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0615 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 615 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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196. ÇANGHIBAR   599

compared to the face of a zängi (113, 3, and 177, 20). The meaning is confirmed in the second case by the variant I labas, « Abyssinian », of the Cairo ms.; the Uighur spelling sänggi or sängi given in RArLOV's edition in Uighur letters (p. 131, 216) and in his dictionary (iv, 448) is a misreading, or a wrong form due to the late scribe who had to use the unfamiliar Uighur script. The transcription in Latin letters accompanying Radlov's translation gives zängi (p. 337) and sänggi (p. 514); I have no doubt that the Cairo ms., written in Arabic script, correctly gives in the first passage zängi, which RADLOV adopted; but RADLOV retained in the second passage the wrong form, sänggi, of the Uighur ms. (it ought, however, to be sängi according to his edition of that ms. in Uighur script) because this time the ms. in Arabic script had babas instead of zängi. We may safely conclude that in the 11th cent., the Turks of Central Asia had at least a scholarly knowledge of zängi as a word meaning « negro ».

The same word occurs in Chinese sources. In 1904 (BEFEO, iv, 289-291) I called attention

to a few texts mentioning slave boys and girls called ft ,rfZ sêng-ch'i (*sang-g'jie) or f   sêng-
ch'i (*sang-g'ji) who had been sent as tribute by some Indonesian kingdoms : two sêng-ch'i girls in 724 by Srivijaya (= Palembang, or Palembang-Jambi; cf. Hsin-T'ang shu, 222 C, 4 a; Ts'ê fu yiian-kuei, 971, 6 a; 975, 4 b); four sêng-ch'i boys in 813 (Hsin-T'ang shu, 222 C, 3 a; T'ang hui yao, 100, 2 b; in 815 according to Ts'ê fu yüan-kuei, 972, 7 a) and two sêng-ch'i girls in 818 by Ho-ling (_= Kalinga, Java; T'ang hui yao, 100, 2 b; Ts'ê fu yüan-kuei, 972, 7 b). Already in 1904, I had identified these sêng-ch'i as zängi; the solution has been accepted, and I do not think it can be doubted. There are, however, two difficulties. The first one is of a phonetic nature, which I failed to notice in 1904 : sêng-ch'i normally renders an original *sängi, not zängi. To account for such an anomaly, I can only suggest either that the Persian term reached China through intermediaries who had no z and pronounced it as s, or that the transcription was contaminated by the earlier existence of fa , ij sêng-ch'i as a ready-made Buddhist term transcribing sânghi[ka] and entering into transcriptions based on Prakrit forms of saiikaksika and asankhyeya (cf. ODA Tokuno's dictionary, 1072). But both explanations are mere hypotheses.

I alluded to the second difficulty in 1904 : sêng-ch'i occurs in the   Man shu
of c. 860 (6, 6 b) as the name of a «tribe» which there is no apparent reason to locate as far away as Africa (cf. BEFEO, iv, 291). But in the Etudes asiatiques published in 1925 by the École Française d'Extrême-Orient (II, 261-263), I have since translated another text which must be mentioned in connection with that of the Man-shu. In one of the notes of his I-ch'ieh ching

yin-i, completed in 817, Hui-lin speaks of the   * K'un-lun (*Kuan-luan) or   Ku-lun
(*Kuat-luan) barbarians of the southern islands, very black, naked, capable of taming rhinoce-

roses and elephants and adds : «They are of several sorts : there are the ft   Sêng-ch'i, the

A   T'u-mi (*D'uat-mjie ), the   _ Ku-t'ang (*Kuat-d'âng), the IM   Ko-mieh (*Kâp-miet)

and others; all are vile people, without rites or laws, living by pillage, and fond of eating men . . . Their language is irregular and different from that of the [other] barbarians. They are accomplished in going into water (= for diving into it) and [can remain in it] a whole day without dying ».

Of the different names occuring in Hui-lin's text, T'u-mi and Ku-t'ang are unknown, but Komieh transcribes the name of the Khmêr or Cambodians, and K'un-lun is a general designation