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0348 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 348 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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332   158. CINGHIS

other sources by almost two centuries. At a later period, the Imperial hearse was made of white felt, with a curtain of blue and green brocade (nasif > na.fisf; see « Nac and Nascici »); nasif was also laid on the coffin. In front of the procession, a Mongol witch, wearing a new dress, rode on horseback, leading another horse, with a saddle ornamented with gold and a bridle and a halter of nasif, which was called « the Horse of the Golden Soul » (cf. the altan bä'ä, « golden body », and altan kä'ür, « golden corpse », used in reference to Chinghiz-khan in SCHMIDT, Gesch. der

Ost-Mongolen, 10813'15; YS, 77, 8 a-b; PALLADIUS, in Trudy elenov ..., iv, 251-252; DE GROOT's version, Relig. system of China, u, 438, is not accurate). I think that the name Ch'i-lien-ku is not a transcription, but means the « Valley » (ku) where this « Imperial hearse » (lien) was « raised » (ch'i) for burial.

Chinghiz-khan was buried after his coffin had been brought back to Mongolia. According to « Sanang Setsen » (SCHMIDT, 109), the Mongols, « in despair of being able to get the golden body (i. e. the corpse) [out of the car] », « erected » for it « an eternal tomb ». This may perhaps be construed as a misunderstood tradition that, in agreement with the old Altaic habit, Chinghizkhan was buried with the car. The interpretation may find some support in a text of Plan Carpine which will be quoted farther on. But it may also be that the reference is to a rite in which the witch and the other attendants performed incantations to bring the dead Emperor back to life. The expression I have translated as « eternal tomb » is rendered in the Chinese

translation A   ch'ang-ling, «long-lasting [Imperial funerary] mound » (not « great tomb » as in
Ch, I, 208); the Mongolian original, möngkä kör (or möngkä kiir) is puzzling. It also occurs in the Altan tobei (424), where GOMBOEV (p. 147) misunderstood it, taking kiir for the Mongolian word which means « all »; SCHMIDT (p. 109) correctly translates it as « tomb ». But kör, «tomb », is not a true Mongolian word. KOWALEWSKI does not list it; it is given by GOL'STUNSKI! (who reads it kiir) as meaning « corpse », « tomb », but only in reference to the present passage, and clearly as a guess. RAMSTEDT (Kalm. Wörterbuch, 2501) mentions in Kalmuk * k/Zr with the double meaning of « corpse » and « tomb ». Kt2r, « corpse », is of course Mong. kä'iir, « corpse », and in the present passage, both the Altan tob5i and « Sanang Setsen » distinguish the « corpse » of Chinghiz, kä'iir, and his « tomb », kör. The confusion between the two words seems, however, to have been made in Mongolian at an early date, since kä'ür occurs in the unpublished Sino-

Mongolian inscription of 1362 with the meaning of « ancestral grave-yard » (i   hsien-ying).
The word kör is evidently the same as Uiy., Coman and Osm. kör (« k6r »), Kar. gör, Kaz. gür, all meaning « tomb », and probably Yak. kürüö; so the word covers a wide field in Turkish dia-

lects. At the same time, Turk. kör, Or cannot be- separated from Pers.   gör, « tomb »
(cf. the well-known « Gur Esnir » of Samarkand). On the other hand, Pers. gor is generally considered as borrowed from the Arabic is qabr, « tomb », which has itself passed into Kaz. and Kirghiz Turkish as qabir and qabir (VULLERS, II, 1043; HORN, Grundriss der neupers. Etymologie, p. 210; RADLOV, II, 450, 453, 1248; Sassanian Persia « exposed » the dead instead of burying them; this would account for the borrowing of the Arabic word when Persia was converted to Islam). It seems as though the Mongols had no word of their own for a real « tomb », with something which marked it above ground. The Altan tobèi and « Sanang Setsen » use a foreign word, which may well convey a wrong idea of what Chinghiz-khan's tomb actually was like, and