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
0495 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 495 (Color Image)

New!Citation Information

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

OCR Text


183. COTTON   479

The word so-lo of these texts in clearly the same as the so-lo of the T'ang period, and we have now to explain it. Since we have dismissed WATTERS' etymology from Skr. sdlmali, the only solution proposed hitherto is the ingenious one of LAUFER, according to which so-lo would render Lolo sala (P'u-p'a sala, Cöko sölö), « cotton ». As we are actually dealing with a cotton tree, this sounds very tempting. Yet, after a more careful examination of the problem, I am far from being convinced. It may be an objection of no great account that the etymology should be sought in Lolo, while the term first occurs about the Nan-chao, who are supposed to have been Thai. Nor would I lay great stress on the fact that Lolo is really a monosyllabic language, in which the constituents of the polysyllabic terms generally lend themselves to a satisfactory analysis, which is not the case with sala. But the main point is that I am almost convinced, as a result of the inquiry conducted above, that so-lo is nothing else than the very transcription of Skr. gala, sala. The name, famous in Buddhism, of that lofty Indian tree, practically unknown in China, had already been occasionally transferred to the horse-chestnut; but a name was required for the cotton tree of Yün-nan, since that of wu-t'ung or t'ung was decidedly too misleading; so-lo, sala, gala, was available, and, adopted under the T'ang dynasty, did such good service that it is still in use nowadays. But then what about the Lolo sala? I believe that it is really connected with so-lo, sala, but that the position is the reverse of what LAUFER thought it to be. There are a number of Chinese words in Lolo; in my opinion sala is probably one of them, and was borrowed by the Lolo at a time when they did not yet cultivate cotton, as the Thai tribes had done for many centuries; they called the cotton tree sala, because it was called so-lo (*sd-/d) by the Chinese around them.

Since so-lo, sala, Shorea robusta, was confused with the cotton tree, and occasionally with the silk-cotton tree, and gave them its name, we need not be too much surprised that the reverse should have taken place. TARANZANO (Vocabulaire, II, 690) gives tou-lo-chin (read tou-lo-mien; cf. supra, p. 477, and TP, 1933, 431) as a designation of the «fruit of the Shorea robusta ». Whatever be the source of the information, it certainly rests on an error, in consequence of which one of the names of «cotton », tou-lo-mien, was in its turn given to the sala tree.

PAN-CHIH-HUA. — Another name seems to have passed through the same vicissitudes as mu-mien and so-lo, that is to say to have been referred now to the Gossypium and now to the

Bombax. It is that of l f [or] #   pan-chih hua, «flower with mottled branches », or, by

corruption,   #   p'an-chih hua, «flower grasping the branches ». The Pên-ts'ao kang-mu
gives it as a designation of «the mu-mien which is like a tree ». In TARANZANO (Vocabulaire, II, 489), p'an-chih hua is identical first to Ceiba pentandra, Gaertn. (i. e. Bombax malabaricum), and secondly, with a question mark, to Gossypium arboreum.

The earliest example I have found of this term occurs in a song (1,: ch'ü) entitled «Song of the flower with mottled branches » (pan-chih hua ch'ü). Its author, .ft Wang Kuangyang ( 1380; cf. Ming shih, 127, 3 a) had become a doctor under the Yüan dynasty, but entered the service of the Ming; he was a Chiang-su man, but lived for some time in Hai-nan as an exile. I know the text only from the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng, ts'ao-mu tien, 303; i-wên, 2 a-b. The song locates the pan-chih hua in Chiao-chou, i. e. in Tongking. The flowers, of red or reddish colour, open in the second or third moon. When they wither and the floss appears,