Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: June/01/2003
Last updated: June/30/2016
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
Scholars had long suggested that the Chinese word "Funan" was in reference to the very first kingdom of Southeast Asia, the transcription of the Khmer word "Phnom" meaning mountain. However, we had argued that Nokor Phnom, a legacy of the Hiong-Wang kingdom was long predating the Funan Empire and its existence was recorded in Chinese texts since the twelfth century BC. Even though Nokor Phnom was very much of Khmer legacy, its original and actual location was at the Tian Shan range and not of Cambodia today (Nagadvipa: The visit of Buddha Gautama: The split of the Naga world). Concurrent to the emergence of Funan in Chinese texts, many legacies and archeology confirm the formation of Kamboja-Desa at Southeast Asia by a groop of western Kambojan leadership. Confusion of identities occurred when Kamboja-Desa, literally meaning the kingdom of the Kambojas, was laid over the Hiong-Wang Kingdom of Nokor Phnom (Notes: The etymology of the word "Kambuja"). As in Gandhara, the tradition of using the word Kamboja as their surname or title was brought to their new homeland. Around the Christian era, the Kambojas were over-ran by the Yueh-Shih of Central Asia. Scholars believed that during the fight, a group of Kamboj leaders had moved eastward and established themselves in Bangladesh as the Palas, and another group had moved south and established themselves as the Pallavas. The Kamboj kings in Southeast Asia, by implication, were thought to root from the Pallavas of southern India. New findings show that the presence of both the Pallvas of South India and the Palas of North India had no direct connection with the displacement of the western Kambojan leadership in pre-Christian era (Notes: The Indian Kamboja).
These Kambojan elite were classified as Indo-Aryans belonging to the Simha stock of Middle-Eastern origin but, like the Kamara Kings, claimed themselves as belonging to the human race. The Chinese called them the Fu in reference to the Fu Dog (Simha) symbol of their race. The same ways as Jin-Nan and Yueh-Nan were referring to the strongholds of the southern Jin (Kamara) and southern Yueh (Saka) cultures, Fu-Nan (the Fu of the south) was named as their country since it was located at the south of China. Dated after the arrival of the legendary king Hun-Tien, Funan was just another spread-out of the Fu's civilization over the ancient societies of Hiong-Wang. On the same premise, Funan could also identify as Pu-Kam, the country of the human Kam, literally referring to the country of the Kam kings or Kamboja-Desa. Founded first at the southern part of Cambodia today, we shall see that Funan or Pu-kam had its capital centered at Angkorpuri. During its apogee, Funan was extending itself over the whole of Southeast Asia and like the Jin societies of the past, its people were mostly formed from the indigenous people of austroasiatic tongue.
The Fu of the South
For the lack of other sources, the information about Funan relied heavily on Chinese source. Two Chinese diplomats Kang-Thai and Chu-Ying, visiting Funan in the middle of the third century, provided records of their visit that became a good source of information about its early foundation. The records include the legend of a foreign Brahman named Hun-Tien who managed to subdue a local queen and married her.
The ruler (of Funan) was a woman, named Ye-Lieou. There was then a stranger, named Houn-Houi, who practiced the art of genies; he dreamt that a genie gave him an arch, and told him take a ship to the sea. In the morning, Houn-Houi went to temple of the genie: there he found an arch, and along with the merchants, embarked to the sea. He arrived at the outside of Funan. Ye-Lieou brought her troops to resist him. Houn-Houi armed his arch. Ye-Lieou was scared and submitted to him. Houen-Houie took her for spouse and also the empire. (Funan: III: P. 254)
Uneasy to see Ye-Lieou and her men all naked, he taught her to use a piece of cloth to pierce her head through. He ruled over her kingdom and took Ye-Lieou for his queen. The story must to captivate the interest of Chinese readers very much so that it was copied into many other Chinese texts. The fact that the Queen Ye-Lieou and her army were naked had led to the belief that they were primitive (Notes: Ancient civilization). However, we had argued that Southeast Asia was the seat of the Param-Kamboja Kings since the early time (Nagadvipa: The land of the Naga: The God King Sri Paramesvara). Ancient Chinese text had mentioned a very old society called Sou-Chen sending their ambassadors to the court of China since the twelve century BC. Queen Ye-Lieou was undoubtedly the contemporary queen of Sou-Chen or Kauk-Tloak and was controlling the sea route of the region in the business of escorting merchant ships. In addition her name "Ye-Lieou", meaning "the flat of willow tree" might also be another reference to the Khmer name Kauk-Tloak (the flat island of Tloak tree). It lends support to the identification of Angkorpuri as the capital of the Funan Empire named Vyadharapura. Located near the island of Kauk-Tloak, Vyadharapura or Agkorpuri was mentioned in many inscriptions as one of the progenitors of the Khmer Empire.
THE KAMBOJ LEGACY
Recorded during their visit to the country, the records of Kang Thai and Chu Ying provided priceless information about the new founded Funan Empire. After marrying the queen Ye-Lieou, king Hun-Tien formed the Funan Empire and brough the western Sakan legacy into the mainland Indochina. In parallel to the development of Mesopotamia, Funan was not the first civilized kingdom of Southeast Asia and that the court of Funan was not homogeneously formed from the descendants of king Hun-Tien and the queen Ye-Lieou. In that regard, we shall distinguish of what has been already Kun-Lun legacies from what king Hun-Tien brought new to the region. For the sake of preserving the originality, we decide to stand-by its Chinese name Funan and Kamboja would be mentioned only when clarification is needed.
The Identity of Sri Kambu
For long, scholars had postulated that the Kamboj identity was originated from the West. The assumption is based on the finding that the Kam Culture was brought to the Asian communities through the Kambojan power-elite from Ganthara (Notes: The Kam identity). On the contrary, local tradition claims its origin as of South Asia and that in fact the Kam and the Khmer identities were so close to be identical. The claim is true at least at the cultural level since the Kam Culture was conceived as a derivative of the Meru Culture. Evidences show that a combined legacy of the Kamara, the Kamboja and the Cham had already been present, long before the arrival of king Hun-Tien. We found inscriptions that, through a reverence to the past, reveal the identity of the common ancestors of the Khmer, the Kambojan and the Cham kings. The inscription of Baksei-Chamkrong, in particular, makes reference to the legendary Sri Kambu as the founder of Kamboja-Desa. Two of his successors Srutavarman and Srestavarman were also mentioned in the same inscription (of Baksei-Chamkrong) to be among the early kings ruling the Funan Empire. To identify its origin, the inscription provides more clues in elaborating of the identity of its founder, Sri Kambu.
Svayambhuvan nama ta Kamvam udirnnakirttim yasya rkkasomakula sangatim apnuvanti Saisantatis Sakakacastra tamopahantri tejasvini mrdukara kalayabhipurna. (IBC: Stanza XI: Text: p. 488)
The word "rakkasomakula" indicates that he belonged to the human race of the Soma or Moon Culture of Syam (Notes: The Etymology of Rakkasomakola). It could mean that he was a native of the Siam country. In addition, the Svayambhuva's connection reveals his generation to the Manu Svayambhuva. He was mentioned as a Maharshi (ascetic figure) that was common to religious figure of Kalyani but uncommon for a Kamboj Brahman of Gandhara. It is well known that the Sakabrahmans of Middle Eastern origin were more scholarly priest than ascetic. The last sentence "tejasvini mrdukara kalayabhipurna" indicates that Sri Kambu was connected to the ancient divinity Maraduk of ancient Kalyani (kalayani-purana) and that again attests his origin to South Asia. From these descriptions, we are confident enough to identify Sri Kambu of the inscription as a reference to the progenitor of the race Kamboja and that he was not native of Gandhara, but of Kalyani. Under the Kam nationality, the Southeast Asian Kamboja-Desa was formed on the ground of the Naga (Khmer-Mon) people. It also attests the locality of the Param-Kamboja and the God King Maraduk to be also of Southeast Asia (Nagadvipa: The Land of the Nagas: The God King Sri Paramesvara). His connection to the Meru court was certainly through his consort Meram.
Meram udara yacasam surasundarinam ide triloka guru napi
Scholars postulate that from the combination of the two names, Kambu and Meram, came the word Khmer. However, the Khmer tradition identified the word Khmer as a short form of the word Kumeru and had nothing to do with the word Kambu to mean in Sanskrit as thief. Nonetheless, his consort Meram was his ticket to the Meru's court of Egypt where he formed later his own Cakravatin Empire on the ground of the western Kambojan stock. There are indications that the first dynasty, descendant from Seth, was formed around a mystified figure named Ku-fu that gave the western Kambojan stock the "Fu" or "Pu" identity. As we had seen, the Sakan legacy of Gandhara had implanted in Southeast Asia through the Shang Dynasty of China (The Sakadvipa: The Tai Incursion: King Suvanna Kahamdeng and the Formation of Nararatha). Since then there were many more western Kambojans making their way to Southeast Asia to find the way to create their own fortune. King Hun-Tien might have been one of the Sakabrahmanas who wondered around the Southern Sea, looking for opportunity to build his own kingdom. The Western Sakan Culture brought by king Hun-Tien and other western Kambojan leadership undeniably brought another level of materialistic progression and that its marriage to the indigenous culture was contributing to the formation of a new generation of the Naga (Khmer-Mon) societies. Since then, the Kam culture remained dominant at the Menam valley until it was overrun by the Tai culture from the north at the thirteenth century (Ayudhya: the northern Campaigns: The Daya's legacy). Unlike his Tai compatriot Tu-Man (Kahamdeng) of the northern Shan country who through more contacts with the Tai-Yuan country of Central Asia retained the Tai legacy for Lawa communities of the Shan country, Hun-Tien 's exploit was subjected to be absorbed by the southern Kambujnaga of the south. In that regard, the southern part of Thailand today is later known as the Kam-Tai, an acknowledgment of the combination of both the Kam and Tai legacies in the southern part of the Menam Valley.
The Varman Legacy
When presented with historical data that seam to share with the outside world, scholars were looking for India or China for a possible transitional path. This was due to the wrong postulations that the origin of Indochinese civilization was due to the product of foreign source. One of such specific aspects noticed among the Khmer-Kam kings of Southeast Asia was their royal title ending with Varman. Attested in Khmer inscriptions were two early kings of Funan, king Srutavarman and Srestavarman who were apparently descended from king Hun-Tien. According to scholars, the postfix "Varman" meant to convey that they were the protégé of a certain divinity. As an example, king Srutavarman (SrutaKhmer-Monvarman) who was a protégé of Lord Sruta was actually the first varman king known in Khmer inscriptions. The legacy had passed on to all Champa and Khmer kings of Southeast Asia and was seen to be maintained rigorously through out the history of the Khmer Empire. Inferring that all Funan kings received their crown name ending with the same postfix, some scholars argue that the word "Fan" found in early Chinese texts in relation to the Funan or Lin-Yi kings, was the transcription of the word "Varman". Like anything else of Khmer heritage, scholars were inclined to believe that the tradition was inherited from India and in this case from the Pahlava that were later passed on to the Pala and Pallava kings of India. There were no evidences so far that all Kambojan rulers, especially those of western Kambojan stocks, were titled as Varman kings. It is also important not to be confused with the postfixe "Taman" that was more widespread found in the crowned name of Indian kings. Rudrataman, for instance, was well known as a powerful king of India whom we shall identify to be from the Ashoka lineage, if not Ashoka himself. We believe that the postfix "Ta-man", meaning "the Great man", is a reference to the big family of the Sakan kings. In conjunction of the word Ta-Tche, the postfix might have been an indication to the Middle Eastern origin. As we shall identify later that king Hun Tien Himself was referred as Aswataman in Khmer inscription, his origin as a western Kambojan king was immediately attested (The Indianization: The Misconception of the Indianization: The Aryan Misconception). For Indian kings who bore the postfix "Taman" in their crown name, we know that their true origin was from the Pahlava. On the other hand, some other scholars proposed that the word "Fan" was a corruption of another word "fan" meaning "brahma" based on the premise that Funan rulers were belonging mostly to the Brahman cast. The proposition is consistent with the fact that the word "Varman" is an derivative of the Sanskrit word Varadhana that was itself referring to the country of the Brahman. The fact that all Angkorean monarchs were all referred as the "Varman" king proves that the title was not of Bactrian nor Indian root but of Southeast Asia. It is also important to note that the "Varman" ending in Indian crown titles were found so few as compared to the widespread use in the Khmer court. It leads us to believe that the Indian "Varman" legacy was in fact borrowed from the Khmer tradition and that the Indian Kings who bore the title, might have more or less close connection with one of the Southeast Asian Dynasties. Nevertheless, the association of the word "Fan" to the word "Varman" is unfounded since the Chinese historians had the word "Pa-mo" already consistently used for that purpose. Furthermore, the proposition was not supported by the following case studies. For instance, we could identify that the Chinese "Fan Man" or "Fan Shis Man" was actually referring to title of Sri Man Dhammaraja known by his surname as Sri Man. On the same token, we shall see that the Chinese "Fan Yang Mah" was actually referring to Kaundinya known by his surname as Yang Mah or Prah Thong and that his coronation title was Bhadravarman. From there with conclude that the word "Fan", as it is the exact translation of the word "surname", was used by the Chinese text to predicate a royal surname. In further study, we shall see that the Khmer King had no family name and that the surname was often used to replace it. For instance, Yang Mah or Prah Tong was referring to the exile prince from India and also to his immediate descendants who ruled the Khmer Kingdom at Prey-Nokor after him.
The Kun-Lun Tradition
Scholars mistakenly attribute the arrival of king Hun-Tien as the very first contact of the indigenous people with civilization. Some go far to postulate that without his involvement, the local people would have been still savage. As we had argued, Southeast Asia had been the seat of early civilization at least since the Great Flood and, as many other parts of the world, had already experienced the up-and-down cycle of its civilization. Contrary to the common belief that king Hun-Tien came to build a new empire, evidences show instead that he came to revive back the ancient Param-Kamboja's past legacy of king Kambu. The Chinese scholar Wan Tchen cited in his "Nan-chu-yi-wou-che" of what appears to be the organization of the Funan court:
The vassal regions have all their mandarins. The right and left grand officers of the sovereign all name Kun-Lun.
The Tong Tien, an encyclopedia at the end of VIII century by Tou Yeoun staes that at the time of the Sui, the family name of the king of Funan was Kou-Long. In the kingdom many have for family name Kou-Long. Old people, when asked, say that Kun-Lun do not have family name. (That name of Kou-Long) is a corruption of Kun-Lun.
The two passages brought up important historical fact about the Funan court. The first one mentioned about the Chinese word "Kun-Lun" as a common title of the two high officers of the court. This title was the same one, used later in the Angkorean court and mentioned in inscriptions as "Kamara Tem" meaning the Khmer appointee or "Kamara Tam" meaning the Kamara representant. It is clear that the Kamara legacy of the Hiong Wang kingdom was strengthened in the court of Funan that was composed mostly of Kamara and Kam stocks, after the reign of Fan Shis man. The titles indicate that there were both appointee and elected officials. The Chinese word "Kou-Long" that was the exact translation of the "sage dragon" was actually a reference to the Naga King "Yang" or "Anga" of the ancient Kamara's legacy. A legacy of the Meru Culture, the Naga (Dragon)'s spirituality was widely revered through out the ancient world. Nevertheless the title of "Dragon king" was only found in the Kamara court. It is understandable that both Chinese sources were not contemporary of the Funan era and there were expected discrepancies in the interpretation of the two words. At the end of VIII century, the memory of the Funan Empire had long been fading when Tou Yeoun try to give a glimpse picture of the old Funan Empire in his encyclopedia.
In the kingdom many have for family name Kou-Long. When he asked old people who might have better memory, they say that Kun-Lun do not have family name.
Tou-Yeoun then presumed that the name Kou-Long was a corruption of Kun-Lun and he was wrong. Nevertheless, he was right that the Khmer tradition had no family name. Unlike Chinese custom of which family name is preserved consistently through out generations, the Khmer people do not consider family name as important (Notes: The Khmer Family Name). This tradition applies also to the royal family and as result, their family tree is not easily traceable. To make up with this systematic deficiency, they used surname to define their immediate lineage or dynasty. For instance, Kou-Long mentioned by Chinese texts as a family name of the Funan kings, was in fact his surname or title. It is also important to note that the surname "Naga King" does not identify his true ethnicity. The western Kambojan kings, who considered themselves as of human race, also adopted the title of Naga King. The Khmer tradition states that the king of Funan (Kambuja-Desa) who descended of Sri Kambu had the title of Kambunaga. As confirmed by other Chinese sources, Kia-Long or Ki-Long was referring to Angkorpuri, which in high probability was meant to be the Naga Kingdom of the Kia Country. This reference might have been connected to the origin of king Hun-Tien himself, since he was mentioned to be from the Kia country and Angkorpuri was at the time his capital city. Nevertheless, this strong Kun-Lun legacy from the Hiong-Wang heritage would have to stand the test against more and more arrival of Middle Eastern aristocrats. The western tradition that was brought along by them would render changes specifically in the hierarchical classification of the ruling class. Even though the typical Hindu casting system was not strictly enforced, the ruling class was seen elevated itself to a higher status than that of previous court of Queen Ye-Lieou. Conforming to the standard of a big empire, ranking with different level of titles was established among Funan power elite.
THE FUNAN CULTURE
The arrival of Middle Eastern civilization into Southeast Asia was received with mix blessing. While elements of the western civilization were adopted, some aspects of native civilization would suffer the change. As we had seen, the natives of Nagadvipa were already advanced in spirituality through the introduction of the original Brahmanism and later Sivaism were received directly from the Yang kings. After Buddhism was conceived, Buddha Gautama himself made his trip to the continent to bring his religion to the people. Even before the arrival of king Hun-Tien, we had seen that materialistic progression had already taken hold of the natives through the arrival of the Dong-Son culture. The pursuit of material gains brought challenge for the natives who saw their spirituality degenerating under the new development. Evidences show still that they made serious effort to keep native tradition intact through more influx of Sakan intrusion.
At the time that the queen Ye-Lieou's country was subjugated by king Hun-Tien, it was undeniable that its society still retained its own indigenous life-style. The history of the Ancient Songs (420-478) reproduced an ancient song composed for the court of Tsin by Tchang Houa (232-300) (BEFEO III: Le Funan, Paul Pelliot).
Sou-Chen borrows clothes and the Funan needs multiple interpreters.
The mentioning of their ambassadors borrowing cloths to show up at the Chinese court indicated their habit of being naked back in their homeland. The fact that ambassadors from Funan need multiple interpreters indicates the mixed languages used among them. Sou-Chen had been often mentioned at the same time as Yue-chang as a state of Southeast Asia that sent out a delegate to visit the Chinese sage Tcheou Kong in prehistoric time (The Nagadvipa: The Kingdom of Hiong Wang: The Choladara Dynasty). As the Chinese word "Sou-Chen" is referring to a proper name of a tree belonging to the evergreen family, Sou-Chen appeared to be the legacy of a more primitive civilization. It was undoubtedly a reference to Nokor Kauk-Tloak, a remnant of the Kamara society of the ancient Hiong-Wang kingdoms. As we shall see, the tradition stayed at least at the early foundation of Funan. As confirmed by Kang-Tai and Chu-Ying's records, the culture of the country was at first goes with body naked and tattooed, with their hair on the back and have neither outerwear nor underwear. In the legend, the queen Ye-Lieou herself appeared naked at her first encounter with king Hun-Tien. After subduing her army and to control of her country, one of his very first concerns was to dress-up his queen. It started from a simple piece of cloth with a hole cut at the middle that she can pierce her head through. From then on, she would never walk naked again. This enforcement might apply to his new court as well but seems to have no effect on the rural people, especially among the men. At the arrival of Kang-Tai and Chu-Ying, people were still walking naked. Only during the reign of king Fan-Siung that a general measure had been enforced, apparently with the request from the Chinese court. From then on, all people were required to wear cloth to cover their body. Fan-Siung for the first time ordered to the men of the country to wear a piece of cloth that was called the kan-man. From the History of Southern Chi,
The sons of great families cut brocade to make themselves sarongs; the women passed their head [through some material to dress themselves]. The poor cover themselves with a piece of cloth.
The cloth could be made from the bark of special tree through primitive processes, but also were made from cotton using more advanced process of weaving. Considering that isolated Khmer-Mon tribes of today had more or less capability of weaving their own cloths, it is not likely that this invention was imported from India or China but was local. The fact that the Funanese of the time preferred to be naked was more likely of their habit and not because of the lack of materials. Finer cloths like brocade, on the other hand, were imported along with other luxury items to cater the high court and society. From the Chinese texts, we can also compile a sketchy picture of Funan over all social setting. As always, the appearance of the Funanese is not flattering. Hardly mistaken as a Chinese citizen, the indigenous kept their life-style simple but after all, they were not inclined toward thievery.
There are walled villages, palaces, and dwellings. The men are all ugly and black, their hair frizzy, they go about naked and barefoot. Their nature is simple and they are not inclined toward thievery. They devote themselves to agriculture. They sow one year they harvest for three. Moreover they like to engrave ornaments and to chisel. Many of their eating utensils are silver. Taxes are paid in gold, silver, pearls and perfumes.
Despise their physical appearance, they knew to take advantage of their natural environment. Beside agriculture, their life style was further enhanced by the abundance of natural resources. They were craftsmen and ate with silver spoons. Another excerpt in his Pao-pou-tse by the famous Taoist philosopher Ko-Hong affirmed (Funan XIII) the existence of a specific diamond which people can use to stripe the jade but can be dissolved by using the horn of a ram.
Apparently, (that diamond) resembles to a quart fume. It is at the bottom of the sea, at hundred changs deep on rock just like stalactites. The men dive to find it. If we hit it with iron, it is not damaged, at the contrary the iron is damaged. But if we hit a horn of the ram, (that diamond) dissolve immediately.
The City and its Accommodation
Southeast Asia ha been intruded by the western Kambuja and later by the Cham from the Yueh-Shih family since the early time of the formation of Varadhana by the Tchou dynasty. The advent of king Simhanati from the Bimbissara's royal house of Maghadha and king Kahamdeng from the court of the Shang's dynasty were just two of such incursions from outside world into the politic of Southeast Asia. With the arrival of these western leaderships, new identities were formed as a consequence of basic cultural changes. Under these circumstances, the Lawa along with the Shan tribesmen received a new identity as Tai. On the other hand, indigenous tribesmen who were under the Cham leadership were later mistakenly thought of Cham ethnicity. The leftover people were still retaining their Kamara (Krom in Thai) identity. The conquest of king Hun-Tien finally brought the last of the southern Kamara societies of the Queen Ye-Lieou under the Kambojan legacy. The History of Southern Chi provides a glimpse of the livelihood of the Funan (Kamboja) Empire during its late formation. It was first about the bad reputation of the Funanese to make slaves from neighboring tribes that were not submitted to them.
The people of Funan are malicious and cunning. They abduct and make slaves of inhabitants of neighboring towns who do not pay them homage. As merchandise they have gold, silver, and silks.
The habit might have been indigenous since services were part of their civilized communities. However, it is clear that the practices had not been restricted by the arrival of the Kamboj kings. At the contrary, the passage appears to convey that it was even more re-enforced during the Funan era when civilization went on an unilateral way and labors were needed to carry on bigger projects. There were obviously misuses of power on the part of the high societies in their own drive to sustain their own goods. Oral tradition confirms the sex addiction of Kambojan rulers and the bad practices of capturing beautiful women as sex slaves. To be left alone from capturing, women of the Kachin and many other naga tribes had to tattoo their faces that became part of their tradition until modern days. Women of some other tribes splashed themselves with dirt in the attempt to make themselves to look sick and apparently unattractive in front of strangers. The practice could be checked out by many tales retained among indigenous tribes who stay outside of the city gate. At the same time, Chinese sources provided information about the construction of city walls and palisades for protection.
They cut down trees to make their dwellings and the king lives in a storied pavilion. They make their city walls of wooden palisades. Enormous bamboo with leaves eight or nine feet long, shoot up along the seashore. Their leaves are woven to cover the houses. The people also live in raised dwellings.
City was built bigger and bigger and for the first time, the Chinese source mentions about multiple storied pavilions for the kings to live. The fact that Burma still retains this tradition until modern days confirms the extension of Funan Empire extending itself over all the mainland Indochina. Nevertheless, the rural habitable dwellings were mostly small and were built from light material. An important information was that all dwellings were built on stilt and raised off from the ground. Another accommodation of a still submerged country was that communication was mostly done through waterways. The boats were described as long canoes common to all Southeast Asian long boat of today.
They make boats that are eight or nine chang long. These are hewn to six or seven feet in width. The bow and stern are like the head and tail of a fish. When the king travel, he goes by elephant. Women can also go on elephants. For amusement, the people bet on cock fight and pig fight.
The History of the Liang furthermore states that elephants were the preferred method of travel for the king. Since they are adaptable to cross shallow lakes or water streams, they were suitable for a long trip through the country.
The king, when he goes out or returns, travel by elephant; the same is true of the concubines and people of the palace. When the king sits down, he sits sideways, raising his right knee and letting his left knee fall to the ground. A piece of cotton material is spread before him, on which vases of gold and incense burners are laid.
The king when he sit down, assumed a royal pose typical Khmer kings of the Angkorean Empire. As depicted on the wall of Angkor Wat, this pose was passed trough tradition to the Khmer court that stayed during late in the mediaeval era. It is more likely that this unique tradition was indigenous and was not brought by king Hun-Tien or other Kambojan rulers to the Funan court.
Other Tradition and Customs
Regardless of his origin, king Hun-Tien's background was mentioned to be a Brahman, thus a Hindu practitioner. Now that he became the ruler of Funan, he would undoubtedly reinforce the Hindu Culture by recruiting more Kambojan Brahmans into his court. The History of the Liang confirms that the religious practices of the Funan court was notably Hindu.
Their custom is to worship the sky spirits. They make bronze image of the sky spirit; those that have two faces have four arms, and those that have four faces have eight arms. Each hand holds something, sometime a child, sometime a bird or a four-legs animal, or else the sun or the moon.
It is not clear that Buddhism had been introduced to the court of queen Ye-Lieou during the visit of Buddha Gautama prior to the arrival of king Hun-Tien. However, the Chinese source did not mention about it. From the fact that a member of the court later bore the title of Sri Mate Sri Man Dharmaraja, it was probable that he was Buddhist. In any case, we are sure that Buddhism was not prohibited in the Funan court since it was well known of its openness to the people personal choice. On the same token, it appears that people had many options of disposing their death.
In time of mourning, the custom is to shave off the beard and hair. There are four kinds of burial for the dead. "Burial by water" consists of throwing the corpse into the water currents. "Burial by fire" consists of reducing it to ashes. "Burial by earth" consists of burying in a pit, and "burial by birds" consists of abandoning it in the field.
This many forms of funeral tradition reflect the mixing of many cultures brought by immigrants into the new society. It is interesting to note about the option of leaving the corpse on the open field for birds to devour; this tradition is still seen widespread observed at Tibet. From their own account, the natives claim that they were taught to write since the early stage of the apprentice by the Yang kings. Negligence of all kinds however deprived the general people of this social mean. Since they had plenty of time to communicate verbally, the lost of scripture was not creating some kind of hardship to their community. Nevertheless, evidences show that the high society had been exposed to the art of writing a long time ago. Prior to the arrival of king Hun-Tien, evidences show that at least some parts of the mainland Indochina were already under the control of the Chams or the Yueh-Shih (Sakadvipa: The Cham Countries). A Chinese text provides us the following information.
There are books and depositories of archives and other things. Their characters for writing resemble those of the Hou.
The Hou were the Mongols of Central Asia who used the same scripture as the northwestern India. Scholars had found ancient texts from Kucha, Karashahr, and Turfan of Central Asia, written in script resembling to the known Brahmi script of northwestern India. They were actually western Kamboja who brought the Kam scripture along with the Dong-Son culture to spread in Southeast Asia. The earliest specimen of the script was found inscribed on the gold ring unearthed from the archeology site of Oc-Eo. It was a seal used perhaps to authenticate documents. From its reverse image, the text inscribed on the surface of the ring reads in Sanskrit "sanghapottasya", clearly in second or third century Brahmi script. Also available was the Cham scripture that had been imported long ago in Southeast Asia by king Ajiraja. In its original form the scripture had angular shape and was highly decorated. Despite all the civilized elements brought by the Hindu Culture, the Justice System seems to be based on animistic belief rather than on elaborate Hindu Dharma or laws. At the first glance, it looks like there are superstitious elements involved but deep down psychology was the whole basic stratagem of the whole system.
They have no prisons. In case of dispute, they throw gold rings and eggs into boiling water; they must be pulled out. Or else they heat a chain red hot; this must be carried in the hands seven steps. The hands of the guilty are completely scorched; the innocents are not hurt. Or else the accused are made to jump into the water. The one who is right enters the water but does not sink; the one who is in error sinks.
The same ways as the lie detector was invented, the set up would harm the guilty person who, under his own superstitious belief, could not control his nervous system. Relying on the concept of mind over the body, the set up must be flawless on both physical and psychological accounts. We shall see that this justice system prevailed during the Angkorean era and lasted until late the thirteenth century.
THE FUNAN COURT
The lack of information prevents us to get a clear picture on how the court of Funan was formed. A general conception was that the direct descendants of king Hun-Tien and the queen Ye-Lieou received the sole proprietary of the Funan's court. We know from the Chinese sources that during the next reign of king Hun-Tien's son, many cities were built by him to be part of the Funan Empire. However, an obscure figure by the name of Hun-Pan-Houang had wrested the control of these cities and placed them under the control of his own family members. This development reflected that the Funan's court was formed as consortium between existing royal houses of Southeast Asia. The turn of event would reveal that both the Thai (Kambuja) and the Cham aristocrats already made their interference into the regional politic and economy and infiltrated themselves in the Funan court.
King Hun-Tien and the Establishment of Funan
At the time that the Cham king Ajiraja arrived and made his claim to the already transformed territory of Kamboja-Desa, evidences show that the grass root Kamara leadership of Southeast Asia had to take the back seat. After the Hans drove down the rest of the Chou from Central China, Southeast Asia was already been under the spell of the Cham aristocrats. Through the Cham incursion, we shall see that Southeast Asia disintegrated and became, at the time, under the Han Chinese domination. We know then that Prey-Nokor (Lin-Yi) became subjugated and to have its eastern part to be included as the southern part of China. On the other hand, Lin-Yi's western part rose up to free itself from the Cham and the Han control. King Hun-Tien came to the right moment that the Param-Kamboja court needed to bring itself up to fight against the Han's control. The arrival of king Hun-Tien and the reestablishment of Funan, as we shall see, reversed the course of the event. In preventing the Han court to take control all of the Tchou's territory, the grass root Tchou of Prey-Nokor would seek alliance with the Funan court to fight off the Han control (Champapura: The formation of Champapura: The uprising of Lin-Yi). In that regard, king Hun-Tien could not be by any means a complete stranger to Southeast Asia and his conquest over the kingdom of Kauk-Tloak could not be also an isolated event. Starting with his identity, Chinese records provide conflicting information about his origin. Some sources comment that he was a Brahman from the South, more likely from the Malay Archipelago or South India where Sakabrahmans of Kam stocks are still found practicing their faith until modern days. The reference of Ki or Kia as a reference to his country of origin could further locate his origin to the southern Kia kingdom of Mesopotamia or Egypt. By then we know that South India was already part of Mahabharata and ruled by the Panduvas clan. In other sources, he was mentioned to be from the kingdom of Kiao (Kiao-Tche) that is Yunnan, which according to the northern Siam tradition became the development ground of Prya Chorani. As a descendant of Sri Kambu, Hun-Tien was of the same race Chon or Chuang and could be a descendant of king Chorani to whom the Tai tradition credited the formation of the northern Tai societies. Nevertheless the northern Siam tradition was quiet about the formation of Funan as a southern neighbor of Xiang Saen. On the other hand, there were much more connection of king Hun-Tien with the Kambojan societies of South India that was worth more of our investigation. An inscription of Southern India made a reference to Aswataman who, by marrying a nagi, gave birth to the line of naga king Skandacisyadhiraja that became the ancestor of the Pallava Clan of South India.
Aswathamansya tantur bhavati Khalu pura vikramnyakkrtarir jato Dvijihvanganaputrahvahrtiyatajagatam Skandacisyadhiraja
(BEFEO XI: Etudes Cambodgiennes: La Legende de la Nagi, By George Coedes)
The inscription, as score of other Indian traditions, appears to mimic the Chinese story of King Hun-Tien marrying the queen Ye-Lieou. The mentioning of Aswataman in the Khmer inscription of Mi-Son in reference to the Naga King, father-in-law of Kaundinya, leads us to believe that Aswataman was actually king Hun-Tien of the Chinese source himself. He was mentioned in the Khmer inscription as a son (or a descendant) of Drona, the military hero of the Kauruvas. His presence in Southeast Asia could not be just a coincidence and was actually an escape from the house of Panduvas who by now took control of Ur and started extending their control worldwide. After subduing the local queen Ye-Lieou, he married her and established his own kingdom that received the name of Kambujadesa (known in Chinese source as Funan). It started on a group of islands around Angkorpuri situated in the bay that was going to dry up into becoming Cambodia of today. At the mean time, the Kamboj communities were formed giving the group of islands the reference name of Kamvata that was going to retain its name until modern day as the province of Kampoat. Aswataman's arrival marked another turning point of Southeast Asian development as it triggered another influx of Middle Eastern aristocracy with diverse backgrounds into the region. Following the Kaurauvas legacy, king Hun-Tien must to be of Sivaite background. The presence of the Chams also shows that members of the Pandavas house also arrived bringing along Vishnuism to spread over Southern India. As we shall see, the religious and political diversity brought by western aristocrats appeared to undermine the work of Buddha Gautama in regard to the suzerainty of Buddhism in both Gangetic India and Southeast Asia. Obviously, it created additional strain to the Buddhist communities of Jambudvipa in coping to other religious believes brought by the western Kambuja from Middle Eastern countries.
The Re-establishment of Lavo
As the capital of Kambuja-Desa, Angkorpuri was already developed and new ground works to extend the Funan Empire were primary conducted to build dependency across Southeast Asia. According to Chinese source, Hun-Tien's son and successor is said to establish seven cities to be included as part of Funan. Yue-Tchang was perhaps the first to be integrated with Sou-Chen (Notes: Kampoat as Kamvata of Funan). The Chinese court stopped mentioning about embassies from the two ancient cities of Hiong-Wang altogether, but talked instead about the embassy from Funan. As its southern part at the time was still submerged (Nokor Khmer: The Change of Geographic Landscape of Cambodia: The Geographical Impact), the rest of the cities were more likely founded on at the extreme north and west of the mainland Indochina. Evidences also show that many were already been formed by the local Xiang rulers and were actually the remnants of the Hiong-Wang kingdom. After its fall, these cities were wrested one by one from the native rulers, by the Tai and later the Cham aristocrats. Under the Han Dynasty, the massive political and demographic change finally transformed Southeast Asia into the country of the Cham that was known to the western world as Zabeg. The Cham domination apparently stayed until the arrival of king Hun-Tien who formed Kambuja-Desa, by restoring back many cities of the Hiong-Wang Kingdom. Of Kambojan stock, his work was more likely received support from the broken court of his predecessor Pya Kahamdeng (Notes: Hun-Tien and Pya Kahamdeng), but nevertheless received a cold resistance from the Cham communities of the region. A setback stopped the extending progressive rule of the descendants of king Hun-Tien and the queen Ye-Lieou altogether. According to Chinese source, Hun Pan Houang succeeded by mean of tricks, to inflict mistrust between the cities and used his troupes to conquer them all. One of the cities, Pan Pan for instance, named after his son Pan Pan, was known later as Lavo. As we had identified that Pan Pan was Shrestavarman, the city of Pan Pan was then no other than Shrestapura of the Khmer inscriptions. We shall see that Lavo was going to play important role in the history of the Kamboja kingdom in many centuries to come. His maneuver among many other indication suggests that king Hun Pan Houang was not a direct descendant of king Hun-Tien and the Queen Ye-Lieou, but of Sakan origin (Champapura: The Establishment of Ba-Saka: The Legend of Ajiraja and their settlement at Nokor Kauk-Tloak). Chronologically the event took place during the extension of the Han Dynasty to the south that was conducted in parallel to the emergence of the Sakan communities of Indochina. King Hun-Pan-Houang's successful drive indicates that Funan was losing its stand against the Han's incursion. According to the Chinese source, Hun-Pan-Houang delegated his sons and grand sons to rule each one of the cities separately. People called them little kings (perhaps Chao-fas meaning "Grandson of Prah", the well-known Chao-Yueh-Shih title for king). During this time, we know from the Thai source that the royal house of king Simhanati already extended its authority over many localities of the Kamara stronghold in the Siam country. Lanna that was ruled by a Kamara's ruler named Prya Krom-Dam became a tributary to Xiang-Saen since the early formation of Bandhusimhanati (ASiam1: Chronicle de Sinhanavati: Foundation of Bandhusimhanati Nagara: P. 146). These past events led us to believe that Hun Pan Houang's drive was not an isolated event and was closely related to king Simhanati of Xiang-Saen's suzerainty over the Krom country of Umangsila. After he died at the age of 90 years old, his son Pan Pan was to resume the throne with the help of his grand general Fan Man. After three years of reign, Pan Pan also died. According to the Chinese source, the people of Funan elected Fan Man as king. Soon after taking power, he built a big navy and started on a campaign over neighboring kingdoms.
(Fan) Man was brave and capable. By the strength of his troupes, he attacked nearby kingdoms; all were submitted to his vassalage. Himself took the title of grand king of Funan. Then he had constructed big ships, and skimming through the immense sea, he attacked more than ten kingdoms including Kiu-tu-kouen, kieou-Tche, Tien-Souen. He extended his territory to five or six thousands li. (ISSA: The First Indian Kingdom: P. 38)
There is no information on Fan Man's blood relationship to the previous king of Funan, except that he was a grand general of king Pan-Pan. According to Chinese sources, Fan-Man or Fan-Shih-Man became the next king of Funan after being elected by the people. Perhaps because he had a strong military background, his reign marked by the start of extensive conquests. His expansion, as we shall see, retrieved back the Kamara's territory lost to the Sakan kings. Evidence show that his conquest included Champapura where an inscription at Dong-Duang recalled the king named "Sri Mate Sri Man Dharmmaraja" as one of the earliest kings to rule over Champapura (The Making of a Cakravatin Empire: The Ketomala dynasty: Yasodhara and Indrapath).
The Reign of King Fan Man and the Consolidation of Funan
From its creation by king Hun-Tien, Funan thrived as an independent kingdom and begun to claim back the ancient suzerainty of the Hiong-Wang Kingdom. As time progressed, Funan expanded its control all over Southeast Asia to consolidate what had been broken down by the Han Dynasty (Champapura: The Cosmogony of the Cham World: The Formation of the Annamite World). The real exploit was seen during the reign of King Sri-Man whose exploit against the Cham settlement in Southeast Asia became the starting point of a grass-root movement toward the liberation of Southeast Asia from the control of the Han dynasty. The inscription of Don-Duang (BEFEO IV: Notes D'Epigraphie, Les inscriptions de Don-Duang, M. L. Finot) allows us to connect his origin to the lineage of Paramesvara ruling at Prey=nokor.
Those who, after the reign of Uroja, occupied the throne of Champapura, where Sri Bhadrasvara is the essence of the kingdom and the perpetuity universally known, from the descendant of Paramesvara, was the king Uroja; after him was Cri Man Chrimatiman Dharmmaraja.
The king Uroja of the was a reference to Paramesvara's immediate descendant named king Roja or Viraroja that ruled Southeast Asia right after the Great Flood. Champapura that was mentioned in the inscription was meant to be part of Prey-Nokor and that kings mentioned in the inscription were not Cham. On the same premise, we shall argue that the next king by the name of Sri Man Dharmaraja was no other than the Funan King mentioned in Chinese source (History of the Southern Chi) as Fan Shish Man. His title of Sri Mate Sri Man suggests his direct lineage from Manu and a native of Southeast Asia. Moreover, the inscription mentions that he is of the same race as Paramemsvara and was ruler of the Dhara Uroja.
Paramecsvara santanaj jata Urojo dharapati.
Dhara in this case was referring to Pandaranga (known in later time as Bandong), the ancient stronghold of the naga king. We knew of his intervention mostly from Chinese sources. After the death of the Funan king Pan Pan, Sri Man was elected to become ruler of Funan (Kamboja) by the people. It is important to note that the title was consistent with the tradition of ancient Kamara court of Sri Dhammaraja or Ligor and indicated to us that he was a member of the Kamara grass root of the ancient court of king Samanta. Soon after, he started a big campaign to free the Kamara states from the Cham control. The inscription proves that Champapura was one of his many conquests to consolidate Indochina. His title of Dhammaraja suggests further that he was a devotee of Buddhism and was not a Cham king of Vishnuite devotion. It is important to note that during all this time, the power of the Hans was already fading. His rise up to power and his massive campaign to consolidate the Funan Empire came at the exact moment that the Gupta Empire was about to form and the fight against the Saka was in a full-blown. The maritime power that helped him consolidating back the Funan Empire obviously served as the power-base of Funan's future sea transportation. From then on, Chinese sources were mentioning Kun-Lun ships in carrying merchandises into southern ports of China (Indianization: The Indian contacts: The Indian merchants). The Chinese source (History of the Southern Chi) gives more information about his death in the course of an expedition against the kingdom of Chin-Lin.
Fan Man fell sick, he sent his son, the heir Chin-Cheng for his replacement. The son of Fan Man's big sister, Chan, was the chief of two thousands men. By them, he usurped Funan, and proclaimed himself king. He sent men to attack Kin-Cheng and killed him.
The Chinese word "Kin Cheng" meaning the Golden City or country might refer to Suvanaphmumi, an ancient country visited by Buddha Gautama, and as we shall see was referring to Prajinpuri of the Khorat Plateau. After the death of Sri Man, his son apparently finished his father's conquest over Kin-Lin and received the title of Chin Cheng or the Jin King. Nevertheless, his work was far to be completed and the Cham establishment at Southeast Asia was not going to fade away. At the contrary, they were set to stay and their strong communities soon undermined his newly established authority. As we shall see, interference of Cham membership in the court of Funan continued on to plague the attempt to free Southeast Asia from the control of Han China. After Kin Cheng was assassinated, the court of Funan was broken into two political factions. Formed by the direct descendants of Kin Cheng, the grass-root Kamara kings continued to fight for the suzerainty of Funan. On the other hand, the descendants of Fan-Chan who were of Cham affiliation apparently were making attempt to build up relationship with the Kushan of India and the Han of China.
THE SUZERAINTY OF FUNAN
To restore back the legacy of the Hiong-Wang kingdom, Fan Man went on a rampage to conquer neighboring countries that fell into the Cham control. With a strong army, he was able to wrest many localities that were directly or indirectly under Chinese control. According to Chinese sources, three important localities of different government and background were to become part of the Funan Empire. Unfortunately, remnants of the Cham powerhouse in Southeast Asia were already too strong for him to complete the job. At his death, his direct descendants continued the work and were able to secure Funan's suzerainty and to stop the Han dynasty from incurring deep down into Southeast Asia for good.
Tien-Souen or the Country of Brahmans
According to Chinese source, Tien-Souen was one among Sri Man's first conquest. The Chinese word " Tien-Souen ", in some occasion "Tun-Sun" is etymologically the corruption of the word "Tian-Sun", meaning the offspring or descendants of the Tian. About its geography, the Kang-Tai and Chu-Ying's account on Funan described Tian-Sun as having no more than 1,000 li in larger and was located at the western side of mainland Indochina.
The city is at 10 li from the sea. There are five kings. All are vassals of Funan. The east territory of Tun-Sun make it in relation with Kiao-Tchou; it west territory touches India, at the extremity of far away kingdoms.
The Ming Tche later identified it as Sri Dharmaraja or Sudhammavati of the Menam valley. During the Han era, Tian-Sun was a remnant of the Kamara or Tian culture of Kiao-Tche that stayed out of Chinese control. By then, it was still the abode of the Naga and other indigenous tribes of Barma stock. Evidences show that its cultural past stayed independent during the arianization by the Nanda and later the Maurya in Trangangetic India. Nevertheless, Hindu Cultural development was seen heading its way into these original Brahmanic communities by the locals. In the Chu Che's account of Funan, there is mentioning of Hindu Brahmans being well accommodated by the people of Tian-Sun.
The kingdom of Tun-Sun depends on Funan; the king name is Kun-Lun (Kamara). There were many Brahmans from India.
As we recalled back, Manipura had a strong tradition of Brahmanism and Tian-Sun was always known as the country of the grand Brahmans. Nevertheless, a new generation of Brahmans from Magadha was obviously of higher scholastic standard. Practicing the tantric cult of Siva-Buddhism, they were actually the same Aryan Brahman who scripted the Rig-Veda. The people of Tian-Sun found their ways to keep them as residence in their communities.
People of Tun-Sun practice their doctrine and give them their daughters to marry; also (many of the Brahmans) do not leave. They only read sacred books of celestial spirits and offer diligently white vases of perfume and flowers, and do not stop at daytime or nighttime. When they are sick, they make promise to "be buried by birds". With songs and dances, people took their bodies out of town, and there are birds to devour them. Their leftover bones were burned and enclosed into a jar that they throw into water. If the birds do not eat them, they put them in basket. For what is that "burying by fire", it consists to throw the body in the fire. The ashes are collected in a vase that they bury during which they make sacrifices with no limits.
It is important to note that the tradition of burying by birds which according to Chinese texts was widespread in the rest of Funan, is still practiced by Tibetans people of today. The practice was however phased out as cremation was becoming widespread after the introduction of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Another aspect of Tian-Sun was its international sea-trade that, according to Chinese sources, was already established as a market place between the east with the west.
Merchants came in big numbers to do commercial trading. Tun-Sun makes a curve and advances more that a mile li into the sea. The big sea has no limit and people could not cross it directly. This market is the place of reunion of the east with the west. Each day, there is more than ten thousands men. Rare objects, precious merchandises, there is nothing that people could not find. There is a liquor tree, which resemble pomegranate. People retrieve the juice of its flower and put in a jar; a long many days, it changes into vine.
From the description, we come to the conclusion that during the early phase of Funan's foundation, Tian-Sun was meant to be the western coast of mainland Indochina that connected Manipura and Yunnan (Kiao-Tche) to the southern sea. At its southern tip, Tenassarem was already an international market between the west and the east. The Isthmus of Kra was then the connecting place between the Bay of Bengal to the Kun-Lun Sea. Only later that the internal sea activity had been moved to Sri Dharmaraja due to the opening of the strait of Malaka. From then on, Sri Vijaya became the gate of the eastern world with the west.
Pi-kien or the Island of the Kambuja
One of the dependencies of Funan appears to be located far away in the deep of the Southern China Sea. It was probably the kingdom of the Kia as mentioned in another Chinese text, where king Hun-Tien boarded a merchant ship to his destination of the Funan Empire.
Out of Tun-Sun, on a big island of the sea, there is the country of Pi-kien, located at 8,000 li from Funan. People talked that the body of the king is big of twelve feet and his head of three feet. From long time ago, he did not die and nobody know his age. This king is supernatural and pious. Bad or good actions done by people of the kingdom, thing of the future, there is nothing that the king does not know. Also none dare to impose to him. In the south country people calls him the king with big neck.
The ruler of Pi-kien appeared to have the physical appearance of a Yaksa (giant) that matches the reputation of the Kamboja. He could be a Sri Vijayan ruler of a southern island of the Indonesian Archipelago.
The habit of the country is to have houses for habitation, to wear cloths, to eat regular rice and not sweet rice. The language of the habitants differs a little from the Funan. There is a mountain that produces gold; gold appears on top of stone, in immense quantities.
The passage clearly indicates that the inhabitants of Pi-Kien were well off and to some degree civilized. The mentioning of gold mines reveals that the island was either Sumatra or Java. However it also portrays the habit of a particular indigenous custom that still lasts until late modern days.
A law of the country punishes criminals by having people eating them in present of the sovereign. In that country, they don't receive foreign merchants; if they come, they kill them the same and eat them. Also no merchant dare to enter (in that country).
Contrary to all his subjects, the king does not eat meat and appeared to be vegetarian, a custom of a devout Hindu follower. Even though he himself was a religious figure, the custom of human-flesh eating was still left to his subjects to practice. It shows clearly that foreign leadership had to yield to indigenous customs, still in strong control of their environment. The practice could also been noticed in other southern tribesmen as well as northern Wa's communities that were left out from the Meru Culture.
The king always lives in a high shelter. He does not eat meat and does not adore spirits. His sons and grand sons born and died the same as ordinary people; only the king doesn't die.
The fact that his descendants were living and dying exactly as ordinary people indicates that his being as a giant was not hereditary. It was through some kind of knowledge (of life extension) that he was able to live long and that his body kept growing along the way for him to live. The Kambojan leadership perhaps learnt the knowledge (as part of the knowledge of God and Evil) from the local Shaman and brought it to their new home at Middle East. The rest of the text seams to indicate that the king of Pi-Kien, was also an adept of the Buddhist doctrine as were most Kambojean Brahmans at the time.
The king of Funan often sends ambassadors to submit letters. They are responded one to the other. The king of Pi-Kien often sent to the king of Funan a vessel of pure gold for fifty peoples. The form is sometime like a round flat, other time like coupes of burned earth; what people call to lo; the continence is five cheng, or the form is the same as a cup, and the continence is one cheng. The king knows to write also in Hindu texts. The text of about 3,000 words, it talks about the previous lives and resembles to sutras of Buddha. It is also elaborated on the topic of goodness.
As a dependency of Funan, the king sent tributes of Gold in the form of religious relics, one of which was the image of Tara (To-lo), the popular deity of the Mahayana Buddhism. The reference of "To lo" could be related to "To Ra" that was in turn a reference to the Sri Vijaya king, To Raja (Nagadvipa: Notes: The To Raja). Becoming Buddhist, evidences show that the To Raja abandoned the Tantrum knowledge of life extension and subsequently drove the race of giant to be extinct from the surface of the earth. Pi-kin was then the last remnant of the Dong-Son culture that soon disappeared altogether from Southeast Asia through the practice of Buddhist discipline.
Kin-Lin as the Frontier Country
Kin-Lin was mentioned to be also in the conquest list of king Fan-Man. However, it was spared because Fan-Che-Man fell ill and died before he could start his campaign. The Chinese text Tai-ping-yu-lan gives two citations about the country.
Kin-Lin also called Kin Tchen, the frontier country. It is about two thousands li from Funan. The country produces silver and the habitants are numerous. They like to chase grand elephants alive; when the elephants died, they took their ivory. (Funan: VI: Fnote (3): P.266)
From the description, Kin-Lin could be located at the high land of the Khorat Plateau and could be identified as Nokorrajasima (the Frontier Country). The word Kin-Tchen on the other hand, used as synonymous of Kin-Lin could be instead a reference to Jinpuri or Prajinpuri of which the name is still retained today. Historically tied with the Kamara Culture, Jinpuri (Jin-Puri) is referring to a stronghold of the race Jin, the progenitor of the Khmer-Mon people. The mention of elephants in Kin-Lin is also consistent with the fact that people of Prajinpuri were skillful in capturing wild elephants to tame them for domestic and industrial use until modern days. Another excerpt from a Chinese source furthermore describes how to get to Kin-Lin by the way from Lin-Yi.
We get there by cart or by horse; there is no waterway to get there. All the peoples adore the Buddha. Kin-Lin could be reached from Lin Yang by a land route of two thousands li.(Funan: VI: Fnote (3): P.266)
Since there is no waterway from Prey-Nokor (Lin-Yang), Kin-Lin must to be located on the mainland and the distance of two thousands li verifies its location to be at the Khorat Plateau. On the other hand, we also identify Kin Tchen, which is a corruption of Kin Tcheng or Chin-Tcheng, as the city Jinpuri or Prajinpuri. It is not however to be confused with Kin-Tcheou, meaning the Golden Country that should be identified as Suvanaphmumi. As claimed in the Mon Tradition, Kin-Tcheou was an ancient country of Nagadvipa that was visited by Budhha Gautama. We had identified Suvanaphumi as the Sri Dharmaraja, a location that another Chinese text refers as Kin-Tchen also.
From Funan, if we go west for a two thousands li, we arrive to the Kin-tchen. (Funan: VI: Fnote (3): P.266)
Kin-Tchen here was referring to Kin-Tcheou, the country of Suvanphumi located at the west of Funan. Kin-Lin should be on the other hand at the north of Funan. Considering that most of present day's Cambodia was still a bay prior to the formation of Nokor Khmer (Prey-Nokor: The Cradle of Nokor-Khmer), Prachinapuri of the Khorat Plateau was then very much located at the seashore. It could then be both an important seaport and a powerful military center at the time. This identification is checked out by another Chinese citation of Funan.
It is said that leaving Funan, we have to cross the grand bay of Kin-Lin. (Funan: VI: Fnote (3): P.266)
The Grand Bay of Kin-Lin of the passage was covering the Great Lake of today that stayed as its remnant after the drying-up of Cambodia (Nokor Khmer: The change of Georgraphic Lanscape of Cambodia: The Geographical Impact). After the death of Sri Man, his son and heir apparent continued his campaign and by conquering Kin-Lin received the title of Chin-Cheng. The conquest however created internal conflict of the Funan court. Apparently, the nephew of king Fan Man by the name of Fan-Chan then usurped the throne by murdering the legitimate heir Chin-Cheng. During his reign, Funan entered into relations with the Indian dynasty of Murandas and sent its first embassy to China. This was an attempt to establish the eastern side sea route, connecting the Kushan Empire of Northwestern India to China. In his turn, king Fan-Chan was murdered by a son of Fan Man named Chang. Unfortunately, the palace intrigue continued. The next king Fan Hsun was known as a general of king Fan-Chan and took the Funan throne back from king Fan-Shih-Man's son Chang. Around 250, he received the Chinese mission of Kang-Tai and Chu-Ying to meet an envoy of the Murandas at his court. The relationship between Funan and China continued under his reign with a series of embassies dispatching to China from the years 268 to 287 which characterized as the resurgence of sea trade after the reunification of China by the chin in the year 280. Kang-Tai and Chu-Ying gave a glimpse picture of his court. In the morning and at the noon he gave three or four audiences. The foreigners and his people give him as present bananas, sugar canes, turtles and birds.
THE SEA ROUTE PLAN
Founded by Kanishka of the Kushan Royal house, Mahayana Buddhism was introduced to Central China through the Wu dynasty. It became since the cultural interest of China and constituted the backbone of the relationship between China and the Gangetic India. With the Buddhist cultural activities, trading between the two countries also blossomed. However, these activities had been complicated by the presence of the Huns in Central Asia. The Huns were known as a new barbarian powerhouse of Central Asia who harassed China, India and even the west for their living. As we had argued, their deep incursion into China gave way to the emergence of the Han dynasty taking control of China after driving off the Quin dynasty. After the fall of the Han, commerce between India and China started all over again but the Huns were still in control of the Silk Route. A new trade route was by necessity, a solution to the Hun problem and needed to be explored. The formation of the Kushan Empire centered at Bactria during the first few centuries of the Christian era, created potential economic boom for the Funan Empire.
The Ancient Port Oc-Eo
Vestiges found at the archeology site of Oc-Eo confirm the maritime activity at the location that proved to be of an ancient seaport. Oc-Eo, a derivative of Khmer word "Au-keo" meaning the Glass Canal, retains its indigenous name since the creation of Funan. Aerial photographs taken over the Mekong Delta reveal a network of ancient canals, one of which bisected the walls of an ancient city. On the ground, archeologists found its wall and moats. Excavation unearthed remains of bricks, titles, glass beads and pottery vessels at a site. In another site the remains of a jewelry workshop were revealed by scattered fragment of gold, copper and bivalve molds for casting tin ornaments. Human bones were also found. The waterlogged substrate had preserved wooden posts, which would have raised buildings above the floodwater. These findings suggest an elaborate settlement of the region around the first century of the Christian Era and that Oc-Eo was a busy seaport and one of the trading markets of the Funan Empire. The Vestiges also indicate that there was already confirmed sea trade between Funan and the West. Even though sea trade's activities at the eastern side of the Malay Archipelago still lagged compared to its western side merchant ships were known to reach the mainland Indochina even before the arrival of king Hun-Tien. As recounted in the legend, Hun-Tien made his trip to the kingdom of the queen Ye-Lieou on one of the merchant ships that obviously frequented the sea port Oc-Eo. Considering that there were many established seaports on the western coast of Malaysia to accommodate big sailing ships carrying merchandise and travelers with the west, Oc-Eo was found so far as the only port of the eastern side. As Funan became strong enough to control the region, the southern sea route could then reached China under more security provided by Funan. If established, it could replace the silk routes of Central Asia and the sea route plan would not only solve the Hun dilemma, but also connected Funan with all its natural resources, directly with the International sea trade. The archeology's findings agree with Chinese records that communication had been established between the Indian and Chinese continents, through the Southern Sea, as earlier as in 147.
At the time of the Han, specially under the reign of Emperor Ho (89-105), there was many ambassadors from India who came by Central Asia, after that they started again under Houan-Ti (147-167) by the Southern Sea.
The passage indicates clearly that Ambassadors from India used the Silk route to get to China during the early time. However, the Southern Sea route was apparently open during the early formation of Funan and the Indian diplomats did not need to go through harsh condition of the Central Asia to get to China. Political unrest during the next successions of Funan throne obviously caused the sea route to stop its activity until the reign of king Fan-Chan (230-250). A Chinese record mentioned that during the rule of king Fan-Chan, there was a visitor from a far away place Tan Yang who passed through India and arrived to the Funan court. He recounted his long journey and impressed the king with stories about India. King Fan-Chan appeared to be very interested and shortly after, he sent one of his relative Sou-Wo to check the story out. Sou-Wo boarded a ship leaving the "Teou Kou Li" seaport. Arriving at the river Ganges delta, he proceeded up north and presented himself as a guest to the court of the Indian sovereign Mou-Luan. After spending some time visiting the kingdom, he proceeded back home by the same way. Mou-Luan sent four horses for Sou-Wo to bring as presents to the Funan king. Mou-Luan, according to some modern scholars, was a dynastic title of the Kushan court Marunda of which the empire was at the time extended eastward along the Ganges river, at least as far as Benares. After four years, Sou-Wo arrived back home with the best regard sent from the king Mou-Luan to the king of Funan. King Fan-Chan was certainly pleased with the outcome of the trip. Potentially, a new route could be established between India and the East. Even though at first it was rough and lengthy, the new sea route was indeed an alternative to the land route across Central Asia. After his diplomacy had worked out with the Indian side, king Fan-Chan sent his first diplomats to China. Although it appeared that the mission was of cultural exchange as the ambassadors brought with them a group of musicians and dancers, its purpose was obviously to introduce his plan to the Chinese court. From then on, Chinese scholars, merchants and diplomats visited Funan on their ways to India or to the west by sea route. Their records kept in Chinese court, became later the primary sources of information about Funan itself. The first of such visit was done by a diplomatic delegation headed by Kang Thai and You Chin, some time between 245-250 during the reign of king Fan Hsun. Kan Tai met the Hindou Che-Song sent by the "king of central India" in response to the invitation organized by Fan-Chan (BEFEO III:Le Funan, Paul Pelliot, p.276). It was the same Kang Thai and You Chin who provided the first glimpse of Funan in their memoir of the visit.
By the formation of Funan, evidences show that commercial activities between the west and the mainland Indochinese continent already settled. Ships from Arab countries and perhaps some from the West took a detour of the Indian continent in destination to the East. Due to the influx of new sea merchants, the communities along the western coast of the Malay Peninsular and in the islands of the South China Sea sprung up to become major players of the sea trade. These communities were to become major seaports where market exchanges between the Arab world and Southeast Asia took places. Under the control of the powerful Gupta Empire, evidences show that commercial activities had extended their course along the western shorelines of the mainland Indochina. However there were not much activity recorded at the eastern side of the Peninsular until the formation of Funan. Archeology proves the activities in the port Oc-Eo to start around the first century of the Christian Era (Kamboja-Desa: The Sea Route Plan: The Ancient Port Oc-Eo). Ships from the West that passed through the Malay Peninsular by the Isthmus of Kra used the port as a relay in its destination to the east. The effort of king Fan-Chan to maintain the sea trade activities appeared to receive support from the Indian side of the Kushan court. Of Kushan's background, the faction of king Fan-Chan fought against the grass-root of the Kamara king Fan-Tche-Man. The next event concerning the decline of the Kushan Empire changed the dynamic of the Sea-Trade's activities. In India, the Gupta court won over the Kushan and established their empire along the Ganges River. The fall of Kushan created a serious blow of both politically and economically to the Funan Empire. The meeting between the Chinese delegation, Kang-Thai and Chou-Yin with the Indian delegation of the Hindu Che-Song, apparently did not accomplish the sea route as planned. At the contrary, Chinese sources confirm that at the time of Wei (220-264) and of Wou (222-280), all relations through the sea route stopped. Worst yet, there were no more Chinese records of Funan until the mentioning of Tien-Tchou Chantan around 357 AD whom we shall identify as a member of the Gupta Court.
- ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
- Camb: The Cambodge, by E. Aymonier
- Funan: BEFEO III: Le Funan, by Paul Pelliot
- DICI: BEFEO IV: Deux Itineraires de Chine en Inde, by Paul Pelliot
- ASiam1: Annales du Siam, Premier Partie, Translated by Camille Notton
- HCamb: Histoire du Cambodge, by Adhemard Leclaire
- IBC: JA: Inscriptions du Cambodge: L'Inscription de Baksei Camkron, by G. Coedes
230: Fan Man extended the Funan Empire; 230-250: The reign of king Fan-Chan; 240-550: The Gupta Empire; 250-287: The reign of king Fan Hsun; 320-335: The reign of Chandragupta I; 335-375: The reign of Samudragupta; 357: The presence of Tien-Tchou Chan-tan in Funan; 375: Kaundinya settled at Prey-Nokor; 380-314/17: The reign of Chandragupta II; 433: The governor of Kiao-Tche Tan Ho Chih, overran Prey-Nokor.
- Ancient Civilization
Evidence from stone depiction, shows that nudity was not perceived as uncivilized among advanced societies of tropical climate including the arianized India itself.
- The Etymology of the Word "Kambuja"
In Sanskrit, the word Kamboja (Kam-boja) meant Kam nationality. It was derived from another word "Kambu" who, according to Khmer Tradition, was an ascetic who after married a nymph of Meru lineage, created his own legacy named after him. It is also interesting to note that the word "kambu" is synonymous to the Pali word "Chorani" and the Khmer-Mon word "Chuong", generally referring to a race of thrief.
- The Indian Kambojas
Scholars agree that king Hun-Tien, the first king of Funan, arrived to the mainland of Indochina around the Christian era, well before the emergence of both the Pallava and the Pala kings of India. We shall see later that the Pallavas were instead the Kam kings from Southeast Asia, driven out by the Chenla kings at the end of the sixth century. The Pala, on the other hand, was a resurrection of the Nanda.
- The Family Name
Under the recent French protectorate, when legal documentation such as birth certificate required a family name, Cambodian just take the name of their immediate male ancestor, usually their father or grand father's name as their family name.
- The Etymology of Rakkasomakola
The Sanskrit word Rakkasomakola (Rakka-Soma-Kola) by in large refers to the family of the Soma (Moon) line of kings. The word Rakka, otherwise undefined, could be a faulty of the word "rakta" meaning red and is equivalent to the Pali word Syam (The Indianization: Notes: The Siam Country). In correlation to the Middle-Eastern source, Gilgamesh came to the Netherland to find the tree of life and later formed his Sumerian legacy in close connection with the Babylon God Meruduk. His close friend Enkidu joined him later to fight against the Nanda (The bull of heaven). It was when the Dvipavamsa making reference to the race of Giant invading Southeast Asia, but was driven out later from Langkadvipa by Buddha Gautama.
- The Kam identity
The association of the Kam identity to the Khmer that was valid on the ground of cultural exchange between the leadership of Gandhara and the people of Indochina rejects the misconception of the Southern Tai migration theory. Either through India or through Central China, only the Kam leadership reached Indochina. They might bring along members of their own family, but the settlements of these families of Central Asian stocks in the south never involved with mass migration. The Southeast Asian Kam people were then the Khmer-Mon people speaking Khmer-Mon tongue.
- Kampoat as the Kamvata of Funan
The Kampoat province of modern Cambodia might receive its name since the early formation of Funan. Etymologically, the Khmer word "Kampoat" is a short form of Sanskrit word "Kamvata" (Kam-vata), meaning the abode of the Kam kings.
- Hun-Tien and Pya Khamdeng
It is possible that Hun-Tien and Pya Khamdeng belonged to the same family tree. Based on the fact that the Tai identity is another version of western Kambojan legacy, the Tai-Kam legacy of the southern Menam valley could be argued to date from the formation of Funan by king Hun-Tien. This southern development however was very much disconnected from the northern Tai development of the Yunnnan country and, in any case, was not involved with mass migration of Tai people.
- Panan vs Funan
Because the Chinese reference of "Pa-Nan" was Ba-Phnom and was once a capital of Funan, scholars wrongly postulated that Funan was the Chinese transcription of Nokor Phnom. Actually, Ba-Phnom was a replica of the mount Meru which characterized the center of the Khmer culture formed by Kaundinya and retained its name ever since. There is no evidence that the place was called Ba-Phnom before then. It is important to note that in Chinese texts, Pa-Nan only appeared in I-Tsing's record about the fate of Buddhism during the Chenla uprising.