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0168 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 168 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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152   110. CAMPÇIO

the hands of the Tibetans, renewed nominally its allegiance to China in 851, but became soon afterwards the seat of an independent Uighur princedom. The documents found at Tun-huang have revealed the existence at Kan-chou, in the 9th and 10th cents., of Uighur and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries which were active in translating Buddhist texts into Chinese and from Chinese. We know also of Manichaean Uighurs at Kan-chou at the same time (cf. JA, 1913, i, 303-306). The FJudûd al-'Alam of 982/3 perhaps repeats some belated information when it represents the place as owned half by the Chinese and half by the Tibetans, and, in spite of continuous warfare, as being in the dependency of the Tibetan sovereign (cf. Mi, 85, 227). Curiously enough, the text is silent about the presence of Manichaeans at Kan-chou, while it says that the inhabitants of Shachou (see « Saciou ») and of Hiêu (= Kua-chou in western Kan-su) follow the religion of Mini. In 1028 Kan-chou was conquered by the Hsi-Hsia (« 1208 », copied from PALLADIUS in Y, I, 220, is a misprint ; cf. Hsi-Hsia shu shift, 11, 1 a). The Chinese name of Kan-chou, which had certainly remained in popular use, was officially adopted again by the Mongols. A « general administration of the lu of Kan and Su » (Kan-Su lu tsung-kuan-fu) was created at Kan-chou in 1264 and became the lu of Kan-chou in 1271; Kan-chou became the seat of a province (hsing chung-situ-shêng; cf. « Scieng ») of Kan[-chou] and Su[-chou] (> Kan-su) in 1281. The Ming made of it a « march » (wei) in 1372; it became in 1725 Kan-chou-fu, and that official name lasted until the fall of the Manchu dynasty. It is now the hsien of Chang-yeh (cf. Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih, 205, 1a; YS, 60, 12 a). I find nothing to corroborate CHARIGNON'S statement (Ch, I, 158) that the present city is 20 /i's distance from that which was known to Polo. On the contrary, the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih (205, 1 b) expressly says that the walls of the modern town were rebuilt in 1427 on the site of the ancient ones; and such is also STEIN'S opinion (Serindia, 1132).

Polo is not the only traveller to mention in Kan-chou the huge reclining figure of Buddha entering nirvana; YULE ( Y, I, 221; ni, 53; Y', i, 277, 294) has already reproduced the description which is given of it by Säh-Rash's envoys. Following PALLADIUS, YULE and CHARIGNON (Ch, I, 158) say that the temple was founded in 1103; but the texts at my disposal agree for 1099 (first

year yung-an; Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih, 205, 4 a;   ff N pL' Hsin-mao shih-hsing chi, 4, 42 a;
the date of 1103 comes from the Hsi-Hsia shu-shih, 31, 16-17, which seems to repeat here a late legendary account). The ancient name is y~ ~ : Hung-jên-ssû, changed [in 1411?] to

Pao-chio-ssû; but the temple has long been popularly known as pt T   Wo-fo-ssû, « Temple of
the reclining Buddha », or j f ' Shui-fo-ssû, « Temple of the sleeping Buddha » (or even * (, * Ta-fo-ssû, « Temple of the great Buddha », in STEIN, Serindia, 1132). In the notes on colossal images of Buddha in China, ROCKHILL'S and YULE'S « Yung-kin » ( Y, i, 222) and CHARIGNON'S « Yong-kan » (Ch, I, 158) are wrong forms for the well-known x (fj, Yün-kang caves near Ta-t'ung. To YULE'S indications, CHARIGNON adds that of a less known seated Buddha, at least 15 metres high, cut in the cliff one kilometre outside the southern gate of Hsü-chou in Chiang-su.

According to Polo, there were three Christian churches at Kan-chou. They are no longer known now, but a contemporary text certainly refers to one of them. The Kerait Christian princess who was the mother of Mongka, Qubilai and Hülägü, the « Seroctan » (? « Soroctan », Soryaqtani bägi [or bald]) of Plan Carpine (cf. TP, 1932, 43-54), was no longer alive when Rubrouck visited Mongolia in 1253-1254 (icy, 287; misunderstood by DEVLRIA in JA, 1896, II,