Yong-le: Year 14, Month 12, Day 10

28 Dec 1416

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As the envoys from the various countries of Calicut, Java, Melaka, Champa, Sri Lanka, Mogadishu, Liu-shan, Nan-bo-li, Bu-la-wa, Aden, Samudera, Ma-lin, La-sa, Hormuz, Cochin, Nan-wu-li, Sha-li-wan-ni and Pahang, as well as from the Old Port Pacification Superintendency, were departing to return home, suits of clothing made from patterned fine silks were conferred upon all of them. The eunuch Zheng He and others were sent with Imperial orders as well as embroidered fine silks, silk gauzes, variegated thin silks and other goods to confer upon the kings of these countries, to confer a seal upon Ke-yi-li, the king of the country of Cochin, and to enfeoff a mountain in his country as the "Mountain Which Protects the Country".

The Emperor personally composed and conferred an inscription for the tablet, as follows:

"The civilizing influences and Heaven and Earth intermingle. Everything which is covered and contained has been placed in the charge of the Moulder, who manifests the benevolence of the Creator. The world does not have two ultimate principles and people do not have two hearts. They are sorrowful or happy in the same way and have the same feelings and desires. How can they be divided into the near and the distant!

One who is outstanding in ruling the people should do his best to treat the people as his children. The Book of Odes says: `The Imperial domain stretches for thousands of li, and there the people have settled, while the borders reach to the four seas.' The Book of Documents says: "To the East, extending to the sea, to the West reaching to the shifting sands and stretching to the limits of North and South, culture and civilizing influences reach to the four seas.' I rule all under Heaven and soothe and govern the Chinese and the yi. I look on all equally and do not differentiate between one and the other. I promote the ways of the ancient Sagely Emperors and Perspicacious Kings, so as to accord with the will of Heaven and Earth. I wish all of the distant lands and foreign regions to have their proper places.

Those who respond to the influences and move towards culture are not singular. The country of Cochin is far away in the South-west, on the shore of the vast ocean, further distant than the other fan countries. It has long inclined towards Chinese culture and been accepting of civilizing influences. When the Imperial orders arrived, the people there went down on their hands and knees and were greatly excited. They loyally came to allegiance and then, looking to Heaven, they bowed and all said: `How fortunate we are that the civilizing influences of the Chinese sages should reach us. For the last several years, the country has had fertile soil, and the people have had houses in which to live, enough fish and turtles to eat, and enough cloth and silk to make clothes. Parents have looked after their children and the young have respected their elders. Everything has been prosperous and pleasing. There has been no oppression or contention. In the mountains no savage beasts have appeared and in the streams no noxious fishes have been seen. The sea has brought forth treasures and the forests have produced excellent woods. Everything has been in bountiful supply, several times more bountiful than in ordinary times. There have been no destructive winds, and damaging rains have not occurred. Confusion has been eliminated and there is no evil to be found. This is all indeed the result of the civilizing influences of the Sage.' I possess but slight virtuous power. How could I have been capable of this! Is it not the elders and people who brought this about? I am now enfeoffing Ke-yi-li as king of the country and conferring upon him a seal so that he can govern the people. I am also enfeoffing the mountain in the country as "Mountain Which Protects the Country". An engraved tablet is to be erected on this mountain to record these facts forever. It will also be engraved as follows: The high peak which rules the land, guards this ocean state, It spits fire and fumes, bringing great prosperity to the country below, It brings rain and sunshine in a timely way, and soothes away troubles, It brings fertile soil and drives off evil vapours, It shelters the people, and eliminates calamities and disharmony, Families are joyful together, and people have plenty throughout the year, The mountain's height is as the ocean's depths! This poem is inscribed to record all for prosperity."

Tai-zong: juan 183.1a-2a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 13, page 1969/71

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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/yong-le/year-14-month-12-day-10, accessed January 22, 2019