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A note on the tombstone of Master Pu and the Xishan zazhi.


The present article is a preliminary report on the debate surrounding the tombstone of Master Pu discovered in Brunei in 1972. Dated to 1264 by Franke and Ch'en (1973), the tombstone of Master Pu has been regarded as evidence of early contacts between China and Brunei, but also as proof of the existence of Muslim connections between the two countries. Pu allegedly died in Brunei while on a diplomatic mission and was consequently buried there. Of specific importance within this narrative has been a text 'discovered' in 1982 in Fujian entitled Xishan zazhi (Miscellaneous record(s) from the western mountain). It reports that Pu arrived in Brunei in 1247, and that the tombstone was commissioned by his sons who also served as envoys to Brunei. I shall describe the as yet unpublished text and discuss its veracity in light of the evidence available.


Pu gong zhi mu--Xishan zazhl--Brunei--Quanzhou


In recent years there has been a re-evaluation of theories concerning artefacts of Chinese origin believed to have been manufactured in Southeast Asia, as well as a critical approach towards the study of ancient tombstones. Examples of these are Kalus and Guillot (2004), who maintain that four Islamic tombstones found in Leran, Java, are actually imports that arrived as ballast and were not local products; Salmon (2008), who traced the origins of a bronze gong heretofore believed to be the product of a local workshop in Muara Jambi to a Chinese workshop in the Song dynasty; and Lambourn (2008), who showed that a tombstone previously regarded as evidence of the rule of the first Muslim sultan of Samudra was instead a much later copy and indeed did not date to 1297.

The present article both reviews existing studies, which date the tombstone of Master Pu discovered in Brunei in 1972 to 1264, and proposes that the Xishan zazhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the main source to shed light on Master Pu's background, is a fabricated text. As a consequence of scholarly engagement with the tombstone since 1972, and with the text since the late 1980s, it has been established that a long-standing relationship between Brunei and China has existed since the Song dynasty. This article will examine a number of problematic issues with this historical record in both Chinese and Western studies. These issues relate to the identity of Master Pu (Pu gong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), as well as the provenance of the Xishan zazhi.

Master Pu's Tombstone

In 1972 P.M. Shariffudin and Abdul Latif happened across two Chinese tombstones and showed them to Wolfgang Franke and Ch'en T'ieh-fan. Franke and Ch'en dated one of them to the late nineteenth century right away, but could only date the second one from photographs and further examination in Kuala Lumpur. Franke and Ch'en published the results of their examination of the tombstone, which they dated to 1264, and also briefly described the second tombstone from 1876 (Franke and Ch'en 1973).

They believed that Li Jiazi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] from Yongchun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Fujian, whom this latter tombstone was dedicated to, was a Muslim. This suggestion is understandable in so far as Li's tombstone was found in a Muslim cemetery; therefore, it was a reasonable assumption that the owner had been a Muslim. (1)

Ch'en and Franke provided a translation of the inscription of the older of the two tombstones which reads as follows:

Tomb of Master Pu, supervisor of Quanzhou of the Song.
Erected in the jiazi [year] of the Jingding [era] by his? son Ying?jia.

In sum, what Franke and Ch'en (1973) present us with is a translation that is unsure of the name(s) of the son(s) of Master Pu (one character at the time was already illegible); an identification of Master Pu as a Muslim from Quanzhou; as well as a strong affirmation that Master Pu was indeed buried beneath the tombstone as the inscription suggested ('tomb of Master Pu'). Franke and Ch'en believed the Rangas cemetery to be the original burial ground and proposed excavating the tomb. This suggestion was not followed up. They presented their findings in the same year, July 1973, at the 29th Congress of Orientalists, held in Paris (Ch'en and Franke 1976).

The stone only raised moderate interest during the 1970s and early 1980s, except in 1986, when Wen Guangyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] published a translation of the Franke and Ch'en article in a journal devoted to the study of the culture and history of Quanzhou. (3)

Chen Dasheng in 1991 referred to Master Pu's tombstone and its significance for Quanzhou--Brunei relations in his study of an early tombstone in Arabic dedicated to a ruler of Brunei. (4)

Articles published in China from the late 1980s to the 1990s emphasized early contacts between Brunei and China, and found evidence for these, either in the visits of Boni envoys to the Chinese imperial court--based on the idea of Poli [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] being an early designation for Boni--from the sixth to the seventh centuries, or in the tomb of a Boni chieftain buried in Nanjing in 1408 (Ji Shijia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1987; Huang Guoan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1991). The positive identifications of the envoys in

Master Pu and the Xishan Zazhi

In 1991 a number of articles were published written by scholars who were drawn to the tombstone again through the recent discovery of a text that established a connection between Master Pu and the well-known Pu clan of Quanzhou. (6) The text was the Xishan zazhi, purportedly compiled by the Quanzhou scholar Cai Yongjian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1776-1835). (7) Li Yukun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1988) studied parts of the copy of the text then held by the Jinjiang district library (Jinjiang xian tushuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and, by studying ten selected entries, concluded that the information found therein was erroneous.

In the same year, Fu Jialin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (also Fu Yiling [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (1988), professor of history at Xiamen University, published a preface (xu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) to the text. Fu doubted that the text was written by a single person and instead suggested that the text had been compiled over a number of years by members of the Cai family of Dongshi. He also asserted the great historical value of the work for the understanding of Minnan history. Chen Guoqiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1990) referred to a copy of the text dated to 1810 and to Fu Jialin's preface, while ignoring Li Yukun's study. Chen had probably worked with a manuscript copy, because he did not identify the publication date and place, or the publisher of the work. (8) He confirmed the credibility of the Xishan zazhi as a historical source.

In 1991, a major conference took place in Quanzhou under the patronage of UNESCO entitled China and the Maritime Silk Route: UNESCO Quanzhou International Seminar on China and the Maritime Routes of the Silk Roads (Lianheguo jiaokewen zuzhi haishang sichou zhi lu zonghe kaocha Quanzhou guoji xueshu taoiunhui zuzhiwei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (9) Among the papers published in the resulting conference volume in 1994 was one by Franke (1991). Franke, although he remained sceptical of the Xishan zazhi, suggested a relationship between Master Pu and Pu Shougeng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Jit; he also claimed that Master Pu had indeed travelled to Brunei, where he died.

Pu Shougeng is said to have been a Muslim of Arab or Persian descent and a resident of Quanzhou. He was a successful merchant and for his achievements was given the superintendency of maritime trade in Quanzhou. Since he actively collaborated with the Mongols against the Song, his family was massacred and he allegedly left for the Philippines. (10)

At the same conference, Zhuang Weiji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), a professor from Xiamen University, Fujian, presented his findings on the famous ship that had been discovered in Quanzhou (Quanzhou wan gu chuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in 1973. He held that a certain Pu Zongmin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a relative of Pu Shougeng, was the actual Master Pu, taking his cue from an entry in the Xishan zazhi (Zhuang 1991a:347-8). Access to this work had been made possible through Lin Shaochuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], who provided Zhuang with a photocopy of the entry on the Pu family that is usually referred to as 'Pucuo' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Consequently, Zhuang used this material in two articles on Master Pu in Brunei (Zhuang 1991b:2, 1991c:36).

Pg Karim bin Pengiran Haji Osman (1993) synthesized Franke and Ch'en (1973) with Zhuang Weiji (1991a) and Chen Dasheng's work. (11) Of specific interest here was the excerpt of the Xishan zazhi on Pu Zongmin from Zhuang Weiji's text, as it recognized Pu Zongmin as Master Pu. An otherwise unknown individual by the name of 'M. Wong' had translated the excerpt quite inaccurately, (12) probably because he or she did not have a background in classical Chinese or Chinese history. The analysis in Pg Karim's article reads like his own, when in fact it is a paraphrase of the conclusions Zhuang had published in his paper. (13)

The 'Pucuo' reads as follows:

Pucuo is located to the east of Cangling, and faces Puzhong on the
other side of the river. During the Shaoding era (1228-1233) of the
Song dynasty there was a jinshi by the name of Pu Zongmin who held the
post of prefectoral supervisor of the Wenling circuit. Later he was
promoted to the Investigation Bureau in the Capital (that is, the post
of panyuan). During the bingshen year of the Duanping era (1236) he
served as envoy to Annan. In the second year of the Jiaxi era (1238) he
served as envoy to Zhancheng, and in the seventh year of the Chunyou
era (1247) he again served as envoy to Boni. He later died in office
there. (1st paragraph)
He had three sons: the oldest was Ying [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
ASCII], the next one was Jia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and the
third one was Lie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Pu Ying went to
Boni [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Pu Jia held the position of
fiscal commissioner for the Western Ocean of Zhancheng. The barbarians
in the neighbouring countries of Dashi, Bosi, (14) and Shizi were
pleased with him. (2nd paragraph)
The historical records report: The Pu family had made a name for
themselves since Liu Congxiao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the
Five Dynasties period sent Pu Hua's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
son Pu Youliang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (15) to Zhancheng,
where he served as fiscal commissioner in the Western Ocean and the
Bosi people were pleased with him. Therefore the Pu family in Quan
[-zhou] commandery were well well known since the Song and Yuan
dynasties. The 'Pucuo' says: After a rebellion at the end of the Song
dynasty, Pu Shougeng set sail and settled in the Philippines; some
people say in the country of Moyi, some people say in the country of
Puduan. (3rd paragraph)
The Renhe poetry society says: There was a Master Pu, duyuan of
Wenling, who three times served as envoy to the barbarians in Boni shan
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. He died abroad and a burial
inscription [was erected] in the alien land. For a thousand years his
soul shall remain in [the shade of] the auspicious parasol tree. (4th
paragraph) (Zhuang 19913:346).

Liu Yingsheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] adopted the evidence provided in the text that linked Master Pu to Quanzhou, his mission to Boni, and his sons. (16) Liu had attended the 1991 Quanzhou conference where he had met Wolfgang Franke. It is likely that he received the text of the relevant Xishan zazhi entry through Zhuang Weiji's earlier article, although he does not mention this. Liu positively identifies Master Pu as Pu Zongmin ('mu zhu 'Quanzhou panyuan Pu Gong' ji Pu Zongmin' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and concludes that he possibly died overseas. Liu suggests that the stele was perhaps erected several years after Pu's death, which may have occurred prior to 1264.

Xie Fang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1998) was among the first to point out factual inaccuracies of the 'Pucuo'. Xie has vast experience with texts from the Ming and Qing dynasties. (17) He begins his examination with the tombstone and explains that it was either commissioned by Master Pu's son Yingjia, or his sons Pu Ying and Pu Jia. (18)

He then asks several questions: What is the full name of Master Pu? What kind of official position is panyuan? Why is Pu buried in Brunei? Who are Pu Ying and Pu Jia, and what is their relationship to Pu Shougeng in Quanzhou? He remarks that Chen Tiefan, Wolfgang Franke, and Gong Yanming [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in their articles published in Haijiaoshi yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2) (1991) had expressed doubts about the veracity of the 'Pucuo', and that not only was the 'Pucuo' not compiled by Cai Yongjian, but that it had been created by an anonymous author after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. Until further documentation and archaeological evidence emerges, Xie warns, it is difficult to ascertain the identity of Master Pu. He accepts that Cai Yongjian on his travels as a merchant through Southeast Asia may have heard about, or may have even seen, the tombstone in Brunei. He thus confirms Brunei as the original location of the tombstone.

Xie cites Gong Yanming, who had already affirmed that a Pu Zongmin was not recorded in Song sources, except by one official who served in Sichuan (see below). In the Minshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by He Qiaoyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (jinshi 1586) of the late Ming period, a Pu Kaizong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is listed as the father of Pu Shougeng, and Xie says that through copy errors Pu Kaizong may have morphed into Pu Zongmin. (19) He furthermore points out that whereas Pu Zongmin is said to have been a jinshi, Pu Kaizong was a merchant in Guangzhou. (20)

Further citing Gong, Xie maintains that du chayuan was not a bureaucratic agency of the Song, but of the Ming and Qing dynasties. In addition, he suggests that Cai Yongjian made a mistake by understanding panyuan as a general reference to tongpan and du chayuan. He reaffirms that Cai, after having seen the actual inscription in Brunei, may have made the wrong connection. He explains further that during Tang times Zhancheng was an independent country; hence the two Pus could not have served as fiscal commissioners (zhuanyunshi) of the Western Ocean. The latter term did not occur in historical records until the Yuan dynasty, the earliest reference to the Western Ocean being the Zhenla fengtuji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by Zhou Daguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (fl. 1295-1297). (21)

The last point that Xie raises is the unlikelihood of Pu Shougeng travelling to the Philippines and the appellation Feidao f [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which only came into use in the late Qing and early Republican era to denote the Philippines. Xie concludes that the Xishan zazhi most likely was collated towards the end of the Qing era. For the dating of the text, he refers to the Renhe shishe mentioned in the fourth paragraph of the 'Pucuo'. The Renhe shishe was a poetry society established as the Renhe gongsuo in Taiping, Perak, Malaysia, in 1885 by a local Hokkien association. (22)

There were thus scholars who, by 1998, were not completely convinced of the credibility of the text, as well as others that regarded the text as a valuable and genuine historical work. It may not have been widely circulating anyway, for some texts on China-Brunei history followed the established historical trajectory of pinpointing the start of mutual relations either in the Liang dynasty of the sixth century ('Poli'/Brunei) or the early Song dynasty in the tenth century ('Boni'/Brunei), without referring to the tombstone and the 'Pucuo's' Pu Zongmin at all. (23)

The Discovery of the Xishan Zazhi

In 2006 the Dongnan zaobao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] published an article about the Xishan zazhi in which Lin Shaochuan figures prominently. (24) In the article Zhu Caiyun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the reporter, talks with a local villager from Bogu village, Dongshi township of Jinjiang city [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (25) referred to only as young Huang (xiao Huang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Huang says that his family possessed two handwritten copies. Since the two texts are approximately similar in contents and style, written in small characters, 'it must have taken a long time to copy'. The paper used was fuxie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], carbon copy paper, which likely refers to xylographic paper. The writing tool was a modern ball pen (yuanzhubi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) which was also used to write the date 9.8.82 at the top of the first page.

Together, the reporter and his informant read the preface by Cai Yongjian. Huang points out that Cai used local names for landmarks and consequently leads the reporter to these to see for himself and examine the veracity of Cai's information.

The reporter then asks Lin Shaochuan, head of the Quanzhou studies department (Quanzhou xue yanjiusuo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) about it. Lin explains: 'The author of this handwritten notebook (biji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is Cai Yongjian of the Qing dynasty who hailed from Dongshi in Jinjiang.' According to Lin, the book was not published because it contains characters tabooed under the Qing dynasty as well as references to books that were outlawed by the Qing government.

The complete text comprised twelve volumes with altogether 1630 pages, half of which were lost during tumultuous times. A descendant of Cai named Cai Chuncao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] preserved the surviving text until the 1950s. Lin confirms the authenticity of the text, pointing out that it cites from long-lost works. These works are then listed to show that the author had had access to them before they vanished.

In an article published four months later, Cai Yongjian is introduced as a relative of the famous Zheng Chenggong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1624-1662) in the seventh generation. (26) According to this version, Lin Shaochuan in the late 1980s--a specific date is not given--carried out research in Dongshi and happened upon the four remaining volumes that had been in the hands of Cai Chuncao in a general store in Dongshi. Only after extensive bargaining was the shopkeeper willing to lend the volumes for copying, because two additional volumes had disappeared previously after having been borrowed by people who had not cared to return them. On further inquiry and by deducing that if people had copied the two missing volumes, then they were likely to still exist, Lin finally found them. He recovered volumes of the original copy by Cai Yongjian and an unspecified number of copies of the two previously missing volumes. Because of differences in the texts that Lin received--he mentions copies in the possession of Zhuang Weiji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Chen Sidong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Chen Yundun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and Chen Cunguang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]--he struggled to compile, revise, and edit the text, but nevertheless he earmarked it for publication in the Quanzhouxue yanjiu xilie congshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Compendium of the research series on Quanzhou studies).

When Barend ter Haar undertook research in Quanzhou in 1993, he met Lin Shaochuan, who believed in the 'credibility of the manuscript' because the present owner--could that have been young Huang or the anonymous shopkeeper?--did not 'possess sufficient cultural knowledge to fake (parts of) the text'. To prove that the manuscript was correct and genuine, Lin handed Ter Haar a copy of his article on Master Pu published in Haijiaoshi yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in 1991 in addition to an article on the Xishan zazhi with no date and place of publication. (27) He declared that the text had one single author and that the paper on which it was written was old. The article that Lin showed to Ter Haar was probably Chen Guoqiang's. Ter Haar suggested that the old paper does 'not preclude a falsification' undertaken in the late Qing dynasty or the Republican period.

How should we understand Lin's ideas about the text? If what he said in 2006 is true, then only the four surviving volumes were written by Cai Yongjian, but the other two were copies in the hands of local people like xiao Huang. Do all copies have the same credibility? Lin rediscovered the Xishan zazhi in the late 1980s, but how is it possible that the Anhai local gazetteer's (Anhai zhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) editorial office already had a copy of the Xishan zazhi in 1983? (28) Obviously at least parts of the text had been quoted in the gazetteer of Anhai town (Anhai zhen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) that was circulated internally (neibu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), that is, amongst cadres. Zheng Xifu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Wei Yongchun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2013:7) refer to a biography of Cai Yongjian in the Anhai zhi. This text explains that the original Xishan zazhi comprised of no more than ten volumes, which were preserved in the Jinjiang district library (Jinjiangxian tushuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), just like Li (1988) had said.

All copies circulating in 1988 were presumably copied from this master text. Furthermore, in 1988 the Jinjiang district museum (Jinjiang xian bowuguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) was planning to send the text to the press. (29)

Lin referred not once to the Anhua district text nor to the one held by the Jinjiang district library, both of which possibly antedate the text he had retrieved.

Western Scholarship on Master Pu and the 'Pucuo'

Western scholarship was slow to pick up on the subject of Master Pu's tombstone and its connection to the Xishan zazhi. The study of early Brunei history was for a long time the preserve of local scholars and expatriates working in the country itself; in addition, so far no publication by local scholars has hit the book shelves or download sites. The works that have had the largest impact have mostly been written by foreigners, and the first book that enjoyed moderate success in terms of sales and citations was Graham Saunders's A history of Brunei, first published in 1994. Saunders (2002:36) merely reiterated Franke's idea of Pu's burial ('there is no doubt about the tomb of a Chinese Muslim, P'u-kung dated 1264') in Brunei. Outside of Brunei studies and prior to Saunders, Ricklefs (2008:4) in passing made a casual, but factually incorrect remark: 'Another gravestone records the death in Brunei in 1264 of a Chinese who was apparently a Muslim.' Master Pu's tombstone does not record his death in Brunei, and his religious affiliation is still open to discussion.

Kenneth R. Hall in 2007 presented a paper at a conference in Muncie, Indiana, which was consequently published as Hall (2008). Hall placed the location of the tombstone in an 'estuary', which may be the geologically correct designation, but failed to acknowledge that the cemetery is situated in the present-day capital of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan. For Hall, Pu was a member of the Pu clan and he thus reconfirmed Franke and Ch'en (1973) and Karim (1993). (30)

After acknowledging Franke and Ch'en (1973) and Franke (1991), Chaffee (2009:120) explained: 'Evidence for Sino-Muslim traders in this period is rare, but there is an intriguing Chinese stone inscription from a Muslim cemetery in Borneo for a Mr. Pu ('Abu'), supervisor from Quanzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] dated 1273. (31) Kenneth Hall argues quite plausibly that Pu was a member of the Muslim Pu clan of Pu Shougeng.'

Chaffee continued to follow Hall (2008) by accepting Chen Dasheng's dating of the Maharaja Brunei tombstone to 1301 as correct. As I have mentioned above, 1301 was but an educated guess by Chen. On account of the as yet unconfirmed religious affiliation of Master Pu and the original provenance of the tombstone, I find Chaffee's confirmation of Hall's statements obscure. In 2008 Hall had not yet referred to the Xishan zazhi directly, but he did so in 2011. His translation was largely based on the one found in Karim (1993). He refers to the Xishan zazhi as a 'Ming era source', while misrepresenting Zhuang Weiji as Zhuang Qi Ji (Hall 2011:62, 72n32). He replaces the Hanyu pinyin transcription of the Pu surname in the Wong translation with Bu. He does not explain why he shifted the pronunciation of the character [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] from Pu to Bu, but perhaps he did so because he had introduced Master Pu as Master Bu two paragraphs prior to the presentation of the Xishan zazhi excerpt. (32) The pronunciation Bu was more likely to represent Abu perhaps, and is thus an indication of the Muslim background of Master Pu.

Hall did not discuss the veracity of the Xishan zazhi or examine its credibility and was indifferent towards the etymological origins of the character pu. Ferrand (1922), albeit in an easily overlooked footnote, disputed the Arabic connotation of the character Pu. (33) Instead, he suggested that Pu was part of an honorific title in pre-modern 'Indonesia', similar to Mpu. In addition, the character may also have been used to transcribe the same or a similar title, Po, from the Cham language. That of course would fit with the names of the two gentlemen mentioned in the 977 Taiping huanyuji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] record of Boni [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], namely Puyali [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Puluxie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Yue Shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2007:179.3436-3437).

The examples of Guy (2010) and De Vienne (2015) illustrate continuing scholarly inaccuracies in relation to Master Pu. Guy identifies Pu Zongmin as a southern Song ambassador from Quanzhou to Brunei and explains that 'his grave site bears the oldest Chinese tombstone in Island Southeast Asia'. He credits Franke and Ch'en (1973) as the source of this information (Guy 2010:163). This is not quite accurate because Franke and Ch'en (1973) never referred to Master Pu as Pu Zongmin. Clearly, Guy had not consulted Karim (1993), otherwise he would not have assumed the tombstone to be marking a 'gravesite'. (34)

For De Vienne (2015), relations between Brunei and China began when 'the first Brunei embassy sailed on a Sino-Muslim ship from Quanzhou looking for camphor, tortoise-shells and sandalwood [...]'. She is probably referring to the entry in the Taiping huanyuji that appeared earlier in her essay. The text does not refer to the ship as a Sino-Muslim ship--it only says it was commanded by a foreigner (fanren [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII])--nor does it identify its port of origin as Quanzhou. (35)

De Vienne similarly regards Master Pu as a Muslim ('born in Quanzhou') and refers to the stele as 'the first Muslim epigraph [sic]'. Hence like Hall, Chaffee, and Guy, De Vienne concludes that Islam arrived in Brunei from Quanzhou. (36)

Concluding Remarks

What we can state with certainty is that Master Pu died probably in or around 1264, (37) and that his son(s) had a stone inscribed to mark his tomb. The stele itself is made from a stone that does not naturally occur in Borneo (Karim 1993:5). It is impossible to identify the position of Master Pu or to reconstruct his first name. In addition, we cannot confirm his religious persuasion. For Geoff Wade (2010a:380), for instance, the identification of Master Pu as a Muslim is a mere assumption.

Most likely the stone arrived from China in Brunei at a date later than 1264, perhaps in Kota Batu, from whence it was removed and put up in the Rangas cemetery in the 1930s. Karim (1993:8) provides the information that the stone was purchased as part of a shipment of stones from Kota Batu for the building of a shop house in Brunei Town (since 1968 Bandar Seri Begawan).An unidentified person then bought the stone as a marker of the tomb of a family member buried in the Rangas cemetery.

Possibly the stone had been erected upon the death of Master Pu in Quanzhou. How and when it arrived from Quanzhou in northern Borneo, however, cannot be ascertained, unless of course one accepts the as yet unfounded narrative of Master Pu having actually travelled himself to Boni and that Boni is the precursor of modern Brunei. Authors like to point to artefacts such as ceramics and coins dating to the early Song dynasty as evidence of direct trade relations between Brunei and China. (38) The problem with this is that we do not know how and when exactly the items arrived at their present location.

The earliest evidence of a naval vessel in Brunei waters is the so-called Brunei shipwreck that was discovered in 1997 about 40km off the coast of Brunei, and whose shipment of ceramics from Thailand, Vietnam, and China was consequently salvaged in 1998. So far the ship, of which nothing remains, has been dated to the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century on account of the porcelain it was carrying. (39)

Interestingly, Wang Gungwu, who was consulted for a TV programme produced in 2001 entitled The sultan's lost treasure, which dealt with the Brunei shipwreck, explained that the ship very likely had not come from China, but from a port in Southeast Asia--he suggested Vietnam--and that the Chinese component of the shipment had reached that port from China. (40) That contradicts the widely held belief of direct trade relations between Brunei and China since the tenth century. The discovery of porcelain and ceramics dating to the tenth century, especially in Sungai Limau Manis in 2002, certainly reinforced this conception. (41)

None of the details concerning the Brunei tombstone provided by the Xishan zazhi can be substantiated, namely that Master Pu's full name was Pu Zongmin; that he died in Boni in 1247; that he was a three-time envoy from the Song dynasty; and that his son Ying buried him when he served as an envoy to Boni, then had the stone made and shipped to Boni in 1264. Cleverly, however, the text never refers straightforwardly to Pu as a Muslim. Instead, persons and places that have a more or less well-defined Muslim connection appear in the text. Wade (2010b) provides a family history of the Pu, based on sources and literature published so far. He identifies the Pu as Arabs or Persians and as residents of Champa, who later moved to Quanzhou. (42) The first paragraph of the 'Pucuo' has Pu Zongmin move from Fujian to Champa, while one of the early Pu, Pu Youliang, in the third paragraph serves in Champa. That same paragraph also establishes the relationship between the Pu in the tenth century and the famous Pu Shougeng in the thirteenth century. The affiliation of the Pu as residents of Quanzhou serves to underline their Muslim identity, as that city has a long history of Muslim communities living in or near it. (43)

Incidentally, the year 1991, when the Xishan zazhi was introduced as the key to the identity of Master Pu, was the year that Brunei and the People's Republic of China began official diplomatic relations (on 30 September). Master Pu as an early envoy has been instrumental in attesting to the existence of ancient links between the two countries. Yet, in a publication dedicated to the fifteenth anniversary of official relations, Master Pu paradoxically is not mentioned because this volume was focusing on the even more interesting persona of the Boni chieftain who allegedly was a king of ancient Brunei and died and was buried in Nanjing in 1408. (44) However, Master Pu was at the center of the 2015 exhibition in Brunei that displayed prominent examples of historical cooperation. In preparation for the exhibition, the deputy director of the Quanzhou Maritime Museum went to look for the tomb (mu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]); he noted that 'though it was hard to find, it is still well preserved'. 'Tomb' in this case can only refer to the tombstone, the location of which was not disclosed. (45) Huang Haojiang from the Quanzhou Maritime Museum declared 'that an envoy named Pu Zongmin was sent to Brunei for diplomatic and economic missions'. (46)

The exhibition that was to feature in the new Brunei Maritime Museum--built in 2006 and opened officially on 23 March 2015--was to begin on 10 February and end on 20 April. The ambassador of the People's Republic of China remarked on Master Pu's identity: 'It was discovered by some Chinese scholars that during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the local government of Quanzhou dispatched Zongmin Pu [sic] to Brunei for diplomatic and economic missions. Pu stayed in Brunei for 11 years and died here (he was believed to be in Brunei in 1264).' (47) How the ambassador arrived at a Brunei sojourn of eleven years for Master Pu is impossible to explain. The 'Pucuo' put him in Boni in 1247, and not 1253.

The ambassadorial statement shows the strong support the research in favour of Master Pu's identity as Pu Zongmin based on the 'Pucuo' received, not only from representatives of the political establishment of Brunei, but of the People's Republic of China as well.

As for the Xishan zazhi, it cannot be considered a genuine historical text. This is because of its provenance as a handwritten manuscript that only resurfaced in the early 1980s; the fact that it was only seen, studied, and published piecemeal by an exclusive group of people from southern Fujian; and because it only provides explanations for solid material that so far cannot be otherwise explained (for instance, a tombstone in Brunei, rock carvings in Hui'an and the ancient Quanzhou boat). To back up this suspicion or to discard it, we will need to await the publication of the text, which will most likely not be happening soon.

The defenders of the Xishan zazhi will say that it provides intimate information that would not have been picked up by official records, or even private records. The text is said to have never been printed or published because of political reasons during the Qing dynasty, and secondly, because Lin Shao-chuan apparently is unable to reconcile the various copies that are circulating.

What is obvious is that the excerpts that appeared over the years are linked to material remains and issues that are related to Fujian. The Xishan zazhi provides answers to these, albeit in the case of Master Pu in a haphazard way. Additionally, the acceptance of the Xishan zazhi as a historical source for either political or academic reasons by scholars rather hampers an objective approach to the study of early Borneo-China relations.

If we could with absolute certainty place the tombstone of Master Pu in Brunei in 1264, then indeed the inscription would be the oldest Chinese epigraph in Southeast Asia. If we could further prove that Master Pu indeed was an envoy from the Song dynasty, we would have to rethink pre-modern contacts between China and Borneo. However, with the material at hand, this is impossible.


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Appendix: Some Comments on the Entry in the 'Pucuo'

In the following, I shall examine some terms in the 'Pucuo'. Inaccuracies of the Xishan zazhi have already been pointed out by Xie Fang (1998), I list them here again with more detailed explanations.

Pu Zongmin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: The first paragraph of the 'Pucuo' gives Pu Zongmin as the name of an envoy to Boni. This thirteenth-century Pu Zongmin is untraceable in the sources, nor are any missions recorded. The Xu Zizhi tongjian changbian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by Li Tao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1115-1184), a chronology of the Song dynasty until 1126, records one Pu Zongmin making a memorial; see Li Tao (2004). (48) We encounter Pu Zongmin in the official history of the Song dynasty in the same context again, but as an assistant editorial director (zhuzuo zuolang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] an indication that he was a junior official (Tuotuo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1977:184.4498-4501). In 1082, Pu suggested building defences that made use of the rugged terrain of Sichuan (Tuotuo 1977:193.4803). In or around 1086, he was executed following a conviction for allegedly taking unlawful advantage of his position of fiscal commissioner (zhuanyunshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (Tuotuo 1977:346.10978-79). (49) The existence of this Pu Zongmin is corroborated by a tomb inscription for his daughter found in 1998 (Liu Junyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2013).

Karim (1993) says that Pu died in 1247 and that it took his son(s) until 1264 to have the stone inscribed and set up. To have the tomb stone set up in Boni fits well with the story in the second paragraph that has the sons travelling all over the region.

Wenling dao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] At the start of the Song era (960-1279) there were 24 circuits (dao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). In 997 the dao were re-designated as lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Wenling in Song times referred to present-day Wenling in Zhejiang, not Fujian. Wenling was not a dao/lu, but a small town in Taizhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] prefecture in Liang Zhe donglu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (eastern provincial circuit of Liang Zhe). After the fall of the original capital Kaifeng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Henan) to the Jurchen invaders in 1126, a new provisional capital, denoted by the term Xingzai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] was established in Hangzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Zhejiang)--and not Peking/Beijing as Wong and Hall say in their translations. The remaining territory was administered through 17 circuits, none of which bore the designation Wenling. The earliest geographical work on the Song empire, Taiping huanyuji (987), does not record Wenling at all, nor does the Yuanfeng jiuyuzhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of 1085. According to the Fangyu shenglan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by Zhu Mu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (?-after 1246), Wenling was the designation for a small mountain range in Zhejiang (Zhu Mu 2003:9.151).

People in Quanzhou refer to Quanzhou as Wenling colloquially, but I have not been able to trace a scholarly work on this. (50) If Wenling in fact does refer to Quanzhou, then the statement about it being a dao is incorrect as well. Quanzhou, first established in the Tang period, was referred to as Quanzhou Qingyuan prefecture (Quanzhou Qingyuan jun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) within the Fujian provincial circuit (Fujian lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in the Song era, became Quanzhou route command (lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in Yuan times, before it finally achieved the status of Quanzhou prefecture (fu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in the Ming dynasty (Zang Lihe [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1982:636).

Duchayuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: The Censorate (duchayuan) was established as one of the major agencies of the central government only in 1382 (Hucker 1985:7183 [536]). If we take du to refer to the capital, then the translation ofchayuan should be Investigation Bureau, a designation pointing to an institution that had existed in the capital since the Tang dynasty. This agency was staffed with investigating censors (jiancha yushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (Hucker 1985:56 [105]). Hall's translation of duchayuan as chief censor is incorrect.

Tongpan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: A tongpan in Song times was a controller-general, who usually was sent on temporary assignments in the prefectures to check on prefects. In Ming times tongpan referred to an assistant prefect in a prefecture (Hucker 1985:555). The original text does not include the explanation that a tongpan is apanyuan (ji panyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). This very likely has been inserted to make clear that Pu Zongmin, the tongpan of the Xishan zazhi, was Master Pu, who is addressed as apanyuan in the tombstone inscription. A tongpan is not the same as apanyuan. Panyuan (also panyuanshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) means being in charge of an agency. (51) Gong Yanming suggests that panyuan is short for pan dengwen yuan shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (supervisor of the affairs of the Public Petitioners Office), established in 995 which was renamed dengwen jianyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Public Petitioners Review Office) in or around 1007 (Gong 1997:169; Hucker 1985:491). It was headed by officials of court rank (chaoguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) on temporary duty assignment. The rank of chaoguan was coveted by aspiring scholar-officials, because the vicinity to the throne potentially made promotions easier. This information contradicts Franke's, who said that a panyuan was a metropolitan post; that term is misleading since in the capital metropolitan, officials were generally referred to as jingchao guan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with the difference that chaoguan had access to the imperial audiences and jingguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] had not.

Posthumously officials would be referred to by the highest position they had held, so presumably this temporary assignment to an unnamed agency had been the highest Master Pu had ever landed.

Zhancheng Xiyang (zhi) zhuanyun zhi shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: (52) The Xishan zazhi is the only reference that I have so far found for a fiscal commissioner of the Western Ocean of Zhancheng. Zhuanyunshi was a position for officials working as fiscal commissioners in the provincial circuits of the Song empire.

Pu shi gai Wudai Liu Congxiao shi Pu Huazi Pu Youliang zhi Zhancheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Wudai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] clearly denotes the historical period of the Five Dynasties and Ten States (907-960) and does not refer to 'five generations', as in Wong and Hall. They furthermore have omitted the names of the Pu clan's ancestors, Pu Huazi and Pu Youliang. Liu Congxiao (906-962), after the overthrow of the empire of Min (Fujian) in 945, installed himself as a warlord in Quanzhou and Zhangzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (as Qingyuan jiedushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and served both the Southern Tang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (937-976) and the Song. (53) Pu Huazi and Pu Youliang do not appear anywhere in relevant Five Dynasties sources.

The last and fourth paragraph does not figure in the Wong and Hall translations, but is the one that links a Pu to a place outside of Fujian.

Wenling duyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: If we accept that Wenling means Quanzhou, then we are still at a loss when it comes to understanding duyuan, which is not documented as an abbreviation of an official post.

Boni shan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: This term describes Boni as a mountain, but may also refer to it being an island most certainly inhabited by southern barbarians (man [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

Johannes L. Kurz (*) Historical Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam

(*) I would like to thank Stephen G. Haw, Barend ter Haar, Angela Schottenhammer, and Geoff Wade for generously sharing their research publications with me as well as giving their valuable comments. My thanks also go the anonymous reviewers who pointed out a number of inaccuracies in the original article.

(1) In an exhibition held in the newly opened Muzium Maritim Brunei (Brunei Maritime Museum) (23 March-20 April 2015), entitled Menyusuri Lautan: Quanzhou dan Brunei Darussalam dalam 'Laluan Sutera Maritim'/Sailing Deep into the Sea/Bihai silu: dongfang zhi zhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] the 1876 tombstone is displayed in a photograph with a caption that informs the reader that it was first discovered in 2004.

(2) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] You Song Quanzhou panyuan Pu gong zhi mu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Jingding jiazi nan Ying?jia li.

(3) I have had no access to this article.

(4) He dated this tombstone of 'Maharaja Brunei' to 1301, based on a comparison with similar tombstones found in Quanzhou. The original date is illegible. See Chen Dasheng 1991, 1992, and 2000. For an earlier description of the tombstone, see Metassim and Suhaili 1987.

(5) Carrie Brown and Robert Nicholl made accessible material heretofore unknown to local scholars. Their work is critically examined in Kurz 2013, 2014a, and 2014b.

(6) Liu Yingsheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1991; Sun Yifu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1991; Chen Tiefan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Wolfgang Franke (Fu Wukang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) 1991; Lin Shaochuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1991; Gong Yanming 1991.

(7) The Menyusuri Lautan exhibition displayed this text as 'a relatively popular folk navigation journal' (yibu jiaowei liuxing de minjian hanghai zazhi--[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).

(8) Fu Jialin's preface is entitled 'Xishan zazhi xu', and was published in Fujian xiangtu 2 (1988). I have had no access to this publication.

(9) For a summary of the conference, see Guy 1992.

(10) The source cited most often on Pu Shougeng is Kuwabara Jitsuzo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1928 and 1935. This work was translated into Chinese and subsequently published as a monograph. See Kuwabara Jitsuzo1954.

I would like to thank Stephen G. Haw for sharing his copy of this text as well as his writings with me. Haw disputes Pu as a Muslim. See Haw 2015:323. The discussion about Pu Shougeng's religion is ongoing. Li Yukun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2001 provides a useful summary of research done on Pu Shougeng in the twentieth century.

(11) Karim 1993:4. He says that the Xishan zazhi excerpt is from the first chapter. See Karim 1993:4. However, in the available scholarship, the Xishan zazhi is quoted in entries on specific topics, and not in chapters.

(12) See my translation of the text and my comments below.

(13) The translated part not only includes the Xishan zazhi text, but also a summary of Zhuang's paper.

(14) A study of what 'Bosi' may have referred to is provided by Haw forthcoming.

(15) Or 'Pu Huazi and Pu Youliang'.

(16) Liu Yingsheng 1995:151-2. Interestingly, Nie Dening [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], author of yet another outline of the ancient trade relations between China and Brunei, refers to a copy of the Xishan zazhi that was given to him by an official from the Quanzhou Maritime History Museum (Quanzhou haiwai jiaotong shiguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). For the Pu Zongmin story, in note 7, Nie refers to p. 347 of Zhuang 1991a. Obviously that entry did not form part of the copy held at the Quanzhou Maritime Museum. Therefore, I wonder if the reference that Nie gives in his article ('Pucuo' in the Xishan zazhi) may have been copied from Zhuang 1991a as well. See Nie 2008.

(17) Xie has annotated the Xiyang chaogong dianlu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Record of the customs of the tributaries in the Western Ocean, 1520) by Huang Shengzeng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; the Dong Xi yang kao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (On the Eastern and Western oceans, 1618) by Zhang Xie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; and the Zhifang waiji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Record of places outside the known world) by Giulio Aleni (Chinese name: Ai Rulue [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1582-1649). SeeXie (2000a and b).

(18) Xie incorrectly dates the Franke and Ch'en 1973 article to 1993. See Xie 1998:108m.

(19) Xie merely refers to juan 153 of the Minshu. The relevant entry is found in He Qiaoyuan 1995. vol. 5, 152.4494.

(20) For a discussion of some of the names and terms in the 'Pucuo', see the Appendix.

(21) The term appears in Zhou Daguan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2000:76. Wan Ming [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2004:12-3) views the use of the term in the Xishan zazhi with similar caution.

(22) According to Cai Huiren [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2015), the Renhe gongsuo was founded in 1883, and its members predominantly came from Dongshi in Jinjiang. They named their society after the old name for Dongshi, Renhe hamlet (Renhe li [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). To commemorate the centennial of the Jin Hoe Association--as they refer to themselves--in 1983, a booklet was published in 1985 entitled 'Renhe gongsuo chengli yibai zhounian jinian tekan' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Marie-Sybille de Vienne holds that the Xishan zazhi had been compiled in 1880, misquoting Xie Fang; see De Vienne 2015:36.

(23) See for instance Wang Qing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1998. The then ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Liu Xinsheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], understood the early Ming dynasty as the time of the inception of diplomatic links; see Liu Xinsheng 2000.

(24) The article that originally appeared on 20 February 2006 is entitled Qingdai qishu zaixian 'haisi wenming: shouchaoben jin xian minjian' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Rare book from Qing dynasty reveals maritime silk road culture: Hand-written copy found among the common people). See (accessed 1-3-2006 and 2-2-2015). The article is also available at (4-2-2015).

(25) Jinjiang is administered by Quanzhou and is the location of Quanzhou airport. Dongshi is located on the coast.

(26) 'Yincang lishi mima de Qingdai qishu' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Xiamen wanbao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 6 June 2006, (accessed 25-2-2015). The article was published again online in July 2013; see (accessed 25-2-2015). Its most recent publication is as part of a longer text entitled 'Qingdai Cai Yongjian jinshu Xishan zazhi zuozheng Quanzhou Shaolin si xingfa' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which appeared on 16 January 2015 on the Quanzhou xinwengang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. See (accessed 25-6-2016).

(27) Ter Haar 1998:405-6n74. I would like to thank Barend ter Haar for sending me copies of the relevant pages.

(28) JamesK.Chin (2010:159) explainshe consulted an entry from the Xishan zazhiin the Anhai gazetteer relevant for his study. Anhai zhen is located in Jinjiang district.

(29) See the first paragraph of Li Yukun 1988 for this.

(30) Hall 2008:186. Hall gives Kota Baru as the location of the cemetery, which is incorrect. The correct designation is Kota Batu.

(31) The tombstone clearly refers to the date 1264, and not to 1273.

(32) Hall (2011:62) notes: 'A Chinese tombstone inscription dated 1264 recovered in the Brunei estuary commemorating "Master Bu", provides a vital local window on Boni's thirteenth century trade networking. [...] This inscription and China sources establish that the Bu family had come from Arabia to China by way of the "South Seas", probably from Southeast Asia.' He only made minor changes to his 2008 text.

(33) Stephen G. Haw drew my attention to this important footnote.

(34) Guy (2010:164) also refers to the studies by Chen Dasheng (1992 and 1995) and the study by Nicholl (1984). Employing the assertive conditional that is symptomatic of studies of early Brunei history, Guy says: 'Despite the Indic title given to him by the Chinese chronicler, the Brunei ruler must have(my emphasis) been a Muslim.' The 'Indic title' of the Boni chieftain originates with Groeneveldt (1877:111), who transcribed the Chinese original Manarejiana as Maradja Ka-la. See on this also Brown 1974. The transcription 'Maharaja Karna' appears to have come from Nicholl (1984). He used it first in an unpublished and typewritten manuscript, which antedates his 1984 article.

(35) De Vienne (2015:32n59) identifies this foreigner as an Arab merchant.

(36) De Vienne 2011:27-8. The accepted version of the spread of Islam in Brunei is linked to the third sultan, Sharif Ali, who as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad arrived directly from Taif, Arabia. By marrying the daughter of his predecessor he assumed the throne. See Schelander 1998:15 and Saunders 2002:42.

(37) The jiazi year extended into mid-January 1265.

(38) See for instance Haji Matussin bin Omar 1994:6. For a critical remark on the scarcity of archaeological evidence, see De Vienne 2015:19.

(39) The following website provides some insights into the Brunei shipwreck from a Brunei point of view: 'What happened to the Brunei shipwreck', 10 August 2006, (accessed 18-9-2015). On the goods carried by the as yet unidentified ship, see Karim2015. I have had no access to Perrin 2000. For exhibitions held in France (2002) and Australia (2003) catalogues exist that were edited by Michel L'Hour and D. Richards, respectively. I have had no access to these either.

(40) The transcript is found here: (accessed 30-9-2015).

(41) On the findings at Limau Manis and their interpretation and adaptation into the narrative of early Brunei-China relations, see Karim 2004. A short summary of the work in English, entitled A thousand year old Brunei town at Limau Manis', 14 December, is found here: (accessed 12-10-2015).

(42) I would like to thank Geoff Wade for providing me with a copy of his essay. For a Chinese contribution to the discussion, see Zhang Xiumin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1979. Zeng Zhaoxuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1991 suggests that Pu was a resident of Guangzhou and hailed from Central Asia. Hu Xiaowei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2015 explains that there were two men of the name Pu Kaizong: one the father of Pu Shougeng, of Arab descent, and resident of Champa, and the other a jinshi from Houguan in Fujian. These two became mixed up in the sources and hence Pu Shougeng was given a Fujian background.

(43) Apart from Chaffee 2009, on Quanzhou, Fujian, and their Muslim connection, see also Chaffee 2006 and Fan 2001 and 2003. There are of course many authors who have dealt with the topic. For a good introduction to Quanzhou as an important centre of maritime commerce, see Schottenhammer 2001. The famous Quanzhou mosque is treated in Steinhardt 2008. This building is regarded as the earliest proof of the existence of a Muslim community in Quanzhou, having been built probably between 1009 and 1010. The remains, visible today, date from 1310.

(44) The editor of the book in his preface emphasizes 'friendly exchanges between the two countries' and that 'the earliest records date back more than 2,000 years' (Liu Xinsheng 2006). The alleged long-standing relations between China and Borneo in general implicitly also serve to underline Chinese claims to the South China Sea, as in Wan Kong (2013:1): 'Historical relations between China and Borneo can be traced back two thousand years or more. Borneo has in fact been a significant part of China's orbit ever since the Chinese conquered [sic] the South China Sea.'

(45) See Quanzhou xiayue fu Wenlai ban haisi tezhan--kan liangdi jinghuo wenhua yuanyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Quanzhou to prepare special exhibition on maritime silk road in Brunei--to display origins of trade and culture of both places), Haixia dushi bao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (27 January 2015), (accessed 23-2-2015). The present ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Brunei, Yang Jian, explained on 25 February 2015 that the exhibition would be held in the first six months of 2015. See 'China Brunei hold joint maritime exhibition', 25 January 2015, (accessed 29-3-2015).

(46) See 'Maritime Museum displays 2000 years of Brunei-China history', 24 March 2015, (accessed 29-3-2015). The history of relations between the two countries obviously is extended in order to further economic relations between them. For insights into the treatment that the local ethnic Chinese population--'second-grade citizens', in the words of De Vienne--receives from Bruneian authorities, see De Vienne 2011, especially pp. 38-45.

(47) This was simultaneously published on the same day, 24 March 2015, on a Brunei website as well as an English-language Chinese website. See Kon 2015 and 'China's Quanzhou "Martime [sic] Silk Road" Exhibition opens in Brunei', (accessed 14-10-2015). One month later, Sun reported that '"The Tomb of the King of Boni (now modern-day Brunei) can be found in China," Wang says. The king's cemetery from the 15th century resides in the port city of Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province. In Brunei, a counterpart discovery has been found, the tombstone of Pu Zongmin, a Song Dynasty diplomat. Having stayed for 11 years, he passed away on his third visit to the country.' See Sun Ye,'Celebrating voyages of discovery', China Daily Asia, 24-04-2015, (accessed 26-06-2016).

(48) Li Tao 2004:282.6914. This Pu Zongmin was a jointly [appointed] supervisor for the tea markets in Chengdu City and all districts (tong jiju Chengdu fu deng lu chachang gongshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

(49) Pu Zongmin is also mentioned briefly in Von Glahn 1988:240, 245.

(50) The Wenming feng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] website presents an article with the title 'Quanzhou baijia xing zhi Lin: zhongxiao you sheng tiandi lao, gujin wushu zisun xian' [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 18-6-2013, (accessed 9-2-2015). This is the only reference for Quanzhou/Wenling i could find so far.

(51) Hucker 1985:364 provides a list of offices in the Song dynasty that a panyuan could supervise.

(52) Note that the Chinese text reproduced in Karim 1993 reads Zhancheng Xiyang zhuanyun zhi shi, whereas the text quoted by Zhuang 1991a omits the zhi.

(53) On the history of Min, see Schafer 1954.
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Author:Kurz, Johannes L.
Publication:Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania
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Geographic Code:9BRUN
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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