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0289 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 289 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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155. CIN


as a designation of Southern China and more particularly of Canton. The reason may be that « Mahâcina » was more or less an honorific epithet, not conflicting with the name which foreigners of Central Asia then usually gave to China and which was no longer a form derived from Ch'in, but was the more recent «Taßyac », of northern origin (see « Catai »). On the other hand, in the south, sailors from Arab, Persian, Indian and Malay countries continued to refer to China as «Sin », « Gin », « Cina » (Gina). This explains how the name « in » became in a way a synonym of Canton. The note of I-thing and of the two subsequent works already foretells the state of affairs which was later reflected in Polo's «Sea of Cin ».

But the question is not so simple. Persian sources often speak of ;•~l~   . «C in and
Mâcin », Arabic ones more rarely of «Sin and Mâsin» (cf. Kâsyari's map). VON GUTSCHMID (Kleine Schriften, III, 605) was of opinion that « in and Mâcin» was a term created in Mussulman times as a « pendant » to Gog and Magog (see « Gog ») and that « Mâcin » could have had hardly anything to do with «Mahâcina». This is surely an error. The intermediary form is provided by Al-Biruni's book on India (c. 1030), where mention is made of « Mahâcin », located north of the mountains where the Ganges takes its rise (SACHAU, Alberuni's India, I, 207). Ra"sidu-'d-Din was conscious of the derivation when he wrote : « In the language of the Indians, southern China is called ' Mahâcin', i. e. ' Great China', from which name ' Mâcin' was formed » (cf. QUATREMÈRE, Hist. des Mongols, XCII-xciII; also LXXXVII for Bänâkäti's rifacimento; diq Isfahani, in Fe, 560). In the Ain-i Akbari, completed in 1595, mention is made of Hïtâ (or Hatâ, China; see « Catai »), « which is also called Mahâcin, commonly pronounced Mâcin » (Fe, 552). There is perhaps, however, that much of truth in VON GUTSCHMID'S theory that the reduction from « Mahâcin » to « Mâcin » may have been favoured by the influence of « Magog », and that the vague but popular « Gog and Magog » is to some extent responsible for the frequent recurrence and the loose treatment of the parallel couple « in and Mâcin ».

This loose treatment, however, is also and I think mainly due first to the various applications of the name «C in » and secondly to the confusion caused in geographical nomenclature when China became divided into a Northern and a Southern China, governed by sovereigns of different races.

We have seen that the name derived from « Ch'in » had reached India and Iran via Chinese Turkestan, which, moreover, was at various times entirely under Chinese rule. It is therefore no surprise that Chinese Turkestan should have been more or less included in the foreign notion of « Gina » or « Gin ». What is more remarkable is that, when it became independent, its rulers, paying an unconscious tribute to the great Far Eastern civilization, still clung to the Chinese name. In the 11th cent. North China had come to be known as Hitai (see « Catai »), but the more ancient names were still in use, « in » in Persian, « in » in Arabic, « Taßyac » in Turkish : so the Qarakhanid sovereigns of western Chinese Turkestan took the Turkish title of «Taßyac~ khan », replaced on their coins by the Arabic « malik as-Sin »; both mean « King of China» (« Tamyâc khan », a secondary form of «Taßyac khan », is the title of the fayfur, or Emperor of

China, in Al-Biruni; cf. Y', I, 33).

For Kâsyari, « Hïtai » was North China (then ruled by the Qitaï of Ch'i-tan), and « Taßyac » all the rest of China under Sung rule; the latter was also called «Mâ§in ». As to « gin », it is in