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Customs of Cambodia - Zhou Daguan

In 1296 AD, Chinese traveler Zhou Daguan visited Angkor-capital of Cambodia’s powerful Khmer Empire-as a member of a diplomatic mission sent by Emperor Temur Khan. Today, Zhou’s written record of his residency is the only surviving eyewitness account of that extraordinary and mysterious time and place.

Zhou shared intriguing aspects of the country’s complex society, blended with subtle details of its customs, religion, flora and fauna. Today, his words offer the most credible glimpse of Cambodian life at the end of the 13th century. This illustrated color edition offers an original translation of one of the earliest records of Zhou’s voyage.

Based on their personal knowledge of Chinese and Cambodian culture, language and geography, Solang and Beling Uk’s insights clarify linguistic puzzles that have been unresolved for centuries. For the first time, unidentified places, titles, plants, animals and other details come to life, giving readers a more accurate vision of the ancient Khmer Empire through Zhou Daguan’s eyes.

Renowned author Amir D. Aczel contributed the foreword. An early translation of Zhou’s text led him to Cambodia, resulting in his best-selling book “Finding Zero: A Mathematician’s Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers.