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0530 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 530 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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514   183. COTTON

But, while the texts concerning the « water sheep » and the « ground born iamb » were transmitted from author to author in a purely bookish and stereotyped form, the second tradition was revived in the Mongol period, probably by an impulse from abroad, and is then attested from various sources.

On returning from an embassy to Chinghiz-khan in the beginning of 1222, the Chin envoy Wu-ku-sun Chung-tuan gave an account of his journey which has been preserved in a work by gij jiIS Liu Ch'i, the preface of which is dated 1235 (Liu Ch'i lived from 1203 to 1250; the date « 1295» given in Br, I, 25, is wrong by a whole cycle). He says of the Mussulmans that « their clothes, coverlets, cushions and curtains are all made of sheep's down; this down is planted into

the earth » (_!L'   : ;   .to It aJ~!~ f f{t ; cf. WANG Kuo-wei's, Ku hsing-chi chiao-
wei, 6 b; Br, I, 31). Of course, cotton is meant.

Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai, who spoke of « cotton » as ch'ü-shun (cf. supra, p. 466), says in one of his poems on Russian Turkestan (Chan jan chü-shih chi, Ssü pu ts'ung-k'an ed., 6, 5 b) : « They do

not dress with lung-chung-yang » (? « sheep planted on hillocks »; ,   lit fi   wu i lung-chung-
yang); and elsewhere (12, 13 b) : « The western lands have good conditions; [but] in general they have no silkworms or mulberries. Every family plants mu-mien (cotton) ; this is the lung-chungyang. » Shêng Ju-tzû, the author of the Shu-chai lao-hsüeh ts'ung-t'an (Chih-pu-tsu chai ts'ungshu ed., I, 5 b), who quotes the first passage after his extracts from Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai's Diary, adds that the term lung-Chung-yang also occurs in the T'ang hui-yao; but this is a mistake; the T'ang hui-yao merely speaks of lambs born in the ground (cf. supra, p. 513).

The Taoist Ch'iu Ch'ang-ch'un also has an interesting text on the textiles of the Mussulman countries (Hsi-yu chi, WANG Kuo-wei ed., ch. I, 24 b-25 a) : « They produce silks (-; po), which

are called fE   fa t'u-lu-ma; this is what is vulgarly said to be woven with the ` wool of sowed

sheep ' (    chung-yang mao). » BRETSCHNEIDER'S translation (Br, I, 70), « vegetable wool »,

does not do justice to the text, nor can I agree with WALEY'S (The Travels of an Alchemist, 86) « sheep's wool planted in the ground »; it is the sheep, not the wool, which is said to be planted.

T'u-lu-ma occurs a second time (eh. 2, 5 a), written   I É , t'u-lu-ma; this time, it has been
omitted by BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 95), and rendered « cotton stuff » by WALEY (p. 114). Elsewhere, Ch'iu Ch'ang-ch'un refers twice to po-tieh (eh. 2, 1 b, 2 b), the second time in a poem which has been left out by the translators; in the first case, BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 89) translated po-tieh «woollen stuff, of a white colour », and WALEY (p. 107) « cotton ». Unless Ch'iu Ch'ang-ch'un misused a term which was then no longer familiar, « cotton » only can be right. As to the s po which is called t'u-lu-ma, BRETSCHNEIDER was content with calling it «a kind of stuff», and WALEY, who elsewhere always renders po as « silk » or « plain silk », has also dodged the difficulty by speaking of « stuff ». Both translators eschewed « silk », because they knew that the « wool of sowed sheep » could only be cotton. T'u-lu-ma does not provide a ready solution. The phonetic analogy of t'u-lu-ma with to-lo-ma of the modern « to-lo-ma of Kuang-tung » (cf. supra, p. 431) is a mere coincidence. WANG Kuo-wei's opinion (I, 24 b) that t'u-lu-ma is identical with tou-lomien or to-lo-mien, «tula floss », is of course valueless. On the other hand, even for the sake of rhythm, Hsü Sung (Hsin-chiang fu, 22 a) ought not to have divided the term as if it were t'u-lu

ma (« hemp »); t'u-lu-ma is clearly a transcription. BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 70) referring to