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0478 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 478 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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462   183. COTTON

fang --   tzû fang) which produce floss (mien). In the ' ears' of the carpel partitions there

is floss which is very white. When ... is formed, [the floss] is ripe (   h rj~J   ts'an ch'êng

tsê shu; ts'an seems to be corrupt; I believe we ought to read "4 chien, ' cocoon   when the
cocoon is formed '; the comparison with a cocoon occurs in Liang shu, 54, 13 b; these four characters are omitted in the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng, 303, 1 b). Southerners make cotton wool (wên-hsü) out of it. »

The T'ai-p'ing yii-lan (960, 17 a; cf. the fragments in Yü-han-shan fang chi i-shu, ch. 2,

2 b) has also preserved an interesting passage of the Kuang-chih : « The mu-mien tree (shu) has red flowers which form carpels in great quantities, closely pressed against one another; [these carpels] produce a floss which is very soft. [The mu-mien tree] grows in Chiao-chou and Yungch'ang. » The date of the Kuang-chih is not well ascertained, and above (cf. p. 451) I have put it in the 4th or 5th cent. (cf. also BEFEO, iv, 412). The extracts in the Shuo fu (ch. 61) mark its author Kuo I-kung as living under the Chin, which were overthrown in 420, but this is in itself without much weight, and the compiler of the Yü-han-shan fang chi i-shu, who agrees, does not seem to have had any authority on which to rely; the various extracts would rather suggest a later date, perhaps not before the 6th cent. But, in any case, we have here one more early mention of mu-mien in the ancient country of the Ai-Iao.

A man of the first Sung dynasty (420-479), afa Ku Wei, has written a work on the

province of Canton entitled 1 ')lj   Kuang-chou chi (cf. Sui ching-chi-chih k'ao-chêng, 6, 31 a;

MASPERO, in BEFEO, XVIII, III, 26), some fragments of which are collected in the Shuo fu in 120 chs., ch. 61. One of them says : « The southern Barbarians have no silkworms; they pluck mu-mien and make cotton-wool (; hsü) with it. » The same passage is quoted in the Nung

shu (21, 16 a), but as coming from another lost Kuang chou chi, that of   {J P'ei Yüan, the
date of which is uncertain, except that it is already quoted by the author of the Shui ching chu, who died in 527 (cf. Sui ching-chi-chih k'ao-chêng, 6, 30 b; MASPERO, ibid.). The second attribution probably is the correct one, since it is already given in what must have been the source used by the author of the Nung shu, i. e. the I-wên lei-chü (85, 29 a). But there the quotation goes on with a further portion, which seems in fact to be the result of some erroneous amalgamation with another text (cf. supra, p. 458). A different quotation from a Kuang-chou chi, without indication of the author's name, is given in the T'ai-p'ing yü-lan (960, 17 a) : « The branches [of the mu-mien] are like the branches of the fij t'ung (Paulownia imperialis, or

wu-t'ung, Sterculia platanifolia ?); its leaves are like [those of] the walnut-tree (hu-t'ao), but somewhat bigger. It grows in Chiao-chou and Kuang-chou. »

In the 5th cent. too, Shên Huai-yuan, in his Nan-yüeh chih, wrote : « The ' blue-green t'ung ' (* to] ch'ing-t'ung; on t'ung trees, cf. infra, p. 476) much resembles mu-mien, but passes it in brilliancy and fragrance » (cf. T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, 957, 9 b; the name of the author is corrupt in T'u-shu chi-ch'êng, ts'ao-mu tien, 237, 3 b).

As a mark of the austere life of the devout Buddhist Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty (502-549), the historians note (Liang shu, 3, 13 a; Pei shih, 7, 8 a; Tzii-chih t'ung-chien, 159, 47-48) that he made only one meal a day, without meat or fish, « wore a dress of common cloth,

[had] a black tent of mu-mien» (4. 3k 4ï Ac 7[C r   ilk), and used the same hat three years