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0401 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 401 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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shu, 94 A, 7 a, explains as tt tN a xp juan juan tung rnao, «juan-juan (the same as that of Ma Jung, and fundamentally the same as Juan-juan; juan juan itself also occurs in the Huai-nan-tzû)

is descriptive of movement ». The two forms t .51 juan and   juan had at an early date become

so interchangeable that we find juan-tung written   in the independent text of Hsüan-ying's

I-ch'ieh thing yin-i (Tokyo Tripit. of Meiji, , vn, 38 b), but t ain the section where Hui-Iin incorporates this part of Hsüan-ying's text in his own larger work (ibid. ix, 81 b); the P'ei-wên

yün fu has adopted   ) juan-tung in all its quotations, including that from the Huai-nan-tzu.

In Buddhist texts juan-tung is used in reference either to « animals which move by crawling » or, sometimes, to all animated beings moving on earth (in contradistinction to birds; cf. DEMIÉVILLE, in BEFEO, xxiv, 83-84; it occurs with the sense of reptile in CHAVANNES, 500 Contes, III, 162). I believe that the idea underlying the unknown original name of which the « Jao-tung » of Chu Fa-hu is the translation is also that of a nation « crawling» or « wriggling », a forerunner of Juan-juan. It is not likely that it refers to the Avars themselves, since the Jao-tung appear in the list among countries much to the south-west of Mongolia, and since, moreover, the name of the Joujan or Juan-juan makes its first appearance in Chinese texts a whole century after Chu Fa-hu's translation. This last objection applies also to another name in the list, in which S. LÉvi thought we might have a different transcription of the alternative name Ta-t'an or T'an-t'an indicated for the Avars in Sung shu, 95, 16 b. But tales may have circulated in Central Asia concerning a « crawling » or « wriggling )) nation; we find them first attached to the «Jao-tung» of Chu Fa-hu's translation, while they became affixed late: to the Juan-juan or Avars in the Far East, and to the Kep.ccxicvves or « Worm-Chionites » in the West.

We may now return to BANG'S theory that the name of the Juan-juan, or of the « Dzut-dzut » as he calls them, is identical with that of the Gürcüt, a name now applied to the Mongols by some Turkish tribes, but which was originally the same as that of the Nü-chên or, in early Mongolian, ~ürcät. I must first of all remark that, in view of all the ancient Uighur and Mongolian forms of the name, the second -ü- of Cürcüt can only be of secondary appearance, and due to the influence of the -ii- in the first syllable; we must start from )ürêät, which is already less similar to « Dzutdzut ». As to «Dzut-dzut », it is DE GROOT'S interpretation of the ancient pronunciation of iXj jXj Jui-jui, which we render as *Niiwät-niiwät. But even *Niiwät-niiwät, with its two final -t, is not unassailable. It is the pronunciation indicated in the Chi yün, written in the eleventh century, for Jui-jui as the name of the Avars. But it will be noticed that none of the other forms of the name, either « southern » as Ju-ju or «northern» as Jou-jan and Juan-juan, ever had a final -t.

Since the purely Chinese term jui jui, meaning « flourishing vegetation », was *nzi'"äi-hif'di, and since it is extremely probable that the «southern» Chinese had this term in mind when they transcribed the native name of the Avars as «Jui-jui », I am much tempted to doubt the accuracy of the information given by the Chi yün and to say that, even in the case of the Avars, Jui-jui is an ancient *Niiwäi-nijwäi, without a final -t. In such an event the phonetic analogy with Jürcät > l.ürCüt would be still less satisfactory. I am the more reluctant to propose a reconstruction of the native name under which the Chinese knew the Avars because the various transcriptions seem to have been made with semantic adaptations which could easily lead to distortions. But there does not seem to have ever been an -r- at the erd of the first syllable, and the nearest