Mongol Group B4

The Description of the world

Are Marco Polo’s descriptions of the places mentioned in Chapter 3 accurate?
 

In the description of the world, Marco Polo has described his seeing and experience. Since the book was based on his memory and his words, people nowadays have drawn several questions on whether his descriptions of the places are accurate. Many authorities also have doubts about whether Marco Polo has actually arrived in China. The question thrown by our group is whether Marco Polo’s descriptions of the places and people mentioned in Chapter 3 are accurate. We will cover Tartar women, the province of Bangala, Cangigu, and Aniu, the great city of Jingzhaofu, the borders between Cathay and Mangi, whether Marco Polo visited Qarajang, whether Marco Polo visited Tibet and his descirption of Tibet were accurate. The accuracy of the description of the world may change how historians look at this book. If it is fictional, history on his travel and other history used it as a prove needs to be redone. Hence, our finding may change the history.

 
Why choose Bangala?
 
Why choose Mongol Woman?

In the description of the world, Marco Polo mentioned women and their customs for many times especially when he visited Cathy and Illkhnate. These stories sound very intriguing, amazing and even unbelievable. Considering women’s important role in the Mongol empire, it is important to figure out whether or not Marco Polo told us were true. Our group’s topic is related to whether Marco Polo had been to Cathy and I would narrow down the area to Zardandan and Tibet, which Marco Polo told the women customs there vividly. By doing researches on women customs, we could attest and deduce whether or not Marco Polo had even been to Cathy and how much we could believe on the description of the world.

Why choose Tibet?

There is not much information about the credibility of whether did Marco Polo visit Tibet. However, there are controversy parts that conflict with other sources. I would conclude that Marco Polo may have hear the stories of Tibet, but did not actually visit Tibet.

Why choose Bangala?

Bangala is a region outside China, and is supposed to be one of the last places “visited” by Marco Polo in his emissary starting from Peking. It would be interesting to see whether Marco Polo actually visited these places, especially when Bangala remained independent of the Mongol Empire. Marco Polo includes in his book many legends and tales that compromise his accuracy even in places he has visited. It would be interesting to see whether he would gather actually accurate information when he attempts to write about places completely based on hearsay.

 
Why choose Tibet?

There is not much information about the credibility of whether did Marco Polo visit Tibet. However, there are controversy parts that conflict with other sources. I would conclude that Marco Polo may have hear the stories of Tibet, but did not actually visit Tibet.

 
Why choose Qarajang?

The B5 group question is “whether Marco Polo’s descriptions of the places mentioned in Chapter 3 of The Description of the World are accurate.” The topic of this individual project is Qarajang and the question is “did Marco Polo visit Qarajang as his descriptions in the Description of the World?” “Qarajang” is the special Mongol term for “Yunnan”. This individual project proves that most descriptions of Qarajang are real. If Marco Polo visited Qarajang, then he would have most likely visited other places that appeared in The Description of the World. And it helps answer the group question.

 
Why choose Jingzhaofu and the border of Cathay and Mangi?
 
Conclusion

Regarding Bangala:

Almost no information related to the important aspects of Bangala appears to be entirely correct, although in some sense these mixed-up, often faulty statements still require Marco Polo to be present somewhere locally. In the end, Marco Polo undeniably fails to make an accurate account of Bangala in Chapter Three.

Regarding Mongol Women:

Marco Polo mentioned many women customs when he visited Cathy. By doing researches, we could assume that most of he said were trustworthy. We find out many relevant resources that corresponds to what Marco said. Most importantly, these researches were usually finished after the publish of the description of the World. Although Marco might exaggerate on some details, we could still believe him and think he really come to Cathy before.

Regarding Qarajang:

The chapter 3 of The Description of the World is about Marco Polo’s travel to western and southwestern provinces of China. The section 118 and the section 119 are about Qarajang. Qarajang was the kingdom of Dali, but it should refer to the entire Yunnan province. The six parts of this individual project include the geographical content of Qarajang and whether what Marco Polo saw on the way to Qarajang and in Qarajang were accurate. It can be concluded that although there are some inaccurate details, most of the texts in two sections are real. This may prove that Marco Polo did travel to Qarajang. And if that is true, the reliability of other texts in chapter 3 grows. The description of chapter 3 is more reliable.

Regarding Jingzhaofu:

The part where Marco Polo described Jingzhaofu is basically accurate, though the name has been changed to Anxi since the arrival of Mangala, who is the King of Anxi at that time. However, they went west to Gongchang, where is not the border of Southern Song and Cathay. At that time, the Mongol Empire has already conquered Xiangyang. Southern Song has lost its defend power. Therefore, the part where the Polos described the border between Song and Yuan at that time was problematic.

Regarding Tibet:

It is true that Marco Polo’s descriptions of the objects or traditions were, indeed, occurred in ancient Tibet. However, the accuracy diminished the credibility of his visit to Tibet. Marco Polo messed up the description of plants, and exaggerated the description of natural resources and his route to Tibet. Moreover, some of the customs of Tibet were only mentioned in the DW, and do not have other references. Thus, I conclude that Marco did not visit Tibet, but he heard the descriptions of Tibet from other people.

 
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