Du Huan

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Du Huan (simplified Chinese: 杜环; traditional Chinese: 杜環; pinyin: Dù Huán; Wade–Giles: Tu Huan, fl. 8th century) was a Chinese travel writer born in Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty. He was one of a few Chinese captured in the Battle of Talas, along with artisans Fan Shu and Liu Ci and fabric weavers Le Wei and Lu Li, as mentioned in his writings. After a long journey through Arab countries, he returned by ship to Guangzhou in 762. There he wrote his Jingxingji, a work which has been almost completely lost. A few extracts survived in Tongdian under volume 192 and 193, an encyclopaedia compiled in 801 by one of his relatives, Du You. In the 8th century, Du You's encyclopaedia quoted Du Huan himself on Molin (North or East Africa):

We also went to Molin, southwest of Jerusalem. One could reach this country after having crossed the great desert of Sinai and having travelled 2,000 li (approx. 1500 km). The people there are black, and their customs are bold. There is little rice and cereals, with no grass and trees on this land. The horses are fed with dried fish, and the people eat Gumang. Gumang is a Persian date. Subtropical diseases (Malaria) are widespread. After crossing into the inland countries there is a mountainous country, which gathered a lot of confessions here. They have three confessions, the Arab (Islam), Byzantine (Christianity) and Zimzim (Judaism). The Zimzim practise incest, and in this respect are worst of all the barbarians. The followers under the confession of Arab have a means to denote in law, while not entangling the defendant's families or kins. They don't eat the meat of pigs, dogs, donkeys and horses; they don't respect either the king of the country, nor their parents; they don't believe in supernatural powers, perform only sacrifice to heaven (Allah) and to no one else. According to their customs, every seventh day is a holiday (Jumu'ah), on which no trade and no currency transactions are done, whereas when they drink alcohol, and behave in a ridiculous and undisciplined way during the whole day. Within the confession of the Byzantines, there are beneficent medical doctors who know diarrhea; they could either recognize the disease before its outbreak, or could remove the worms by opening the brain.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Bai, p. 242-247.
  2. ^ 杜環《經行記》云:摩鄰國,在秧薩羅國西南,渡大磧行二千里至其國。其人黑,其俗獷,少米麥,無草木,馬食乾魚,人餐鶻莽。鶻莽,即波斯棗也。瘴癘特甚。諸國陸行之所經也,山胡則一種,法有數般。有大食法,有大秦法,有尋尋法。其尋尋蒸報,于諸夷狄中最甚,當食不語。其大食法者,以弟子親戚而作判典,縱有微過,不至相累。不食豬、狗、驢、馬等肉,不拜國王、父母之尊,不信鬼神,祀天而已。其俗每七日一假;不買賣,不出納,唯飲酒謔浪終日。其大秦善醫眼及痢,或未病先見,或開腦出蟲。Tongdian 193
  3. ^ Broomhall 1910, p. 15.