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0057 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 57 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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23. ANDANIQUE   41

BENEDETTO (B1, 451). As the form is « andaine » in the mss. in Court French, and as the word begins with a- in V, Z and R, the agreement of these independent versions leaves little doubt that « andanique » is correct; it is moreover confirmed by the « fer d'andaine » in Huon de Mery, which YULE did not know (cf. Y, I, 215).

This « andanique » is plainly the name of a kind of steel. but the origin of the word

remains obscure. PAUTHIER'S « antimoine ?» (Pa, 73) is out of the question, and CORDIER'S hypothetical derivation from the name of the Forest of Andaine in the Orne Department of France ( Y, I, 215) can hardly be taken seriously. RAMUSIO, in his Dichiaratione, alluding to the steel mirrors and the « andanico » mentioned by Polo at « Cobinan », says that, through an interpreter, he often inquired from Persian merchants who had come to Venice as to the nature of « andanico », and they all agreed that this was a kind of iron or steel, of which most precious

mirrors and swords were made. On this « excellent evidence », YULE came to the conclusion that the real word must be « hundwânty », « Indian steel » (with references to JOHNSON, VULLERS and others), which is the reason why he adopted « ondanique ». YULE'S elaborate note is, as usual, full of most valuable information and makes a clear case of the early renown of Indian steel (on which see COOMARASWAMY, Hist. of Indian Art, 34; VALIDI, in ZDMG, 1936, 27). I need only add the following remarks : (1) Polo's word is not « ondanique » , but « andanique ». (2) I find no support for a reading « hundwâniy »; all the words derived from - Hind are pronounced with t in the first syllable, and I would read hinduwccni (cf. VULLERS and DESMAISONS; in the quotation from the .S h-nâmäh which YULE cites from VULLERS, the latter reads «Hinduwân », not « Hundw<tn »). (3) We must not give too much weight to the information elicited by RAMUSIo from Persian merchants; the question may have been put in such a way as to suggest the answer, and moreover, these different Persians were in all probability questioned through the same interpreter. But, despite the phonetic difference between andanicum (or andanico) and hinduwân, it remains possible that what the Persian merchants had in mind in giving an explanation was the same word hinduwân which has been thought of by YULE. (4) As a matter of fact, Indian steel was so renowned and al-Hind, « the Indian », had become such a current designation of it in Arabic that it passed as a name of steel into ancient Spanish as « alhinde », « alfinde », « aiinde » (cf. DOZY, Glossaire2, 142-143). In Fra Mauro's notice on « Cobinan », Polo's « andanique » has been misunderstood and appears as « endego », indigo (cf. Zu, 44; HALLBERG, 87); curiously enough, this misinterpretation also connects « andanique » with a word derived from « India ».

Whatever may be the origin of the word, it has been supposed by BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I. 146, and China Review, y, 21) that Polo's « andanique » was the same as the pin-t'ieh, or «pin iron » of the Chinese (not « pig iron » as in Pe, 35). This opinion repeated later by PARKER, has

passed into Y, III, 19. I cannot here discuss in detail the question of'j   pin-t'ieh or

pin-t'ieh. Polo mentions « steel and andanique » in the chapters on « Cherman », on « Cobinan », and on « Ghinghin talas » (q. v.). The first two places are in Persia; the third is north of the T'ien-shan, and, in my opinion, far to the north-west of the Uighur country of Turfan. In Chinese texts, pin-t'ieh occurs for the first time in the 6th cent., in reference to Sassanian Persia; later on, pin-t'ieh is always mentioned as a foreign product, found mainly in Persia, but sometimes