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0218 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 218 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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details. There was a tradition in the Buddhist world concerning the miracle of Buddha's bowl. Different places claimed to possess the bowl, and it was only natural that every one of them should insist on the miraculous property which was a proof of the authenticity of their relic. There is, however, a detail which may provide a solution, or at least a clue towards it.

According to CHAVANNES, Chih-mêng not only saw in Ch'i-sha Buddha's bowl, but also his spittoon. A few years earlier, Fa-hsien had seen the bowl at Peshawur, but the spittoon at

Chieh-ch'a (*G'iät-ts'a). Here again, CHAVANNES thought that Chieh-ch'a was Kâgyar and his deduction met STEIN'S approval. But such a result is only reached by doing violence to Fahsien's text. The trend of the itinerary is quite clear, and leads directly from Khotan to the Pamir without going north to Kâsyar. Moreover, Fa-hsien's description of Chieh-ch'a is that of a mountainous district, « in the midst of the Onion range » (LEGGE, Travels of Fd-hien, 23). I think therefore that Kàgyar is to be excluded.

It is probable, however, that Chih-mêng's Ch'i-sha (in such a case it is out of order where it

appears in the biography) and Fa-hsien's Chieh-ch'a are one and the same place, and they may perhaps, as supposed by HERRMANN (Southern Tibet, viii, 438), be identical with the valley (': ku) of 1111 rl Ch'i-sha (*G'jie-sa) of the Shui-ching shu (2, 5 a). That valley would probably suit the location which we must roughly suppose for Fa-hsien's Chieh-ch'a. Unfortunately, the passage on the valley of Ch'i-sha belongs to the obscure section which also mentions Chia-shê-lo. But whether in the Pamir or on its eastern outskirts, the valley of Ch'i-sha cannot be Kâsyar.

The true explanation is, in my opinion, the one which LEvi gave in BEFEO, v, 296-297;

CHAVANNES'S translation is not accurate. In Chih-mêng's biography, the pilgrim arrives at the kingdom of Chi-pin (Kashmir and Gandhâra) ; the biographer then recalls that Chih-mêng « formerly » had seen Buddha's spittoon at Ch'i-sha and goes on to say that « in this country », i. e. in Chi-pin, he saw the bowl. The word « formerly » occurs in the account of the Ch'u san-tsang chichi, which is of the same date as the Kao sêng chuan translated by CHAVANNES ; but Livi is right when he says that even without it, the same translation would be necessary. This explains why, in the summary account which has come down to us, the kingdom of Ch'i-sha occurs in a part which refers to north-western India. It was not in India, but neither was it in Kâsyar. Chihmêng, like Fa-hsien, saw the spittoon in the region of the Pamirs. As to the bowl, like all the other pilgrims of the 5th cent., he saw it in Chi-pin. The only exception occurs in the biography of Kumârajiva, which speaks of the bowl as being at Shu-lo (Kâsyar); but the text is of very doubtful authority.

After such negative results, we arrive at a name the identification of which is not doubtful, although, in my opinion, the facts have not been shown in their true light. Hsüan-tsang describes the country the traditional name of which was Shu-lo, i. e. Kàsyar, under the name

of   Ch'ieh-sha (*K'ia-sa), which undubitably, for that very strict phonetician, renders an
original Khasa (cf. JULIEN, Vie, 272, 277; Mémoires, II, 219; it is to be regretted that CORDIER should have reproduced in Y, III, 41, the absurd note in which PARKER questions the identity of Hsüan-tsang's Ch'ieh-sha with Kâsyar, seeing in Ch'ieh-sha a name of Keg; but Hsüan-tsang's

ità is the Tarim River; as to Ch'ieh-sha being given in the Hsin T'ang shu as another name of Keg [cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 146], it is probably an error of the compilers of the