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0526 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 526 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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510   183. COTTON

shui-yang, that found in the Wei lio, in the middle of the 3rd cent. Later texts have been copied or abbreviated from it, and do not represent any independent tradition. In the Wei lio itself, this «water sheep » occurs only in connection with a certain textile, which was woven with threads of variegated colours without a monochrome ground (A ti; this was the main differen-

tiation between chih-ch'êng, which had no « ground », and the   chin, which had one; but it was
not always strictly adhered to in the practical use of the two terms); and even then, the author of the Wei lio had heard conflicting reports, some saying that the fabric was made of tree bark (or bast), others of the silk of wild silkworms. Moreover, there is a disquieting sentence in the text : « In that kingdom, the six domestic animals all come out of the water », to which former inquirers did not devote a single word of comment. It sounds as though Ta-Ch'in being a maritime kingdom, the «West of the Sea Kingdom », a rumour had reached China that Ta-Ch'in was indebted to the sea not only for its « water sheep », but for its oxen, horses, dogs, etc. So far,

nothing can be made of   ch'in-niu or 44 ch'in-niu, which theoretically might be construed
as meaning « [Ta-] Ch'in oxen » (on the legend of oxen said to have been offered as tribute by Ta-Ch'in, cf. T'aip'ing yii-lan, 900, 15 b). The late gloss mentioned in CHAVANNES (500 Contes, I, 65) says these were « oxen [or cows] of the north », but the I-ch'ieh ching yin-i, which are

earlier, merely quote the   Rif Tzû lio [c. A. D. 500 ?], which defines ch'in as « the name of an
ox »; and in ch. 6 of the Li-ship a p'i-t'an lun [NANJIÔ, No. 1297], the ch'in-niu are assigned not

to the north, but to the Apâragodaniya, i. e. to the mythical continent of the West. The   7jC

ch'in-shui ming-niu of the Liu-tu chi-ching (3rd cent A. D.) are certainly not « ses bufflesses célèbres du Nord », as translated by CHAVANNES (500 Contes, I, 65), but « his famous cows of the Ch'in river ». I am not in a position, however, to decide whether the author of the text had in mind the old Ch'in river in Shàn-hsi, which could hardly have been mentioned in a « translation » from the Sanskrit, or the « [Ta-] Ch'in water », which would possibly provide a « water ox » parallel to the «water sheep ». But the interpretation remains doubtful, and the connection would be extremely slender. In any case, since all domestic animals in Ta-Ch'in are in the same plight, the shui-yang is merely the equivalent of yang alone, and, as a matter of fact, it is the word yang (« sheep ») alone, not « water sheep », which is used when the Wei lio speaks a second time of the wool of the same animal. Under such conditions, while admitting that there must have been in China, in the early 3rd cent., a tradition about some special sort of « sheep's down » of Ta-Chin, I think that we must be careful not to lay too much stress on the statement that this sheep was a « water sheep ».

By the side of the single mention of the « water sheep », we have a number of texts concerning « sheep that were planted ».

Standing quite apart, and hitherto unnoticed except in the Yuan-chien lei-han (436, 15 b) and the Tz'ii yican hsü-pien (s. v. chung-yang, «sowed sheep »), there is a puzzling passage occurring in fiIJ . Liu-tzû (Tzû-shu po-chung ed. in 2 chs., 2, 19 a [§ 44] ). Liu-tzû is a work of uncertain date and authorship. Its attribution either to a°IJ ez Liu Hsin (1st cent. B. c. and A. D.), or to

f 2, Liu Hsieh (early 6th cent.) is certainly to be rejected. oj .   Liu Hsiao-piao's author-
ship (= Liu Hsün, 462-521) is improbable. A T'ang preface, by the commentator

Yüan Hsiao-chêng, gives, as author of the Liu-tzû, IJ   Liu Chou of the Northern Ch'i. Liu