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0391 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 391 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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161. CIORCIA   375

sa-na-han and ai-kên; these forms represent the words transcribed sa-li-an and o-i-o in the late Jucen Vocabulary, equivalent to the Manchu sargan and eigen (cf. GRUBE, Die Sprache und

Schrift der Juden, pp. 97, 98). But it is no less evident that the pseudo-Yü-wên Mou-chao made use of the I-i mou Hsia lu, and moreover this can be established by a detail in the text.

In both the I-i mou Hsia lu and the Ta-Chin kuo chih we read :   et   41   $g, 31E 4i   4-

lin * - - z i . This is a clumsy redaction. In Li Wên-t'ien's commentary, the text is punctuated after Chung-kuo, so that the translation would be : « In [ the period ] chêng-kuan of the T'ang, the Mo-ho came to the Middle Kingdom, and [the Middle Kingdom then] heard for the first time of the name of the Nü-chên ». But « lai chung-kuo » is hardly possible in Chinese, and I hold that, at an early date, before the Ta-Chin kuo chih was compiled, the word .0j ch'ao had been accidentally omitted in the passage of the I-i mou Hsia lu. This is the reason why I have translated : « ... the Mo-ho came [to render homage to the Court] ; the Middle Kingdom [then] heard ... ». Such must also have been Ma Tuan-lin's opinion since he writes : « ...the Mo-ho came [to render homage] to the Court .... It was at that [moment] that the Middle Kingdom ... ».

So all the elements of the accounts in the Ta-Chin kuo chih and the Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao can be traced back to the San-ch'ao pei-mêng hui-pien or to the I-i mou Hsia lu, with the exception, however, of what relates to the form « -chên » of the name of the Nü-chên. It is true that, as GIBERT says, there are many cases of alternations between l- and n- at the beginning of words (see « Lop » and « Lambri »), and many words beginning in Chinese with l- have

an initial n- in the Sino-Corean pronunciation; such are the Sino-Corean M no,   nok,   nok,

fl ni, etc. The alternation between Ch. T'u-yü-hun and Tib. Thu-lu-hun (cf. TP, 1921, 323) is mysterious; and so are the different values, yin, lin and shen, of one and the same Jucen character in GRUBE, Die Sprache und Schrift der Juden, p. 51, No. 104 (I leave out k'u, which seems to be corrupt). The present case, however, is peculiar. In the Altaic languages, the most frequent occurrence is a change from 1- to n- in languages which show a reluctance to an initial l-; for instance, the Persian la'al, «ruby », becomes nal in mediaeval Mongolian, and Mongolian uses both latin and nacin for the Turkish latin, « falcon ». In spite of TERRIEN DE LACOUPERIE, there is no apparent reason why the Ch'i-tan, who spoke a Mongolian dialect, should have changed to a form beginning in 1- a name of Tungus origin which began either with T- as Jurcen or with n- as the usual Chinese transcription Nü-chên. The very ascription of the form -chên to the Ch'i-tan, which occurs only in Ma Tuan-lin, seems, moreover, to rest on some error. In the Ta-Chin kuo chih we are told, in a sentence relating to the Black

River, that « the Ch'i-tan gave it the name (M   q A Ch'i-tan mu wei) of Hun-t'ung-chiang »,
which is perfectly correct (cf. GIBERT, Dictionnaire, 327-328), and « -chên » is merely given as another form of Nü-chên. In Ma Tuan-lin we read that the river « was given the name » (mu wei), without the « Ch'i-tan » which ought to precede mu wei. But in the next line, instead

of the « some call them (j '   huo yüeh) -chên » of the Ta-Chin kuo chih, Ma Tuan-lin gives

« the Ch'i-tan called them (M 5   Z EJ Ch'i-tan mu chih yüeh) -chên ». It seems quite

probable that the ascription to the Ch'i-tan of the name -chên is due to a confusion with the sentence which correctly attributed to them the name Hun-t'ung-chiang of the Hei-shui.