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0525 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 525 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   509

say is made from the down of the water sheep, but which in fact is manufactured with the cocoons of wild silk-worms. » LAUFER (p. 103) maintained that the true meaning was : « Further they have a fine cloth said by some to originate from the down of a water-sheep, and they have also a stuff made from wild-silkworm cocoons. » According to LAUFER, « it is clear that the above Chinese clause consists of two separate and co-ordinated parts. A stuff made from wild-silkworm cocoons is not capable of eliciting a tradition pertaining to a water-sheep. » But what is « clear » is that the text of the Hou-Han shu is merely abbreviated from that of the Wei lio, and should be translated : « They also have a fine cloth, which some say is made from the down of the water sheep or the cocoons of wild silkworms. » SCHLEGEL (The Shui-yang, 26) has adduced from the

Ko-chih ching-yiian (27, 23 a) a quotation from the IL ;-   K'ung liu-t'ieh, which says that « in
the kingdom of Po-ssû (Persia), people weave the hair of the water sheep into a cloth which is called ' cloth of the West of the Sea ' ». The K'ung liu-t'ieh, a work written in Sung times by K'ung Ch'uan [ fJ ] to supplement the Liu-t'ieh written under the T'ang by Po Chü-i, was never published in a separate edition, and, in the combined Po K'ung liu-t'ieh (ch. 96, § « sheep »), I cannot find the text quoted in 1736 by the author of the Ko chih ching yüan. [In the Po K'ung liu-t'ieh with preface by n. Zfij Han Chü (c. 1550, 8, 27 a, s. v. j pu), we find, {4 - p :

-J ta * :   xti E 7 {v é4 1 i « West of the waves (or : in Po-hsi) they weave the wool of
the water sheep into cloth called cloth of the West of the Sea. » PELLIOT, who had not seen this passage of the K'ung liu-t'ieh, had written : « There can be no doubt that the name 'Persia ' (in Ko-chih ching-yiian) is due to an arbitrary change, and that the text is derived either from the Wei lio or from the Hou-Han shu. » It is in fact copied word for word from the Hsin T'ang shu, 221 B, 8 a, s. v. Fu-lin, with Po-hsi prefixed. If the author of the Ko-chih ching-yiian used this same edition of the Po K'ung liu-t'ieh it is evident that he corrected Po-hsi, which may be a variant of Po-ssû or perhaps a misprint for Hai-shi, to Po-ssû kuo. A. C. M.]

The same may be said of the mentions of the shui- yang, and the cloth made from its down, in all other T'ang or Sung works : T'ung tien, 193, 4 a; T'ai-p'ing huan yü chi, 184, 4; Hsin T'ang shu, 221 B, 8 a; T'ung chih, 196, 25 a; Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao, 339, 1 a. All are abbreviated from the text of the Wei lio, which, with the exception of the T'ung chih, the various authors have wrongly punctuated. The text translated (often mistranslated) by PAUTHIER (De l'authenticité de l'inscription nestorienne, 39) as from the [Hou] Wei shu is a late rifacimento in which passages of the Wei lio have been combined with information from later sources (cf. infra, p. 512). HIRTH (pp. 80, 115), SCHLEGEL (The Shui-yang, 23) and LAUFER (The Story of the Pinna, 104) attribute to the Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao a reading i4 ti :(j hai-chung pu, « cloth [from] within the sea », instead of « Hai-hsi pu », « cloth of the West of the Sea », and LAUFER thinks that Ma Tuan-lin, the author of the Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao, effected the change under the influence of the sûf al-bahr, «wool of the sea», of mediaeval Arabic authors. Even if the reading hai-chung pu were correct, it is entirely out of the question that Ma Tuan-lin should have shown so much originality, and the change would merely be one of the many examples of the carelessness of that mediocre compiler. But, in fact, hai-chung pu is a faulty reading, and the standard editions of the Wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao give « Hai-hsi pun, like the sources which it copied.

The conclusion is that, in the whole of Chinese literature, there is only one mention of the