And in the Arab versions, in the sea of China there is also the famous island of Waq-Waq as reported by most medieval Arab geographers. This island is ruled by a queen and the population is only female: it is usually illustrated in al-Qazvini manuscripts of the Wonders of Creation showing the queen surrounded by her female attendants.
Ibn Khordadbeh mentions Waqwaq twice: "East of China are the lands of Waqwaq, which are so rich in gold that the inhabitants make the chains for their dogs and the collars for their monkeys of this metal. They manufacture tunics woven with gold. Excellent ebony wood is found there. And again: Gold and ebony are exported from Waqwaq." Michael Jan de Goeje offered an etymology that interpreted it as a rendering of a Cantonese name for Japan. Gabriel Ferrand identified it with Madagascar, Sumatra or Indonesia.
Wāḳwāḳ is referred to in a number of sources; it is generally an island far away.
The waqwaq treeEdit
In the Kitab al-Bulhan, the painting titled the ‘Tree of Waq Waq’ is rather extraordinary because it illustrates the way in which the all-female population reproduces and self-perpetuates. Female figures grow from the tree as if they mature like fruit until they are ‘ready’ and they drop to the ground emitting a cry that sounds like ‘Waq Waq!’
- G. R. Tibbetts; Shawkat M. Toorawa; G. Ferrand; G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville (22 August 2013). "Wāḳwāḳ". In P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (Second ed.). Brill Online.
- The ‘Book of Surprises’ (Kitab al-bulhan) of the Bodleian Library.
- Saudi Aramco World: The Seas of Sindbad, Paul Lunde.