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0461 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 461 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   445

of the lost Wei lio of YU Huan, written in the second third of the 3rd. cent. In the paragraph we are here concerned with, either the Hou-Han shu has merely used the earlier Hua-yang kuo chih, or both have drawn from a common source, which may be Yü Huan's Wei lio. Whatever the case may be, there is no reason to suppose that the passage in which po-tieh occurs is older than the second quarter of the 3rd cent. The Ai-lao tribes lived in western Yün-nan and southern Ssû-ch'uan; their centre was in the region of Yung-cli'ang (between Ta-Ii and Bhamo). According to the Hou-Han shu (the Hua-yang kuo chih may have here a lacuna), the ears of the leaders of the Ai-lao descended three inches below the shoulders, while those of the commoners were on a level with the shoulders. These stories of « pendant ears » (4 If tan-êrh), which recur in the description of the island of Hai-nan (hence the chün of Tan-êrh under the Han, now Tan-hsien; cf. also the kingdom of Tan-êrh in T'ai p'ing yü-lan, 790, 22 b), are a comparatively sober Chinese counterpart to the Karnaprâvarana, « Those who use their ears as a mantle », of Indian folklore (cf. S. LEvi, in JA, 1918, i, 17, 75). Yet these same barbarians, located on the direct land track from western China to India via Burma, clearly were well advanced in the technique of weaving. But this does not necessarily mean, of course, that po-tieh, or even tieh alone, should be a foreign word transcribed from one of their dialects; the Hua-yang kuo chih, which says that lan-kan is a Lao word. is silent on po-tieh.

Leaving po for a while, something has to be said on tieh. First of all, a tieh means « to duplicate », « to fold » (it is in that sense that it is translated uparâpara in BAGCHI, Deux lexiques sanskrit-chinois, 316; the editor ought not to have referred there to No. 536, p. 279, where tieh is used in its other sense of cotton textile), and has never been the name of a textile in the pre-Han texts, nor even in Han texts if we do not count that of the Hou-Han shu which seems to be

actually of post-Han origin. As to   tieh, which is the designation of a textile, either alone,
or in po-tieh, it is also a post-Han creation. An attempt, however, has been made at an early date to connect tieh, in its meaning of textile, with a term occurring in Han texts. In Ssû-ma Ch'ien's chapter on goods and trade (129, 34-35, in TAKIGAWA Kametaro's critical edition Shiki

kaichu kôshô), mention is made of a textile called   j t'a-pu or ,4 j ta-pu, i. e. «t'a (or ta)
cloth »; t'a is *t'dp, and ta is *tâp; the parallel text in the Ch'ien-Han shu (91, 3 b) gives ta-pu. When Ma Yüan was sent to Ssû-ch'uan c. 25 A. D., the local usurper presented him with a garment in ;ßj5 1i tu-pu, « to (*tuo) cloth » (flou-Han shu, 54, 1 b) ; from a note of the commentary

of 676-678, we learn that the lost 34   [j]   Tung-kuan [Han] chi of the 2nd cent., in a

parallel passage, gave ta-pu, and that tu-pu was mentioned as a name of textile by fiif   IIo
Ch'êng-t'ien (370-447). For the t'a or ta of t'a-pu or ta-pu, there are still secondary forms occurring in various editions or dictionaries, such as a t'a (*t'âp) in the Yü p'ien (and the T'ang yün, according to the K'ang-hsi tzû-tien; cf. also TARANZANO, Vocabulaire, II, 576),: ta (*tap) in some copies of Ssû-ma Ch'ien (cf. TAKIGAWA'S edition) and of the Ch'ien-Han shu (cf. K'ang-hsi tza-tien, and Tz'ic yüan, s. v. ta), and s t'a (*t'âp) in the Shih-shuo hsin yü of

Liu I-ch'ing (401-444; cf. Tz'ü-t'ung, 1760); to these, the Tz'û-t'ung (ibid.) adds ,4th   na-pu,
« na (*nap) cloth » of Sung shu, 71, 1 b, but the connection is doubtful (na seems to have been the name of a cloth [cf. the texts, often corrupt, quoted in Ko-chih ching-yüan, 27, 25-26, and in Tz'û-yüan, s. v. na], but it may also perhaps be taken here with the value of fPki na, «to piece