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0467 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 467 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   451

that this was not white. When Fa-hsien speaks of the po-tieh tied round the bamboo structure of a procession car in Magadha, LEGGE (The Travels of Pd-Hien, 79) gives « white and silk-like cloth of hair », whereas the material meant by Fa-hsien was certainly cotton. As late as 1910, in his 500 Contes, CHAVANNES translated po-tieh, « étoffe blanche » (I, 86), and « tapis blanc « (II, 187-188), and tieh alone « feutre » (I, 168; clearly a slip), or « tapis » (II, 139, 187), or « drap » (n, 229), cotton being adopted only sporadically (I, 165, 166; II, 142). The word « cotton » was not even mentioned under tieh in the first edition of GILES's Chinese-English Dictionary. In stating that tieh was a woollen cloth, the authors of the K'ang-hsi tzû-tien merely followed in the wake of their predecessors : the definition of tieh as « fine woollen cloth » already occurred in the 14

P'i-ts'ang of yR ti Chang I, written in the middle of the 3rd cent. (cf. Hui-lin, 34, in A, Ix, 20 a; the contrary statements in chs. 55 and 78, [ix, 128; x, 33 a] are due to corruptions of

the text), and it was repeated in M i t% Lü Shên's   {C Tzû lin (c. 270 A. D.; ibid. ch. 52 [ix,
112 a]; the date is obtained by combining the indication of Lü Shên's master in Pei shih, 34, 12 a, with the biography of the latter in Chin shu, 37, 3 a-b), and in Lu Fa-yen's famous Ch'ieh yün, published in 601 (Hsi-lin, ch. 5 [viii, 20 a; altered in viii, 21 a]; Hui-lin, ch. 27 [viii, 171 a]). A

similar statement is made in Kuo I-kung's   Kuang chih (4th or 5th cent.), which says that
the «po-tieh cloth », a produce of the island (chou) of Chu-po (Java or Sumatra), « is woven with

wool» (lit. «hair »;   mao-chih; cf. Ssû-ma Chêng's commentary [c. 730] on Ssû-ma Ch'ien,
in TAKIGAWA'S ed., 129, 35, and T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, 820, 20 b; this passage, which does not occur in the fragments of the Kuang chih collected in ch. 61 of the Shuo fu in 120 chs., is given in the reconstructed Kuang chih of the Yü-han-shan fang chi i-shu, I, 6 a). The only dictionary

to express a partly divergent opinion is the   K'ao shêng, the date of which I do not know
(I do not find any mention of this work in HSIEH Ch'i-k'un's Hsiao-hsüeh k'ao, nor in the list of ancient lexicographical works tabulated by YAMADA at the end of his Index of the various I-ch'ieh ching yin-i; it is often cited, however, by Hui-lin, and from his ch. 39 [J , ix, 44 b], we learn that the name of the author was IR a Chang Chien; I do not know whether he is the same Chang Chien whose work on mourning rites is mentioned in Hsin T'ang shu, 58, 10 b). In the K'ao shêng, the definition of tieh is : « It is a woollen cloth (mao pu); it is also a cloth

[made] of the flowers of a plant » g t   ts'ao-hua pu; Hui-lin, chs. 14 and 40, in A, vIII,
102 b; ix, 50 b; the text is incomplete in chs. 34 and 55, ibid. Ix, 20 a, 128 a). In the same manner, K'uei-chi, one of the principal disciples of Hsüan-tsang, says (ibid. viII, 171 a) : « According to the Ch'ieh yün, [tieh] is a 'fine woollen cloth '. The modern use of the term is not in agreement [with this definition]. There are, besides [the old woollen cloth], `at chan [read

tieh] flowers which are woven so as to make cloth. What is made with wool is serge (   ho)
and f,j chi. » So even those who, like the author of the K'ao shêng and K'uei-chi, know tieh as a cotton fabric, did not dare to depart from the more ancient authorities, but considered that a new meaning had developed. Yet, the examples in Buddhist translations clearly refer to cotton, and to cotton only (with an exception to be discussed in the next paragraph). Whenever the quotations in the K'ang-hsi tzû-tien are precise enough to allow of an identification, it is also cotton which is meant. Quite evidently too, the tieh or po-tieh produced in Java or Sumatra, about which the Kuang chih says that it was « woven with wool », is the same as the po-tieh woven