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0058 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 58 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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42   23. ANDANIQUE

also in different parts of Central Asia. The regular Chinese word for « steel » is vi kang, a secondary character derived from NUJ kang, « hard », so that pin-t'ieh must have been somewhat different. In YS, 85, 14 b, an officer is put in charge of the working of «pin-t'ieh, copper (t'ung), steel (kang) », etc.; this shows that, in Polo's time, a distinction was actually made between ordinary steel and pin-t'ieh. Round gerfalcon tablets in pin-t'ieh were manufactured by Imperial order in 1277 ( YS, 9, 9a). In the first half of the 15th cent., mention is made of daggers of damascened pin-t'ieh in Java (TP, 1915, 239) and of scissors of pin-t'ieh in Bengal (ibid. 440). Arabic and Persian texts refer also to two principal kinds of steel, viz. ordinary steel ('aburagän) and Eastern steel (Pers. pzcläd > Arab. fûläd; cf. VALIDI in ZDMG, 1936, 2627, 33; borrowed in Turk. pûläd, Mong. bolot, and also in Tibetan, Armenian, Georgian, Russian; exists also in Ossetian; cf. LAUFER, in TP, 1916, 82, 479, and Sino-Iranica, 575). Rubrouck speaks of Germans who were extracting gold and making arms at Bolat (Wy, 225, 289, 299; « Bolac » is a wrong form), the Pulad of Raid and Hethum, the Po-lo (= Bolot) of Chinese texts. The name certainly means « steel », and I explain under « Ghinghin talas » why I suppose that these Germans were really making arms with the « steel and andanique » from the mountain north of « Ghinghin talas » mentioned by Polo. Since pin-t'ieh is different from ordinary steel, I conclude that BRETSCHNEIDER was right in identifying it with Polo's « andanique ».

As to the term pin-t'ieh, it does not mean « hard iron » as stated in HR, 19. Pin, without the metal radical, means « guest », and, with this radical, is a secondary form occurring only in the term pin-t'ieh; pin is certainly a transcription. LAUFER (Sino-Iranica, 515-516) derives it from « Iranian *spaina, Pamir languages spin, Afghan ospina or öspana, Ossetic äfsän ». His explanation is probably right in principle, but the Chinese must not be held responsible for the fall of the initial s-. In a Sanskrit-Chinese Vocabulary of the T'ang period, pin-t'ieh is given as the Chinese equivalent of Skr. pina; this is a pseudo-Sanskrit form, a Prakrit word probably borrowed from the Iranian, but it gives a clue to the pin of the Chinese (cf. my note in BAGCHI, Deux lexiques sanskrit-chinois2, 280-281). Although many so-called Sanskrit words in the Sanskrit-Chinese Vocabulary are terms of colloquial use which may never have been employed in texts, the case may be different with pina. Pin-t'ieh, at least, occurs in the Chinese versions of two sûtras, one of which was translated in 707-709 (NANJIO, Cat., No. 317; Tokyo Tripit. of Meiji, NI, II, 23 b). The other I cannot trace, though it must be earlier than 817, since those two mentions of pin-t'ieh are commented upon by Hui-lin (ibid. A, ix, 43 b, 51 a); it is just possible that the original texts of the two sûtras had pin.a or a word connected with pina.

I suppose that « andanique » and pin-t'ieh are the same as the Mong. sorunëa küräl, of which a marvellous sword was made, as stated in SCHMIDT'S Die Thaten des ... Bogda Gesser Khan, 414. The translation, p. 6, renders it « die härteste and feinste Erzmasse », which is not satisfactory. I think we should read sorunea gürü, equivalent to Kalm. sorïptsv bol°n or simply soränt.i, the « sucking steel » or the « sucker » (cf. RAMSTEDT, Kalm. Wörterbuch, 332), all of them Mongolian names of the magnet.

Fr. RISCH, in his Wilhelm von Rubruk, Leipzig, 1934, p. 200, has translated « ab Amorrico » of Rubrouck's mss. as if it were « ab andanico ». « Ab Amorrico » is unexplained, but must be the (corrupt ?) name of a place in Persia. RISCH's tacit correction is not acceptable.