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0349 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 349 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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158. CINGHIS   333

the Chinese translation, with its ling, «funerary mound », makes it worse by ascribing to the Mongol Emperors the habits of the truly Chinese dynasties.

That there were no « funerary mounds » over the Mongol Imperial tombs is made practically certain by contemporary accounts.

We read in YS, 77, 8 b : « [For Imperial funerals], when they reached the place of the

burial mound (ling), the earth removed to dig the pit was made into lumps which were disposed in [due] order. Once the coffin had been lowered [into the pit], [the pit] was filled and covered in the order [of the lumps]. If there was earth in excess, it was carried to other places far away. » This description implies that there was no « mound », and that the word ling is merely used in the text under the influence of the Imperial mounds (ling) of Chinese dynasties. The arrangement of the lumps put back in the same order in which they had been taken may refer to the clods of grass which were not to be damaged so that the ground should retain its original appearance after the funeral. This was important for preserving the secrecy of the tomb. The detail is confirmed by Plan Carpine for the burial of some Mongols of high rank (Wy, 43) : « They fill up the pit..., and place over it the grass as it was before, so that the place should be impossible to find afterwards ».

The Hei-Ta shih-lio is an account of the Chinese envoy, P'êng Ta-ya, who went to Mongolia probably in 1232. He says (24 a) : « The tombs ( mu) of [the Mongols] have no mound (f ch'ung); they are trodden over by horses so as to appear as the even [ordinary] ground. At the tomb (mu) of T'ê-mu-chên (Tämüjin, Chinghiz-khan), arrows have been stuck [into the ground] so as to make a fence (f q yuan) — more than 30 li wide —. Horsemen

patrol it so as to guard it. » To this, another envoy, Hsü T'ing who went to Mongolia in 1235-1236, added the following note : « I, [Hsü] T'ing, have seen the tomb of T'ê-mu-chên

(Chinghiz-khan). It is on the side of the   ï7 Lu-kou-ho (Lu-kou River); mountains and
rivers surround it. It is reported that T'ê-mu-chên was born there and that for that reason, on his death he was buried there; I do not know if it be true or not. »

PALLADIUS stated more than once (first in Trudy aenov rossilkol dukhovnoï missii v

Pekiné, iv, 252) that the burial rites of the Mongol Emperors are described in the Cho-kêng lu, and the statement has passed into Y, I, 248, Ch, I, 195, and even into HNC Ch'êngchün's abridged translation of CHARIGNON'S book (I, 242). But this must be a slip of PALLADIUS : there is nothing of the kind in the Cho-kêng lu.

Of some importance is another work also alluded to by PALLADIUS, the j A; j Ts'ao-mu

tzû of   :   Yeh Tel-chi; the author's preface is dated in 1378 (cf. Ssû-k'u..., 122, 18 b;

so it is not quite correct to call Yeh Tel-chi a « Yüan» author as was done by PALLADIUS and repeated by YULE and CHARIGNON; the title Ts'ao-mu tzû, «The Philosopher of Plants and Trees », has become « The Book of Plants, Trees and Seeds » in DE GROOT, Relig. system of China, u, 438). On the making of Imperial coffins during the Yüan dynasty, the information given by Yeh Tel-chi is very similar to that of YS, 77, 7 a, and of the secondhand source translated by DE GROOT, II, 437. The text goes on as follows (cf. NAKA, Chingisu-kan jitsuroku, 581; T'u Chi, 3, 34 a; the text in DE GROOT is a rifacimento) : « [The coffin] is sent due north to the burial ground, where it is deeply interred. The national custom