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0122 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 122 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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106   82. BRIUS

which he owes to a lost letter of VAN DE PurrE. According to ROCKHILL, Land of the Lamas, 196, both « Brius » and « Bic'iu » represent Tibetan « Dré ch'u »; but ROCKHILL denies the earlier assumption that this name means « Cow-yak River », as cow-yak « is dri-mo, never pronounced dré, and unintelligible without the suffix mo. Dré may mean either mule, dirty, or rice, but as I have never seen the word written, I cannot decide on any of these terms, all of which have exactly the same pronunciation. »

This note of ROCKHILL, reproduced in Y, II, 67, is not correct. It is true that Sarat

CHANDRAS DAS, 930, registers only 'bri-mo, «cow-yak », but C. A. BELL'S English Tibetan Colloquial Dictionary2, 558, gives merely 'bri, pronounced dri, without mo. On the other hand, our dictionaries do not known a Dre-chu, « Mule River », but only a 'Bri-61m, « Cow-yak River », pronounced Dri-é'u. The current explanation, which goes back to KLAPROTH (JA, September 1834, 191) and is based on Ch'ien-lung's polyglot dictionary of proper names, the Hsi-yii t'ungwên chih of 1772 (where, however, I have not succeeded in finding it), holds good; Orazio DELLA PENNA'S « Bic'iu » is really 'Bri-au, and based on a pronunciation less altered than in the present Lhasa dialect. The only difficulty is that the quotation made by Sarat CHANDRA DAS under 'Bri-Chu refers not to the Upper Yang-tzû, but to the Mekong, as can be seen by the course indicated and by the Chinese name Lan-ts'ang-chiang (I do not know what to make of its « Indian » name « Kaswokha ») ; there must be here some confusion due to Sarat CHANDRA DAS or to his source (on similar confusions for the name of rivers coming down from Tibet, cf. BEFEO, IV, 170). As to « Dre-au », which is also the pronunciation given by TEICHMAN, as for instance in Geogr. Journal, January 1922, map, it may be the local pronunciation now, but that does not affect the older form of the name (the « Dütschu » in GANZENMÜLLER, Tibet, 44, is certainly wrong). It would take too long to deal here with the ancient Chinese names of the Upper

Yang-tzû, but it seems to be the   Li-niu-chiang or « Yak River » of the T'ang period (cf.
CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 169, 344), and li-niu, « yak », is likely to be the first part of the name « Li-niu-shih » (noted in 1630) in New China Review, ni, 337 (I intentionally readAtli, and not mao, as I think that the second pronunciation is due to the contamination, already in the T'ang period, of the popular name t 4 mao-niu, «hairy ox », of the yak, which then gave birth to the character t mao; it even seems quite possible to me that the li of li-niu, yak , should be phonetically connected with, and perhaps borrowed from, an old form of Tib. 'bri).

Huc, who calls the river by its Mongolian name, which will be discussed below, adds that

the Tibetans call it « Polei Tchou », or «River of the Lord ». Huc may have actually heard this, but it is also possible that he took it from KLAPROTH'S edition of Orazio DELLA PENNA, as KLAPROTH adds in a note that very name of Pho-lha'i-ch'u, « River of the Male God », found by him (KLAPROTH) in the Hsi-yü t'ung-wên chih (21, 2 b, and 21, 11 a, but without any information beyond the mere name).

It was also KLAPROTH who revealed the Mongolian name of the river, Murus-usu, or Muruiusu (again from the Hsi-yü t'ung-wên chih, but I do not find it there). In his note, ROCKHILL adds : «The Mongols call it Murus osu, and in books this is sometimes changed to Murui osu, Tortuous river '». It is true that Murui-usu means « Tortuous river » in Mongolian, but the form