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0494 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 494 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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478   183. COTTON

(mu) » grew at Wu-ting (north-west of Yün-nan-fu; cf. also T'u-shu pien, 89, 30 a, and the Ta-Ch'ing

i-t'ung chih in 356 chs., 309, 9 b), and « rj.   so-lo cloth (pu) » was made at Ta-yao (N.N.E. of
Yao-chou, now Yao-hsien, between Yün-nan-fu and Ta-li; 87, 13 a; this has passed into the Kuangyü chi, 21, 16 a), at Chien-shui (= Lin-an, north-west of Mêng-tzù; I have not found this indication in the Ming i-t'ung chih, but only in the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih in 356 chs., ch. 307, 26 b), and in the native districts (ch'ang-kuan-ssû) of the territories (tien) of Ma-lung and T'a-lang (north-east of Yün-nan-fu; 87, 25 a) ; in the latter case, we are told that « it is made of cotton (mien-hua), scarcely eight inches in breadth; every year, some is paid [as tribute] to the authorities » (this has

passed into T'u-shu pien, 89, 30 b). In the Tien hsi, completed in 1807, « ;4   so-lo cloth (pu) »
is mentioned as worn by a Lolo tribe (cf. BEFEO, viii, 343), but the more usual way of writing the term is13,1 so-lo (ibid. 359, 360 [where it is used by a Thai tribe to enshroud the dead, which reminds us of the text of the Hou-Han shu; cf. supra, p. 444], 363 [for the skirts of P'iao women, identical as to the name with the ancient P'iao kingdom of Burma]) ; this latter form is also used in the modern Hsii Yün-nan t'ung-chih kao (160, 27 b; 162, 29 b).

In its section on the products of Yün-nan, the Hsü Yün-nan t'ung-chih kao (58, 5 a) has a

paragraph on «so-lo cloth » (r% fi   so-lo pu) : « According to the I-t'ung chih (= Ch'ing i-t'ung
chih; cf. above), it is made at Chien-shui (= Lin-an, north-west of Mêng-tzû). In the T'aip'ing huan-yii chi (published in 976-984; 79, 12 b), there is in Yao-chou (about half-way between

Yün-nan-fu [now K'un-ming] and Ta-li) the ra   t'ung-mu (' t'ung tree '), from the bark OA p'i)
of which one can make cloth. The Yao-an fu chih (' Description of Yao-an fu '; this was the name

of Yao-chou, now Yao-hsien, under the Ming dynasty) says that this is the ;it   so-lo pu (' so-lo

cloth '); according to the old ' Monograph (chih) [of Yün-nan province] ', it is the   t'ung pu

(' t'ung cloth '; cf. the analogous text in Tien hsi, 4, 23 b, where [Al mu-lo pu is an error instead of so-lo pu). The T'u-shu-pien (89, 30 b; on this Ming work, cf. supra, p. 464) [says] that it is produced in the native districts (ch'ang-kuan-ssii) of the territories (tien) of Ma-lung and T'a-lang (N.E. of Yün-nan-fu); it is made of cotton (mien-hua), scarcely eight inches in breadth; every year, some is paid [as tribute] to the authorities. The I-t'ung chih (= Ming i-t'ung chih; cf. above) says that [the t'ung-pu] is produced at Chên-yüan (north of P'u-êrh; I have not found the original passage; the Tien hsi, 4, 25 b, mentions so-lo pu at Chên-yüan). » These texts show that, under the Ming dynasty, the « so-lo cloth » was correctly understood to be identical with the old « t'ung cloth », which was, as we have seen, made of the floss of Gossypium arboreum. As to the « bark » of the T'ai-p'ing huan yü chi, in view of all the concordant texts adduced above, it is no doubt an error (less serious than for instance the one in PURCHAS, who gives as made of the « bark » of a certain tree the micgâ cloth of Assam, manufactured from the threads of a sort of wild silkworm; cf. YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, s. v. « moonga,mooga»), andthe Ming i-t'ung chih was right in speaking of the material as mien-hua, real cotton. The places mentioned are scattered all over the province, which is not surprising in view of the area of cotton cultivation in Yün-nan during the Ming dynasty. Although most of the cotton now used in Yün-nan is imported, the plant is still grown in the south-western part of the province and north of Ta-li, and the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih in 356 chs. (306, 23 a) expressly gives it (mien-hua) as a product of Lo-p'ing (south-east of Ch'üching) in the extreme east of Yün-nan.