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0434 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 434 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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418   181. COTAN

Mong. Uotong in its sense of «Western Chinese Turkestan and its settled Mussulman population ». On a legendary primitive name « Chia-lo-sha-mo » of Khotan, see « Cascar ».

Khotan played an important part in the transmission of the Buddhist scriptures to China. At the end of the 2nd cent., the fictitious opponent in the polemical Buddhist treatise Mou-tzû is alleged to have visited Khotan and seen the Buddhists there (cf. TP, 1920, 322, 419). The

first Chinese Buddhist whom we know for certain to have travelled abroad,   --f- tt Chu Shih-
hsing, left for Khotan in 259 and died there at the beginning of the 4th cent. (cf. BEFEO, x, 225).

According to the Hsin T'ang shu, the family name of the king of Khotan was r4   , which
nowadays is generally pronounced Wei-ch'ih (cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 126, 375). STEIN (Ancient Khotan, 173) proposed to see in Wei-ch'ih a transcription of Vijaya, which is the first element in a long line of the names of kings of Khotan, and there is no doubt that he was fundamentally right. But we can now reach a greater precision, both from the Khotanese and from the Chinese side.

The character Pt has two readings, wei (-"2i) and yü (*•ivat), and the dictionaries and glosses, as well as the special works devoted to Chinese surnames, leave no doubt that with the second reading it was one of the components of the double surname Wei-ch'ih, which, regularly,

ought to be read Yü-ch'ih (*•Juat-d"'i). As a matter of fact, the popular deified f`,J 4   Wei-ch'ih
Kung, tzû v 1 ; Ching-tö (GILEs, Biogr. Diet. No. 2267 [585-658]) is always known in Peking as

-ch'ih Chfng-tel. This yii reading explains why the name of the A-   Wei-t'ou or Yü-t'ou
of Han times, which lay between Kayar and U6-Turfan (cf. TP, 1907, 207), should have been revived as a chou of irg(i Yü-t'ou, and moreover misapplied, in the administrative organization of the Chinese Turkestan created by the T'ang in the 7th cent. (cf. Hsin T'ang shu, 43 B, 14 b; the same name is written gf fig Wei-t'ou, or Yü-t'ou, ibid. 8 a). In the biography of a monk who lived in China in the first quarter of the 8th cent. and who belonged to the family of the kings of Khotan, the name is written in the usual way by the Sung kao sêng chuan, but

Yü-ch'ih (*.Nat-d"i) in two earlier sources (cf. BAGCHI, Le canon bouddhique, 552; the form given in NANJI6, Catalogue, App. II, No. 152, is a combination of the two forms, which I do not find in his sources). In a manuscript brought back from Tun-huang by STEIN (No. 910 of the

provisional inventory), I have also noted a name   ; ( 1 Yü-ch'ih Fo-tê, which is perhaps
the same as the Yü-ch'ih Hsien[ (11,1-tê found by WANG Kuo-wei in another Tun-huang document (Kuan-t'ang pieh-chi, pu-i, 24 a; either Wang or I may have wrongly copied the third character). I shall accordingly write Yü-ch'ih, not Wei-ch'ih.

CHAVANNES, finding in an inscription of A. D. 495 at Lung-men the mention of a woman whose surname was Yti-ch'ih, thought that she belonged to the family of the kings of Khotan

(Mission archéologique, 474). But this is a mistake.   The surname Yü-ch'ih never occurs in
connection with Khotan before the beginning of the T'ang dynasty ; originally it was the transcription of a foreign clan name or title of the T'o-pa Wei (cf. Wei shu, 113, 22 b; CHANG Chu, Hsing ship hsün yüan, 41, 2 b-3a ; above all Su Yü's Wei shu kuan-shih chih k'ao-chêng [on which see « Calacian »], ff. 62-63 of my ms. copy). It is certainly to that T'o-pa clan that the Iady of the inscription of Lung-men belonged.

The king of Khotan whose surname we are told for the first time was Yü-ch'ih sent out