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0172 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 172 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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156   112. CAMUT

According to PALLADIUS (cf. Y, I, 212), Hung Hao, one century before Polo, attributed to the Uighurs, « nearly in the same words », the excessive hospitality which Polo says the people of Qomul used to extend to foreigners. The passage alluded to occurs in Hung Hao's Sung-mo chi-wên, written in 1243 on the author's return after a captivity of fourteen years among the Chin (Hsio-chin t'ao-yüan ed., 5 a-b). Hung Hao speaks of the Uighurs as of men with curly hair, deep-sunk eyes, thick eyebrows and beard, very clever in trade and industry. The disintegration of these characteristics in a number of Uighurs whom Hung Hao saw was the result of intimate intercourse with the Chinese. At the beginning of the Sung dynasty, many Uighurs had settled in .fit JI( Ch'in-ch'uan (= Shàn-hsi and Kan-su), but were later transferred by the Chin to the region of Peking. Hung Hao adds : «At the time they lived in Ch'in-ch'uan, their girls, before they married, had intercourse with the Chinese. Only after they had had several children and when they were nearly thirty, were they allowed to marry some one of their own tribe. When the matchmaker came to discuss the question, the parents [of the girl] would say : ' Our daughter has been intimate with such and such a man '; and the greater the number [of men] the better. Such was the general custom. » The text is certainly of great interest, but does not refer to married women as that of Polo does. It is another case of a practice which has been ascribed to many nations, and which is mentioned by Polo in Tibet (cf. Y, II, 48).

112. CAMUT

camoscia R camu F camulco P

camut FA, FB camuto L

camutto LT

chamuto TA', TA3, VA

BENEDETTO has retained in his edition (B, 84) the « camu » of F, without quoting any other reading, and in his translation has adopted « camucca» (B', 140, 452) without comment; but «camucca» is certainly wrong. FA writes « chaucemente de camut qui est bourgai» (Pa, 297), and YULE ( Y, I, 394-396) was quite right, following KLAPROTH, to see in « camut » the camutum of Codex Cumanicus (ed. Kuun, 106), which is explained by « sagri » in Turkish and in Persian «Sagri », our shagreen, means leather made from the croup of a horse, and this is also the

meaning of «bourgai» or «borgal», i. e.   buryâli, a well known metathetic form of bulyâri,
derived from the name of the ancient Bulyar of the Volga (see « Bolgara »). « Camucca » (or «camocca», etc.) is a quite different word meaning a gold brocade; Polo left several pieces of «chamocha» (cf. vol. I, 556, 557).

On «camucca» (« camocatus » in KUUN, Codex Cumanicus, 108), see YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, s. v. «Kincob »; HERZFELD, Iranische Felsreliefs, 175 (with a wrong derivation from xavvzxns);