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0397 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 397 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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161. CIORCIA   381

Su-shên play their part in such homage by the side of the Long-legged, the One-armed, and the Three-bodied. Such is the conclusion arrived at by IKEUCHI Hiroshi in a remarkable memoir, A Study of the Su-shên (first published in Japanese in Vol. 13 of the Man-Sen jiri... hôkô, 1-61, but more accessible in English in Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, No. 5, 1930, 97-163), and I can only endorse it. I also concur whith IKEUCHI in his further view that the name of the kingdom of Su-shên which reappears under the Six Dynasties in reference to the I-lou and Wu-chi tribes, the last embassy of the Su-shên dating A. D. 559, is not due to any kingdom which really bore that name, but is an archaistic designation of purely Chinese origin. The tradition about the Su-shên, famous on account of a passage in the biography of Confucius, was that they had brought as tribute a certain kind of arrow-head. The I-lou, and later the Wu-chi, were identified with the Su-shên and given their name because they had offered a similar tribute. But there was no longer a Su-shên tribe in the Christian era, and there is not the slightest chance that this half-legendary name should have survived, even if the two were not phonetically irreconcilable, in that of the Nii-shên or *Jurcen.

Another attempt has been made to connect the name of the *Jurêen with forms known in other times and in other regions. In his Studien zur vergleichenden Grammatik der Türksprachen (SPA W, 1916, 1239), BANG drew attention to Türcüt and Sürsüt (< *Cürcüt), which is a Turkish name of the Mongols among the Kurdak and the Kirghiz respectively. I am not aware of the exact value of these forms, nor of the extent to which they were or are in use; it may, however, be that this l.ürCüt was also the form used among the Mongols in the second half of the last century, since GOMBOEV, himself a Mongol, transcribed as « Jurcut » the name which he found written J urcit in the Altan tobci (cf. p. 367). In any case, it does not seem open to doubt that this Cürcüt or Sürsüt is the outcome, with a new ascription, of the Mongol name Jürcät of the *Jurcen.

But BANG goes farther, and proffers two other assumptions with which I must disagree. One, which he expressed in Tûrân (Nos. 6-7 [1918], 437), is that Cürcüt is a plural of cürcü, curcu, a word occurring in various Turkish dialects with the meaning « brother-in-law »; but there is not the slightest likelihood that the *Jurcen should have owed their native name to a dialectical Turkish word, unattested moreover in Uighur or in Mongolian.

BANG'S second suggestion (SPA W, 1916, 1239), which requires more detailed comment, is that Cürcüt, identical on the one hand with the name of the *Jurcen, represents at the same time « the Chinese designation Dzut-Dzut of the Avars »; for this last form, he refers to DE GROOT, in MARQUART, Ueber das Volkstum der Komanen, 87. These « Dzut-Dzut » are the same which we generally call Juan-juan, and a connection between « Juan-juan » and « *Jurcen » had already been proposed by BLOCHET, in a note to which I have alluded in JA, 1920, t, 147, but which

I cannot trace at present. DE GROOT'S remarks were to the effect that   Juan-juan, « on
account of its phonetic element, could only be pronounced 'Dzu-Dzu' », so that « the usual pronunciation Juan-juan must be abandoned ». In my review of MARQUART'S book (JA, 1920, t, 143-144) I replied that the most ancient Chinese dictionaries register the reading juan for that the name Juan-juan still occurs in the Liao shih (116, 15 b) with a phonetic gloss indicating that very pronunciation, and that moreover the Chinese consider 0 juan as another graphic