Ed, I know the rule of “no direct real-world analogues” for the home Realms, but I have to ask; are you sure there wasn’t just the slightest wink-n-nod in naming between FR Thay (far exotic land of magic & mystery) and “RW” Cathay (far exotic land of magic & mystery)? Oh, yes, you're quite right.
Thay was indeed my wink-and-nod to "Cathay." Signalling that this was as close as the Realms was going to get (when it was just my story setting, before D&D existed).
I meant "Cathay" in its older usage: not yet equated with China.#Realmslore
— Ed Greenwood (@TheEdVerse) April 1, 2021