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0465 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 465 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   449

be of no avail to start from Chê-po (*T'sja-b'âk), and to imagine a generalized faulty reading in all the numerous quotations of T'ang and early Sung times, since Chê-po would still suppose *avag, not *Javag. But since Chu-po can only refer to Java or Sumatra, it is of some importance to note that we have perhaps here the earliest Chinese location of a country where a po-tieh which was undoubtedly a cotton stuff of some sort, was manufactured.

The T'ai-p'ing yü-lan (820, 19 a) cites an edict of the Emperor Wên-ti of the Wei dynasty

which, from its position between two passages of the Wei lio, can only refer to the Emperor Wên-ti of the first Wei dynasty ( = Ts'ao P'ei, who reigned from 220 to 226), and moreover is well in the trend of many other productions of that learned Emperor; I do not know why it has been omitted from Wên-ti's writings as collected in YtN K'o-chün's Ch'üan shang-ku san-tai... , sect. Ch'üan san-kuo wên, chs. 4-8. The text says : «The places of origin of precious things are always China and the Western Countries; the products of other countries cannot be compared with them. The ' yellow cloth' (huang-pu) of '(-e a Tai chün (= the region of Ta-t'ung in northern Shan-hsi) is fine ( 4111 hsi), the a lien (= white boiled gauze) of Lo-lang (in Corea) is

refined ( ching), and the T'ai-mo cloth' (-,   i T'ai-mo pu; T'ai-mo is an ancient name of

Ch'ü-chou fu in Chê-chiang) of U.   Chiang-tung (lit. ' East of the Chiang ', i. e. the eastern

part of the region south of the Chiang; = Chê-chiang) is white (q po), but they are not so

fresh and pure as the po-tieh cloth (   i po-tieh pu).» Although it is difficult to reach a
definite conclusion from such a fragmentary text, it looks as though the Emperor Wên-ti wished to contrast good Chinese textiles with the po-tieh of western countries which he considered superior. This would be the more interesting since the text, if I have dated it correctly, may be more ancient than even the source of both the Hua-yang kuo-chih and the Hou-Han shu and provide the earliest instance of the term po-tieh hitherto discovered. I find next that, in 331, Ta-yuan (Ferghâna) offered po-tieh to Shih Lo, who reigned in northern China (T'ai-p'ing -lan, 820, 20 b). From that time, po-tieh often occurs in secular literature and in Buddhist translations down to the beginning of the Sung dynasty (cf. K'ang-hsi tzù-tien, s. v. ei, and YAMATA'S Index to the various I-ch'ieh ching yin-i). It would be an error, however, to believe that po-tieh was uniformly written with the same second character. Prior to T'ang times, as if tieh had retained something of its foreign origin, the second element of po-tieh was often written by

the translators or authors V chih (*t'siap),   hsieh (*siät; or tt which occurs also in the tale

of Yu yang tsa-tsu, 14, 5 a; HUBER, BEFEO, vi, 37, has translated   hsi-hsieh [= hsi-tieh],

«étoffe d'une finesse extraordinaire »), g hsieh (*siät), and even V chieh (*kiet; on this last form, faulty, but frequent, cf. BEFEO, Iv, 357; TP, 1912, 463; 1932, 152-153, 183; BEFEO, xxly, 102). These forms are more than once denounced as vulgar or incorrect by the authors of the different I-ch'ieh ching yin-i (to the remarks to that effect which may be collected from the passages mentioned in YAMATA'S Index, add that of K'o-hung, ch. 18, in A, III, 68 a). As Hui-lin says (ch. 35, ibid. Ix, 25 a), there was no authorized character for tieh, so that we find sometimes «emergency» forms created by the translators. What is more important, the same authors often say that the ancient form of tieh wast t'a (*t'âp; altered in A, VII, 45 b; Ix,

72 b, 128 a; but correctly given in Ix, 133 b); but   t'a is to fi t'a what §i tieh is to a tieh,
that is to say, the authors of the yin-i established between the tieh of po-tieh and the t'a of « t'a