Translation:Manshu/Chapter 1

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Translator's note[edit]

Turn of the 20th century false color postcard showing Hong-Hin, the then Sino-Tonkin border, on the route traversed within this fragment of the text.
Turn of the 20th century postcard showing sampans on the Red River.
Turn of the 20th century postcard showing the landscape of parts of the Red River, presumably those closer to modern-day Hanoi, possibly around Fēngzhōu/Phong Châu (峯州 or 峰州; modern Việt Trì) and Dēngzhōu (登州).

In general for many portions I am confident of a reasonable translation. However, there are also more than a few areas where I am certain there are errors: to what degree, however, I am less sure. In general you should be able to interpret the confidence of translation by the depth of notes and/or mapping around the passage(s) in question. The final portion is particularly murky. The sections are of my own construction.

Differences with previous Gordon H. Luce Translation[edit]

I am currently (December 2015) reviewing this portion of the translation against Gordon H. Luce's Previous English Translation. This should allow the detection of errors and/or points of disagreement for further investigation and comment. The following list excludes systemic and stylistic differences and focuses on objective issues.

  • Correct title
Luce titles the chapter Road-stages within the Frontiers of Yunnan, whereas we use Distances within Yunnan and at its Borders.[1]
  • Specific errors
    • In the note regarding the demarcation of borders, Luce's translation appears to mistranslate the reign year as 43, whereas we calculate 44—45. The recalculated year is placed by us within the body of the translation, whereas Luce omits it entirely.
    • After identifying the correct pronunciation of Xiefai based on the transliterator's note, Luce's translation continues to identify the place name using a modern Mandarin pronunciation (Jumie).
    • Luce's translation improperly assumes intermediate place names and place name suffixes while describing the route from Annam to Guyong, specifically creating the nonexistant place Hsia-pu and the nonexistant suffix -pu to Guyong. This is because Luce failed to understand that there was a section of rapids in this part of the river forcing dismount from boats, and the -pu he could not comprehend was emphasizing walking to compensate rather than travel by boat.
    • Luce drops the "via Denglu" place name entirely as the route proceeds from Guyong.
    • Luce wrongfully asserts Jiangchuan as 'District headquarters', with no evidence whatsoever.
    • Luce wrongfully reads the last character of the place name Bái​shì​ (白士) — ie. 士 shì​ — as the visually similar and relatively common yet distinct character 土 (). He also erroneously provides this mistaken version in handwritten Chinese.
    • Luce reads the ancient Sichuan prefecture toponym 巂 as sui instead of , which according to my dictionary should be the correct reading.
    • Luce misreads the description of inspectors on the Sichuan portion of the Chengdu to Yunnan route as "official civil and military".[2]
    • Luce runs together the interpretation of subsequent statements regarding areas "beyond" (meaning under non-Chinese control — ie. west of) Yaozhou (modern Yaoan, north-west of Chuxiong) and the roads to the modern Guizhou and Guangxi regions.
    • While describing the upper Yangtse in the route toward modern Dali from modern Sichuan, Luce implies that his Lu-shui is another reference to the Lu-chiang (瀘江) river rather than a place name, which seems more likely.
    • In Luce's translation, a rope-bridge is ascribed to the Ch'ing-ch'u-p'uT'sang-p'ang portion of the route. However, in the digital version of our Palace Museum Library edition source text, a firmly placed full stop attributes this bridge instead to the Jiā​pí​guǎn​ (伽毗館)—Qīngqúpù (清渠鋪) portion. Without additional sources, we err in favour of our edition but note this point of contention for future readers.
    • Luce translates a phrase referring to a route stage in steep mountains as "dangerous and steep" where there is apparently no evidence for the "danger" concept in the text.
    • Discussing Lòngdòng city (弄棟城), Luce ascribes an historical affiliation with both Yáozhōu (姚州) and Xīchuān (西川), whereas we consider this an unlikely reading and assert the former as current at the time of writing, and the latter as a previous political affiliation.
    • Luce ascribes a third character to the historical military commander-in-chief of Yaozhou, Zhāng​ Qián​ (張乾), calling him Chang Ch'ien-t'o. We side with our source edition's interpretation and consider this character separately.

Distances within Yunnan and at its Borders (云南界内途程; yúnnán jiè nèi túchéng)[edit]

Jiāozhǐ (交阯城) to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城)[edit]

Photo toward the Tonghai plain (and the 'ocean'-like lakes) from a temple on a mountain, taken 2009 by Christopher, Tania and Isabelle Luna.
Modern satellite map of the region showing some of the locations discussed within the first portion of this chapter. Note that many of the route's features are labelled in grey, this means the positions are approximate. Only places shown in white are identified with relative confidence.
Original pp. 711 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 4,5+13,14
安寧城,後漢元鼎二年伏波將軍馬援立銅柱定疆界之所。 At Ān​níng​ city (安寧城), in 44—45,[3] the General Mǎ​yuán​ (馬援), titled Breaker of the Waves[4], completed the demarcation of the borders with bronze-alloy[5] pillars.[6]

An-ning city was the place where, in the 2nd year of the Yuan-ting period of the Later Han Dynasty, the Fu-po-chiang-chun (General Subduer of the Waves) Ma Yuan set up bronze pillars to fix the frontier.

(案:馬援定交阯,為後漢光武帝建武十九年事。元鼎乃西漢武帝紀年,後漢並無此號,蓋樊綽失於考據之誤) (Former transliterators' note: The demarcation of the borders by General Mǎ​yuán​ on behalf of the Later (ie. Eastern) Han Dynasty Emperor Guāng​wǔ​dì​ (光武帝)[7] occurred in the 19th year of that emperor's initial Jiànwǔ (建武) reign[8] [ie. 44—45].[9] The year name Yuándǐng (元鼎) refers only to a reign of the Former (ie. Western) Han Dynasty Emperor Hàn​ Wǔ​dì​ (汉武帝) (ie. 116—111BC). There is no such year under the Later (ie. Eastern) Han Dynasty. This appears to be an error in literary reference of the original author.)[10]

(Comment: We hold that Ma Yuan's fixing of Chiao-chih was an event which occurred in the 19th year of the Chien-wu period of Kuang-wu-ti of the Later Han. (43 A.D.); whereas Yuan-ting was a year-name in the annals of Wu-ti of the Western Han. There is no such year-name in the Later Han Dynasty. It must be a mistake due to Fan Ch'o's negligence in checking his evidence.)

去交阯城池四十八日程。 It takes forty eight days to reach Ān​níng​ (安寧)[11] from the city and lakes[12] of Jiāozhǐ (交阯城).[13]

(An-ning) is 48 day-stages distant from the moated city of Chiao-chih.

漢時城壁尚存,碑銘並在。 Both the wall of the Han period city, and inscribed stelae are still there.[14]

The city-walls and fortifications of the Han period are still extant, and there are also stone inscriptions.

苴咩(上音斜,下符差切)城,從安南府城至蠻王見坐苴咩城水陸五十二日程,只計日,無裏數。 It takes 58 days[15] of travel by boat and land[16] from Annam[17] to the barbarian king's city of Xiefai (苴咩城; lit. '(Place with) Hemp (and the) Bleating (of sheep or goats)';[18] ie. Dali) (Note: The first character 苴 is pronounced xie (斜),[19] the second 咩 is pronounced as f (from 符's fu) + a or ai (from 差's cha or chai​) — ie. fa​ or fai​[20])[21] - ie. Nanzhao. On such a journey, one may count but the days, not the miles.[22]

From the prefectural capital of Annam, to reach Chu-mieh city (The first syllable is pronounced hsieh. The second is fu+ ch'a (or ch'ai; i.e. fa or fai).), the seat of the Man king, by water and land route, is 52 day-stages. We can only reckon the days, without giving the number of li. (i.e. the mileage).

從安南上水至峰州兩日,至登州兩日,至忠誠州三日,至多利州兩日,至奇富州兩日,至甘棠州兩日,至下步三日,至黎武賁柵四日,至賈步五日。 From Annam one travels upriver to Fēngzhōu/Phong Châu (峯州 or 峰州; modern Việt Trì)[23] for two days, onward to Dēngzhōu​ (登州)[24] for two days, onward to Zhōngchéngzhōu (忠誠州)[25] after three days, onward to Duō​lì​zhōu​ (多利州)[26] after two days, onward to Qífùzhōu (奇富州)[27] after two days, onward to Gāntángzhōu (甘棠州)[28] after two days, continuing for a further three days by walking, onward to Líwǔbìzhà (黎武賁柵; Hekou?)[29] after four days, and finally onward to Gǔyǒng (賈勇; lit. 'Brave Merchant')[30] by walking for five days.

From Annam, going upstream, to reach Feng-chou is 2 days. To reach Teng-chou is 2 days. To reach Chung-ch'eng-chou is 3 days. To reach To-li-chou is 2 days. To reach Ch'i-fu-chou is 2 days. To reach Kan-t'ang-chou is 2 days. To reach Hsia-pu is 3 days. To reach Li-wu-fen stockade is 4 days. To reach Ku-yung-pu is 5 days.

已上二十五日程,並是水路。 The above takes twenty five days, and follows the watercourse.[31]

The above 25 day-stages are all by water-route.

大中初,悉屬安南管系,其刺史並委首領勾當。 In 846 (at the beginning of the Dazhong period[32]), the area became a dependency of Annam,[33] and began to be governed,[34] but the Annam provincial governor had illicit dealings with the local chiefs.[35]

At the beginning of the Ta-chung period (847-859)(these parts) were all dependent on and attached to the administration of Annam. But the Tz'u-shih (of Annam) might also depute the native chiefs to take a hand in the management.

大中八年,經略使苛暴,川洞離心,疆內首領旋被蠻賊誘引,數處陷在賊中。 In the eighth year of the Dazhong era (ie. 853), the Emperor's Official[36] was cruel, such that the [population of the] river-valleys and caves[37] within the frontier became unsettled and a few of them fell to the deceitful enticements of the treacherous barbarians.

In the 8th year of Ta-chung (854 A.D.) the Ching-lueh-shih (Imperial General) was cruel and oppressive. The native areas (lit. valleys and ravines) were divided in heart. The native chiefs within the frontiers (of China) were subsequently seduced by the Man rebels; and this caused a number of places to fall in to rebel hands.

從賈勇步登陸至矣符管一日。 Walking from Gǔyǒng (賈勇) via Dēnglù (登陸)[38] to Yǐfúguǎn (矣符管; lit. 'Yifu Station') takes a day.

From Ku-yung-pu, going up by land, to reach I-fu-kuan is 1 day.

從矣符管至曲烏館一日,至思下館一日,至沙館一日,至南場館一日,至曲江館一日,至通海城一日,至江川縣一日,至進寧館一日,至鄯闡東城一日(案:「柘東,」《舊唐書》及《通鑒》俱作「拓東胡」,三省雲,言開拓東境也,《新唐書》作「柘」,從木,與此同) From Yǐfúguǎn to Qūwūguǎn (曲烏館; lit. 'Hunched Crow House'[39]) takes one day, Sīxiàguǎn (思下館) another, Shāzhīguǎn (沙[隹+又]館[40]; lit. 'Station at the sandy place for bird or small animal catching') another, Nánchǎngguǎn (南場館)[41] another, Qūjiāngguǎn (曲江館; lit. 'Meandering River';[42] ie. modern Qujiang[43]) another, Tōnghǎichéng (通海城; lit. 'City of the Connection to the Oceans',[44] ie. modern Tonghai) another, Jiāngchuānxiàn (江川縣; lit. 'River-plain';[45] ie. Jiangchuan) another, Jìnníngguǎn (進寧館; ie. modern Jinning County) another, Shànchǎn / Tuòdōng Chéng (鄯闡拓東城; lit. 'The city of Shanchan / Tuodong',[46] ie. modern Kunming) another. (Former transliterator's note: The first character of 「柘東」 occurs as 「拓」 with the 「扌」 (hand) radical at left both within the History of the Early Tang Dynasty (舊唐書) and the later Song Dynasty text Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance (通鑒; full text on Chinese wikisource)[47] which further states that this means "[place of] eastward development".). The History of the Later Tang Dynasty, by contrast, records the character 「柘」 with the 「木」 (tree) radical at left [which is likely to be in error] as here.[48])

From I-fu-kuan, to reach Ch'u-wu Inn is 1 day. To reach Ssu-hsia Inn is 1 day. To reach Nan-ch'ang Inn is 1 day. To reach Ch'u-chiang (Meandering river) Inn is 1 day. To reach Chin-ning Inn is 1 day. To reach Shan-shan Che-tung city is 1 day. (Comment: We hold that Che-tung, both in the Old T'ang history and in the T'ung chien, is written Chih-tung. Hu San-sheng says it means to open and take the eastern frontier. The New T'ang history writes che with the tree radical, as here.)

東節度城至寧寔館一日,安寧館本是漢寧郡城也。 From the Tuòdōng City (拓東) military commandery to Níngshíguǎn (寧寔館)[49] takes a day. Ānníngguǎn (安寧館) was known as Níngjùn City (寧郡城; lit. 'Peaceful Capital City') during the Han Dynasty.[50]

From the Chieh-tu city of Che-tung, to reach Ning-shih Inn is 1 day. An-ning Inn originally was the Ning-chun city of the Han dynasty.

從安寧城至龍和館一日,至沙雌館一日,至曲館一日,至沙卻館一日,至求贈館一日,至雲南驛一日,至波大驛一日,至白嚴驛一日,至龍尾城一日。 From Ānníngchéng (安寧城; lit. 'Peaceful City') to Lónghéguǎn (龍和館; lit. 'Station of Harmonious Dragons') is a day, Shācíguǎn (沙雌館) another, Qūguǎn (曲館) another, Shāquèguǎn (沙卻館) another, Qiúzèngguǎn (求贈館) another, Yúnnányì (雲南驛[51]) another, Bōdàyì (波大驛) another, Báiyányì (白嚴驛) another, Lóngwěichéng (龍尾城; lit. 'Dragon's tail city', ie. modern Xiaguan near Dali) another.

From An-ning city, to reach Lung-ho Inn is 1 day. To reach Sha-tz'u Inn is 1 day. To reach Ch'u Inn is 1 day. To reach Sha-ch'i Inn is 1 day. To reach Ch'iu-tseng Inn is 1 day. To reach Yunnan post-station is 1 day. To reach Po-ta post-station is 1 day. To reach Po-yen post-station is 1 day. To reach Lung-wei (Dragon's Tail) city is 1 day.

李謐伐蠻於龍尾城,誤陷軍二十萬眾,今為萬人冢。 Lǐ Mì (李謐)[52] attacked[53] the barbarians[54] at Lóngwěi (龍尾城), wasting[55] a great army[56] of underlings,[57] who are now[58] but 10,000 graves.[59]

Li Mi attacked the Man at the city of Lung-wei. By blundering he lost altogether 200,000 men of his army. It is now called "The Grave of a Myriad Men".

至陽(「陽」,《新唐書》作「羊」)苴咩城一日(蠻王從大和城移在苴咩城。案「蠻王至咩城」十一字,原本誤入正文,今改正) It takes one day to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城) city. (Former transliterator's note: The History of the Later Tang (新唐書) uses the character 羊 in place of 陽.[60]) (Former transliterator's note: Note that 11 characters 「蠻王從大和城移在苴咩城」 indicating that the Barbarian King had moved from Dà​hé (大和) to Xiefai (苴咩) were mistakenly inserted in to the main text and were not present in the original — these have accordingly been removed [to this comment[61]].)

To reach Yang Chu-mieh city is 1 day. (Comment: We hold that yang is written yang in the New T'ang history.) The Man king has moved his residence from Ta-ho city to Chu-mieh city. (Comment: We hold that the 11 characters, from 'Man king' to 'Mieh city' in the original edition were wrongly inserted in to the main body of the text. Now we have altered and corrected it.)

Chéngdū (成都府) to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城)[edit]

Modern satellite map of the region showing some of the locations discussed within the second portion of this chapter. Note that the majority of the route's features are labelled in grey, this means the positions are approximate (in the middle portion, extremely). Only places shown in white are identified with relative confidence.

Note that the borderland region between modern Yunnan proper and the Sichuan basin through which this section's route passes is historically inhabited by the Yi. The Yi were both powerful and independent until after the Yuan Dynasty when their princess made a deal with the invading Mongols. They wore impressive armour, examples of which can be seen online here at Sichuan University Museum and here at Harvard, or in person at the Anthropology Museum of Yunnan University on Beimenjie in Kunming.

Chéngdū (成都府) to the Yúnnán (雲南) boundary[edit]

Original pp. 1113 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 5,6,7+14
自西川成都府至雲南蠻王府、州、縣、館、驛、江、嶺開塞,並裏數計二千七百二十裏。 From Chéngdū (成都府) city in the Xīchuān (西川)[62] region to the capital of the barbarian[63] prince of Yúnnán (雲南) one crosses cities,[64] prefectures,[65] counties,[66] towns,[67] stations,[68], rivers,[69] and mountain ranges[70] over a total distance of 2720 li.

From Ch'eng-tu prefecture of Hsi-ch'uan, to reach the prefectural headquarters of the Man king of Yunnan, (including) the chou (divisions), hsien (districts), inns, post-stations, rivers, mountain-ranges, and frontier-passes, the total mileage amounts to 2,720 li.

從府城至雙流縣二江驛四十裏,至蜀州新津縣三江驛四十裏,至延貢驛四十裏,至臨邛驛四十裏,至順城驛五十裏,至雅州百丈驛四十裏,至名山縣順陽驛四十裏,至嚴道縣延化驛四十裏,從延化驛六十裏至管長賁關,從奉義驛至雅州界榮經縣南道驛七十五裏,至漢昌六十裏(案:此句上有脫文),屬雅州,城名葛店。 From Chengdu to Shuāng​liú​xiàn (雙流縣; lit. Double Flow [River] county-town)[71]) there are two river crossings over a distance of 40 li. To Xīn​jīn​xiàn (新津縣; lit. [County of the] New [water or ferry] Crossing[72]) of Shǔ​zhōu​ (蜀州[73]) there are three river crossings over a distance of 40 li.[74] To Yán​gòng​ (延貢[75]) station it is a further 40 li, to Lín​qióng​ (臨邛[76]) station a further 40 li, to Shùn​chéng​ (順城) a further 50 li, to Bǎi​zhàng​ (百丈[77]) station of Yǎ​zhōu​ (雅州) a further 40 li, Shùn​yáng​ (順陽[78]) station of Míng​shān​xiàn (名山縣[79]) a further 40 li, Yán​huà​ (延化[80]) station of Yándào​xiàn​ (嚴道縣[81]) a further 40 li. From Yán​huà​ station to Guǎn​chángbì​guān​ (管長賁關[82]) it is 60 li. From Fèngyì​​ (奉義[83]) station to Nándào​​ (南道[84]) station of Róng​jīng​ (榮經[85]) county on the Yǎ​zhōu (雅州[86]) border[87] it is a further 75 li, it is a further 60 li to Hàn​chāng​ (漢昌[88]), (Former transliterator's note: There appear to be some characters missing here) which is subordinate to Yǎ​zhōu[89] and whose city is called Gě​diàn​ (葛店[90]).

From the prefectural city (ie. Ch'eng-tu), to reach Erh-chiang post-station of Shuang-liu-hsien (district), is 40 li. To reach San-chiang-i (Three Rivers post-station) of Hsin-ching-hsien (New Ford district) of Shu chou is 40 li. To reach Yen-kung post-station is 40 li. To reach Lin-chiung post-station is 40 li. To reach Shun-ch'eng post-station is 50 li. To reach Pai-chang (One Thousand Feet) post-station of Ya-chou, is 40 li. To reach Shun-yang post-station of Ming-shan district is 40 li. To reach Yen-hua post-station of Yen-tao district is 40 li. From Yen-hua post-station (one goes) 60 li and reaches Kuan-ch'ang-fen-kuan (frontier gate). From Feng-i post-station, to reach Nan-tao post-station of Jung-ching district on the boundard[91] of Ya-chou, is 75 li. To reach Han-ch'ang is 60 li. (... dependent on Ya-chou) (Comment: We hold that at the beginning of this sentence there is an omission.) (The name of the town is Ko-tien.)

至皮店三十裏,至黎州潘倉驛五十裏,至黎武城六十裏,至白士驛三十五裏(過漢源縣十裏),至通望縣本筤驛四十裏(去大渡十裏),至望星驛四十五裏,至清溪關五十裏,至大定城六十裏,至達士驛五十裏(黎、巂二州分界),至新安城三十裏,至菁口驛六十裏,至榮水驛八十裏,至初裏驛三十五裏,至臺登城平樂驛四十裏(古縣,今廢),至蘇祁驛四十裏(古縣),至巂州三阜城四十裏(州城在三阜山上),至沙也城八十裏(故巂州,大和年移在臺登),至儉浪驛八十裏,至俄淮嶺七十裏,下此嶺入雲南界。 To Pí​diàn​ (皮店[92]) it is a further 30 li, to Pāncāng​​ (潘倉[93]) station of Lízhōu​ (黎州) a further 50 li, to Lí​wǔ (黎武[94]) city a further 60 li, to Bái​shì​ (白士[95]) station a further 35 li (10 li across Hàn​yuán​ (漢源) county), and 40 li to Běn​láng​ (本筤) station of Wàngxiàn​ (望縣) county (10 li to Dàdù​ (大渡). Continuing to Wàng​xīng​ (望星[96]) station is a further 45 li, Qīng​xīguān​​ (清溪關[97]) a further 50 li, Dà​dìng​ city (大定城[98]) a further 60 li, to Dá​shì​ (達士[99]) station a further 50 li (on the border of Lí​ (黎) and [100] (巂) prefectures), to Xīn​'ān​ city (新安城[101]) a further 30 li, to Jīng​kǒu​ (菁口) station a further 60 li, to Róngshuǐ​ (榮水[102]) station a further 80 li, to Chū​lǐ (初裏) station another 35 li, to Píng​lè​ (平樂) station in Tái​dēng​ city (臺登城) another 40 li (an ancient county, since abandoned), to Sū​qí​ (蘇祁[103]) station a further 40 li (an ancient county), to Sān​fù​ city (三阜城) of Xī​zhōu​ (巂州) prefecture another 40 li (the prefectural capital city's walls lie atop Sān​fù​shān​ (三阜山; lit. 'Three Mounds Mountain'[104]), to Shā​yě​ city (沙也城) another 80 li (then and formerly part of Xī​zhōu​ (巂州) — it was moved to administration beneath Tái​dēng​ (臺登) in the first year of Taihe[105] (ca. 930?)), to Jiǎnlàng​ (儉浪) station a further 80 li, to the É​huái​ mountain range (俄淮嶺) a further 70 li, thence down the mountain range to enter the border of Yún​nán​ (雲南; lit.[106] '(The region lying) south (of the) Yunling Mountains'[107]).

To reach P'i-tien is 30 li. To reach P'an-ts'ang post-station of Li-chou is 50 li. To reach Li-wu city is 60 li. To reach Pai-t'u post-station is 35 li. (10 li beyond (the headquarters of) Han-yuan district.) To reach Pen-lang post-station of T'ung-wang district is 40 li. (10 li from Ta-tu (Big Ferry).) To reach Wang-hsing post-station is 45 li. To reach Ch'ing-ch'i-kuan (frontier gate) is 50 li. To reach Ta-ting city (or fort?) is 60 li. To reach Ta-shih post-station is 50 li. (Here is the boundary between Li-chou and Sui-chou.) To reach Hsin-an city is 30 li. To reach Ch'ing-k'ou post-station is 60 li. To reach Jung Shui post-station is 80 li. To reach Ch'u-li post-station is 35 li. To reach P'ing-lo post-station of T'ai-teng city is 40 li. (It is an old hsien (district), now abolished.) To reach Su-ch'i post-station is 40 li. (An old hsien (district).) To reach San-fou city of Sui-chou is 40 li. (The city of the chou (division) is on the San-fou (Three Mounds) mountain.) To reach Sha-yeh city is 80 li. (The former T'ai-ho-nien (?) of Sui-chou was removed to T'ai-teng. (Query emend: "It was formerly (part of) Sui-chou. During the T'ai-ho period (827-835 A.D.), it was moved to T'ai-teng"?)) To reach Chien-lang post-station is 80 li. To reach O-huai mountain-range is 70 li. Descending from the range, one enters the frontiers of Yunnan.

已上三十二驛,計一千八百八十裏(案:上文惟三十驛,計一千四百九十五裏,與此數不符) These 32 stations total 1880 li (Former transliterator's note: The text only states 30 stations, totalling 1495 li, thus the total is inconsistent.[108])

(Above, are 32 post-stations, (the distance) totalling 1880 li.) (Comment: We hold that the above text only mentions 30 post-stations, totalling 1495 li. It does not tally with this number.)

並屬西川管,差官人將軍專知驛務。 All are governed by the Xīchuān (西川) region, which sends out special inspectors to monitor the transport relay stations' affairs.

All are dependent on the Hsi-ch'uan administration, which sends out official civil and military, who are specially acquainted with the affairs of the post-stations.

The Yúnnán (雲南) boundary to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城)[edit]

Original pp. 1314 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 7,8+14
雲南蠻界:從巂州俄淮嶺七十裏至菁口驛,三十裏至芘驛,六十裏至會川鎮,差蠻三人充鎮。 The Yunnan barbarian boundary:[109] From the É​huái​ mountain range (俄淮嶺) of Xī​zhōu​ (巂州; ie. modern Xichang / 西昌[110]) prefecture it is 70 li to Jīng​kǒu​ (菁口[111]; ie. modern Diānshāguān / 甸沙关) station, 30 li to station (芘驛[112]; ie. modern Bāsōng / 巴松), 60 li to Huì​chuān​ village (會川鎮[113]; ie. modern Huìlǐ / 会理) where three barbarians are commissioned to keep the peace.[114]

Frontiers of the Man of Yunnan. From the O-huai mountain-range of Sui-chou, after 70 li one reaches Ching-k'ou post-station. After 30 li one reaches Pi (or P'i) post-station. After 60 li one reaches Hui-ch'uan-chen (garrison-town), where they send three Man men to act as guards.

五十五裏至目集驛,七十裏至會川,有蠻充刺史,稱會川都督。 For 55 li to Mù​jí​ (目集[115]; ie. modern Fèngshānyíng / 凤山营) station, and 70 li to Huì​chuān​ (會川), the governor is a barbarian,[116] who is styled[117] the Commander-in-chief[118] of Huì​chuān[119]​.

After 55 li one reaches Mu-chi Inn. After 70 li one reaches Hui-ch'uan, where is a Man acting as Tz'u-shih, who calls himself the Tu-tu of Hui-ch'uan.

從目集驛至河子鎮七十裏。 From Mù​jí​ station to Hé​zi​ town (河子鎮[120]; ie. modern Jiāngyì / 姜驿) is 70 li.

From Mu-chi post-station, to reach Ho-tzu-chen (garrison-town) is 70 li.

瀘江,乘皮船渡瀘水,從河子鎮至末柵館五十裏,至伽毗館七十裏,至清渠鋪八十裏,渡繩橋(《雲南行記》雲「渠桑驛」) On the Lú​jiāng​ river (瀘江[121]; ie. the modern Jīn​shā​jiāng​ (金沙江) or upper Yangtze), skin boats[122] are used to cross to Lú​shuǐ​ (瀘水[123]). From Hé​zi​ to Mòzhà​​guǎn​ (末柵館) pass is 50 li, onward to Jiā​pí​guǎn​ (伽毗館) pass is 70 li, onward to Qīngqúpù (清渠鋪) is 80 li, crossing a rope bridge.[124]

(As for the) Lu-chiang,[125] one rides a leather boat to cross the Lu-shui.[126] From Ho-tzu garrison-town, to reach Mo-cha (Mo stockade) Inn is 50 li. To reach Ch'ieh-p'i Inn is 70 li. To reach Ch'ing-ch'u-p'u (bed) is 80 li. Crossing the rope-bridge...(The Yun-nan hsing chi (Diary of a journey to Yunnan) mentions Ch'u-sang post-station.)[124]

至藏傍館七十四裏,至陽裒館六十裏,過大嶺,險峻極。 Onward to Cángbàngguǎn (藏傍館[127]) is a further 74 li, onward to Yángpóuguǎn (陽裒館[128]) is a further 60 li across the great mountain range which is extremely steep and hard-going.[129]

... to reach T'sang-p'ang Inn is 74 li. To reach Yang-pao Inn is 60 li. One crosses a big mountain-ridge, which is very dangerous and steep.[129]

從陽裒至弄棟城七十裏,本是姚州,舊屬西川。 From Yángpóu (陽裒) to Lòngdòng city (弄棟城[130]) is 70 li, now of Yáozhōu province (姚州[131]), though formerly belonging to Xīchuān (西川[132]).[133]

From Yang-pao, to reach Lung-tung city is 70 li. It was originally Yao-chou,[133] and formerly depended on Hsi-ch'uan.[133]

天寶九載,為姚州都督張乾(案:「乾」《唐書》作「虔」)陀附蠻所陷。 In the ninth year of the Tianbao (天寶) reign (ie. ~750[134]), the military commander-in-chief of Yáozhōu (姚州) Zhāng​ Qián​ (張乾) (Former transliterator's note: In the Tangshu, 乾 is written as 虔.) was defeated here by the barbarians.[135]

In the 9th year of the T'ien-pao period (750 A.D.), it was lost when the Tu-tu of Yao-chou, Chang Ch'ien-t'o[135] fell under the Man. (Comment: We hold that for Ch'ien the T'ang history writes Ch'ien)

從弄棟城至外彌蕩八十裏,從外彌蕩至求贈館(案:此句下有脫文) From Lòngdòng city (弄棟城) to Wàimídàng (外彌蕩[136]; ie. modern Mí​xī​zhèn​ (瀰溪鎮)?) is 80 li, after which one arrives at Qiúzèng station (求贈館[137]; ie. modern Pǔ​péng​jiē​ (普淜街)?). (Former transliterator's note: There are characters missing after this position.)

(From Lung-tung city, to reach Wai-mi-tang is 80 li.) (From Wai-mi-tang, to reach Ch'iu-tseng Inn ... (Comment: We hold that below this clause there are some characters missing))

至雲南城七十裏,至波大驛四十裏,至渠藍趙館四十裏,至龍尾城三十裏。 To the city of Yunnan (雲南城; ie. modern Yunnanyi) it is 70 li, thence 40 li to Bōdàyì (波大驛[138]), thence 40 li to Qúlánzhào station (渠藍趙館[139]), thence 30 li to Lóngwěi city (龍尾城; lit. 'Dragon's tail city', ie. modern Xiaguan).

To reach Yunnan city is 70 li. To reach Po-ta post-station is 40 li. To reach Ch'u-lan-chao Inn is 40 li. To reach Lung-wei (Dragon's Tail) city is 30 li.

從龍尾城至陽苴咩城五十裏,以上一十九驛,計一千五十四裏(案:十九驛,共計一千六十九裏,與此數亦不符) From Lóngwěi city (龍尾城) to Yángxiefai city (陽苴咩城; ie. modern Dali) is 50 li, bringing the total for the previous 19 stages to 1054 li. (Former transliterator's note: In fact the 19 stages add to 1069 li, an inconsistent total)

(From Lung-wei city, to reach Yang Chu-mieh city is 50 li.) (The above 19 post-stations total (a mileage of) 1054 li.) (Comment: We hold that there are 19 post-stations, totalling 1069 li. This, too, does not tally with the number given.)

Beyond Yáozhōu (姚州)[edit]

Original p. 14 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 8+14
南蠻因姚州之後,屬蠻管系。 The Southern Barbarians (南蠻; ie. Nanzhao's peoples) beyond Yáozhōu (姚州; lit. 'the beautiful region'; ie. the modern Yao'an County[140] area northwest of Chuxiong, roughly equidistant between the Dali/Erhai Lake and Kunming/Dianchi Lake plateaux), are subordinate to the barbarians (ie. subordinate to Nanzhao).

Because the Southern Man, after Yao-chou, became dependent on and attached to the Man administration...[141]

Roads from Yōngzhōu (邕州) and Qiánzhōu (黔州)[edit]

Original p. 14 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 8+14
從邕州路至蠻苴咩城,從黔州路至蠻苴咩城,兩地途程,臣未諳。 The roads from both Yōngzhōu (邕州; ie. the modern Guangxi region[142]) and Qiánzhōu (黔州; ie. the modern Guizhou region[143]) to Yángxiefai city (陽苴咩城; ie. modern Dali) are both unclear.

... your humble servant could not be expert or familiar with the stages of the two land-routes:[141] (i) the Yung-chou road to Chü-mieh city of the Man, and (ii) the Ch'ien-chou road to Chü-mieh city of the Man.

委伏乞下堂帖令分析。 Perhaps an order should be issued to investigate these.[144]

I humbly beg Your Majesty to send down an official notification ordering a detailed survey.


Note that this entire portion is taken to have been a latter explanatory diversion, and not part of the main body of text.

Chapter 1: Distances within Yunnan and at its Borders (云南界内途程; yúnnán jiè nèi túchéng) — Politics
Original p. 15 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 8,9+14
緣南蠻奸猾,攻劫在心,田桑之余,便[145]鬥敵。 Due to the Southern Barbarians' (南蠻; ie. Nanzhao) treacherous nature, with attack and plunder ever-present in their minds, whenever mulberries[146] in the fields are plentiful they will seize the opportunity to drill[145] against their enemies.

Because the Southern Man are cunning and treacherous, and (the idea of) attacking and plundering is ever present in their minds, whenever they have some leisure from (cultivating their) fields and mulberry trees, they practise fighting the enemy.

若不四面征戰,兇惡難悛。 If not engaged from all sides, the ferocious evil[147] will be difficult to resolve.[148]

If, then, we do not invade and attack them from all four sides, they are violent and bad persons, and difficult to reform.

所以錄其城鎮川原,麈黷宸扆。 Thus: record their cities, towns, rivers and their sources; that stags will defile their palace screens.[149]

That is why I record their cities and garrison-towns, their river-valleys and plains--mere dust defiling the audience-screen of the Imperial apartments.

或冀破其蟻聚之眾,永清羌虜之夷。 Thus we may destroy the ant[150] masses (ie. Nanzhao's people), clean[151] forever the region[152] and capture the barbarians.[153]

Perhaps one might hope to wipe out their host of ant-swarms, and purge for ever (these) Ch'iang barbarian rebels.

臣披瀝懇忱,無任隕越之至(案:此條乃附載陳說之詞,如後世著書之案語,原本誤連正文,遂令文義格礙,今低一格以別之,後仿此) Sincerely, your humble servant, in the hopes of avoiding slaughter.[154] (Former transliterator's note: This section is an addition containing commentary, similar to 'notes' in later written formats. Our original mistakenly conjoined it, causing issues of comprehension. Thus in the present edition we drop the text by one line, and will hereupon continue with this typographic convention.)

Your humble servant speaks without reserve and implores Your Majesty with all sincerity that he may not be held responsible even though he lapse into the most extreme error. (Comment: We hold that this paragraph is by way of a supplement, containing an explanatory statement, like the formal statements of books composed in latter generations. In the original copy it was wrongly included in the main body of the text, and consequently interfered with the sense of the text. Now we have lowered it one line in order to distinguish it. In future we shall follow this method.)

The Stone Gate (石門) and the Kunming-Xichuan Route (昆川至雲南)[edit]

1913 lithographic print by Bong and Company, Paris, of a photograph by Gervais-Courtellemont, titled in French but equating to 'Eastern Yunnan: Route from Kunming to Zhaotong'.

(note: here we shall have a new map! currently under development...)

Original pp. 1521 Translation Luce (1961) — pp. 9-11+14
從石門外出魯望、昆川至雲南,謂之北路。 Outside (ie. south[155]) of the Shímén (石門; lit. (the) stone gate[156]) is Lǔwàng (魯望; ie. Qujing?) and the Kunming-Xichuan[157] Route to Yunnan (probably Yún​nányì​​; 云南驿[158]), also known as the Northern Road (北路).

From beyond Shih-men (Stone Gate), to go out via Lu-wang and K'un-ch'uan and reach Yunnan, is called the North Road.

黎州、清溪關出邛部,過會通,至雲南,謂之南路。 Leaving the Qīngxīguān (清溪關; lit. 'Clear Stream Pass') of Lízhōu (黎州; lit. 'Black Region'), one reaches Qióngbù (邛部), Huitong (會通), then Yúnnányì (云南驿). This route is known as the Southern Road (南路).

From the Ch'ing-ch'i-kuan (frontier-gate) of Li-chou to go out via Chiang-pu, pass through Hui-t'ung and reach Yunnan, is called the South Road.

從戎州南十日程至石門,上有隋初刊記處,雲:「開皇五年十月二十五日,兼法曹黃榮領始、益二州石匠,鑿石四孔,各深一丈,造偏梁橋閣,通越析州、津州。」蓋史萬歲南征出於此也。 From Róngzhōu (戎州; lit. "The Military City"; ie. modern Yibin, Sichuan[159]) southward it is 10 days' travel to Shímén (石門; lit. the Stone Gate). An inscription above from the early Sui dynasty reads: "On the 5th year, 10th month, 25th day of the of the Kaihuang emperor (ie. ~587CE),[160] The official titled Jiānfǎ (兼法; perhaps Grand Juror?), Cáohuángróng (曹黃榮), led the stonemasons of the two provinces of Shǐ​zhōu​ (始州) and Yì​zhōu (益州) to bore four very deep holes of one zhàng (around 3 to 3.7 meters) each in depth,[161] and constructed a slanting bridge with a pavilion to reach Yuèxīzhōu (越析州; lit. 'Province of the Divided Peoples'[162]) and Jīnzhōu (津州; lit. 'Province of the River-Crossing')." Shǐ Wànsuì (史萬歲) passed through here.[163]

To the south of Jung-chou, after 10 day-stages one reaches Shih-men (Stone Gate). Above it there is an inscription of the beginning of the Sui dynasty (fl. 589-618A.D.), which says: "The 25th day of the 10th month of the 5th year of K'ai-huang (Nov. 22nd., 585 A.D.). Huang Jung, prefect in charge of Shih-chou and I-chou, with the combined office of Fa-ts'ao (? Member of the Board of Law)." Stone-masons bored four holes in the stone, each 10 ft. in depth, and constructed the leaning bridge with covered way connecting Yueh-hsi-chou and Ching-chou. It is the place from which Shih Wan-sui started on his expedition to the south.

越析州今西河河東一日程,越析州諮長故地也。 Yuèxīzhōu (越析州) is one day's easterly travel beyond present-day[164] Xī​hé​ River (西河; lit. 'Western River'), the former lands of the Zī​zhǎng​ (諮長; lit. 'Chief of Consultation', perhaps 'Chief of Affairs').

(As for) Yueh-hsi-chou, after crossing (?) the Hsi-ho (West River), (it is) 1 day-stage east of the Ho. Yueh-hsi-chou is the former land of the Tzu-chang (Senior Counsellor?).

津州未詳其處。 The location of Jīnzhōu (津州) is unknown.[165]

As for Ching-chou I have no knowledge of its topography.

天寶中,鮮於仲通南溪下兵,亦是此路,後遂閉絕。 During the Tiānbǎo era (ie. 742–756[166]; ie. circa 750), the army of Xiān​yū​zhòng​ (鮮於仲) came down through Nán​xī​ (南溪[167]) and used this road, but they were utterly destroyed.[168]

During the T'ien-pao period (742-755 A.D.) Hsien-yu Chung-t'ung, from Nan-ch'i, sent down troops; this was the route. Afterwards it got blocked and (communications) interrupted for nearly 50 years.

僅五十年來,貞元十年,南詔立功歸化,朝廷發使冊命。 Only 50 years ago in the 10th year of Zhengyuan era[169] (ie. 795CE), Nanzhao submitted its sovereignty to China and their court dispatched envoys to announce the proclamation.

In the 10th year of Cheng-yuan (794 A.D.) Nan-chao acted meritoriously and returned to its allegiance (to China). The Court sent out envoys and orders of appointment.

而邛部舊路方有兆吐蕃請鈔隔關。 Owing to the prosperity of the old Qióngbù (邛部) road, the Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibetans) demanded money at the passes.

And the old road of Chiung-pu for the moment was thriving. But the Tibetans appropriated the cash and blocked the frontier-gates.

其年七月,西川節度韋臯乃遣巡官監察禦史馬益閉石門路,量行館。 On the 7th month of that year, Wéigāonǎi (韋臯乃) of the Xichuan government's Jiedu (節度) department dispatched the official Shǐmǎyì (史馬益) to supervise, defend and close the Shímén (石門; lit. (the) stone gate) Road and its Liàngxíng garrison (量行館; lit. measure traffic garrison[170]).

So in the 7th month of that year (Aug. 1 to 29, 794), Wei Kao, the Chieh-tu of Hsi-ch'uan, sent the Hsun-kuan (Inspecting Officer), the Chien-ch'a-yu-shih (Examining Censor) Ma I, to close the Liang-hsing-kuan (Inn) of the Shih-men (Stone Gate) road.

石門東崖石壁,直上萬仞,下臨朱提江流,又下入地中數百尺,惟聞水聲,人不可到。 [luce translation review up to here]The rock cliffs to the east of the Shímén (石門; lit. (the) stone gate) are of extreme height,[171] beneath which the Zhuti River (朱提江; ie. early upper Yangtze or Jinsha river[172]) flows only to enter the earth again through a hundred caverns. Listening to the sound of the water here, one is swept beyond the world of men.

The east cliff of Shih-men is a sheer precipice rising ten thousand fathoms. Below, it borders the Chu-t'i-chiang. The stream moreover flows underground for several hundred feet. You can only hear the sound of the water, but no man can reach it.

西崖亦是石壁,傍崖亦有閣路,橫闊一步,斜亙三十余裏,半壁架空欹危虛險,其安梁石孔,即隋朝所鑿也。 The rock cliffs to the west are also vertical. The road along their precipice sports pavilions and is but one pace wide, and over 30 li in length. Half the cliff stands bare forming a dangerous narrow pass, through which a safe passage was bored during the Sui dynasty.

The west cliff is also a stone precipice. Along the side of the cliff there is a covered road, 1 pace broad. It goes up and down and round for over 30 li. Halfway along the cliff there is a gap in the frame of the road, with a dangerous topple and an awful void. The stone holes on which the bridge rests, were bored under the Sui dynasty.

閣外至夔嶺七日程,直經朱提江,下上躋攀,傴身側足,又有黃蠅、飛蛭、毒蛇、短狐、沙虱之類。 Beyond the pavilion it is 7 days' journey to the Kuílǐng Range (夔嶺; lit. monstrous mountain range), passing the Zhuti River (朱提江; ie. upper Yangtse or Jinsha river) through steep topography, a back-breaking journey featuring yellow flies, flying leeches, venomous snakes, foxes, and all manner of parasites.

Beyond the covered road, one reaches K'uei-ling (range) in 7 day stages. One goes straight across the Chu-t'i-chang at the bottom, and then starts clambering up with a hunched body and feet awry. There are also yellow flies, flying leeches, poisonous snakes, short foxes (?), sand-lice, etc. etc.

石門外第三程至牛頭山,山有諸葛古城,館臨水,名馬安渡。 On the third day one reaches Niútóu Shān (牛頭山; lit. Ox-head Mountain), which features the ancient Zhūgé city (諸葛古城[173]). There is a building near the water at a place known as Mǎāndù (馬安渡; lit. Peaceful Horse Crossing).

At the third stage beyond Shih-men one reaches Niu-t'ou-shan (Cow's Head Mountain). On the mountain there is the old city (or fort) of Chu-ko (Liang) with the inn (kuan) on the brink of the stream. It is called Ma-an (Horse-saddle) Ferry.

上源從阿等路部落,繞蒙夔山,又東折與朱提江合。 The road follows the head of Kuílǐng Range (夔嶺; lit. monstrous mountain range) as it descends, wrapping about the mountain, bending eastward again to follow the Zhuti River (朱提江; ie. upper Yangtse or Jinsha river).

The source comes down from the (habitat of the) tribes of Ah and other roads. It winds around the Meng-k'uei mountains, and breaking eastwards joins the Chu-t'i-chiang.

第五程至生蠻阿部落,第七程至蒙夔嶺,嶺當大漏天,直上二十裏,積陰凝閉,晝夜不分。 On the fifth day one reaches Shēngmán'ē (生蠻阿; lit. (perhaps) Barbarian Birth Mountain), and on the seventh day Méngkuílǐng (蒙夔嶺; lit. Ignorant Monster Mountain) whose ridge is like a great sky-funnel rising 20 li, accumulating yin[174] and freezing it in place such that the night and day are no longer distinct.

At the fifth stage one reaches the wild Man, the Ah tribes. At the seventh stage one reaches the Meng-k'uei mountain-range. The range is completely open to the sky, standing straight up for 20 li. Its accumulated shade congeals solid, so there is no difference between day and night.

從此嶺頭南下八九裏,青松白草,川路漸平。 From the head of this mountain range, one descends through peaceful pine forests and white grasses, and the Chuan Road (川路; lit. the road of the upper rivers; fig. the road to/from Xichuan or Sichuan) gradually becomes flat.

From the top of this range one descends south 8 or 9 li through green pines and white grasses, while the valley-road gradually levels out.

第九程至魯望,即蠻、漢兩界,舊曲靖之地也。 On the ninth day one reaches Lǔwàng (魯望) — former Qujing (曲靖) — which is the border separating two worlds: the Chinese, and the barbarian.

At the ninth stage one reaches Lu-wang, which is the common border between the Man and the Chinese, the land of the old Ch'u (and) Ching.

曲州、靖州廢城及邱墓碑闕皆在。 The abandoned cities of the Qūzhōu (曲州) and Jìngzhōu (靖州) regions are but mounds with lettered gravestones.

The abandoned cities of Ch'u-chou and Ching-chou, and the burial mounds and tombs with their stone tablets and gates(?), are all still extant.

依山有阿竿路部落,過魯望第七程至竹子嶺,嶺東有暴蠻部落,嶺西有盧鹿蠻部落。 In the mountains is the Ēgān Road (阿竿路; lit. Mountain Bamboo Road) along which, seven days beyond Lǔwàng (魯望; ie. roughly Qujing), lies the Zhúzilǐng Range (竹子嶺; lit. Bamboo Range). East of this range are savage barbarians, and west of this range are the Lúlù Barbarians (盧鹿蠻; ie. Yi people[175]).

Resting on the mountains there are the A-kan road tribes. After passing Lu-wang, at the 7th stage, one reaches Chu-tzu-ling (Bamboo mountain-range). To the east there are the tribes of savage Man. To the west of the range there are the tribes of Lu-lu Man.

第六程至生蠻磨彌殿部落,此等部落皆東爨烏蠻也。 On the sixth day one reaches Mómídiàn (磨彌殿) of the wild barbarians, which along with other areas belongs to the Dark Eastern Civilizing Barbarians (東爨烏蠻; dōng cuàn wū mán).

At the 6th stage one reaches the wild Man, the Mo-mi-tien tribes. These various tribes are all Eastern Ts'uan, Wu Man (Black Barbarians).

男則發髻,女則散發,見人無禮節拜跪,三譯四譯,乃與華通。 Their men wear their hair in a topknot, whereas their women leave it loose. It is understood that they have no custom of respect such as to kneel or bow, and when speaking with us make sounds like sānyìsìyì.

The men have dressed hair, the women have their hair loose. When they meet people, they have no rules of etiquette. They (just) bow and kneel. They need three or four interpreters in order to communicate with the Chinese.

大部落則有鬼主,百家二百牛馬(案:此句未詳),無布帛,男女悉披牛羊皮。 The greater area has but one overlord, controlling one hundred houses and two hundred oxes and horses. (Former transliterator's note: Sheep are not mentioned here.) They have no textiles, and man and woman alike wear the skin of sheep and oxen.

A big tribe will have a "Devil-Lord", (administering) 100 families with 200 cattle or horses. (Comment: We hold that this sentence is not definite.) They have no cotton cloth nor silk. Men and women all wear the skins of cattle or sheep.

第九程至制長館,於是始有門閣廨宇迎候供養之禮,皆漢地。 On the ninth day one reaches Zhìzhǎngguǎn station (制長館) — a place of gates, pavilions, offices, welcome, resupply and proper manners — all people here are Han Chinese.

At the ninth stage one reaches Chih-ch'ang-kuan (Inn). Here for the first time we find gates and pavilions, government buildings and houses. The etiquette of waiting and welcoming, of making presents and entertaining, are all (like) those of China.

凡從魯望行十二程方始到柘東。 In total it is 12 days' journey from Lǔwàng (魯望; ie. Qujing?) to Tuodong (柘東[176]; ie. Kunming).

From Lu-wang, going altogether 12 stages, one then first reaches Che-tung.

黎州南一百三十裏有清溪峽,乾元二年置關。 130 li south of the Lizhou region (黎州; lit. black region) lies Qīngxīxiá gorge (清溪峽; ie. clear stream gorge), which was closed in the second year of the Qianyuan era (ie. ~759).[177]

130 li south of Li-chou there is Ch'ing-ch'i gorge. Here, in the 2nd year of Ch'ien-yuan (759 A.D.) there was set up a frontier-gate (kuan).

關外三十裏即巂州界也。 30 li beyond the pass is the border of Guīzhōu (巂州; ie. not modern Guizhou province, but rather the modern Xichang-Meigu region of southern Sichuan[178]).

30 li beyond the frontier-gate, is the border of Sui-chou.

行三百五十裏至邛部川,故邛部縣之地也。 A further 350 li brings you to Qióngbùchuān (邛部川; lit. Qiongbu upper-river region), formerly known as Qióngbùxiàn (邛部縣; lit. Qiongbu county).

Going 350 li, one reaches Chiung-pu-ch'uan (valley and stream). It is the land of the old Chiung-pu hsien.

下南一百三十裏至臺登,西南八十裏至普安城,劍南西川節度使重兵大將鎮焉。 Southward 130 li lies Táidēng (臺登), and [a further?] southwest 80 li lies Pǔ'ānchéng (普安城), a large and important military garrison under the Jiànnán / Xīchuān (劍南西川) commandery (節度; jiédù).

Descending south 130 li, one reaches T'ai-teng. 80 li to the south-west, one reaches P'u-an city. The Chieh-tu-shih of Hsi-ch'uan of Chien-nan kept a garrison here with double reinforcements and a big general.

臺登直北去保塞城八十裏,吐蕃謂之北谷,天寶以前巂州柳強鎮也。 Directly north from Táidēng (臺登) at a distance of 80 li lies Bǎosāi city (保塞城). The Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibet) hold its Northern Gorge (北谷). It was formerly known as Liǔqiáng town (柳強鎮) of Guīzhōu (巂州).

T'ai-teng, due north, is 80 li distant from Pao-sai city. The Tibetans called it Pei-ku, (Northern Ravine). Before the T'ien-pao period (742-755 A.D.) it was Liu-ch'iang-chen (garrison-town) of Sui-chou.

自入吐蕃,更增修崄,因城下有路向曩恭地。 Since repelling the Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibet), much work has been done atop the local peaks, as beneath the city lies the road to Nǎnggōng (曩恭).

Since its accession to the Tibetans, they have repaired and added to it and improved its strategic value. So below the city there is a road leading towards the land of Nang-kung.

谷東南一百三十裏至羅山城,天寶以後,吐蕃新築,非國家舊城。 Southeast of the valley some 130 li one arrives at Luóshān city (羅山城), which after imperial rule has protected against the Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibet), but was formerly an ancient city with no national affinity.

Going south-east 130 li, one reaches Lo-shan city. After the T'ien-pao period, the Tibetans rebuilt the old city of Fei-kuo-chia (or Fei State).

貞元十年十月,西川節度兵馬與雲南軍並力破保塞,大定,獻俘闕下。 In the 10th month of the 10th year of the Zhengyuan era[179] (ie. ~795CE), the Xīchuān (西川) commandery gave troops to the Yunnan military for defense, and a great battle occurred beneath the Xiànfúquè (獻俘闕; lit. prisoner-taking tower).

In the 10th month of the 10th year of Cheng-yuan (Oct. 29th-Nov. 26th, 794 A.D.), the infantry and cavalry of the Chieh-tu of Hsi-ch'uan, joined forces with the army of Yunnan, and destroyed Pao-sai, greatly pacified (the country), and presented prisoners of war at the Gate of the Court.

十一年正月,西川又拔羅山,置兵固守。 Three months later, Xīchuān (西川) again raided the mountains, permanently establishing troops for defense.

In the 1st month of the 11th year (Jan. 26th-Feb. 23rd,795 A.D.) Hsi-ch'uan went on to capture Lo-shan, and stationed troops there to keep strong guard.

邛南驛路由此遂通。 The Qióngnányì Road (邛南驛路; lit. 'the relay road south from Qióngbù') was thus finally made open.

The postal-service road south of Chiung henceforward could communicate with T'ai-teng city.

臺登城直西有西望川,行一百五十裏入曲羅。 Directly west of Táidēng (臺登) lies Xīwàngchuān (西望川; lit. the upper-river region of Xiwang), from which journeying 150 li one enters Qūluó (曲羅).

Due west there is Hsi-wang-ch'uan (Looking West Stream). Going 150 li, it enters Ch'u-lo (or the meandering Lu-shui?).

瀘水從北來,至曲羅縈迥三曲。 [However,] if coming from Lúshuǐ (瀘水; lit. rushing waters) one approaches from the north,[180] arriving at Qūluó (曲羅) along three crooked roads.[181]

The Lu-shui comes from the north, and reaches Chu-lo (the Meanders?) and winds round and round in three curves.

每中間皆有磨些部落,以其負阻深險,承上莫能攻討同川。 Everywhere in between is deep and dangerous passes, that even the most talented general cannot tame.[182]

In the middle of each there are Mo-so tribes. On account being stopped by deep abysses and dangerous heights, no Cheng-shang has yet been able to attack or punish them. (Comment: We hold that Cheng-shang is the name of a Man official. See what follows)

邊水左右,總謂之西蠻。 On either side of the water, the Western Barbarians (西蠻) are said to lie.

邛部東南三百五十裏至勿鄧部落,入鬼主夢沖,地方闊千裏。 350 li southeast of Qióngbù (邛部) is Wùdèng (勿鄧), a place 1000 li wide under the rule of the barbarian lord Mèngchōng (夢沖).

邛部一姓白蠻,五姓烏蠻。 For each house in Qióngbù (邛部) there are 100 barbarians; and for each five houses, one black barbarian.

初止五姓,在邛部、臺登中間,皆烏蠻也。 Other than five households, in between Táidēng (臺登) and Qióngbù (邛部) all are black barbarians.

婦人以黑繪為衣,其長曳地,又束、欽兩姓在北谷,皆白蠻,三姓皆屬。 Married women use black pigment of smeared dirt as clothing, albeit carefully applied. Except two households of the Northern Gorge (北谷), all are barbarians, including the other three households.

夢沖內受恩賞於國,外私於吐蕃。 In areas controlled by Mèngchōng (夢沖), the country is peaceful, and beyond lies Tǔbō (吐蕃; ie. post-Tibetan Empire Kham Tibet).

貞元七年,節度使韋臯使巂州刺史蘇隗殺夢沖,因別立大鬼主。 In the seventh year of the Zhengyuan era (ie. ~792CE), the government sent (weigao?) to kill mengchong, in order to prevent him from becoming barbarian king.

勿鄧南七十裏有兩姓部落。(案:此下當有闕文) 70 li south of Wùdèng (勿鄧) is the domain of the two households.

References and notes[edit]

  1. The original Chinese uses the two characters 界内 (jiè nèi) — meaning literally (border) (internal). Luce has interpreted this literally as a compound noun phrase (NP), whereas we have interpreted it as a list. Our rationale is straightforward: many distances are described under foreign administrations (eg. well within Annam and Sichuan), thus a list-based interpretation makes more sense.
  2. From 將軍專知 which can be conceived as (challenge) (particular or focus) (knowledge) .. the 軍 character losing its military sense entirely.
  3. See subsquent former transliterator's note.
  4. Apparently this title has no relationship to the events described in Chapter 3, Part 4 as General Mayuan is not involved there. Therefore we are forced to ascertain an assumption that breaking of waves was some form of then-popular metaphor for the subduing of wild tribes, whose periodic military resistance is apparently likened to like waves lapping at the great shore of Chinese civilization.
  5. Originally I had translated this character, which can mean either copper, brass, or bronze as copper — however after referencing Gordon H. Luce's translation and thinking about weathering effects on metals exposed to the outdoors, I concluded that he was probably more correct in translating this as bronze.
  6. 銅柱
  7. Born Liú​ Xiù​ (劉秀), reigned 25—57.
  8. The Later (ie. Eastern) Han Dynasty Emperor Guangwudi (光武帝)'s initial Jiànwǔ (建武) reign lasted from 25—56. His second and final Jiànwǔzhōngyuán (建武中元) reign lasted from 56—57.
  9. Gordon H. Luce's prior translation appear to erroneously state the year here as 43. This appears to be incorrect as if the reign began in the solar year 25, the solar year 26 could have been either lunar year 1 or lunar year 2 of the reign, likewise solar year 46 could have been lunar year number 20 or lunar year number 21 of the reign, and either of the solar years 44 or 45 could have been lunar year number 19 of the reign.
  10. ie. Possibly the author confused Later (ie. Eastern) Han Dynasty Emperor Guāng​wǔ​dì​ (光武帝) with Former (ie. Western) Han Dynasty Emperor Hàn​ Wǔ​dì​ (汉武帝). However, such an error would be more plausible in later copying, so pointing the finger at the original author from 18th century fragmentary, derived sources seems a little over the top to me!
  11. Originally I had translated this as 'to the city of Jiāozhǐ' however after reading Luce's translation and comparing it with the direction of described travel, it is in fact clear from context that the reader is supposed to interpret this sentence as 'to reach Anning, from the city of Jiāozhǐ'.
  12. Luce's translation states "moated city" here. While Hanoi's environs were extremely wet — in fact essentially swamp-like — this is not present in the text, which literally says (city) (pond or lake). Hanoi's water bodies have reduced significantly over time as drainage has occurred — these developments are reviewed cartographically in Jim Goodman's A Dragon Still Ascending: 1000 Years of Hanoi, Thé̂ Giới Publishers (2010), ISBN: 9786047700967 (paperback; 260 pp., ill., maps).
  13. ie. An earlier version of Hanoi, the dominant delta-region settlement for the Red River in what is now northern Vietnam. The route would almost certainly have involved descending to the Red River, probably down one of the valleys in the general vicinity of Jianshui or Gejiu, probably after moving south from the lakes of central Yunnan via Tonghai, then following the Red River either by foot and mule or perhaps even descending by boat. Early use of boats is well testified in the bronze drum culture of the region, of which historic Jiāozhǐ appears (at least by cursory quantitative analysis and geographic distribution) to have been the pan Southeast Asian center. The bronze drum industry quite likely used tin from the famous vein of Gejiu, which is located en-route between the lake-plateaux of central Yunnan and Jiāozhǐ.
  14. Fan Chuo is writing in the 9th century, thus the walls and inscriptions were allegedly about 800 years old.
  15. From Jiāozhǐ to the modern Dali region (Nanzhao's seat) via Kunming. A shared passage northward from the Red River valley to Kunming, then under only ten days between the two, which is quite fast. The shared route from the Red River would was well established by early times: Dian bronzes are clearly attributable to the Jiāozhǐ-region Dongson culture, and the tin vein of Gejiu is likely to have been exploitated for export downriver to the southeast. To possibly further underscore the importance of this 'southern orientation', the relatively southerly location of the Dian king's tomb (ie. at 石寨山; shizhaishan) — favourable for taxation and defence of this passage — lies at the mountains southeast of Dianchi, as opposed to anywhere near modern Kunming (then Shanchan/Tuodong) city in the north of the basin... a location which would appear to offer superior access to extensive flat and well-watered potential agricultural tracts receiving greater volumes of sunshine, routes westward toward Nanzhao's seat at Xiefai (Dali), and a more comfortable / flatter topography.
  16. Here is direct evidence of the use of watercraft to transit up the Red River during this period. The phrase used is 水陸 or shuǐlù, roughly translating to 'by water and land'.
  17. Apparently referring, though, specifically to Jiāozhǐ or the modern Hanoi region.
  18. Though a literal interpretation is not necessarily possible, particularly if in fact this is a transliteration from a non-Chinese language in to Chinese. In more recent times the area is known for both wild hemp and the rearing of goats, however.
  19. ie. /ʒɛər/ in my attempt at rendering correctly the IPA pronunciation.
  20. ie. either /fa/ or /faɪ/ in my attempt at rendering correctly the IPA pronunciation.
  21. Note that there is no assigned age for this pronunciation suggestion and that Mandarin has very little to do with a lot of the ancient pronunciation in southern China, so this note — whilst present and translated — should not be taken as gospel, in fact quite the opposite: it needs modern analytical attention from a historically-focused linguists in a range of potentially relevant language families. For what it's worth, here are alleged Proto-Sino-Tibetan, Sino-Tibetan and Sino-Caucasian etymologies of 苴 (alleged xie) and the entry for 咩 (alleged fa or fai).
  22. The phrase 只計日,無裏數 comes across to me as if Fan Chuo is dismissing the intermediary wilderness as vast and uncivilized.
  23. Phong Châu (峯州 or 峰州; a ruined city near Bạch Hạc (白鹤? See source.) District, Việt Trì, Phú Thọ Province, Vietnam) was originally the capital city of Văn Lang (文郎; the then northern-Vietnamese state centered on the Red River). Supposedly founded in 2879 BCE, it existed until 258 BCE when it was invaded by the Âu Việt tribe (known to the Chinese as the Kingdom of Eastern Ou (東甌), and associated with Tai/Zhuang peoples). The Âu Việt king, Thục Phán, proclaimed himself King An Dương Vương and reigned from a more easterly location, just east of modern Hanoi at Cổ Loa. Thus, by the time our author mentions the location in passing as two days upriver from Annam, the elevated status of Phong Châu (峯州 or 峰州) was all ancient history and evidently the name had merely persisted for the general area. Today, the name refers to the nearby but separate Phong Châu district, Phú Thọ province. Geographically, this is the southern (encompassed) side of a major bend in the Red River after being joined by a major tributary, the Black River (sông Đà). As such, it is a location that would have been ideal for tridirectional trade, is probably highly fertile, would have provided an easy point of taxation, and was thus a natural early political center. Note that Việt Trì and and the original ruins are apparently on the northern side of the river, whereas modern Phong Châu is on the southern side. While studies have almost certainly been done, I have not consulted any, so do be aware that it is not wholly unlikely that the river's course may have moved before drawing any conclusions from this disparity.
  24. Though distances would suggest approximately the modern location of Phú Thọ and probably no further than Yên Bái, at the time of writing, using available online sources, no firm identification appeared to be possible. (Partly this is because the area around Penglai, to the west of Yantai in northern China's Shandong province is far better known by the same characters and widely referenced in Chinese history and literature.) However, given that the next identification of Hekou (modern China/Vietnam border) is made with some confidence, perhaps this was indeed slightly beyond Yên Bái, for example in the region around Mau Dong / Mau A. Note there is apparently a passing reference to a local Dengzhou in the (much later) Míngshǐlù (明史录; usually in English Records of the Ming Dynasty; lit. Historical Records of the Ming Dynasty).
  25. Possibly modern day Hekou, ie. the modern China/Vietnam border.
  26. Unidentified.
  27. Unidentified.
  28. Apparently previously identified as about 2/3 of the way to the modern border, beyond the town of Yên Bái but not close to the town of Lào Cai. French maps seem to confirm the identification of the site as Bảo Hà, Bảo Yên District, the very first place one comes to after entering Lào Cai Province. In addition, the maps show rapids on the Red River following this point which would explain the walking. Certain French colonial era postcards from the early 20th century appear to spuriously identify 甘棠 with Lào Cai — labels read Laokay but visible Chinese characters in the photograph read 甘棠 — but this makes sense if they were referring to the province since Bảo Hà lies within.
  29. Literally 'Black military bright fence', suggesting a wall, frontier or bastion. Unidentified, but possibly modern Hekou, lit. 'River Mouth', at the confluence of the Red River and one of its tributaries, the Nam-Thi (Name in local Tai language families; Nam means river). French photographs from the early 20th century show that the presentation of the confluence is rather sudden and oblique, not unlike a wall, and as a confluence would make a perfect location for collecting tolls, surveying transit and participating in trade. Note also that the pronunciation is a guess: the third character could allegedly be any of bì bēn féi fén fèn ... but no clues are apparent as to when or why. Luce's translation opts for one of the fen options and calls it Li-wu-fen stockade.
  30. The source writes Gǔ​nán (賈男) — this would mean 'merchant man' and is unidentified anywhere. However, it looks a lot like the place 賈勇 (lit. 'Brave Merchant') below, and is thus potentially a miswritten character for the same place. In Luce's translation, it is given the latter's written form and pronunciation (though erroneously granted a -pu suffix due to Luce's misunderstanding of this area of the text). Therefore, the error is probably in our version of the source text (ie. an error likely originating in the digitization of the original, which would not exist in the paper or photographic derivative form of the same movable type produced version Luce used), so I count this error as very probable and ignore the spurious name. Note also that the subsequent comment states that a watercourse has been followed to this point, but Guyong in particular may be up a tributary. This lesser water-body would account for the switch to walking.
  31. This appears to imply that the rest of the route continues from here, overland. Luce's translation erroneously implies the above was all by water route, whereas in fact that was both impossible and not-so-explicitly described in its aversion by the text.
  32. Tang Xuān Zōng (唐宣宗)'s reign, 846–859.
  33. Thus a possession of the central Chinese imperial government.
  34. This may be seen to imply that, rather than wresting the area from some foreign power, it was brought in to governance from a previously ungoverned, non-state situation.
  35. Luce asserts "... might also depute the native chiefs to take a hand in management", though such a focus on delegation does not seem to be evidenced in the text, which merely states 委首領勾當 — literally (trust or appoint, send, commission) (chieftains) (illicit dealings).
  36. Luce put me on the right path here: I had failed to recognize 經略使 as an official position and completely munged this paragraph's translation!
  37. Implying the total geography of the area.
  38. This place name is wholly omitted by Luce.
  39. Inexplicably this is suddenly translated as "Chu-wu Inn" by Luce, whereas previous 館 are suffixed -kuan. Subsequent places follow the new pattern.
  40. It seems here that the source text here has another incorrect character. Luce's translation specifies a character in note number 26, page 13 that is apparently not recognized in Unicode, that of 隹 ("a bird") at the top, and 又 ("a right hand") at the bottom. Fortunately, has an entry for this under zhī, which appears to accord with Luce's Wade Giles romanization and clarify the mystery.
  41. Guessing by distance, possibly a town in the northern Jianshui plateau, or Jianshui itself? Apparently Jianshui was called 惠历 (Huili) by Nanzhao, who established it in the year 810 under the command of Tonghai. To them, then, it would have been a southerly place ... perhaps the origin of the 南 in 南場館 — which can be literally interpreted as something vaguely like 'central-office of a southern place'. I am unable to find any secondary sources attesting to a Nanchangguan or Nanchang in the area, though there is a Nanchang southwest of Dali that is certainly not the place referenced.
  42. Luce's literal translation, and a good one. Why he decides to provide one for this place name and not others is lost to the mists of time!
  43. Under Jianshui's administration — 建水县曲江镇 — and located just across the mountains from Tonghai on the next plain south. Note that the old road may have been first walking west, then turning north up the more westerly canyon via Lishan village; the new (≈2010) freeway from Tonghai to Jianshui takes a far more easterly path, ie. straight north out of Qujiang.
  44. So called not for its connection to the Red River and onward to the South China Sea (南海), but rather for its function as a natural gateway for those journeying from lands to the south, including the Red River and important towns like Jianshui and Gejiu toward the great lakes of Yunnan's central plateaux.
  45. Luce inexplicably presents this in supposed literal translation as 'District headquarters' — with apparently no basis whatsoever!
  46. The source had mistranscribed 柘 in place of 拓 — otherwise, the portion "...柘東城" would refer to the city to the east of the 「柘」 (thorny tree, possibly a mulberry bush), which sounds rather spurious.
  47. By the famous historian Sīmǎ Guāng (司馬光)]. Hú Sānxǐng (胡三省), a respected commentator on the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance (通鑒) who lived at the end of the Song and the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty.
  48. This implies that this portion of the text may have been lifted from the History of the Later Tang Dynasty (新唐書) by the compilers of this edition of the text, which is known to have been reconstructed from disparate portions. Someone with more interest than me can definitely go do more research on probable origins of the various portions of the text.
  49. Uncertain but perhaps this was this supposed to be Anning? It would make a lot more sense.
  50. Originally I had translated this differently and probably incorrectly, taking 郡 to be a region and 漢寧 to be a descriptive adjectival phrase, — ie. "capital of the (pacified [and] Han Chinese [occupied]) (region) [in contrast to other areas]". However, after reviewing Luce's work, I think his interpretation is far more straightforward and likely to be correct.
  51. Luce translates this as "Yunnan post-station", a trend here established for subsequent -yi placenames. I do not agree with reading so much in to the suffix here.
  52. Though, at this point in the text, it seems strange to suddenly switch to descriptions of unidentified characters. After some reference to other sources, this appears to be the Tang general who invaded from the north in 754 but was defeated.
  53. 伐; from other sources we learn this occurred in the year 754.
  54. 蠻; referring to the Nanzhao kingdom's people.
  55. This seems the most apt translation for 誤陷軍 (wùxiànjūn) which could be interpreted a few ways. It should be possible to more confidently translate the verb given additional texts of the era for context, or a more experienced translator.
  56. The text is actually states 二十萬 (20 x 10,000 = 200,000), though as much classical Chinese is loose with numbers, translating to give a large impression without the stupendous figure may be more accurate. Apparently others have re-estimated the figure at 100,000, though basically all we can reasonably conclude is "a great number" or "a large army".
  57. The text uses the character 眾 (see English Wiktionary), which based upon the glyph's upper portion (an eye) and the lower portion (three people) is presumably an antiquated form of noun, here used to indicate militarily commanded soldiers.
  58. 今為
  59. 萬人冢
  60. As an aside, it may be meaningful to note that the lead compiler of that official dynastic history, Ouyang Xiu (歐陽脩), has a surname that according to his own, respected historical research was associated with far southern China including regions adjacent to Yunnan such as northern Vietnam (aka. Jiāozhǐ/Annam) and Guangxi. Conjecture: being a historian with family roots in the region, this change may have been deliberate, for example to reflect or record simplification in popular or short-hand use of the period.
  61. Though in typical clarity no further statement on source, time or evidence is made! To make matters worse, our digital source text does not even make it clear which compiler wrote the note originally or in modified form.
  62. Apparently a historical administrative region denoting borderlands from what is now modern western Sichuan.
  63. Meaning Nanzhao.
  64. A modern place exists with the same name outside of Chengdu in Sichuan province (四川省成都市双流县; circa 30.447N,104.03E).
  65. Again, outside of Chengdu in Sichuan province (四川省成都市新津县).
  66. Apparently administered at the time from modern Chongzhou (崇州市), currently north-west of Xīn​jīn.
  67. Presumably referring in part to the 岷江 (Mínjiāng) and the 大渡河 (Dàdù Hé) — one of the former's tributaries —, and possibly the 雅砻江 (Yǎlóngjiāng). The identity of the fourth river remains unclear, though no doubt good studies of the former flows of rivers in this region have been made, particularly given the proximity to China's famous early irrigation project at 都江堰 (Dūjiāngyàn), so there is hope for a positive identification.
  68. Vaguely possible literal meaning 'delayed tribute', very questionably referring to poor punctuality in taxation? In any event, seems to equate with the modern village 四川省成都市邛崃市冉义镇延贡村 at 30.4286N,103.649E.
  69. The place name means literally 'the overlooking mound' or 'hillock with a view'. Identified historically at Baidu Baike, though the final definition is a few hundred years before our period.
  70. Conjecture: 丈 here possibly refers to the Chinese measure, being 3.3 meters, if so the literal translation of the place would be '330 meter station', which could refer to the approximate length of the settlement along the road.
  71. Literal geographical meaning could be 'along the sunny side [of the mountain]'.
  72. Literally 'bright mountain county'.
  73. Conjecture: Possibly referring to the length of seasonal change, for example as indicated by an abnormal length of foliage on deciduous trees in the local microclimate.
  74. Yandao county, possibly literal meaning 'tight or well-sealed road', which could suggest a prominent mountain pass, military garrison and/or customs levy.
  75. This toponym is possibly of unlikely length and could alternatively be interpreted as 'Biguan' of 'Guanchang [area]', ie. 'bright pass of everwatch [area]'. However, the style of surrounding text suggests that it is indeed a four-character toponym, thus a literal meaning would be 'Everwatch Bright Pass'.
  76. As yet not introduced, possibly synonymous with the pass just mentioned.
  77. Literally 'Southerly Road'.
  78. Modern Róng​jīng​ County in Ya'an (四川省雅安市荣经县).
  79. Apparently the then-name of the capital of the broader district with the same name, on the site of modern Ya'an (四川省雅安市). A history is available at Chinese Wikipedia.
  80. Can't find any clear references online, except north-west of Chengdu which seems incorrect though may indicate that a new route from Chengdu is under discussion... we shall see with subsequent placenames.
  81. ie. Modern Ya'an (四川省雅安市).
  82. Literally 'hemp cloth selling place'. I can't find any clear references to this place online, except in far-flung places that are clearly incorrect identifications, or in copies of this same text. Therefore, its location remains a mystery, but it must be nearby Róng​jīng County (四川省雅安市荣经县)​ to the south or southwest of modern Ya'an (四川省雅安市).
  83. Error in original.
  84. Literally '[animal] skin [or fur] selling place'.
  85. Literally 'Pan storehouse' or 'Pan's cabin'.
  86. Literally 'black militia'.
  87. Literally something like 'hundred scholars' or 'scholarly'.
  88. Literally 'star gazing'. Conjecture: This could be atop a particularly high point or in a microclimate without evening cloud. Alternatively, the name may refer to a local cultural habit of astromancy.
  89. Literally 'clear stream pass'.
  90. Literally this could possibly be something like 'city of great permanence'.
  91. Literally something like 'passing the scholarly exam', which seems fairly elevated as a reference for such a presumably remote location and therefore suspect. Other explanations are a mere transliteration, possibly in jest, of some form of endemic language such as Yi or Naxi.
  92. The character 巂 has multiple pronunciations, however with the dictionary I am using this pronunciation is listed specifically as a Sichuan-related toponym, so seems the most likely candidate. Luce uses a more common reading of the character, sui, which is possibly wrong.
  93. Literally 'new peaceful city'.
  94. Literally 'thriving water', suggesting a fast-moving stream.
  95. This toponym sounds suspiciously transliteration-like to me.
  96. Unidentified. There is apparently a similarly named mountain (characters uncertain) known for its mineral ores in the Shandong region — source.
  97. Referring either to 929-930 or 827-828, probably the former.
  98. By received wisdom.
  99. 雲嶺
  100. This note from the electronic source text in Chinese, by an unknown author, does not discuss any attempt to locate the various places and/or probable distances, which would probably be fruitful given that their notes suggest multiple places are already known. It may be worth mapping this region and attempting to infer the missing distances.
  101. Referring to Nanzhao.
  102. Apparently modern Xichang, in Sichuan (四川省西昌市) ... today most notably the approximate site of a major Chinese spaceport.
  103. Literally perhaps 'luxuriant pass' or 'gateway to luxuriance'. There appear to be no less than four modern locations with this name in the approximate area. All candidates are under the modern jurisdiction of Luzhou (泸州市; Lúzhōu shì): two more westerly and thus perhaps more likely candidates are in its Xuyong county (泸州市叙永县; Xùyǒngxiàn), and two are in its Gulin county (古蔺县; Gǔlìnxiàn). Of the westerly Xuyong candidates, the northerly is at 27.9174625N,105.520287E and appears to describe a hill in modern times with a secondary road from the south, the 011县到 or number 11 county-level road, arriving to its west and perhaps delivering travelers to an area of relative flat. The southerly is at 27.80265N,105.5403784E and appears to describe a position at the northern and elevated end of a mountain pass running north/south. Of the easterly Gulin candidates, neither appear to describe logical sites on a northward progression toward the Sichuan basin. Apparently identified by others as equivalent to modern Diānshāguān / 甸沙关, lying about half-way between Panzhihua and Liangshan, just east of the modern freeway and railway line.
  104. Apparently identified as modern Bāsōng / 巴松 at 27.029898N, 102.260703E.
  105. Apparently identified as modern Huìlǐ / 会理 at 26.663578N, 102.247416E — from which a very clear topography defines an ancient passage north.
  106. This last part was revised after comparing Luce's translation which seemed a more likely interpretation.
  107. Apparently identified as modern Fèngshānyíng (凤山营) at 26.496801N, 102.134590E. However, this is far more southerly than previously discussed locations and represents a contextual shift within the text if correctly identified. Place name possibly suggests collecting, not very usefully for our purposes implying adjacency to forest (probably mountains, being less likely to be uncultivated land) rather than a flat agricultural area.
  108. Revised vs. Luce's interpretation.
  109. 都督
  110. 會川都督
  111. Apparently identified as modern Jiāngyì / 姜驿 at 26.068453N, 101.910703E.
  112. Identification here was non-trivial. Chinese Wikipedia suggests that the term has been used in the context of the region to refer to at least two separate rivers, one of which flows from Shiping to Kaiyuan (thus being in completely the wrong area for this discussion), and one of which is a name for a tributary to the Red River within modern Vietnam (again, completely the wrong area). One may then assume that the Lujiang or Lu River under reference is in fact a river known by alternate modern names in the previously geographically established context, ie. that roughly of southern Sichuan's Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region (凉山彝族自治州), or thereabouts. To aid in identification, we could assert that a skin boat of the simple inflated type that is most likely referenced would have been most appropriate for relatively broad river in a relatively mountainous or remote location, given that a settled agricultural zone with higher population, specialist workers and frequent need to cross the water would likely provide rapidly for comfortable crossing by bridge or more permanent/sophisticated watercraft. The answer to the riddle appears to be, according to Baidu Baike, that the major river in the area, the upper Yangtze, locally known as the Jinshajiang (金沙江) since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), was in ancient times from the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) known by this name (amongst others). The period of usage reflected here in the Manshu accords with this information.
  113. Skin boats refers at the most basic and certainly regionally historically attested level to inflated skins or organs of various animals used as buoyancy devices to float across rivers. At the more complex level skin boats may include relatively sophisticated boats made of a bamboo, wood, bone or other type of frame holding without a usually sewn collection of multiple skins including sewing, caulking and heat treatment technologies. In this region, the former is almost certainly the type of boat referenced, as attested by early photographs and probably other types of sources. More sophisticated boats in the region appear to have been limited to Yunnan's major lakes, the Red River (technology via Vietnam) and the edge of the Sichuan basin, these were of wood rather than skin and probably represented a completely different and independent evolutionary lineage of watercraft.
  114. In modern times, the name apparently refers to the town of Liuku, capital of Nujiang prefecture in far western Yunnan (bordering Burma's Kachin State). However, such an identification is neither in keeping with the established geographic context or in keeping with the later known traditions of that area to cross rivers by rope bridge (owing to the extreme depth of that gorge and often low temperatures). Given the identification of the river, we can narrow the identification of this town to approximately riverside sites. Since Panzhihua was apparently only founded in the 1960s as a steel-making town, we can rule that out.
  115. 124.0 124.1 In Luce's translation, the rope-bridge is ascribed to the Ch'ing-ch'u-p'uT'sang-p'ang portion of the route. However, in the digital version of our Palace Museum Library edition source text, a firmly placed full stop attributes this bridge instead to the Jiā​pí​guǎn​ (伽毗館)—Qīngqúpù (清渠鋪) portion. Without additional sources, we err in favour of our edition but note this point of contention for future readers.
  116. Luce appears to concur with the interpretation as a river rather than a settlement or region.
  117. Here Luce departs from our interpretation by implying that his Lu-shui is another reference to the Lu-chiang (瀘江) river rather than a place name.
  118. Literally 'the pass [near/relying on/of] the storehouse'.
  119. Probably literally 'sunny collection pass', where yang is taken in its male 'which-side-of-the-mountain' type sense, possibly referring to either the collection of taxes from travelers or the collection of some wild animal, plant or mineral resource by foraging travelers. An alternative and far less likely translation would be a place to collect men (with an emphasis on male), perhaps with reference to the slave-taking traditions of the Yi people of the region or to a local mercenary tradition.
  120. 129.0 129.1 The phrase is 過大嶺,險峻極 which was originally presumably without punctuation and could be interpreted a few ways from the basic components as follows: 過 (to cross) 大嶺 (the or a great mountain range) 險峻 (arduous/steep) 極 (extremely/top). Some may interpret this as crossing "by the steep summit" (though this is likely too specific), others as "with great difficulty" or "it is very steep". I choose a combination of the latter to cover all bases, but acknowledge some ambiguity here.
  121. Probably literally 'alley of buildings city'. Alternatively, this could be Nòngdòng and have a meaning like 'messy ridgepoles city'.
  122. Literally 'good-looking region'.
  123. Literally something like 'the western source of rivers'.
  124. 133.0 133.1 133.2 We read 本是 as "currently" and 舊屬 as "formerly of". Luce instead reads both as historic reference, which seems an odd sentence structure to take given the rest of the text.
  125. Emperor Tang Xuán Zōng (玄宗)'s Tiānbǎo (天寶) reign lasted from 742–756. Emperor Xuanzong (唐玄宗) (8 September 685—3 May 762), also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang (唐明皇), personal name Li Longji (李隆基), known as Wu Longji (武隆基) from 690—705, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 712—756. His reign of 43 years was the longest during the Tang Dynasty. In the early half of his reign he was a diligent and astute ruler. Ably assisted by capable chancellors like Yao Chong, Song Jing and Zhang Yue, he was credited with bringing Tang China to a pinnacle of culture and power. He was blamed, however, for over-trusting Li Linfu, Yang Guozhong and An Lushan during his late reign, with Tang's golden age ending in the Anshi Rebellion. This marked the beginning of the Tang dynasty's decline.
  126. 135.0 135.1 We interpret 陀附蠻所陷 as 陀 (fell or lost-out) 附 (to) 蠻 (barbarian) 所 ('s) 陷 ([via] defeat in battle). Luce however tacks the first character on to the general's name, probably in error.
  127. This place name could mean 'outer' or 'external' 彌蕩, however this feels like an overly modern interpretation. From dictionary sources, it appears this place name may be something not dissimilar to 'outsiders completely removed', potentially referring to the reinstatement of local governance, but this is not really useful as a clue even if true. This is also the first place, heading from Nanzhao toward Sichuan, that differs from the Vietnam to Nanzhao route description, thus we may assume that it lies northward a little of the primary east-west route — ie. represents a path between Qiúzèng station (求贈館) and the upper Yangtse. Based upon this latter evidence, and the known association of the previous sites with Yáozhōu (姚州), it could make sense to place this between modern Yáozhōu (姚州) — again marked as a walled city on my 1950s maps — and the tentative identification of Qiúzèng station (求贈館) as Pǔ​péng​jiē​ (普淜街). Approximately precisely half-way between those is Mí​xī​zhèn​ (瀰溪鎮), which seems the most likely candidate, if indeed it existed at all in those days.
  128. Apparently literally not unlike 'the place at which presents are sought', ie. taxes or levies are extracted, either legally or by graft. This is also the last place that is shared between the two routes (to Vietnam and to Sichuan) described within the text, thus we may assume that it is in an eastward direction from the Dali area but not significantly north or south. The place known in the 20th century as Pǔ​péng​jiē​ (普淜街; lit. 'Roaring [like waves] street' — possibly implying busyness) seems to be a strong candidate, lying at the natural topographic intersection of the east-south-easterly route toward Kunming and the north-easterly route to the upper Yangtse or Jinshajiang.
  129. Literally 'great storm (postal or relay) station'. Based upon stage distances and topography, I must be a town identified on maps from the 1950s as 'Hsiang-yun' and noted as being a walled town (hence, probably quite old and lending further credence to the identification) — modern Xiangyun County (祥云县) — which lies on the western edge of the swampy (by 1950s map's definition!) depression immediately northwest of that containing Yunnanyi, the southeast of which contains a small lake known as Qinghai (presumably 青海).
  130. This place is not mentioned in the Jiāozhǐ (交阯城) to Yángxiefai (陽苴咩城) section, above, instead being replaced by the location Báiyányì (白嚴驛). It is not possible to compare distances however, because that former section does not quote them. However, it is reasonable to assume that the de-facto unit of measure with regards to places worth mentioning en-route was a caravan-capable day-stage, and that this is reflected inexplicitly within the current section. If these reasonable assumptions are true, then given both the topography and the distances involved, these two place names are fairly likely to be synonyms, ie. Qúlánzhào station (渠藍趙館) is likely the same as Báiyányì (白嚴驛). As for a modern identification, the 1950s map I have shows the town of 'Feng-i (Chao-chou)' — modern Fengyi (凤仪镇) — noted as a walled and therefore a relatively established or ancient town, in the north-south valley proceeding southward from the south-eastern corner of Erhai Lake, ie. the valley which currently houses the Dali Expressway. This is very likely to be the correct identification for at least one of these places, and possibly both. Alternatively, if this identification is incorrect, then the name probably refers to the southern end of that river-valley where it emerges in to another swampy valley with 1950s place names in its north including Guǒ​yuán​ (果园; ie. 'Fruit Orchard') and Hóng​yán​ (红岩; ie. 'Red Cliff'). Unfortunately, that area is now apparently under an expressway and appears to have no identifiable town center.
  131. Baidu Baike and the Chinese academic source Kaogu concur here, apparently on an area directly to the east of the modern town (see Kaogu map).
  132. 141.0 141.1 Here Luce runs together the interpretation of a statement regarding the lands west ("beyond") Yaozhou/Yao'an, and two subsequent statements referring to roads to the east/northeast. This appears to be in error.
  133. Meaning Nanning or the general direction of Guangxi province.
  134. Meaning Guizhou province.
  135. I'm a little vague about the first part 委伏乞下堂 — but overall meaning seems on the mark — 委伏 (some kind of deferential personal pronoun phrase) 乞 (beg) 下堂 (issue downward 'from the palace') ...
  136. 145.0 145.1 The digital source text wrongly replaces the 習 (as written in the digital Palace Museum Library edition over here, at the bottom of the second column from the right) with 昌 (chang1) ("flatter" or "flourishing").
  137. This is an interesting choice of crop to describe harvest season with, and could be a visual flourish implying evil or a thirst for blood; as the color of the fruit is similar to blood. Wikipedia states: "Mulberry fruit color derives from anthocyanins which are under basic research for mechanisms of various diseases. Anthocyanins are responsible for the attractive colors of fresh plant foods, including orange, red, purple, black, and blue. These colors are water-soluble and easily extractable".
  138. Meaning Nanzhao.
  139. Obviously all sides (literally 四面 or 'four directions') is essentially impossible when one of them is the Himalayas and the other is tropical, malaria-ridden jungle. It may therefore either be assumed that the writer, Fan Chuo, was not particularly familiar with north-western, western, south-western and southern Yunnanese geography... or alternatively, that this is a figurative statement.
  140. Apparently a contemporary metaphor suggesting the end of empire. The structure of the metaphor perhaps suggests that — to the civilization-obsessed Chinese, who viewed literature as its cornerstone — being overrun by wild animals is fate worse than being overrun by a rival kingdom.
  141. Strange as it seems, Fan Chuo here appears to liken the Nanzhao kingdom (and any allied tribes) to ants.
  142. ie. Pacify.
  143. The character 羌 represents the Qiang region (ie. the greater eastern Himalayan foothills, particularly from northern Yunnan through Sichuan to Gansu). However, it is also used to represent muntjac, and thus may be some kind of reference to the former sentence ("...that stags will defile their palace screens"), perhaps an instance of olden-day literary jest!
  144. ie. Nanzhao people.
  145. Vague, particularly the last portion. A more experienced and confident translator may be able to add detail here.
  146. Based upon the assumption that the author writes from a contemporary Chinese imperial perspective, which seems supported by later text in this section.
  147. Referring to an historic pass located near Dòushā Village (豆沙真) in modern Yán​jīn County (盐津县) of Zhāo​tōng​ (昭通) along the Héngjiāng River (横江), the last major tributary to the upper Yangtze before Yíbīn (宜宾) and the Sichuan basin proper. In ancient times, this Yunnan-Guizhou plateau/Sichuan basin transition area was the domain of the Bo people, whose neolithic but similarly cliff-inspired culture incorporated hanging cliff tombs, a tradition still preserved to this day in only one location by an offshoot emigrant community who moved to Bainitang in Wenshan prefecture, southeastern Yunnan. Sadly that community is now endangered by open cut mining. See for example this Chinese source for further information on the pass itself, which is discussed further subsequently in this section of the text. For maps, see Harvard's historical US military topographic map of the area (zoom in to the southwest of Yen-ching at the bottom), OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.
  148. Inferred from context, 昆 and 川 respectively being used to refer to Kunming and Sichuan in modern times, but Xichuan being the apparently closest contemporary toponym discussed in the text.
  149. Possibly referring to the town of Yunnanyi (云南驿), acknowledged as an historically critical transport juncture including acting as the terminus for roads to Sichuan, Dali and Kunming, and geographically something of an eastern gateway to the Erhai Plateau (modern Dali and Xiaguan) that was the seat of Nanzhao's power. For example, this modern government source states "Yunnan Yi used to be a must-take position since it can connect Dali, Chengdu, Kunming, South and West Yunnan".
  150. 今四川宜宾市
  151. Emperor Wen of Sui (隋文帝; 21 July 541 – 13 August 604), personal name Yang Jian (楊堅), Xianbei name Puliuru Jian (普六茹堅), nickname Naluoyan (那羅延), the founder and first emperor of China's Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD).
  152. Apparently the foundations of the bridge. It may be interesting or relevant to note that the area of southern Sichuan not very distant to the north was actually the world's earliest site of the development of deep drilling technology, for the purpose of commercial salt wells. A great museum exists to this effect in modern Zìgòng (自貢), a city which in 1939 became the merged successor of the earlier — ie. relatively textually contemporary — cities of Zìliújǐng (自流井; lit. 'artesian well') and Gòngjǐng (貢井; lit. 'tribute well'). It might be arguably be possible to therefore infer that Fan Chuo was not familiar with deep drilling capacity common in the region.
  153. Implying perhaps extreme topography and ethnic diversity.
  154. Shǐ Wànsuì (史萬歲; b. 549, d. 600-11-20) was a famous and skilled Sui Dynasty military strategist, inheritor of the position of Duke of the Pacified Regions from his father Shǐ Jìng (史靜), and fathered a son Shǐ Huáiyì (史懷義). See Traditional Chinese Wikipedia.
  155. Meaning Tang dynasty, versus Sui dynasty — the period just quoted.
  156. Though from its "River-crossing Province" name we can infer that it was an important river crossing point of the area, which probably significantly narrows potential locations.
  157. The last of three era names during the reign of Emperor Tang Xuanzong (玄宗, Xuánzōng)
  158. Now a county in Yibin, Sichuan.
  159. Possibly blocked rather than destroyed, but I feel "utterly destroyed" is the probable sense from 閉絕 — (stopped or obstructed)(entirely).
  160. The Zhēngyuán (貞元) 785-805 era of Dezong. From Wikipedia: "Emperor Dezong of Tang (唐德宗) (May 27, 742 – February 25, 805), personal name Li Kuo (李适), was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and the oldest son of his father Emperor Daizong. His reign of 26 years was the third longest in the Tang dynasty (surpassed only by Emperor Xuanzong and Emperor Gaozong). Emperor Dezong started out as a diligent and frugal emperor and he tried to reform the governmental finances by introducing new tax laws. His attempts to destroy the powerful regional warlords and the subsequent mismanagement of those campaigns, however, resulted in a number of rebellions that nearly destroyed him and the Tang Dynasty. After those events, he dealt cautiously with the regional governors, causing warlordism to become unchecked, and his trust of eunuchs caused the eunuchs' power to rise greatly. He was also known for his paranoia about officials' wielding too much power, and late in his reign, he did not grant much authority to his chancellors."
  161. Quite possibly indicating a point of road toll style taxation.
  162. Actual term used is 10,000 (萬; wàn) rèn-fathoms (仞; ancient unit of measure equal to approximately 8 modern feet, or 2.4 meters). Given the figures, this is clearly a figurative use rather than a literal one.
  163. Apparently the name given to the upper Yangtze (ie. Jinsha) river in the vicinity of modern Shuifu prefecture, Zhaotong city, Yunnan. This is only a few kilometers from modern Yibin (宜宾市) in Sichuan province, ie. would have represented the initial stages of a southbound journey from the Han China controlled Sichuan basin (previously stolen from the ancient and endemic Shu kingdom) toward Yunnan. A good flowery description of the area in early Han perception is available in the Classic of Mountains and Seas (山海經), ca. 4th century BCE.
  164. Presumably a reference to a settlement or military garrison dating back to the time of Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮), whose two-character family name 諸葛 was shared by his relatives. From Wikipedia: "Zhuge Liang (181–234), courtesy name Kongming (孔明), was a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. He is recognised as the greatest and most accomplished strategist of his era, and has been compared to another great ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu."
  165. ie. Ancient Chinese concept from the Book of Changes (易經; diviniation text dating from at least 1000BCE). In general use it means a female energy — darness, water, etc.
  166. Operating on the assumption that until recent times Yi were referred to as Luoluo or Lolo in many sources, and we're in the right area here.
  167. Note that in other places the character 柘 is replaced with 拓 — ie. 拓东 — however the meaning here seems clear.
  168. The 乾元 (Qiányuán) era lasted from 758–760, and was one of the era names for the reign of Emeperor Suzong. From Wikipedia: "Emperor Suzong of Tang (唐肅宗; February 21, 711 – May 16, 762; r. 756 – 762), personal name Li Heng (李亨), né Li Sisheng (李嗣升), known as Li Jun (李浚) from 725 to 736, known as Li Yu (李璵) from 736 to 738, known briefly as Li Shao (李紹) in 738, was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty and the son of Emperor Xuanzong. Suzong ascended the throne after his father fled to Sichuan during the An Shi Rebellion in 756; Li Heng himself had fled in the opposite direction, to Lingwu, where he was declared emperor by the army. Much of Emperor Suzong's reign was spent in quelling the aforementioned rebellion, which was ultimately put down in 763 during the reign of his son Emperor Daizong."
  169. According to Chinese Wikipedia.
  170. The Zhēngyuán (貞元) 785-805 era of Dezong. From Wikipedia: "Emperor Dezong of Tang (唐德宗) (May 27, 742 – February 25, 805), personal name Li Kuo (李适), was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and the oldest son of his father Emperor Daizong. His reign of 26 years was the third longest in the Tang dynasty (surpassed only by Emperor Xuanzong and Emperor Gaozong). Emperor Dezong started out as a diligent and frugal emperor and he tried to reform the governmental finances by introducing new tax laws. His attempts to destroy the powerful regional warlords and the subsequent mismanagement of those campaigns, however, resulted in a number of rebellions that nearly destroyed him and the Tang Dynasty. After those events, he dealt cautiously with the regional governors, causing warlordism to become unchecked, and his trust of eunuchs caused the eunuchs' power to rise greatly. He was also known for his paranoia about officials' wielding too much power, and late in his reign, he did not grant much authority to his chancellors."
  171. I believe that is the correct reading, at least!
  172. This last past is uncertain/vague.
  173. Vague.