Marco Polo was in China Hans Ulrich Vogel offers an innovative look at the highly complex topics of currencies, salt production and taxes, commercial levies and other kinds of revenue as well as the administrative geography of the Mongol Yuan empire. The author’s rigorous analysis of Chinese sources and all the important Marco Polo manuscripts as well as his thorough scrutiny of Japanese, Chinese and Western scholarship show that the fascinating information contained in
Le devisament dou monde agrees almost pefectly with that we find in Chinese sources, the latter only available long after Marco Polo’s stay in China. Hence, the author concludes that, despite the doubts that have been raised, the Venetian was indeed in Khubilai Khan’s realm.
Hans Ulrich Vogel, Ph.D. (1983) in Sinology, Zürich University is Professor for Chinese History and Society at Tübingen University. He has published monographs, articles and translations mainly on the history of society, economy, science and technology in premodern China.
'...an entirely new picture of the Chinese economic system with incredible insights into every-day life. I strongly recommend anyone to go to all the bother of reading the entire monograph.'
'Unlike his predecessors in the West who mainly relied on European sources, or those in China who relied on Chinese sources, Vogel’s book is a masterwork using primary sources and secondary literature of different origins and cultural backgrounds. (...) Vogel, instead, extensively examines research on these topics published in Chinese, thereby shedding light on the findings of Chinese scholars in these areas, particularly for Western scholars who cannot read Chinese. The author offers a most thorough discussion of the pros and cons of Marco Polo’s authenticity, and so provides a convincing defence.
Vogel’s work greatly enhances our comprehension of the fiscal situation of the Yuan. It does in fact reveal new data, provide new lenses and document new methodological approaches to historical perspectives. This excellent book is to be warmly commended. It offers a wonderful resource for anyone wishing to study Marco Polo and Chinese economic history.'
Reviews in History (2014) 1667 (DOI: 10.14296/RiH/2014/1667)
'Vogel does indeed deliver in abundance what his title promises, that is, decisive and irrefutable evidence that Polo’s time in China was more or less what he said it was.(...) It is all the more important, then, that his title not be taken as limiting the scope of work simply to Polo’s travels. Anyone interested in the Mongol-era China’s economy, finance and administration will find this book an invaluable treasure trove of information. The work on currency equivalencies, for example, will undoubtedly prove foundational for much future research on the fiscal systems of the Mongol empire and late imperial Eurasia generally.'
Christopher P. Atwood (Indiana University, USA),
Inner Asia 17 (2015), 351–357
Table of contents
Preface from Mark Elvin
Préface de Philippe Ménard
Preface from the Author
Transliteration and Conventions
II. Paper Money in Yuan China
III. Cowry Monies Circulating in Yunnan and Southeast Asia
IV. Salt Production and Salt Monies in Yunnan and Tebet
V. Production, Revenue and Trade of Salt in Changlu and Lianghuai
VI. Tax Revenue of Hangzhou and its Territory
VII. Administrative-geographical Divisions in Yuan China
All those interested in Marco Polo research, intercivilisational encounters between China and the West, and the economic, monetary and financial history of the Mongol Yuan empire.