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0400 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 400 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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384   161. CIORCIA

(where f _ $ juan), « flexible », so that the southern form Ju-ju may in a way be said to mean

the same thing as the northern form Jou-jan. Even juan juan, in the equivalent form   is
an old term which occurs in a well-known writing of Ma Jung, dated A.D. 115, which is preserved in his biography (flou-Han shu, 90 A, 3 b); the commentary, citing the Shuo wên, explains juan as meaning a tung, «to move ». So I readily concede that some semantic background lies behind the various forms, and that they are not, as is often the case, mere transcriptions made with

characters chosen irrespective of their meaning. But, at the same time, while Jou-jan may make sense, it has then in principle an adjectival or, rather, an adverbial value which would make it awkward as a purely Chinese name, even if it were a translation. Moreover, when a text says that a foreign tribe gives to itself this or that name, it would be almost unparalleled to find that the name was anything but a transcription of the native form. Finally, there is too much of a phonetic connection between Jou-jan and Juan-juan on one side and Jui-jui and Ju-ju on the other, to allow of a solution according to which these two groups of names, although referring to the same nation, should either be separated, or all of them considered as translations, of which the phonetic analogy would be of a purely fortuitous character. My conclusion is that all four forms are transcriptions, though partly influenced by some semantic consideration. This consideration may be due either to the meaning attached to the unknown original of the various transcriptions, or to a current tradition about the character of the nation. There is no chance that the origin should be sought in the meaning of the name « Avar » itself, as supposed by FRANKE, and still less that «Avar », as maintained by BLOCHET in one of his later articles (Le pays de Tchata, in Rendiconti d. R. Acc. Naz. dei Lincei, 1925, 334), should be the very name which Jou-jan and Juan-juan were intended to transcribe. Though the tiEpucxLcouEs, or « Worm-Chionites », are represented in Western sources as Turks (while the Avars must have been Mongols), the similarity between the meaning of their name and that of Juan-juan can hardly be fortuitous. To these two names I may add a third one hitherto unnoticed. In the Chinese version of the Tathâgataguhya made by Chu Fa-hu in 288, a curious list of Central Asiatic countries mentions, between iJ 1` Chien-fou (which may be Kamboja, but may just as well render the ancient name of Aqsu usually transcribed

Ku-mo in Chinese), and Kucâ and Khotan, a country called fah Jao-tung. S. Llvt, when translating this list in BEFEO, y, 289-290, rendered Jao-tung with « the Agitated », adding that the name was otherwise unknown to him. Though jao-tung is not listed in the F'ei-wen yün fu, the term is well attested in Chinese. For instance, it occurs in a sûtra which forms ch. 112 of the same collection to which the Tathâgataguhya belongs and the translation of which is anonymous, but was made prior to A.D. 400 (Tskys Tripit. of Meiji, jtI vi, 57 b); in 817 Hui-lin commented on the term in ch. 15 of his I-ch'ieh ching yin-i (ibid. As wit, 107 a; cf. also ch. 46, ibid. Ix, 78 b). Hui-lin explains jao as a luan, «to disturb », « to trouble »; in the sûtra, jao-tung refers to an illness which is « shaken » by the doctor's prescription. But Hui-lin also insists on the graphic formation of the character, the original phonetic of which was not . yu, still retained in

KARLGREN'S Analytic Dictionary, p. 101, but amt nao (now written   nao), a sort of bustling
monkey; this explanation, which is based on the Shuo wen, is also given in the K'ang-hsi tzû-tien. Now, a frequent expression in early Chinese Buddhist texts, which moreover goes back to the Huai-nan-tzû (t, J. b), is i*.J juan-tung, which the commentary of Yen Shih-ku on Ch'ien-Han