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Ma-i

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Ma-i

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The Ma-i (also spelled Ma'i, Mai, Ma-yi or Mayi; Chinese: 麻逸; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: má it) was a Prehispanic Philippine state whose existence was recorded in the Chinese Imperial annals Zhu Fan Zhi and History of Song.[1][2] It is also recorded in the Sultanate of Brunei's royal records as the nation of Maidh.[3]

Locations upon which scholars believe this state may have been located include the island of Mindoro[1][4] and the territory covered by what is now the town of Bay, Laguna[5]

Mai according to Chinese records

In 1225, China's Zhao Rugua, a superintendent of maritime trade in Fukien province wrote the book entitled Zhu Fan Zhi (Chinese: 諸番志; literally ""Account of the Various Barbarians"") in which he described trade with a country called Mai (pronounced "Ma-yi") which was a prehispanic Philippine state. In it he said:


The country of Mai is to the north of Borneo. The natives live in large villages on the opposite banks of a stream and cover themselves with a cloth like a sheet or hide their bodies with a loin cloth. There are metal images (Buddhas) of unknown origin scattered about in the tangled wilds. Few pirates reach these shores. When trading ships enter the harbor, they stop in front of the official plaza, for the official plaza is that country's place for barter and trade and once the ship is registered, they mix freely. Since the local officials make a habit of using white umbrellas, the merchants must present them as gifts.
 
[6]
The method of transacting business is for the savage traders to come all in a crowd and immediately transfer the merchandise into baskets and go off with it. If at first they can't tell who they are, gradually they come to know those who remove the goods so in the end nothing is actually lost. The savage traders then take the goods around to the other islands for barter and generally don't start coming back until September or October to repay the ship's merchants with what they have got. Indeed, there are some who don't come back even then, so ships trading with Mai are the last to reach home. San-hsu, Pai-p'u-yen, P'u-li-lu, Li-yin-tung, Liu-hsin, Li-han and etc. are all the same sort of place as Mai.
 
[7]
The local products are beeswax, cotton, true pearls, tortoise shell, medicinal betel nuts and yuta cloth. The merchants use such things as porcelain, trade gold, iron pots, lead, colored glass beads and iron needles in exchange.
 
[8]

References

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