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0603 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 603 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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195. ÇAITON   587

PROTH, and down to PAUTHIER, BLOCHET (Bl. II, App. 48) and FERRAND, the term tz'ii-tung has always been transcribed, although wrongly, as if it were tzû-t ung. Now tz'û-t ung is ts'ie-d'ung; if we had to do with a transcription prior to the 10th century we should expect *sidun. As the form must have passed abroad after the 10th century, the normal transcription would have been *situn, not *zitûn or *zâi.tûn (in the same way as ts'an [< ts'am] then gave sam- in Persian transcription [see « Vonsamcin »], while tso-, unaspirated, gave zo-, and Man-tzû gave Manzi [see « Mangi »] ; ts- and tz- render the same phonem in our romanization of Chinese). So here again we are confronted with a difficulty, though a minor one, which we can waive if we satisfy ourselves, on historical grounds, that «Zaiton» is Ch'üan-chou.

The two main opponents of the identification of « Zaiton » with Ch'üan-chou have been

C. DOUGLAS and PHILLIPS, both of whom have decided in favour of   Chang-chou, south-west
of Amoy. Their chief arguments were that Chang-chou's harbour had a better title than that of Ch'üan-chou to the high praise lavished upon it by Polo and Ibn Battûtah; that Chang-chou had been at various times during the Mongol period the capital of the province, alternating in this regard with Ch'üan-chou; that later the Spaniards and Portuguese often spoke of the great port of « Chincheo » which YULE took at first to be Ch'üan-chou, but which is in fact Chang-chou; that « Zaiton » had been an important Christian centre in the Mongol period and Christian remains of mediaeval times have been found at Chang-chou, not at Ch'üan-chou; and finally that Ibn Battûtah spoke of the textiles of Zâitûn in terms which could only refer to those of Chang-chou. Although YULE always maintained his opinion in favour of Ch'üan-chou, he was much impressed in his latter years by these arguments. As for CORDIER, he was unhesitatingly for Ch'üan-chou in 1891 in his Odoric de Pordenone (p. 281), pronounced in favour of Chang-chou in 1895 (L'Extrême-Orient dans l'Atlas Catalan, 33), and wavered between the two in 1903 when re-editing YULE ( Y, II, 241). ARNAIZ'S paper in TP, 1911, 678-704, is partly a refutation of PHILLIPS. But that paper, written in Spanish, has not received due attention; CORDIER does not even allude to it in Y, III, 100. So I shall examine the question again, sometimes with fresh material, and in greater detail than in KUWABARA'S discussion of Mem. of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko in 1928 (II, 30-33).

I agree that the Chang-chou estuary, including the bay of Amoy as an advanced port, constitutes a magnificent harbour, with the proportions of which Ch'üan-chou cannot compete. But we cannot to-day judge of the conditions which obtained several centuries ago, when the process of silting was less advanced at Ch'üan-chou than it is now. The fact remains that Chinese mediaeval sources give a much greater importance to Ch'üan-chou than to Chang-chou. Inspectorates of maritime trade (ii {}(i j;J ship po-ssû) existed at the main ports of call of foreign vessels. One was etablished at Ch'üan-chou in 1087, soon suppressed, but re-etablished in 1103. Transferred to the more northern port of Fu-chou, it came back to Ch'üan-chou in 1132 (Yü-ti chishêng, 130, 5 a; cf. also HR, 20-21), and ret ained there the official name of « Inspectorate of maritime trade of the lu of Fu-chien ». This is the title which Chao Ju-kua had in 1225 when he compiled his Chu fan chin from the foreign merchants trading at Ch'üan-chou (TP, 1912, 449). The conditions remained unchanged when the Mongols conquered southern China. Four Inspectorates of foreign trade were created in 1277, one being at Ch'üan-chou, and in 1293 these