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0103 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 103 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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62. BASMAN   87

like », and this would account to some extent for Polo's «Basma ». It has been objected (for instance by BLAGDEN in Pe, Ltx) that the final -m of «Pacem» was only an example of the Portuguese tendency to nasalize final vowels, and this must be right ; one is only somewhat surprised to find in 1727 a form « Pissang » in A. HAMILTON (YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 683), but I am inclined to think that it represents Pasangan rather than Pasè.

In spite of «Pacem» and perhaps « Pissang », there can be no doubt that the correct form Pasè was in common use amongst foreigners. In 1511, Giovanni d'Empoli writes «Pazze» (Hobson-Jobson2, 682). It is also E "f Pa-hsi, Pasi, which is used twice in the Ming ship for 1521 and the following years (cf. Y, II, 296; TP, 1934, 84). For the Mongol period we should probably identify Pasè as the kingdom of A 3 Pa-hsi to which three envoys were sent in 1309, while others went to Pu-fin-pa (Palembang ?) and Champa ( YS, 23, 4 b ; it seems to be this name which has been altered to pi  A-hsi in Yüan wen lei, 41, 20 b).

It may even be that the name occurs still earlier in Chinese texts. LAUFER has collected (Sino-Iranica, 468-487) a series of such texts in which, according to him, . tr1 Po-ssû is not, as usual, a transcription of the name of Persia, but represents a « Malayan Po-Se ». FERRAND (JA, 1921, II, 279-293) has accepted the whole of LAUFER'S material, but has come to the conclusion that it could not apply to one and the same country, even when Persia was to be left out of account. For FERRAND, that eastern kingdom of Persia is in some cases Bassein in Southern Burma (a name much more ancient than it is said to be in Hobson-Jobson2, 70-71), and in others Pasè in Sumatra ; in particular, all mentions of «Po-ssû ships » in early Chinese texts would relate to Bassein sailors. I cannot enter here into a detailed examination of the case, but must remark that later (JA, 1924, I, 241-242), FERRAND, without any allusion to his notes of 1921, has spoken of the « Po-ssû ships » as being Persian; I have no doubt that this time he is right. As to LAUFER'S material and its interpretation, they are vitiated by a number of doubtful forms and dates and by the extraordinary idea that Persia's intercourse with China was always carried on by land. My present view is this (cf. also TP, 1923, 196-197) : all the texts mentioning Po-ssû before the Sung dynasty refer in all likelihood to Persia, and this is also the case probably for early mentions of Po-ssù in Japanese texts, in spite of what HAGUENAUER says in JA, 1935, t, 92. But, in the 11th and 12th cents., the name was sometimes misapplied to a Malay state ; this is particularly the case for the Malay numerals of Po-ssû preserved in the Kôdanshô of c. 1100 (the author died in 1111 ; cf. JA, 1935, I, 92). Although we have no native mention of Pasè earlier than Polo's time, nor for some time after him, I have little doubt that the name must be more ancient. It may be the name Pasè (Pâsei or *Pasi), identical with the Chinese transcription Po-ssû (= *Pâsi) of the name of Persia, which was then mistaken for Persia. And this also implies that the name of Pasè was at that time pronounced without a nasal final. But while holding that the views expressed above cover most of the facts relating to Po-ssû = Pasè, I must add that the name of Pasè does not appear among the twenty odd « islands » of Sumatra enumerated in 1365 by the Nâgara-krétâgama (cf. Fe, 652), an apparent omission of great moment. The reason is, I think, that the state of Pasè is already represented in that list under its alternative name of Sadra. As I explain under «Sumatra », the state of « Sumatra» had its capital at Samudra on the river of Pasè, and Dutch scholars now speak