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0421 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 421 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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179. CONDUR   405

the smaller Condur, which should be treated together. Although the estimation of distanc seems to be excessive, there can be no reasonable doubt that, in Polo's mind at least, the double name applied to Pub Condor as well as to one of the minor islands of the group. There can be no question of locating them just east of the isthmus of Kra, as is done on BENEDETTO'S map (B', at the end of the volume).

Since 1904, when I collected for the first time the Chinese sources concerning both the a

m K'un-lun races and K'un-lun itself, the Chinese name of the island Pub Condor (BEFEO, iv, 217-231; add TP, 1923, 271-272; Etudes asiat. EFEO, II, 257-263), the problem has been studied again by FERRAND in « Le K'ouen-louen », a memoir of 267 pages, published in JA, 1919, I-II, which abounds in useful information from Mussulman and Indonesian sources. I would have had much to add, to correct, or to qualify, but non est hic locus, and I wish simply to note here FERRAND'S agreement (I, 327) that « from the end of the 13th cent., K'un-lun clearly means the island of Puio-Condor in certain texts », and that, in Polo's text, « Condur » can only be the very name of Pub Condor. Malay Palau Kundur means « Gourd Island », and so it is with the Cambodian name Koh Tralàch; the Annamese Côn-nôn is simply the Annamite pronunciation of K'un-lun. On the early 15th cent. Chinese map, « K'un-lun » is marked where we would expect it, as Pub Condor. A notice of K'un-lun = Pub Condor is given in 1349-1350 by the Tao-i chih-lio, where we are told that this is the ancient «Mount K'un-lun », but that it is also called «Mount '.g r a Chün-t'un ». It has been supposed that this was a more correct transcription of the name of Pub Condor. But we must not forget that K'un-lun is an old Chinese mythical name, applied to the K'un-lun races and to Pub Condor through sheer phonetic analogy. On the other hand, one text writes here /LWt t Hun-t'un, and, if written t* A Hun-tun, we would have not only the ancient Chinese name of « Chaos », but also the name of a monstrous animal which Chinese mythology places in the legendary K'un-lun mountains; moreover, precisely the «Sea of K'un-lun » (cf. infra) is called the « Great Sea of irtF, Hun-tun » in Shih P'i's biography (YS,

162, 5b). So I think no conclusion can be derived from the alternative form in the Tao-i chih lio.

In the Chinese texts, the sea south of Pulo Condor towards the Straits is called «Sea of K'un-lun ». Its approach was much dreaded, and that is why there was a saying : « Above are the Seven Islands, below is K'un-lun; if the needle goes wrong or the rudder fails, of men and ships what will remain ?» In translating this notice of the Tao-i chih-lio (TP, 1915, 112), ROCKHILL has missed half of the saying (and partly also on p. 112 in translating the notice of the Hsing-ch'a shêng-lan, simply copied from the Tao-i chih-lio). Moreover the Seven Islands (Ch'i-chou) are the Taya Islands at the north-eastern angle of Hainan (cf. BEFEO, Iv, 208), and not the Paracels as is still said by ROCKHILL, by FERRAND and by FUJITA (66 b). I must add that the place «Ting-chih» which is mentioned in this notice by ROCKHILL (p. 112-113) and which has passed into FERRAND'S memoir (JA, 1919, I, 258), does not exist; the text says that the port of Champa, Pub Condor and the Tung-Hsi-chu Islands (probably Pub Aor) are placed respectively at the feet of a tripod (ting-ch'i), a usual Chinese expression.

The «Sea of K'un-lun » of the Chinese is the «Sea of c;)..;(Kundurun)» (= Kundurung) of

the early Arabic travellers, which name is of course identical with the Chün-tu-lung (* Kundurung)