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0476 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 476 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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460   183. COTTON

cloth ' (i mao-pu). » We find here a confirmation in an early text of the theory I have maintained above, to wit that, even when ancient dictionaries spoke of po-tieh as a « woollen cloth », it was a fabric of vegetal origin. Chiao-chih was the name of the chün (« commandery ») which corresponds to our Tongking, and its seat was practically identical with the present Hanoi. The location of the district of Ting-an of the 3rd cent. is not well ascertained, but it must have lain south of Hanoi in the southern part of the delta (cf. MASPERO in BEFEO, x, 582583, 679; AUROUSSEAU, in BEFEO, XIV, ix, 13, 15). The Shih chi so yin, i. e. the commentary of c. 730 on Ssü-ma Ch'ien (TAKIGAWA ed., 129, 35; the passage does not exist in the usual editions of the Shih chi, 129, 7 a) quotes one sentence which looks as if it belonged to the present passage, but, instead of the name of « Ting-an hsien of Chiao-chih », gives that of « the chün of 3[, 4 Chiu-chên »; the Tz'ü-t'ung (p. 2777), probably using another independent edition of the same commentary of c. 730, gives « the chün of f [, ~ Chiu-tê ». One of the two names must be corrupt, an intermediary form having perhaps been the form of tê. Chiu-chên is modern Thanh-hoa; Chiu-tê corresponds to the present regions of Nghê-an and Ha-tinh (cf. MASPERO, in BEFEO, x, 679). But both are much more to the south than the ancient Ting-an, and it would be surprising if the author of the Shih-chi so yin, even if he wished to use a name better known than that of Ting-an, should have chosen such an inaccurate equivalence, instead of retaining at least the well-known Chiao-chih; moreover, there were no chün c. 730. Since the Wu lu had a geographical section, I feel inclined to believe that more or less similar sentences occurred in the descriptions of various regions, and that the quotation in the commentary of c. 730 was not adapted from that of Ting-an i n the chün of Chiao-chih, but taken from the description of the chün of Chiu-tê or from that of Chiu-chên.

Another quotation from the Wu lu is given in the P'ei-wên yün fu (16 B, 100 a, s. v. mu-mien), the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng (shih-huo tien, 312, tsa-lu, 2 a) and the Pên-ts'ao kang-mu (36, 72 a), but I do not know through what channel it has come down to us (it does not occur

in the fragments of the Shuo fu, ch. 59) : « In Chiao-chou and in   Yung-ch'ang the mu-mien
tree (shu) is higher than a house (wu); there are some which last more than ten years (4 -I- Et tjt ). The fruit (shih) is as big as a wine-cup. The floss inside the flower is soft and white (the text in the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng adds : ' by breaking one fruit, one obtains several pounds [of floss] ', which is absurd), and it can be used to make cotton-wool (a AP, wên-hsü) and ' woollen cloth ' (mao-pu). » In the first centuries of our era, Chiao-chou included Kuangtung, Kuang-hsi, Tongking and North Annam. Yung-ch'ang was during the first centuries of our era the name of a vast region in western Yün-nan, between Ta-li and Bhamo, and its name has survived down to our days. During the partition of China into the Three Kingdoms, the Shu Han dynasty of Ssû-ch'uan had created in Yün-nan a Chiao-chou of its own, the seat of which was not far from the present Ch'ü-ching in north-eastern Yün-nan (cf. Chung-kuo ti-ming to tz'û-tien, 281); but I do not think that this second Chiao-chou can be meant in the text of the Wu lu. The manufacture of cloth made from the mu-mien tree in the region of Yung-ch'ang in the 3rd cent. is of real interest if we remember that Yung-ch'ang was precisely the seat of the Ai-lao tribes who made the po-tieh mentioned in the Hua-yang kuo chih and the Hou-Han shu. Almost of the same date as the Wu lu is a passage which occurs in the San-kuo chih, Wei