Marco Polo Research Paper

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Many of the accounts of Marco Polo’s travels are recorded in the biography “The Travels of Marco Polo.” Although he may be the most famous European explorer of the 13th century, Marco Polo was not the first of his family to set foot into the Chinese empire. The Polo family were a family of mercantile traders, both Marco’s father Niccolo Polo and uncle Maffeo Polo made the journey to China far before Marco made the same journey. Nonetheless, the biography of Marco Polo is seen as the staple of the European perspective on preindustrial China. Similarly, the travels of the Korean explorer and official Ch’oe Pu and his recordings through his diary are seen as an important outsider perspective on China during the preindustrial age. However, Ch’oe…show more content…
Marco Polo focused on one individual in particular; Kublai Kahn, the ruler of the Mongolian empire which stretched from China all the way into eastern Europe. Polo talks about all of the great accomplishments and military might and success that Kahn had. In one instance Polo states that “If he [Kublai Kahn] had assembled all of his forces, he would have had as many horsemen as he could possibly desire and their numbers would have been past all reckoning and belief”(Latham 144). This European outsiders perspective on the Mongolian ruler is quite fantastical and depicts Kublai Kahn in a hubristic sense. Due to the great divide between European and Chinese culture, the records of Marco Polo as well as other European explorers take a fantastical view on China. The reason Marco Polo had the ability to explore China and observe it’s culture was because of the strong trade relationship China held with Europe. Over decades of international trade, the Chinese became more welcoming to westerners and thus allowed for Marco Polo to freely explore the Chinese region and…show more content…
Although Marco Polo focused greatly on the Kublai Kahn; the leader of China. Marco Polo also spent a great deal of time recording different aspects of Chinese culture. An example of this is when Marco Polo speaks of the great annual festival that is held on New Year’s day in which “It is customary for the Great Khan, as well as all who are subject to him, in their several countries, to clothe themselves in white garments, which, according to their ideas, are the emblem of good fortune”(Komroff 141). However, the observations made by Marco Polo is seemingly fantastical due to the great difference in culture between himself and the Chinese. Marco Polo’s objective in China was to explore and to share his findings with his people, but Ch’oe Pu had no official business in China and was initially unwelcome in the country because the Chinese feared that he was a Japanese bandit. This shows the relationship the Chinese had with its surrounding Asian countries. The reason Ch’oe Pu was drifting across the Western seaboard of China for his own edification in confucianism due to him being taught that China is the middle kingdom. The difference in the two writers intentions for writing are apparent through the style in which they write. Ch’oe Pu merely records his daily accounts, while Marco Polo write in an engaging

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