National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0522 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 522 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000246
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text


506   183. COTTON

the 411 shih of Huang Shih is corrupt either for the Ag yii of « Huang yii », « the old woman Huang », or more probably for # ku, « nun », as surmised by the Kuei-ssii lei-kao, 14, 6 b, and is due to the attraction of the shih which follows. The words « Barbarian envoy » seem to be an arbitrary addition, made because cotton was known to have been imported from abroad. The fact that, for cleansing and carding cotton the Chinese first used an iron bar, a board and a bow, and that these are also the instruments used for the same purposes in Persia mentioned in the tetraglot vocabulary, the Mongolian and Turkish parts of which have been published by POPPE (p. 218), provides no evidence in any direction, since the early processes were probably the same in Central Asia and in Indo-China or Indonesia. In spite of all that has been said to the contrary, the probabilities are that the cotton plant came to Chiang-nan from Hai-nan. Nor can I see anything more than a personal romantic view of the problem in CIBOT's detailed account (pp. 605607) of the opposition which cotton cultivation met under the Yüan at the hands of the traditionalists and of peasants and traders whose vested interests were threatened by the new textile.

In any case, one century after Polo, the use of cotton was universally adopted. When Hung-wu established his dynasty (1368), « an order was issued that in all private fields from five to ten mou in extent, half a mou each was to be planted with mulberry, hemp, and cotton (mu-mien); from ten mou and above, the quantity had to be doubled. For hemp, eight ounces were levied per mou; for cotton, four ounces per mou; when mulberries were planted, the tax began in the fourth year... » (Ming shih, 78, 1 b). The rates at which cotton (mien-hua) was accepted in 1385 in payment of taxes has been preserved in WANG Ch'i's Hsü Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao (4, 44 b). We have seen that, in the first half of the 17th cent., WANG Hsiang-chin and Hsü Kuang-ch'i had

devoted much attention to cotton cultivation; other sources of the Ming dynasty might easily be   1

added. For instance, we are told that, in Ming times, Ying-chou (in An-hui) produced « red cotton » (hung mien-hua) and « bluish-green cotton » (ch'ing mien-hua; cf. Tsao-lin tsa-tsu, chung-

chi, 57 b). The Manchu dynasty too did much to promote the growing and weaving of cotton. Just

as there had been, from Sung times, famous pictures of silkworm breeding and agriculture which were entitled Kêng-chih t'u, pictures of cotton cultivation were published in 1765 by Imperial

order under the title of tt   N Mien-hua t'u (cf. COURANT, Catalogue, No. 5415; I. HEDDE,

Description méthodique des produits divers recueillis dans un voyage en Chine, Saint-Etienne,

1848, 8 vo, 307). Towards the end of the 18th cent., ig   CH'U Hua, a native of Shanghai,

published a description of the various kinds of cotton, the *   it Mu-mien p'u (cf. WYLIE, Notes

on Chinese literature, 77); it is found, without preface or date, in the I-hai chu-chên (this is the edition I have used) and in the Chao-tai ts'ung-shu; cf. also Sung-chiang fu-chih, 6, 8 b-11 b.

Much of it is copied from Li Shih-chên and Hsü Kuang-ch'i, but there is also a good deal of

original information. The author is well known, and it is certainly an error of YO Chêng-hsieh,

who quotes it at second hand and ascribes to him a distinction between « hill cotton » ([[j   shan-

hua) and « field cotton » (R   t'ien-hua) which is not in the text, to write the name   CH'u

Hua. Cotton is now one of the staple products of Chinese husbandry and the word Ai pu, «cloth », which had long been referred to hemp or ramie cloth (« grass cloth»), now designates cotton goods par excellence.

Chinese cotton stuffs even gained a reputation abroad. The name of the Ming southern