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0404 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 404 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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388   161. C10RCIA

deported; see « Naian »), whereas the name used by Polo does not seem to be Chinese. The main centre of deportation was in fact at Nu-êrh-kan, and I have little doubt that Nu-êrh-kan actually is the place meant by Polo.

The location of Nu-êrh-kan is well established. It lay east of the Amur, near the mouth of the river (cf. GIBERT, Dictionnaire, 676, where, however, the forms of the name given for the Yüan period are in Ch'ien-lung's « reformed » spelling, and perfectly valueless). Most of the ancient texts concerning Nu-êrh-kan (with the exception of the important one in the Cho-kêng lu) are mentioned in the Beiträge zur historischen Geographie der Mandschurei published under the supervision of SHIRATORI (cf. the index in II, 544).

It was in 1272 that a Mongol official, who had been sent to subdue the island of Sakhalin,

reached «the land (ti) of   „ Nu-êrh-ko » (Yüan wen lei, 41, 32 a); Nu-êrh-ko is certainly

the same as Nu-êrh-kan, with which I think we must also identify the ;;11   No-li-kan occurring

in a text of 1308 (ibid. 41, 32 b). On September 23, 1320, an official named I-lien-chên (Mong. Iränjin < Tib. Rin-Chen, « Great Jewel n) was bambooed and banished to the land (ti) of Nu-êrhkan » (YS, 27, 4 b-5 a). The YS mentions (59, 3 b) the gerfalcons which fly from beyond the sea and are caught and offered as tribute by « the natives of Nu-êrh-kan ». In the 111 I, ;(Jj& Shanchü hsin-hua (ed. Chih-pu-tsu-chai ts'ung-shu, 11 a-b), dated 1360, the author, Yang Yü, speaks of a man of Hang-chou who was a friend of a certain native of Hsin-ch'êng ; and when the latter, in 1333-1334, was banished to Nu-êrh-kan, the Hang-chou man showed so much devotion that he

accompanied his friend as far as 411   Chao-chou (in Manchuria ; see « Barscol »). T'ao Tsung-i's
Cho-kêng lu, written in 1366, contains (8, 5 a) the following paragraph on « dog-relays » ( M kou-chan, Mong. *noyai-}"am ; on these « dog-relays » and the dog-sledges, cf. TP, 1904, 398 ; Br, I, 129 ; Y, II, 481-483) : « North of Kao-li (Corea) is [the region] which is called NUJ -[- , Piehshih-pa (< Turk. Beg-baliq, ' Five Cities '), which in Chinese means ' Five contiguous cities ' ( 4 ~i J1 lien-wu ch'êng; this can only be another designation of the [LfiijJ Wu-kuo-ch'êng of the Chin, the region of Manchuria where the Sung Emperors Hui-tsung and Ch'in-tsung died in exile ; cf. GIBERT, Dictionnaire, 696-698 ; SHIRATORI, Beiträge, II, 140-147). The criminals who are banished to Nu-êrh-kan are obliged to pass through this region. It is extremely cold, and even the sea freezes. The ice sets in the eighth month and does not thaw before the fifth or sixth month of the next year. People walk on it as if treading on even ground. Every year the

moving Grand Secretariat ' (hsing-shêng) of 1jß [ice Chêng-tung (' Subduing the East '; the moving Grand Secretariat ' of Chêng-tung was established in 1283 in Corea, then abolished, and

re-established in 1299 and 1321; cf. YS, 63, 13 a ; 91, 2 a ; 208, 7 a-b ; also YS, 28, 5 a, s. a. 1323 ; but already in 1273, the official who reported on the advance to Nu-êrh-kan in 1272, was a Chêngtung chao-t'ao-shih, this being an office of which nothing else is known except its bare mention in YS, 63, 13 a; cf. SHIRATORI, Beiträge, u, 334) details officials to Nu-êrh-kan to distribute victuals to the prisoners who are scattered there. These officials use cars of the official relays (than-ch'ê), every one of which is drawn by four dogs. The dogs are well aware of the feelings of men. The postal relays (chan) have regulations for the rations of the dogs ; if these are reduced, the dogs will bite their masters and not leave them until they are dead. » I do not know when these « dog-relays n were first started ; but on July 22, 1295, ten silver ingots in paper-money were