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0528 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 528 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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512   183. COTTON

J   I-wu chih says : ' North of A Ch'in, in a small borough (8, i) in its dependency, there

are lambs (yang-kao) who are born spontaneously in the ground. [People] wait until they are

about to shoot forth (e mêng), and [then] build enclosures around them, for fear that beasts [might] eat them. The navel (q* ch'i) of [these iambs] is attached to the ground; if it were separated by cutting, they would die. Instruments are beaten to frighten them; they then shriek in terror, and the navel then breaks [of itself]. Thereupon [the lambs] set out in search of water, and form herds.' » Chang Chou-chieh's commentary is dated 736, but Sung Ying's 1-wu chih is of course more ancient. CHAVANNES, who first drew attention to the passage (TP, 1907, 183-184),

remarked that, if the name Sung Ying was to be corrected to   js Chu Ying, we should have

then a quotation from Chu Ying's tk   VA   Fu-nan i-wu chih (« Account of the mirabilia
of Fu-nan [= Cambodia] »), written c. 250 A. D., but that I had shown (BEFEO, HI, 276-277) that

such a correction was not beyond dispute.   It is true that, in 1903, I expressed surprise at the
fact that the few extant quotations from a work written on the return from a mission to Cambodia should all deal with Central Asia (Ta-Yuan = Ferghâna; the Great Yüeh-chih) and the Mediterranean Orient. But it is fact that both the Sui shu and the T'ang shu speak only of the work of Chu Ying, while the quotations give the name of the author as Sung Ying; one of the forms may easily be accounted for as being a graphic corruption of the other, and there is no likelihood that there should have been two different works, one by Chu Ying, the other by Sung Ying. On the other hand, the companion work to Chu Ying's, written by the chief envoy K'ang T'ai, is often quoted for passages relating to India, Central Asia, and the Mediterranean Orient. Finally, all the quotations attributed to the work of Sung Ying actually refer to conditions which are those of the 3rd cent. We know, moreover, that K'ang T'ai and Chu Ying met in Fu-nan an envoy from the Ta Yüeh-chih (cf. BEFEO, in, 271; Etudes asiatiques... de l'EFEO, n, 250). So I think that the author of the Sui ching-chi chih k'ao-chêng (6, 22 b) was right in regarding Chu Ying and Sung Ying as one and the same man. I have little hesitation in attributing to the middle of the 3rd cent. the text on the « ground born iambs » quoted by Chang Shou-chieh. On the other hand, Chang Shou-chieh quotes the passage when commenting on Ta-Ch'in, and there is no doubt that we must read, at the beginning of the text, « North of Ta-Ch'in » instead of « North of Ch'in ».

Although without mention of the source, the same text, sometimes abridged, sometimes more complete, has been made use of by several authors of the T'ang period.

In ch. 238 of the Yüan-chien lei-han, an encyclopaedia of the beginning of the 18th cent., a notice on Ta-Ch'in includes a text said to be taken from the [Hou] Wei shu, which contains, among others, the passage on the shui-yang and the text on the « ground born iambs »; it has been translated by PAUTHIER (De l'authenticité de l'inscription nestorienne, 39), and is alluded to by

HIRTH (China and the Roman Orient, 54). But there is nothing of the kind in the corresponding section of the Wei shu (ch. 102). It is true that the original redaction of ch. 102 of the Wei shu

is lost, and has been replaced by the corresponding section in the Pei shih (with the suppression of the passage which, in the Pei shih, concerned the Sui dynasty). But we know, from the quotations of the original Wei shu in the T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, that from the outset the redaction of the two chapters was practically identical. Even if we should suppose it to have been different in some paragraphs, the compilers of the YUan-chien lei-han had no more access to the original