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0482 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 482 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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466   183. COTTON

ality and the activities of Bodhidharma, it is open to grave suspicion. No plausible Sanskrit original of ch'ü-shun can be suggested. Apart from the texts connected with Bodhidharma's robe, the only examples of ch'ii-shun I have come across occur in the works of Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai (11891243), a scholar of Ch'i-tan Imperial descent, who was one of Chinghiz-khan's advisers and a minister of Ögädäi. He accompanied Chinghiz in his expedition to the West in 1218-1224, and in the short account of his journey, entitled Hsi-yü lu, we read that the people of the region of Samarkand all wore garments of ch'ü-shun (Br, I, 21). In the collection of his literary productions, entitled Chan-jan chü-shih chi, the term occurs twice (Ssei pu ts'ung-k'an ed., 5, 5 a; 6, 19 b), the first time (but only in the Chien-hsi-ts'un-shê ed., 5, 3 b) with a note «Ch'ü-shun is a cloth (pu) of the Western countries (hsi-yü) ». BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 21) proposed to connect ch'ü-shun with Arabic

gasm, and remarked that cotton was now called « guza » in Russian Turkestan. But gasm means « old cotton » (LECLERC, Traité des simples, in Not. et Extr., XXVI, I, 93), and neither semantically nor phonetically agrees with ch'ü-shun. As to « guza », or better gôzä, yôzä (-= Turki yoza), it is the Persian designation of the « capsule » of the poppy, flax, lily, and particularly cotton; it is out of the question here, and BRETSCHNEIDER would never have thought of it if he had known that Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai's ch'ü-shun did not transcribe a local word heard in Turkestan, but was a term which had previously existed in Chinese. Modern Chinese commentators, unaware of the use of ch'ü-shun in Buddhist texts, have erroneously connected Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai's term with

Chih-sun or fl 4,ßr chih-sun, used in the Mongol period as the designation of a robe of honour (cf. Hsi-yu lu liao-chu pu, in Chii-hsüeh-hsüan ts'ung-shu, 4th chi, 38); but chih-sun transcribes Mong. jisun, « colour », and has nothing to do with ch'ü-shun. I do not think, however; that the occurrence of the term ch'ü-shun in Yeh-ill Ch'u-ts'ai's works would countenance the view that it was then current in any part of China. Yeh-ill Ch'u-ts'ai was a scholar more or less prone to the use of pedantic terms. He may not have been very familiar with cotton and its more ancient names in Chinese; he knew the term mu-mien, however, and used it in one of his poems (cf. infra, p. 514).

JALMALI. — Of more importance is another word, Ha 4shan-p'o (*siäm-b'uâ). It is given as a Sanskrit name of cotton in Li Shih-chên's Pên-ts'ao kang-mu (36, 71 b), and from there it has passed into the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng (ts'ao-mu tien, 303, 1 a, 10 b), and into STUART, Materia Medica, 198, as an equivalent of the cotton plant, Gossypium herbaceum. In his turn, Li Shihchên had taken it from the Fan-i ming-i chi (loc. cit. 87 b). This time we have to deal with a true, though truncated Indian word, but one which is not a designation of the cotton plant. As already stated in 1889 by WATTERS (Essays, 435), the word meant is Skr. sâlmali, which is Bombax malabaricum, the silk-cotton tree. But it escaped WATTERS that, as a matter of fact, a Chinese form shan-p'o never existed. The author of the Fan-i ming-i chi, Fa-yün, took it from Hsüan-ying's I-ch'ieh ching yin-i. In this yin-i, shan-p'o occurs twice as a catchword. Once (ch. 21), it is used merely to indicate the pronunciation of shan (Tripit., A, vii, 81 a, copied into Hui-sin's ch. 43, ibid. ix, 64 b); the text in which the term appears ought to be in ch. 4 of NANJIO, No. 363, but the arrangement of the present No. 363, in 13 chs., is different from that of the collection in 10 chs. commented upon by Hsüan-ying and Hui-lin, and I have failed to trace