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0123 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 123 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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82. BRIUS   107

cannot be purely bookish, since it was the one actually heard by Huc (« Mourouï-Oussou »). As to « Murus », it conveys no meaning, and I take it as an unexplained proper name.

We can now come back to Polo's « Brius ». As in the case of « Beyamini », I doubt very much whether Polo, in South-western Ssû-ch'uan, would have picked up any really Tibetan name; his nomenclature must be, as elsewhere, Persian, Mongolo-Persian or Sino-Persian. Now «Brius» cannot well be reduced to 'Bri-6hu, unless we replace Tib. Liiu, « water », by the corresponding Mongolian usu, of which Polo would then have used an apocopated form. This hybrid is very

improbable. There being a Mongolian name Murus for the Upper Yang-tzû, and taking into account the frequent changes between m- and b-, I incline to the supposition that it is Murus which is disguised under « Brius », and perhaps Z's « Brus » (< *Burns ?) is nearer to the form Polo actually used.

There is nothing to learn from the description of Tibet which we owe to the Minjul-,vutugtu

and which has been translated by VASIL'EV, as it is content with mentioning the Upper Yang-WI only once (VAsIL'Ev, Geografiya Tibeta, 3), and under the name kLun-gser-gyi phye-ma-cyan, which is a simple Tibetan equivalent of the Chinese Chin-sha-chiang, « Golden Sand River ».

After he had published and annotated in 1824 the notice on Tibet left by Orazio DELLA

PENNA, KLAPROTH published in 1826 in his Magasin asiatique, I, 302-329, a paper on the Brahmaputra which he says he had written in March 1825, and to which he has added a map, the names on which, according to him, are spelt in agreement with the Hsi yü t'ung-wên chip of 1772. On that map the Upper Yang-tzû appears as « Bourei tchou ou Ba tchou ou Kin cha kiang ». « Ba tchou » (written « Be tchou ») and « Kin cha kiang » were already on D'ANVILLE'S map, but not « Bourei tchou ». This last name does not seem to represent Pho-la'i-ch'u, but would rather be a pronunciation with an initial b- of Murui (-usu) ; unfortunately I do not know where the name has been found by KLAPROTH, who is not always reliable. If its origin could be traced elsewhere, it would support my explanation of Brius by Murus.

The second edition of « Marco Polo », which was the last to be revised by YULE himself, was

published in 1874, but in 1880, YULE contributed an important preface to Captain GILL'S River of Golden Sand, and has there a paragraph on « Brius » which CORDIER has not made use of, but which is reproduced in Sven HEDIN, Southern Tibet, VII, 8. After quoting the Mongol name « Murui-ussu, or Murus-ussu », and the Tibetan name « Di-chu, or Bhri-chu », YULE adds « from one or the other of which Marco Polo seems to have taken the name Brius ». Once more, YULE had had some intuition of what I believe to be the true explanation of Polo's form.

I suspect that the   jj I .L Pi-li-shu-chiang, « Pi-ii-shu river », of Ming ship, 330, 6 a,

7 a, and 331, 8 a, is the 'Bri-6hu, and think that the restoration « Bilidju » in Br, n, 335, should be rejected. Chiang is only used for a large river, and especially for the Yang-tzû (see « Quian »). On the other hand, the character At, although pronounced shu in Northern Mandarin now, was a transcription of the fu and c'u of foreign words in the Mongol period. Our texts bear on the first half of the 15th cent., when the same phonetic value is probably still to be adopted for this word. If I am not mistaken, we must conclude that, at that date, either the pronunciation of 'Bri-6hu had not yet passed to Dri-Z'u, or the change of pronunciation was not yet general.