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0589 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 589 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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191. CUNCUN   573

180 li and finish directly in front of the Emperor, prostrate them,elves and shout 'Wan-sui' ('Ten Thousand Years'). He who arrives first is given a silver ingot (ting); to the others are given silk in varying quantities. » This text of the Cho-kêng lu is in fact copied from the Shanchü hsin-hua of 1360 (Chih-pu-tsu-chai ts'ung-chu ed., 25 a-b), but our edition of this last work seems slightly corrupt.

In Mingyan's biography (YS, 135 a), we read : «In the 13th year chih-yiian (1276), Shih-tsu (Qubilai) ordered by edict that the people who were homeless, the Buddhist and Taoist monks

who had escaped registration and men of the various races (i. e. not Mongol, or Northern or

Southern Chinese) who did no service in public works, to the number of more than 10,000, should form the kuei-ch'ih (güikci, güyükci), and he ordered Mingyan to lead them.» The

giiyükci, thus formed with more or less dubious elements, were nevertheless a fighting force which bore the name of «army» (chün) at least from 1284. In 1287, they became a T T wei, that is to say one of the divisions of the Imperial Guard, according to YS, 99, 2 b. They were also called «the personal (V) army of the kuei-ch'ih (kuei-ch'ih ch'in-chün). Data for a more detailed study of the kuei-ch'ih are not lacking, but they have not been collected.

From the Chinese texts, the giiyükci do not appear in the same light as in Polo's text, where they are said to be keepers of the hounds and to have had as their principal task to help in the Imperial hunts. This may have been one of their duties, but it does not seem to have been the only one, nor even their main duty.

I have shown above that the güyükci or güikci had become one of the components of the Imperial Guard. Odoric (Wy, 475) speaks of four barons who always accompanied the Mongol

Emperor when he rode out in a car, and these have been, naturally enough, identified with the

käliktän (see « Quesitan »). But Odoric calls them «Çuche» (var. «Zuche », «Cuthe», «Chuche »), which cannot be restored to käs'ik or kas'iktän; we ought perhaps to read «Cuche» = Güikci. As

a matter of fact, the kä. iktän had already been described by Odoric, although not named, in the preceding paragraph. On the other hand, it is clearly said in Mingyan's biography that he always accompanied Qubilai; his successors may have had the same duties.


cancun FB chimchim P chinchis VL chuchin V chunchum TA

cinghu TA 3 concongne FB, FBr, t cunccur LTr cunchin R cumin VA

cuncon cuncu L cuncun F, FAt, L cuncur LT cuntun FA

This is one of the very few Chinese names in Polo the original of which cannot yet be restored with almost absolute certainty.

From Hsi-an-fu (« Quengianfu »), Polo marched three days to the West in the plain, then twenty days through the mountainous province of « Cuncun », and reached level country again at « Acbalec Mangi »; from « Acbalec Mangi », he proceeded to Ch'êng-tu yin Ssû-ch'uan. There can