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0611 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 611 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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195. ÇAITON   595

mentions 500 pieces of kimhâ, of the sort manufactured at Zàitùn, which had been sent to the sultan of Delhi by the Chinese Emperor (iv, 1). In 1441, 'Abdu-'r-Razzaq saw the king of Bisnagar dressed in « satin of Zàitûn» (atlas-i zaitiini), his feet resting on a cushion of the same material (cf. Y, II, 241-242; HEYD, Hist. du commerce, II, 701-702; YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 797). Both YULE and HEYD were convinced that our word «satin» was derived from zâitüni. This is accepted by BLOCH, Dict. étymol. II, 255, for the French word (but «zatoui» must be a misreading for «zatoui », and «Tsia-Toung» is a monstrous perversion of the modern pronunciation of Ch'üan-chou). Although SKEAT and HATZFELD upheld the etymology of Engl. and French «satin» with Lat. seta, I do not doubt that YULE and HEYD were right. Forms like aceytuni in a Spanish document, zatony in a French inventory of 1352, setuni in Clavijo, etc., leave almost no room for doubt. But it may be that the final form of Ital. setino, Engl. and French satin is partly due to a contamination of Lat. seta. The German word for satin, Atlas, is of course the Arabic word atlas, the literal meaning of which is « close-shaven », Ital. raso (on atlas, cf. the long and important note of QUATREMÉRE, Hist. des Sultans Mamlouks, II, I, 69-70); zetani raso occurs in an Italian text of the 15th cent. Already in Ciavijo, setuni is not solely used with its original meaning of «satin of Zàitûn », but is also applied to the satin made in Persia.

PHILLIPS tried to establish that the manufacture of silk was much more developed in Chang-chou than in Ch'üan-chou (JNCB, XXIII [1889], 28-30; TP, 1895, 451-452). It seems to be a fact that at the end of the 19th cent., silk-weaving was thriving in Chang-chou, but perhaps ;owing to the accidental enthusiasm of an official (cf. ARNAIZ, in TP, 1911, 689). In point of fact, the mulberry-tree grows very well in both districts, though no better than it does farther to the north. In the first half of the 8th cent., silk taffeta was sent as « tribute » to the Court by Fu-chou and Chien-chou, but not by Ch'üan-chou or Chang-chou (cf. Yüan-ho chün-hsien t'u-chih, 29, 12 a, 14 a, 15 a, 16 a). Moreover, foreigners were not likely to burden themselves with excessive nomenclature. Satin manufactured at Ch'üan-chou, at Chang-chou, and also in other parts of Fu-chien would go by the name of «Zaitunese », because they were sent abroad from Zàitûn. As a matter of fact, I have a suspicion that much of the «Zaitunese» silk material was brocade manufactured at Chien-ning (see «Camut» and «Quenlinfu »).

The name Zàitùn disappears at the dawn of modern times. How it ever found its way at the end of the 16th cent. into BOTERO'S Relazione universale, to be located between Canton and «Liampo» (= Ningpo), is as mysterious to-day as when YULE wrote his note in Y, II, 239. In the fIin-i Akbari of 1595, the mention of Zàitûn is merely literary and artificial. There was current in the 16th cent., however, a term which recalled the greater days of Zàitûn's past : the first period of the south-western monsoon was then known as maysin-i Zäitûni, «the Zàitûn monsoon» (cf. Fe, 486).

Before leaving the question of the name «Zaiton », I wish to add something on another

name given to the place by Abû-'l-Fidà (-I- 1331). Abiz-'i-Fidà said that, according to a traveller

who had recently come from China, °'~` Uànqù (to be read   UIànfû) was then called ;L.
UIansà, and x Sànju Zàitûn (transi. REINAUD and GUYARD, II, II, 122, 123). In a note, GUYARD remarks that Abû-'l-Fidà mentions two « Liànqù », but that in both cases it must be I ansà, Polo's « Quinsai ». As to Sànjn (which GUYARD read Sinjü), YULE (Y, II, 237), HIRTH