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0366 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 366 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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350   158. CINGHIS

liya..., II, 61-66). Moreover, we know from many sources, and from Raid himself, that there was no outward sign to indicate the site of the tomb. Whatever the wording of the passage may be (BARTHOLD only quotes one sentence from it), and whether the fault lay with the Persian author or with his Russian commentator, the « portraits » must have been the images which are often mentioned by mediaeval travellers and by Chinese sources; at first they hung in the tents of the ordos; at a later period of the Mongol dynasty, when Chinese influence became predominant, these portraits, woven with brocade, were placed in various temples in or near the capital (cf. YS, 33, 10 a; 75, 8 a). Both the Altan tobci (425, 147; the text however is not always clear) and «Sanang Setsen » (SCHMIDT, 109) speak of « eight white tents (or chambers) », naiman eayân gär, erected after the funeral at or near Chinghiz's tomb. This can only refer to conditions that prevailed at a later date. In 1266, the ancestral temple of the Mongol Imperial family at Peking was finally laid out by Qubilai with eight « chambers » (I shih), dedicated respectively to Yäsügäi, Chinghiz, Ügödäi, Niel, Cayatai, Tolui, Güyük, Mongka, together with the first wife of each of them. Despite the new regulations adopted by Qubilai's successors, the principle of the eight « chambers » was long maintained, although we hear of ten « chambers » in 1327; at that time, of the eight of 1266 Chinghiz and Tolui alone had « chambers », all the others having been allotted to later sovereigns (cf. YS, 74; also 69, 4-5, 9-10). The whole scheme is of Chinese origin. Chinghiz-khan had in Mongolia four main ordo (plur. ordos), in which his cult must have been celebrated, and some time after his death these may have been moved together to a place perhaps not far distant from his tomb. But there is no apparent reason for the existence of the « eight white tents » of the late Mongol chroniclers, except as a notion which must have originated from the eight « chambers » of the ancestral temple created by Qubilai.

These ordos, which Rubrouck knew to be in the region of «the Onon and the Kerulen », are

the ones to which Ögödäi repaired in the beginning of 1233. In 1257, Mongka, visiting Chinghizkhan's ordo, sacrificed to his « standard and drum »; this shows that relics of the conqueror were

kept there. In 1292, Qubilai's grandson Kamala was put in charge of the guard of the « four great ordos ». His son Yesün-tämür (the Emperor T'ai-ting) succeeded him there in 1302, and there also ascended the Imperial throne in 1323, since the edict of amnesty issued on that very day is dated «at the great ordo(s) of Chinghiz-khan ». But we know from the same text that this was «at the Lung-chü River », i. e. at the Kerulen (cf. TP, 1905, 36-37); so the four great ordos must then have been in the region of the upper Kerulen. On the other hand, we have seen (p. 338) that, according to a Persian historian, Kamala had erected a temple on the Burqan-qaldun; it is very tempting to see there Chinghiz-khan's funerary chapel in his ordos, and perhaps the prototype of the «eight white tents (or chambers) » of later Mongol chroniclers. Chinghiz-khan's ordo, or in the plural ordos, are mentioned in the YS more than once after 1323 : in 1331 (YS, 35, 8 b: ordos); in 1340 (YS, 40, 2 b : «the great ordos ») ; in 1353 ( YS, 43, 3 a : the prince of .ÿ Ning, * Htimagai, goes back to « the great ordos ») ; in 1355 (YS, 44, 1 a : « the great ordo ») ; in 1360 (YS, 45, 8 a : *Därvis, with the title of * a t'ai-wei, has the keep of the «great ordos »).

SCHMIDT (p. 389) says that, according to Abü-'i-Ghàzi, Chinghiz became Great Khan at «Naimankürä » Nimân-Kèh-rè » in DESMAISONS, 87), and suggests that this may be due to a later confusion with the 5aycn naiman gär, since naiman /caret means in Mongolian r the eight court-