Sunday, April 24, 2011

220. Reaching out to China in the Era of the Mongol Empire

The Europeans started to reach out to China during the Mongol Empire, called Yuan Dynasty from 1271 to 1368 in China, John of Plano Carpini(ca 1182-1252) was sent to convert the Mongols to Christianity by the Pope in 1245. He returned to Europe in 1247. He talked something about China. However, he did not reach China. What he described about China was based on what he heard. He told that China “very rich in corn, in wine, gold, silver, silk and in every kind of produce that tends to the support of mankind.” (Henry Yule and Henri Cordier, Cathy and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, pp.157-8.)

William of Rubruquis (c 1220-c1293), also did not step on the soil of China. However he met some Chinese at Karakorum, the Capital of the Mongol Empire. He told his personal impression on the Chinese: “They are first-rate artists in every kind of craft, and their physicians have a thorough knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and an admirable skill in diagnosis by the pulse.” (Ibid. pp.159.)

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