But I Imagine The Term To Be Used By Polo Here And In Other
Oriental Computations, To Express The Arabic Miskal, The Real Weight Of
Which, According To Mr. Maskelyne, Is 74 Grains Troy.
The miskal of gold
was, as Polo says, something more than a ducat or sequin, indeed, weight
for weight, it was to a ducat nearly as 1.4:
Eight saggi or miskals would be 592 grains troy. The tael is 580, and
the approximation is as near as we can reasonably expect from a
calculation in such terms.
Taking the silver tael at 6s. 7d., the gold tael, or rather the
ting, would be = 3l. 5s. 10d.; the toman = 32,916l. 13s.
4d.; and the whole salt revenue (80 tomans) = 2,633,333l.; the revenue
from other sources (210 tomans) = 6,912,500l.; total revenue from Kinsay
and its province (290 tomans) = 9,545,833l. A sufficiently startling
statement, and quite enough to account for the sobriquet of Marco Milioni.
Pauthier, in reference to this chapter, brings forward a number of
extracts regarding Mongol finance from the official history of that
dynasty. The extracts are extremely interesting in themselves, but I
cannot find in them that confirmation of Marco's accuracy which M.
First as to the salt revenue of Kiang-Che, or the province of Kinsay. The
facts given by Pauthier amount to these: that in 1277, the year in which
the Mongol salt department was organised, the manufacture of salt amounted
to 92,148 yin, or 22,115,520 kilos.; in 1286 it had reached 450,000
yin, or 108,000,000 kilos.; in 1289 it fell off by 100,000 yin.
The price was, in 1277, 18 liang or taels, in chao or paper-money of
the years 1260-64 (see vol. i. p. 426); in 1282 it was raised to 22 taels;
in 1284 a permanent and reduced price was fixed, the amount of which is
M. Pauthier assumes as a mean 400,000 yin, at 18 taels, which will give
7,200,000 taels; or, at 6s. 7d. to the tael, 2,370,000l. But this
amount being in chao or paper-currency, which at its highest valuation
was worth only 50 per cent. of the nominal value of the notes, we must
halve the sum, giving the salt revenue on Pauthier's assumptions =
Pauthier has also endeavoured to present a table of the whole revenue of
Kiang-Che under the Mongols, amounting to 12,955,710 paper taels, or
2,132,294l., including the salt revenue. This would leave only
947,294l. for the other sources of revenue, but the fact is that several
of these are left blank, and among others one so important as the
sea-customs. However, even making the extravagant supposition that the
sea-customs and other omitted items were equal in amount to the whole of
the other sources of revenue, salt included, the total would be only
Marco's amount, as he gives it, is, I think, unquestionably a huge
exaggeration, though I do not suppose an intentional one. In spite of his
professed rendering of the amounts in gold, I have little doubt that his
tomans really represent paper-currency, and that to get a valuation in
gold, his total has to be divided at the very least by two. We may then
compare his total of 290 tomans of paper ting with Pauthier's 130 tomans
of paper ting, excluding sea-customs and some other items. No nearer
comparison is practicable; and besides the sources of doubt already
indicated, it remains uncertain what in either calculation are the limits
of the province intended. For the bounds of Kiang-Che seem to have varied
greatly, sometimes including and sometimes excluding Fo-kien.
I may observe that Rashiduddin reports, on the authority of the Mongol
minister Pulad Chingsang, that the whole of Manzi brought in a revenue of
"900 tomans." This Quatremere renders "nine million pieces of gold,"
presumably meaning dinars. It is unfortunate that there should be
uncertainty here again as to the unit. If it were the dinar the whole
revenue of Manzi would be about 5,850,000l., whereas if the unit were,
as in the case of Polo's toman, the ting, the revenue would be nearly
It does appear that in China a toman of some denomination of money near
the dinar was known in account. For Friar Odoric states the revenue of
Yang-chau in tomans of Balish, the latter unit being, as he explains,
a sum in paper-currency equivalent to a florin and a half (or something
more than a dinar); perhaps, however, only the liang or tael (see vol.
i. pp. 426-7).
It is this calculation of the Kinsay revenue which Marco is supposed to be
expounding to his fellow-prisoner on the title-page of this volume. [See
P. Hoang, Commerce Public du Sel, Shanghai, 1898, Liang-tahe-yen, pp.
6-7. - H.C.]
 Pauthier's MSS. A and B are hopelessly corrupt here. His MS. C agrees
with the Geog. Text in making the toman = 70,000 saggi, but 210 tomans
= 15,700,000, instead of 14,700,000. The Crusca and Latin have 80,000
saggi in the first place, but 15,700,000 in the second. Ramusio alone
has 80,000 in the first place, and 16,800,000 in the second.
 Eng. Cyclop., "Weights and Measures."
OF THE CITY OF TANPIJU AND OTHERS.
When you leave Kinsay and travel a day's journey to the south-east,
through a plenteous region, passing a succession of dwellings and charming
gardens, you reach the city of TANPIJU, a great, rich, and fine city,
under Kinsay. The people are subject to the Kaan, and have paper-money,
and are Idolaters, and burn their dead in the way described before. They
live by trade and manufactures and handicrafts, and have all necessaries
in great plenty and cheapness.[NOTE 1]
Enter page number
Page 110 of 360
Words from 111243 to 112250