Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and eBook

James Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 712 pages of information about Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and.

In descending the mountain, Ibn Batuta passed through the village of Kalanga, near which was a tomb, said to be that of Abu Abd Allah Ibn Khalif[1]; he visited the temple of Dinaur (Devi-Neuera, or Dondera Head), and returned to Putlam by way of Kale (Galle), and Kolambu (Colombo), “the finest and largest city in Serendib.”

[Footnote 1:  Abu Abd Allah was the first who led the Mahometan pilgrims to Ceylon.  The tomb alluded to was probably a cenotaph in his honour; as Ibn Batuta had previously visited his tomb at Shiraz.]

CHAP.  III.

CEYLON AS KNOWN TO THE CHINESE.

Although the intimate knowledge of Ceylon acquired by the Chinese at an early period, is distinctly ascribable to the sympathy and intercourse promoted by community of religion, there is traditional, if not historical evidence that its origin, in a remote age, may be traced to the love of gain and their eagerness for the extension of commerce.  The Singhalese ambassadors who arrived at Rome in the reign of the Emperor Clandius, stated that their ancestors had reached China by traversing India and the Himalayan mountains long before ships had attempted the voyage by sea[1], and as late as the fifth century of the Christian era, the King of Ceylon[2], in an address delivered by his envoy to the Emperor of China, shows that both routes were then in use.[3]

[Footnote 1:  PLINY, b. vi. ch. xxiv.]

[Footnote 2:  Maha Naama, A.D. 428; Sung-shoo, a “History of the Northern Sung Dynasty,” b. xcvii, p. 5.]

[Footnote 3:  It was probably the knowledge of the overland route that led the Chinese to establish their military colonies in Kashgar, Yarkhand and the countries lying between their own frontier and the north-east boundary of India.—­Journ.  Asiat. 1. vi. p. 343.  An embassy from China to Ceylon, A.D. 607, was entrusted to Chang-Tsuen, “Director of the Military Lands.”—­Suy-shoo; b. lxxxi. p. 3.]

It is not, however, till after the third century of the Christian era that we find authentic records of such journeys in the literature of China.  The Buddhist pilgrims, who at that time resorted to India, published on their return itineraries and descriptions of the distant countries they had visited, and officers, both military and civil, brought back memoirs and statistical statements for the information of the government and the guidance of commerce.[1]

[Footnote 1:  REINAUD, Memoir sur l’Inde, p. 9.  STANISLAS JULIEN, preface to his translation of Hiouen-Thsang, Paris, 1853, p. 1.  A bibliographical notice of the most important Chinese works which contain descriptions of India, by M.S.  JULIEN, will be found in the Journ.  Asiat. for October, 1832, p. 264.]

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