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0284 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 284 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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268   155. CIN

Even if we start from Oiva, the final -a may be due to the Greek author, although this can hardly be proved. Still more characteristic is Tgtvlo-rav =_ Cinistan. Apart from the fact that Iran. -stein is much more common in names of countries than Skr. -stheina, there is no Indian dialect which has had an -i- as the second vowel of Cinasthâna. But TCtvla-rav = ~inistàn exactly covers the Ôinistân of modern Persian. So I hold the *C)iv of the Periplus to be probably, and the rF vlo-ra (Mvlmrav) of Cosmas to be certainly Iranian, and not Indian.

What then is the etymology of « Cina », « Cin », « China »? Apart from the above-mentioned « Jih-nan » and « Tien », we see in NAVARRETE, Tratedos, I, 1, that ALENI, in a Chinese work, had explained « China » by « land of the silk », and that others had thought of âj chih-

nan, « South-pointer », « compass », or of   ch'ing-ch'ing, « please » (in LUCENA) ; LANGLÈS

suggested A jên, « man » (Lettre écrite de Lintz, 38) ; Mgr. GENTILI,   ch'ien, « money »

(Memorie d'un missionario domenicano, I, 6). Leaving these absurdities out of consideration, the only explanation which commends itself to me is that which has all along been attributed to MARTINI, but which had in fact been proposed more than half a century earlier, viz. in 1584, by RIccI (cf. TACCHI-VENTURI, II, 38). According to it, « China » represents 4 Ch'in (*Dz`ién), the name of the great feudal state of western China the sovereign of which, Ch'in Shih-huang-ti, ultimately suppressed the Chinese feudal system, unified the country into an Empire and founded the Ch'in dynasty (221-206 B. c.). In BEFEO, iv, 148-149, I have shown that Buddhist authors of the 3rd-5th cents. were still conscious of the identity of Cina and Ch'in, and that it was also implied by the traditional explanation given by early Chinese authors for the name Ta-Ch'in, « Great Ch'in », of the Mediterranean Orient. LAUFER has since drawn attention (TP, 1912, 720-721) to a text in which a Tibetan author of the 18th cent. gives at great length the same etymology of « Cina » from « Ch'in ». I may add that it is also to be found in Hsüantsang. When Silâditya asked him about Mahâcina, « Great China », the pilgrim replied that

«Cina was the dynastic title of former kings » (i   ,~ Is itt ; cf. JULIEN, Mémoires, I, 255);
this can only refer to the Ch'in dynasty.

But we may go further. Chinese texts dating from just before or after the beginning of

our era show that the Chinese were then known among non-Chinese people of Central Asia as A Ch'in-jên, « men of Ch'in ». HERRMANN (Das Land der Seide, 40) says that a passage of

DE GROOT commenting on such a text has not received the attention it deserved. As a matter

of fact, long before DE GROOT, I had translated three such passages in papers expressly devoted to the name of « China » (TP, 1912, 736-741; 1913, 427-428). A fourth text, the inscription of Liu P'ing-kuo (A. D. 158), where Chinese of the region of Kucâ are called « men of Ch'in », has been added to the list by AUROUSSEAU (BEFEO, XIII, VII, 35-36). I wish to add, what had escaped both HERRMANN and myself, that as early as 1880 VON GUTSCHMID, opposing VON RICHTHOFEN'S « Malayan » theory, had already quoted from DE GUIGNES one of the passages referring to the « men of Ch'in » in Central Asia and drawn from it the perfectly correct conclusion that the name « Cina » must have reached India by land, and not by sea.

That « Cina », at least when meaning « China », renders « Ch'in » has finally been conceded by LAUFER (Sino-Iranica, 568-570) and is now fully endorsed by FRANKE (Geschichte des chines-Reiches, III, 101-102) and by HERRMANN (Das Land der Seide, 38-40).