Concerning Coloured Stones and the places where they are obtained.
There are only two places in the East where coloured stones are obtained, namely in the Kingdom of Pegu and in the island of Ceylon. The first is a mountain twelve days journey or thereabouts from Siren x in a north-east direction, and it is called Capelan.2
It is the mine from whence is obtained the greatest quantity of rubies,
spinelles or mothers of rubies, yellow topazes, blue and white
sapphires, hyacinths, amethysts, and other stones of different colours.
Among these hard stones others which are soft are found and are called
bacan 3 in the language of the country. These are not considered to be valuable.
Siren is the name of the city where the King of Pegu resides, and Ava is the port of the Kingdom.4
From Ava to Siren you ascend the river in large flat-bottomed boats,
and the voyage lasts about sixty days. You cannot travel by land on
account of the jungles, which abound with lions,5 tigers, and elephants. It is one of the poorest countries in the world ; nothing comes from it but rubies, and even they
Siren is here a mistake for Ava. Siriam or Syriam is a port on the Pegu
river 6 miles E. of Rangoon. It was famous in connexion with Portuguese
dealings with Pegu, and was the site of an English factory in the
seventeenth century. (See Yule, Hobson-Jobson, 886.) In the
second reference below it would seem that the names Siren and Ava are
transposed, as Ava was the capital and Syriam the port.
Kyatpyen. Its distance from Ava is about 70 miles. (See Map in vol. i,
and Appendix on Burma ruby mines.) ' Caplan is the place where they
finde the rubies, saphires, and spinelles ; it standeth six dayes
iourney from Aua in the kingdome of Pegu ' (R. Fitch, ed. Ryley, 172
f.; Varthema, 219).
3 Bacan. This is possibly the Persian pakand or bakand, which signifies ruby.
It is a strange statement that Ava is the port of Pegu ; Barbosa (ed.
Dames, ii. 1921, 159), a century and a half before, knew more of the
1 Lions here, as elsewhere, must be understood as a figure of speech, since there are none in Burma.