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0261 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 261 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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142. CHONCHA   245

The Catalan Map of 1375 has « Chis »; the « Raff» or « Kaff» of Schiltberger seem to be misreadings for « Kais » (HALLBERG, 142, 431).

The Portuguese text of Barbosa does not mention Kig, but it appears in the Spanish version and in RAMUSIO's edition as « Cuyx » and «Quixi»; DAMES (Barbosa, I, 80) thinks that the name has been added by the Spanish editor, familiar with earlier narratives such as that of Polo. It may be so, but the Spanish version and RAMUSIO have in this section other names which are not in the Portuguese version and do not go back to earlier travellers; why should Kig be an exception?

The supposed omission of Kig by Barbosa is attributed by DAMES to the fact that it had been replaced in importance by the greater island of « Kishm » (Kism and Qism), the « Queixime » of Barbosa. According to DAMES, the name of Kism or Qism was still unknown in the 13th cent., and YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 485, cites no mention of it earlier than 1538; cf. also « Kishm », by Cl. HUART, in EI. Nevertheless, it may have existed almost in Polo's time. In 1307, Hethum names a « Quissim » or « Quissan », which the editors have identified with Kig (Hist. des Crois., Arm., II, 127, 267; cf. also HALLBERG, 33, s. v. « Aqvissa »), and so does HALLBERG (p. 429-430) in the case of Fra Mauro's « Quissan », evidently borrowed from Hethum's Latin version. But Schiltberger, who mentions a « Kaff » probably corrupt for « Kais », Kig, names also a « Reschan » or « Keschon », different from the precedent, in which the editors have seen Kim (cf. HALLBERG, 433). But « Keschon » (read « Kescham ») must be identical with Hethum's « Quissim » or « Quissan » (read « Quissam »?), and, in such a case, the name of Kigm would really go back to the Middle Ages. It would even be necessary to admit, although it sounds surprising, that the name of Kim alone, and not that of Kig, came to Hethum's ears.


cancha TA' changha TA3

choncha F, FB, L, V, VA, Z

chonka FA chontan G

concha LT, P, Pb, VB; R

thoncha FB toncha FA, VL

The name occurs also in Fra Mauro's map, as « Choncha » (not « Concoa » as in Zu, 38, and HALLBERG, 143).

According to most mss., « Choncha » was the name of the « kingdom » the main city of which was Fu-chou (see « Fugiu »). Several explanations have been suggested : tt i$ Chiang-chê by KLAPROTH and NEUMANN, a is Chien-kuo by PAUTHIER (Pa, 526) and BLOCHET (Bi, II, 493), both rightly rejected by YULE (Y, II, 232). YULE also mentions the hypothesis of a derivation from the name of Ch'üan-chou (see « Çaiton ») and the phonetic resemblance of « Choncha» with Chung-kuo, the «Middle Kingdom », China, but himself recognizes that this leads nowhere. I may add that, contrary to what YULE believed, « Chung-kuo » probably does not occur in Persian sources (see « Catai »). CHARIGNON'S 2 * Chu-chia, « Chu people » (Ch, III, 109-110), is entirely unsupported and not worth refutation. A colleague has suggested to me a correction