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0356 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 356 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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340   158. CINGHIS

same name. De GUIGNES (Hist. gén. des Huns, I, II, p. lvi) speaks of a mountain «Po-uih-hanchan» where the Onon takes its rise, in the country of the Hsiung-nu. But the name does not go so far back. The whole paragraph is taken by DE GUIGNES from the miscellaneous list of mountains

of Mongolia at the end of ch. 90 of the Ta-Ming i-t'ung-chih, where the name T:   7 l[j Pu-êrh-
han-shan, «Burgan-Mountain », is itself taken in fact from the Chinese abridged version of the Secret History. The YS (134, 4 a) gives the biography of Kökö, a Märkit, « whose clan lived in

the region (It ti) of T.   f PO   Pu-ii-han-ha-li-tun (Burgan-qaldun) ». « Burqan » can
only be the usual Mongol word for Buddha (< Uiy. burhan). One of the lords of the Burgangaidun in the Secret History (§ 9) is called Burgan-bosqaqsan (= Burgan bosyaqsan), « Who has raised Buddha ». Qaldun does not seem to have survived in Mongolian. The Ch'ien-lung Commissioners did not understand it, and changed Burgan-qaldun to an absurd Burqan-qurdun (lit. « Buddha-quick »; Yüan shih yü-chieh, 7, 14 b). NAICA (Chingisu-kan jitsuroku, 2) renders

qaldun as   yo, « mountain », « peak », and T'u Chi (1, 3 a) as offe   hsün-ling, « lofty range »;
I know of no authority for either interpretation. The word-for-word version of the Secret History merely says that BurMan-qaldun is the « name of a mountain ». But, in § 164, qaldun occurs alone

(in the plural qaldut), and there it is translated   yai, « cliff ». The true rendering of Burgan-
gaidun must thus be « Buddha-Cliff ». The Secret History (§ 1) expressly says of the Burqan-qaldun that it lay «at the source of the Onon » (Onan-mürän-ü taxi' än-ä). Mention is made elsewhere (§ 89) of « the Kökö-na'ur of the Qara-Jirügän of the Sänggür River, within [Mount] Gürälgü, in front (= to the east) of the Burgan-qaldun »; the Sänggür is the modern Sängkür, which flows from north to south within the bend of the Kärülän. Ong-khan, after the victory over the Märkit at the confluence of the Orkhon and the Selenga, retired first to « Hökörtü-jubur » (? _ *HükärtüJubur, the « Valley [ch'uan, well-watered valley] where there are oxen ») behind (= west of) the Burqan-qaldun, and afterwards to the « Black Forest » (on the south-eastern side of the southern bend of the Tüla). On the other hand, the Burqan-qaldun cannot be a whole range, since the Märkit, pursuing Chinghiz-khan, circled three times round it (ibid. §§ 102, 111). It may be that the name, being well known, was occasionally extended to a larger area, but it must specifically refer to a particular spot, a sacred « cliff» at the source of the Onon. On some maps, for instance that of RosoxovsKIY's travels, the mountains at the source of the Onon are expressly called Burgan-laldun, and this was considered by T'u Chi (I, 3 a) as decisive for its identification. As a matter of fact, the location is quite probable, but appears to be based merely on historical research. The name Burgan-gaidun seems to be unknown to modern Mongols; it does not appear in any modern work I know of — neither in the Chinese maps of the Manchu dynasty (nor in D'ANVILLE who followed them), nor in the Mêng-ku yu-mu chi.

In the late Mongol legend, when the car with Chinghiz-khan's coffin remained stuck in the mud at Muna (cf. infra), the Sünit Käiägütäi-ba'atur (or Kiiügän-ba'atur) beseeched the defunct Emperor to proceed to his native land. In the course of the song, he reminds him of « Burqatuqan, thy land and water » (Altan tob5i, 41v, 147; «land and water », yajar usun, is the Mongolian equivalent of the Turk. yär-suv, which refers both to the « mother land » and to its « spirits » or deities), or of « the pasture-lands of thy great people at the fortunate Burqatu-qan » (SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 1061748, 107; ölJäitü, « fortunate », also implies divine action).