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0520 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 520 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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504   183. COTTON

is called ' southern product ' (nan-ch'an), we can speak of its real usefulness, since, the northern regions being very cold, when the cocoons and their floss are not always enough one has [to meet] the cost of furs and serge; but this is very economical ... » In this introduction, we see that, already before the unification of China in 1276, the cultivation of cotton had spread not only to the whole of the region of the lower Yang-tzû, but also to Ssû-ch'uan, whether it had come to the latter province from Chiang-su, or from Turfan via Shàn-hsi.

One other work on agriculture written under the Mongol dynasty has a paragraph on cotton

cultivation; it is the   A R   Nung-sang i-shih ts'o-yao, « Compendium on clothing and
food [as obtained] by agriculture and silkworm breeding (lit. ' mulberry ') », in 2 chs. As we have it, the work, recovered from the Yung-lo ta-tien, begins with the author's preface, dated 1330, but his name is not given there, and occurs only at the beginning of the first chapter, as

qrj   Lu Ming-shan. Ch'ien-lung's Commissioners (Ssû-k'u ..., 102, 6 a) knew another

text, beginning with a preface by ÿ   Chang Li; in this preface, which the Commissioners

have not included in the Ssû-k'u ch'uän-shu, Chang Li said that Lu Ming-shan first published his work in 1314, and that he was the son of a Uighur who had settled in China; he had taken his

name of « Lu » from the appellation (tzû) of his father, and was himself properly called   g 4

   Lu T'ieh-chu, though he was commonly known by his tzû as Lu Ming-shan. The Nung-sang   2
i-shih ts'o-yao is regarded as having been written to supplement the Nung-sang chi-yao; it does not add much to the latter in the following passage on cotton (Mo-hai chin-hu ed., ch. I, 11-12) :

   « Sowing mu-mien. — One must first take the seeds and soak them in water and ashes in equal   :a
proportions, then wait until they bud; [thereupon,] a hole is dug in each foot of manured soil,

   and five to seven seeds put into it. One [then] waits for the sprouts to come up; if they are   _.
[too] dense, some of them are taken out and only two or three vigorous sprouts are left. [The ground] is carefully hoed. The ends of the shoots are regularly plucked, so as not to have high

shoots; if the shoots are too vigorous, they will not form fruit. Cotton is reaped in the eighth moon ».

The YS has preserved a text on the cotton tribute which was required from the cotton growing provinces (15, 8 a) : on May 16, 1289, « cotton inspectorates (mu-mien t'i-chü-ssû) were

established for Chê-tung (= Chê-chiang), Chiang-tung (= Chiang-su), Chiang-hsi, Hu-kuang (= Hu-pei and Hu-nan) and Fu-chien; every year, the people had to deliver [to the inspectors]

   100,000 ' pieces ' (p'i); an Inspector General (tu t'i-chü-ssû) had the general control ». This is   gt
the first mention of cotton cultivation in central China. An edict of 1295-1296 mentions cotton (mu-mien) among the goods accepted in payment of State taxes (cf. WANG Ch'i's Hsü Froin-hsien t'ung-k'ao, 4, 43 b). All this antedates Huang tao-p'o's exaggerated activities.

According to the Chieh-ch'ên û (3 a • cf. supra, 438 , the Emperor Tämür 1295-1307 ,

g   gy~ ( a;   P   p.   )   P   (   )

on a spring evening, ordered the Palace ladies to spread in a hail all the flowers that had fallen, and then to play and wrestle on the flowers, being dressed themselves in «po-tieh trousers » and wearing turbans of chi-pei brocade (chi-pei chin) ; I do not know what distinction the 14th cent. author made between these two designations of cotton.

On June 21, 1323, the Emperor Ying-tsung repaired to a pavilion where the old clothes of

Chinghiz-khan and Qubilai-khan were kept. « All were made of plain silk (d * chien-su) or