Section 18 – The Kingdom of Yan

1. Yan [Yen]. Zadnesprovskiy (1994), p. 463 places this kingdom “in the northern Urals.” Other than that, the information in this account, and that from the Weilue (which is quoted below in 19.1), nothing else is known about this kingdom. Yancai 奄蔡 translates literally as ‘Vast Steppes’ or ‘Extensive Grasslands,’ and I feel certain that the name must have been intended as descriptive. However, see Pulleyblank (1963), p. 220 for its linguistic features and its possible relationship to the Greek name *Αορσοι [*Aorsoi] – see also ibid. p. 232.
            It is not clear what pelts they traded with Kangju. The Chinese text just uses the term for pelts of shu
which can mean rats, or other rodent-like animals such as weasels, martins and similar small, fur-bearing animals.