National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project
Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books

> > > >
Color New!IIIF Color HighRes Gray HighRes PDF   Japanese English
0433 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 433 (Color Image)

New!Citation Information

doi: 10.20676/00000246
Citation Format: Chicago | APA | Harvard | IEEE

OCR Text


181. COTAN


206) is difficult to explain if we start from the Syriac writing, but very easy to account for and common if the confusion be between Arabic û and) r. It seems to me extremely probable that the diary of the journey from China to Mesopotamia also passed into Syriac from a Persian original. The Syriac form «Hôtôn» postulated by CHABOT'S correction is unlikely, since there is no known example of the Iranian and Mussulman form Wan being written with vowels in a Semitic writing, and particularly with an -ô- in the second syllable. Our two pilgrims, of Altaic origin and living under the Mongol domination, must have known Khotan under its Turco-Mongol name Odon. Rabban Çauma wrote L,y)t *Oton (although we should have rather expected « Odon »), and it is this «Oton», which, misread 3y51 *Lôtôn, became the «Lôtôn» of the Syriac version. The case, in my opinion, is the exact counterpart of that of *Lônbâr misread Onbâr.

The old Turco-Mongolian form Odon had been forgotten when the Kalmuks extended their power over Chinese Turkestan in the 17th cent. The Kalmuk map brought back by RENAT when he came back to Sweden in 1734, gives Hoton as the name of Khotan (BADDELEY, Mongolia, Russia, China, I, cxcviii). In Eastern Mongolian, the same form had prevailed, and this explains why the Mongol author 'Jigs-med nam-mkha, writing in Tibetan in 1819, mentions Khotan as «Ho-thon» (HUTH, Geschichte des Buddhismus, II, 17 ; despite BLOCHET, Moufazzal, 691, «Sanang Setsen's » Hara-hotan [cf. SCHMIDT, Gesch. der Ost-Mongolen, 259] is not Khotan, but the now well-known Hara-hoto [« Kara-khoto »] to the north of Kan-su; see « Eçina »).

But this Mongol form Hoton raises a new problem. In modern Mongolian, Hotong is the name of the settled population of Chinese Turkestan (cf. KOWALEWSKI, 916-917), and the same obtains in Kalmuk, with the pronunciation Hotn. RAMSTEDT (Kalm. Wörterbuch, 190) is in doubt whether that name is derived from boto, hotn, «city », or from the name of Khotan (RAMSTEDT actually says in German « Chotand » [__= Khotand] and speaks of « die chotandische Sprache »; it can only be a slip for « Chotan » = Khotan). The use of the term goes back at least to the beginning of the 18th cent., since RENAT has added « Kottonner », as an ethnic, to the names really given by the Kalmuk map (BADDELEY, loc. cit. I, CLXXIV, CCV). In the same manner, the notice due to FILISOF, written in 1734 and describing a lost companion map to that of RENAT, speaks of Western Chinese Turkestan as « the Khoton towns » and « the Khoton country». When referring to Khotan, FILISOF uses the curious expression « Khotoni Khoton » (BADDELEY, loc. cit., I, CLxxxl). This seems to be Hoton-i Hoton, « Hoton of Hoton ». The second Hoton is certainly Khotan, and I feel inclined to believe that the first one also represents it. It seems to me that Khotan, on account of its importance, had become a sort of a generic term for the whole region among the Kalmuks, so that «Hoton-i Hoton» really means « [the city] Hoton of [the country] Uoton », or « Khotan of Chinese Turkestan ». The Hotong of modern Mongolian and modern Kalmuk is a nasalized pronunciation of Uoton (we know of many similar cases) which is easier to explain if we start from Uoton Hotan, Khotan, the final -n of which had to be preserved and was actually

preserved by -rig, than if we think of qotan   qoton   xoton, «city », with a quiescent final -n

which is usually dropped in the current form xoto. The use of «Khotan» as a generic name of Western Chinese Turkestan finds some support in the late account translated by S. C. DAS

(JASB, LV, 203), when it mentions, to the east of « Akasu » (= Aq-su) « Guchhe of Li-yul », which would literally mean « Kuà of Khotan »; Li-yul, « Khotan n, is clearly here the equivalent of the