) in Binchuan (宾川) county has some inscriptions in Tibetan, which probably date from later periods. However, it may also have records from the Nanzhao period within its various constructions.
  • Illustrated scrolls... featuring black-skinned people with funny topknot hairdos.
    • Extract of the Nanzhao Tujuan scroll (9th—10th century, 31.5cm x 5.8m) held at the Yurinkan Museum (有鄰館) in Kyoto, Japan.
      Nanzhao Tujuan (9th—10th century, 31.5cm x 5.8m) held at the Yurinkan Museum (有鄰館) in Kyoto, Japan. I don't think I have ever seen this published. I flew to Japan in April 2016 but could not view it or acquire a copy. Apparently it "describes the story of Xinuluo, the founder of Nanzhao. In it, he worships an iron post with eight other tribal leaders and was assured by Guanyin that his wife would attain Buddhahood. Later, Guanyin appears seven times to enlighten the Nanzhao Kingdom, making it the guiding regime of the entire southwest region of China." — Academica Sinica. Another report from an old page at Massey University, New Zealand claims this is "a scroll which bears dates corresponding to AD 899 and 946, but is probably a 12th-century copy of a 9th-century original - illustrated and analyzed in Chapin & Soper’s article."[1]
    • Extract of Zhang Shengwen's Huajuan Scroll (張勝溫 畫卷) (1180; 30 cm x 16m) held at the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院) in Taiwan.
      Zhang Shengwen - Huajuan (張勝溫 畫卷) (1180; 30 cm x 16m; held at the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院) in Taiwan). Allegedly it "depicts the King of Nanzhao Dali Kingdom as worshiping the Buddha, and the Buddhist Diagram of the Dharmadhātu.[2] This piece expresses an even more complicated and blended view of Buddhist cosmology and offers an extra account of the development of Dali Kingdom's Buddhist monarchy." — Academica Sinica. There are fragments of this online, hopefully, a high-resolution version will eventually be made available. I bought a copy of this at the National Palace Museum in 2010 — however it may be the Tujuan scroll and is currently in storage on another continent and inaccessible.
  • Other texts
    • The Nanzhao Yeshi (南詔野史) is a history of Nanzhao reportedly published in the Ming Dynasty by but possibly of earlier origin. It appears to be divided into a former (上卷) and later (下巻) scroll. The former has three parts, and the latter has four. It was produced in 1775. An edition was produced by the Yunnan People's Publishing House in 1990 under the title 南詔野史会証. Most but not all of this edition is available online at Nagoya University. A second, alleged complete copy of the text is available online at
    • The Yiwu Zhi (异物志; literally: "Record of Foreign Matters"), also known as the Jiaozhou Yiwu Zhi (交州异物志), Nanyi Yiwu Zhi (南裔异物志), Jiaozhi Yiwu Zhi (交趾异物志) and Yangyilang Zhushu (杨议郎著书) amongst others, is a treatise written by Eastern Han court advisor Yang Fu (杨孚) covering the people, geography, fauna, rice cultivation, fruit, trees, grass, bamboo, insects and fish of the South China Sea region. It is the first written Chinese account of the Lingnan area's produce, production methods, and Aboriginal customs. The Book of Sui and the New Book of Tang both cite from the Yiwu Zhi but from the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) the book became lost, although scattered references to it remain in works such as: Beitang Shuchao (北堂书抄),Taiping Yulan (太平御览),Extensive Records of the Taiping EraYiwen Julie (艺文聚类),Commentary on the Water ClassicQi Min Yao ShuGuangyun, Taiping Huanyu JiHailu Suishi (海录碎事),Compendium of Materia MedicaGuang Qunfang Pu (广群芳谱),Guangdong Xinyu (广东新语), and Guangzhong Tongzhi (广东通志) amongst others. In the first year of the Qing Daoguang Emperor (1821), Zeng Zhao (曾钊) produced a version of Yangyilang Zhushu (杨议郎著书) from ancient textual sources than in 1849 the Yiwu Zhi. In March 1947, The Commercial Press in Shanghai published a compendium of works based on the Yiwu Zhi followed in 1991 by the Guangdong Publishing Group (广东省出版集团) issuing the Lingnan Cultural Archive (岭南文库), which included Wu Yong zhang's (吴永章) work Yiwu Zhi Jiyi Jiaozhu (异物志辑佚校注).

About the translation[edit]

Hi there. I'm not a 'professional translator' but have lived in the Yunnan area on and off for 15 years and have some (very) limited academic background in ancient Chinese history and maintain it as an interest. Regarding this text, there are allegedly pre-existing translations in English,[3] French and Vietnamese. I have also learned of a recent annotated publication of a different but related text — Fan Chuo, Yunnanzhi Buzhu (Supplementary annotation to the Record of Yunnan), annotated by Mu Qin (昆明 雲南人民出版社).

None of those works were viewed or consulted before or during the preparation of this translation, with the exception of the introduction to Gordon H. Luce's 1961 publication for which I received an online source after translating up to chapter 4 already. Basically it confirms my own impressions, which is a good sign, though it has some errors and has helped me to realize many of my own.

I've also been drawing maps as I go to help narrow down identifications and visually clarify geographic references, visiting some of the locations, and incorporating vintage imagery to add some context and depth to the text.

I hope you enjoy the translation. If you would like to get in touch with comments, corrections or suggestions then you are welcome to leave me a message. The translation began in Feburary 2015 and is progressed through 2018 to about 90% completion, at least as far as a 'first run' translation plus 10% of the secondary process of reviewing the translation against the previous English translation by Gordon H. Luce. This worryingly but thankfully turned up some interesting errors in the digital source text. I took field trips to some of the areas discussed, flew to Japan to try to look at a related source (but the 'museum' was locked and locals had no idea of how to gain access or if it was ever open!), and plan to do another field trip as well. I sure hope someone gets some use out of all this work!

Unfortunately some Wiki person decided to come and delete all of the maps on the basis they did not believe backgrounds topography was fair use. These were a cornerstone of the text and are now lost until I can obtain once more access to the original data which is in another country. It is doubtful if this will occur in the near term. Thus, the heart of the translation has been destroyed. I am so deeply saddened by this that I cannot continue.

However, it is heartening that multiple people did contact me with sympathy and support. In 2022 I was made aware of not one but two new translations, after this work. The first is also a 2022 creative commons licensed translation by Mr. Ludwig M Brinckmann of Yunnan Explorer which credits this translation and adopts a similar mode of presentation, and the second is a translation by the late Professor Bu Shaoxian of Dali University which was apparently completed in 2015 but only published in 2018. Therefore, should you be a scholar interested in furthering your knowledge of the text, those are probably excellent resources and no doubt in many ways superior to my own imperfect and now tragically cartographically eviscerated efforts.

Editions of the original[edit]

The real original is lost. The existing editions are partial or recompilations.

Chinese Wikipedia notes at least eight editions of the source text.

We are using a digital version (complete with its own newly introduced errors!) derived from the Wu Ying (Palace Museum Library) Jewelled Edition《武英殿聚珍版》. The transliterators of that version often refer to a Nanzhao chapter in the History of the Later Tang Dynasty 《新唐書》, which has some similar content but with which nontrivial semantic differences exist, and generally appear to trust these as well-reasoned corrections. They also draw corrections from Comprehensive mirror to aid in government《資治通鑒》, Book of the Eight Zhao 《八詔篇》 and other sources.

The existing (Gordon H. Luce) English translation is also based on the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries《四库全书》 — as well as a second source text only identified in broken Wade-Giles Pinyin as Chien-hsi-ts'un-she ts'ung k'o (from which a previous, lost translation was made by the same author). It is assumed that the French and Vietnamese versions are also most probably based on one of the first three.

  • Yongle Encyclopedia《永乐大典》— Commissioned by the Ming dynasty emperor Yongle in 1403 and completed by 1408.
  • Complete Library of the Four Treasuries《四库全书》— Height of the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century CE. This version is available online via Zhejiang University Library and
  • Wǔyīng diàn jùzhēn bǎn (roughly Wu Ying (Palace Museum Library) Jewelled Edition)《武英殿聚珍版》— a movable type edition compiled in 1774, the basis of our translation.
  • Línláng mìshū cóngshū《琳琅秘书从书》
  • Jiànxīcūn shě cóngshū《渐西村舍从书》
  • Yúnnán bèi zhēngzhì《云南备征志》
  • Zhībùzú zhāi《知不足斋》
  • Mánshū jiàozhù《蛮书校注》— Published by the 中华书局 in 1962.

Differences with Gordon H. Luce's Previous translation[edit]

As well as specific differences in translation, this translation has the following benefits.

  • Typographic improvements
Paragraph-by-paragraph comparison of the source text, the translation and Luce's previous translation.
Inline Chinese .
Introduction of logical sections.
Bold place and personality names.
Use of modern Hanyu Pinyin.
Inset antique imagery for greater background context.
Numerous notes describing background information, research and translation-related decisions.
Hyperlinks to external references.
  • Superior maps
Our maps include both Chinese and English (using standard modern Hanyu Pinyin, except where a differing ancient pronunciation has been established), are based on accurate modern topographic satellite mapping, and are divided by route for additional clarity.
Translator's note: Note this cornerstone of the text was eviscerated by destructive wiki people, thus to my great dismay and alarm is no longer present.
Luce's previous translation, by contrast, offered Wade Giles romanizations on only a single line-drawn map for the whole volume which inexplicably appears to feature many place names that have no presence in the text whatsoever, while skipping over those that do.

On the Southern Barbarians (蠻書)[edit]

  1. Chapter 1: Distances within Yunnan and at its Borders (云南界内途程; yúnnán jiè nèi túchéng)
    Describing the routes from Jiāozhǐ (交阯城; ie. North Vietnam), Chéngdū (成都府; ie. Sichuan), Yōngzhōu (邕州; ie. Guangxi) and Qiánzhōu (黔州; ie. Guizhou) to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城; ie. Dali).

  2. Chapter 2: Geography; or Mountains and rivers; or Mountains, River-plains, Rivers, and Headwaters (山川江源; shānchuān jiāng yuán)
    Describing the areas around Tuò​dōng​chéng (柘東城; ie. Kunming), Diàn​cāng​shān​ (玷蒼山; ie. Dali), west of Yǒng​chāng (永昌; ie. Bǎoshān) including the Gāo​lí​qí​shān​ Mountains (高黎其山) and the Nù​jiāng​ River (怒江; ie. upper Salween), north of kunming (xichang area), around kunming, and the Láncāngjiāng River (ie. Mekong) River and Yǒngchāng (永昌; ie. Bǎoshān).

  3. Chapter 3: The Six Kingdoms (六诏; liù zhào)
    Describing the kingdoms of Méngguī (蒙巂); Móxiēzhào (磨些詔) or Yuèxī (越析) and the Yuzèng Tribe (於贈部落) or Yángduò (楊墮); Làngqióng (浪穹) and The Breaking of the Wave (劍浪); Téngdǎn (邆賧); Shīlàng (施浪); Shīwàngqiān (施望千), Jiànchuān (劍川) and Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibet); and Méngshè (蒙舍); as well as the history of The Recorded Oath (誓文).

  4. Chapter 4: Nomenclature or Names and classifications (名类; míng lèi)
    Describing the Western Cuàn (西爨) and the Eastern Cuàn (東爨) or Cuàn (爨) and their historic domains; The Birth of Nán​zhào (南詔); Nán​zhào (南詔) attacks Ān​nán (安南; ie. Chinese imperial controlled north Vietnam); The Dú​jǐn​ Barbarians (獨錦蠻), the Móu​xún​ (牟尋) and Lòng​dòng (弄棟); The Qīng​líng​ Barbarians (青蛉蠻); The tribes north of the Iron Bridge (鐵橋); The Cháng​kūn​ Barbarians (長裈蠻) of Jiàn​chuān​ (劍川); The River Barbarians (河蠻); The Shī Barbarians (施蠻); The Shùn​ Barbarians (順蠻); The Mó Barbarians (磨蠻); The Móxiē​ Barbarians (磨些蠻); The Pū​zi​ Barbarians (撲子蠻); The Xún​zhuàn​ Barbarians (尋傳蠻); The Luǒ​xíng​ (or Naked) Barbarians (裸形蠻); The Wàng​jū​zi​ Barbarians (望苴子蠻); The Yù​ Tribe (喻部落); The Black, Gold and Silver Tooth Barbarians (黑金銀齒蠻) and the Leg and Face Tattoo Barbarians (繡腳面蠻) of Yǒng​chāng​ (Prefecture) (永昌; ie. modern Baoshan); The Pierced Nose Barbarians (穿鼻蠻), Long Mane Barbarians (長鬃蠻), Ridgepole Range Barbarians (棟峰蠻) and other barbarians are located to the south of Tuò​dōng​chéng (柘東城; ie. modern Kunming); The Máng​ Barbarians (茫蠻; ie. Pyu?) south of Yǒng​chāng​ (永昌城; ie. modern Baoshan); The Fēngpá​ Barbarians (豐琶蠻); The Chóng​mó​ Barbarians (崇魔蠻; lit. 'Devil Worshipping Barbarians').

  5. Chapter 5: The Six Market-city Prefectures[4]) (六𧸘; liù jian)
    Describing Dàhé City (大和城); Lóngkǒu City (龍口城); Dàlǐ City (大厘城); Yángxiefai City (陽苴咩城), Téngchuān City (邆川城); Méngshěchuān (蒙舍川) (Qú​liǎn​zhào​ (渠斂趙) and Shíhé​​chéng​ (石和城), Bái​yá​ City (白崖城) and Bó​lòng​chuān​ (勃弄川)).

  6. Chapter 6: Cities and towns of Yunnan (云南城镇; yúnnán chéngzhèn)
    Yúnnán City (雲南城; ie. modern Yunnanyi), Nòngdōng City (弄棟城), Tuodong City (柘東城), Jìnníng Prefecture (晉寧州), Shíchéngchuān (石城川), Ānníng Town (安寧鎮), Níngběi City (寧北城), Tiěqiáo (Iron Bridge) City (鐵橋城), Kūn​míng​ City (昆明城), Yǒng​chāng​ City (永昌城; ie. modern Baoshan), etc.

  7. Chapter 7: Products of regions under Yunnan governance (云南管内物产; yúnnán guǎnnèi wùchǎn)
    Planting and harvesting patterns, rice, wheat, barley, rice alcohol, plows, agricultural taxation, silk production, origin of silk production, cultural norms for wearing silk, Clothing of Neighbouring Areas, Kham Tibetan textile production, Salt, Xuánzōng's Attack of 749, Further Notes on Salt, Shēng​má​ (升麻), Tōng​hǎi​ (通海), Ān​níng​ (安寧), Láng​jǐng​ (郎井), Lǎn​dǎn City​ (覽賧城), Lú​nán​ (瀘南), Kūn​míng​ City (昆明城), Tibetan salt preparation by charcoal, Nanzhao salt preparation by evaporation, Lóng​qiè​hé​ River (龍怯河), Liǎn​xún​ (斂尋), Mí​qián​ Well (彌潛井), Shāduī​ Well (沙追井), Ruò​yē​ Well (若耶井), Huì​nì Well (諱溺井), Jiàn​chuān​ (劍川), Xì​nuòdèng​ Well (細諾鄧井), Lí​shuǐ​​ City (麗水城), Luójū​ Well (羅苴井), salt cake size standards, salt in trade, Tea, Trees, Herbs and Fruits, tea of Yín​shēng​ City (銀生城), herbal drink of the Méng​shè​ Barbarians (蒙舍蠻), lychee, betel-nut (Areca catechu), hē​lí​lēi​ (unidentified black tree-borne fruit), coconut, sugar palm, Yǒng​chāng​ (永昌; ie. modern Baoshan), Lí​shuǐ​ (麗水), Zhǎng​bàng​ (長傍) and Jīn​shān​ (金山), Dà​lí​ City (大厘城), tangerines, Níng​dǎn​ (寧賧), Lí​shuǐ​ City (麗水城), jackfruit, muskmelons of Seoul (Korea), realgar, orpiment, qīng​mù​incense, huò​gē​nuò​ wood, the mí​ vine, wild mulberry wood, military bowmaking, Gold panning, method of panning, relative value of nuggets, laws and taxes on gold, the sand punishment, forced labour, Silver, Tin, Amber, Horses, method of raising horses, stables vs. paddocks, Rhinoceros, pit traps for rhinos, thunderstorms when killing rhinos, military use of rhino hides, Tigers, use of skin as clothing, relative coloration by habitat, Musk, Buffalo, different species of buffalo and their range, Deer, Fish and Water Animals, fish, geese, ducks, great pheasants, reed-birds, crocodiles, kingfishers, magpies, mallard ducks, pigeons or doves, crows, mynahs, Elephants, Culinary Resources, pigs, goats, cats, dogs, mules, donkeys, leopards, rabbits, geese, ducks, cooking preferences, Weaponry, the duó qiào, the zhū​ gě, the 'Duó​qiào​ that Fell from Heaven', the Yù​dāo​, use of poisons, smelting.

  8. Chapter 8: Native barbarian customs (蛮夷风俗; mányí fēngsú)
    Clothing, tóu ​náng​ (頭囊) headgarb, caochang (曹長) skirts, tiger skins (大蟲皮) / boluo skins (波羅皮), qū​jū​ (佉苴) belts, female hair ornaments, Women and courtship, the Nanzhao harem, imperial harems, music and courting of youth, wedding matters, Festivals and holidays, winter holidays, courtship in nature, lunar new year, other holidays, Dining, wine drinking etiquette, the popularity of geese, the é​quē (鵝闕) dish, tableware of kings and commoners, Weights, Measures and Currency, Barbarian chǐ​ (尺), Barbarian (裏), measure-weights, silk bolt lengths, field sizes, manner of commerce and barter, Architecture, ordinary houses, barns, Funerary rites , White Barbarian burials, Mengshe and Black Barbarian cremations, cremation vessels, Spoken languages, standardization and relative popularity, similarities with Middle Chinese, negotiation by xingnuo ('walking promise') messenger, Western Cuan vocabulary, Eastern Cuan vocabulary, Military Culture, military provisioning, military behaviour, military policy.

  9. Chapter 9: Points on the southern barbarians (南蛮条教; nánmán tiáo jiào)
    Southern customs, military culture ...

  10. Chapter 10: Countries beyond the southern barbarian borders (南蛮疆界接连诸蕃夷国名; nánmán jiāngjiè jiēlián zhūfān yí guómíng)
    Mínuò (彌諾國) and Míchén (彌臣國), Biāo (驃國), Kūnlún (昆侖國), Roman Brahman Country (大秦婆羅門國), Little Brahman Country (小婆羅門), Midnight Country (夜半國), the Country of the Queen (女王國), Water Zhenla (水真蠟國) and Land Zhenla (陸真蠟國), Nánzhào (南詔), the Tibetan Tubo Dynasty (吐蕃).

    (Guess before we got there: Given the previous translator Gordon H. Luce's focus on Burmese history, this is probably the area he was most interested in. Judging from his map, the text covers the Mon Kingdom of Dvaravati, the Pyu of Burma,[5] and the upper Brahmaputra valley / Assam region. Note also that Chapter 2 contains probable reference to Cambodia and Champa (Zhenla), chapters 2, 3, 4 and 6 reference Tibet, chapters 1, 4 and 6 reference what is now north Vietnam, chapters 4 and 6 references Myanmar, chapter 6 references India, Persia (Iran), and probably either Thailand or Cambodia.) Chapter 7 draws allusion to fruit of Seoul, Korea.



The fairly detailed geographic knowledge of the region detailed in the text does not seem to be widely adopted the dynasties following the Tang. One example is the much-lauded map of China in the Forest of Stelae (碑林) in Xi'an, sometimes considered a marvel of Song Dynasty cartography, which shows a very confused and very blank view of the region. Only the Stone Gate (石门) and Qujing (曲靖) are shown in relatively correct locations. Lake Dian (滇池) and an unidentified place known as Black River Mouth (黑水口) are shown bordering a south-easterly flowing river, directly to the west of Annan (安南府; ie. Hanoi) which, while probably referring to the Red River (红河), veers southward more like the Mekong River (澜沧江) and spuriously misses its mark, where it should have flowed through Annan (安南府) and onward to the South China Sea.

This may suggest that the Manshu (蠻書) was not widely reproduced or distributed, pointing to it being more of a Tang period political text prepared prior to the Tang armies' invasions rather than a broadly distributed dossier. The Yunnanese region was probably of limited interest to the majority of literate Chinese of these periods, being remote, relatively dangerous and possibly of limited trade value and historical/political significance.

Outstanding work[edit]

For the convenience of others here are listed any potentially useful tangents for further research that came to mind during my interpretation of the text.

  • Historical comparative phonetic analysis
    Many names of places, regions, people or objects transliterated in to Chinese could be evaluated on the basis of major linguistic groups in the region against reconstructed period pronunciation in order to obtain further insight in to identities or probable/possible semantics/etymologies.
  • Attribution of origin for each piece of the text
    Apparently this edition of the text was compiled from fragmentary surviving portions. Finding out precisely where each portion came from would assist with a more fine-grained evaluation of some of the text's contents.
  • Evaluation of prior and subsequent usage of toponyms
    An evaluation of the prior and subsequent use (or otherwise) of certain geographic names in the text, notably those about the region such as those used for foreign kingdoms of Southeast Asia may assist with more carefully evaluating the text. Certain portions, for example, are extremely detailed in a geographic sense whereas others are almost ridiculously vague. This suggests that some information may have been sourced from other, earlier or contemporary texts. Geographic information was certainly compiled from sources of vastly differing quality.


  1. Apparently referring to Helen B. Chapin, (revised by Alexander C. Soper). A Long Roll of Buddhist Images, Artibus Asiae, vol. 32 (1971), 4-41, 157-99, 259-306, vol. 33 (1971), 75-140; Supplement-Band, Ascona 1971. Needless to say, I haven't seen this either.
  2. Apparently — by dubious deduction based upon relative complexity, systematization, and temporospatial proximity — referring to the Four Dharmadhātu (四法界) of Master Tu-shun (Chinese: 杜順; 557—640 CE), the founder of the Chinese Huayan (華嚴) school of Mahayana Buddhism, and therefore a relatively Chinese-influenced, later and more complex/developed Dharmadhātu-notion than the earlier, simpler, purely Indian one (or a Tibetan transmission thereof). The general Dharmadhātu ("realm of the Dharma" [or Buddhist law]) concept apparently originated with the Śrīmālādevī Sūtra in the 3rd century (known in English as The Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala), which centers on the teaching of the Tathagatagarbha (roughly 'Buddha nature'; meaning "the womb" or "embryo" (garbha) of the "Thus-gone" (Tathagata), ie. Buddha), and states that this is the basis of the Dharmadhātu ("realm of the Dharma" [or Buddhist law]) and the Dharmakaya ("the unmanifested, 'inconceivable' (acintya) aspect of a Buddha, out of which Buddhas arise and to which they return after their dissolution").
  3. Fan Ch'o of the T'ang; Gordon H. Luce (translator) (1961). G. P. Oey, ed. Man Shu (Book of the Southern Barbarians). Ithaca, New York: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University. p. 116. 
  4. The character in question, which can be viewed at the internet archive's scanned copy of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries《四库全书》edition (courtesy of Zhejiang University Library and and which also has an entry at Chinese Wiktionary (with no known meanings listed), combines 贝 (meaning shell, and later shell money — as supposed in the Sino-Tibetan etymology notably including a similar phonetic in the Kachin language, and a not dissimilar Proto-Zhuang-Tai record) with 佥 (meaning a gathering), and is thus in a rough semantic sense plausibly a term used for local markets in the region where the use of shells as currency was widespread and well documented — to Westerners, famously allegedly by Marco Polo — through at least the Yuan dynasty.

    The character is actually 𧸘 in Unicode however that usually only displays as an empty box (sometimes known as "tofu") on most computers owing to font limitations on rare Chinese characters. Mandarin pronunciation (as irrelevant as that may be for a source of this age) is alleged by Chinese Wiktionary (probably direct from the Unicode Unihan database) as being liàn, biǎn, or jiǎn — for what that's worth... the earlier two having some plausible phonetic similarity with the Proto-Sino-Tibetan and Proto-Zhuang-Tai, respectively. My probably reliable general comprehension is that the closing consonant is the least reliable portion of a character's phoneme when brought forward to Mandarin from ancient pronunciation, with many closing sounds (evidenced for example with final 'k' in Cantonese, which is more honest with respect to Tang Dynasty pronunciations) dropped entirely or morphed in to softer variants. Thus instead of (lian or bian or jian) we can vaguely reconstruct the phoneme as follows — (l or b or j) + (possibly an ee type sound, or some longer form or dipthong variant thereof) + (optionally some kind of closing consonant: probably not n). We can probably get some further input from an appropriately experienced linguist here.

    (Update: September 2017. User:Justinrleung pointed out that "When it refers to the administrative division, it is read as jiǎn (based on Song dynasty《唐書釋音》九儉切)." ... clarifying "Hanyu Da Zidian cites 唐書釋音 for the fanqie for 𧸘. I've checked and its corresponding scanned version; it seems to use 瞼 instead of 𧸘. 唐書 itself (editions: 欽定四庫全書, 武英殿二十四史, 摛藻堂四庫全書薈要) also uses 瞼 instead of 𧸘. That said, Hanyu Da Zidian also cites Gu Zuyu (a Qing dynasty scholar), who says 𧸘 is pronounced as 簡". So there you have it: jian.)
  5. Luce marks the capital at Halin or Halingyi (ဟန်လင်းကြီး [həlɪ́ɴdʑí]), located in the Mu valley, one of the largest irrigated regions of precolonial Burma. The earliest artifacts of Halin—city's wooden gates—are radiocarbon dated to 70 CE. The city was rectangular but with curved corners, and brick-walled. Excavated walls are approximately 3.2 km long on the north-south axis and 1.6 km on the east-west. At 664 hectares, the city was nearly twice the size of Beikthano. It has four main gates at the cardinal points, and a total of 12 gates, based on the zodiac. A river or canal ran through the city. Traces of a moat exist on all sides except the south, which had dammed reservoirs. The script at the site is the earliest writing in the Pyu realm (and in Burma), probably based on a later version of the Brahmi script, Guptan Brahmi.


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