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0531 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 531 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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183. COTTON   515

TROTTER'S report on his journey to Khotan (1874, p. 155), says that tölma is still the name of a stuff in Chinese Turkestan. But the word cannot have been correctly noted by TROTTER. I have no doubt that what is referred to by Ch'iu Ch'ang-ch'un is the stuff which RADLOV'S Dictionary (III, 1190, 1259, 1566) variously transcribes torma, tormai, törmä, and tiirmä, clearly because he had no data as to the true vocalization of this Cayatai word, written a.»; or l.)y; I should think that turma is the correct form. RADLOV adds that the word is borrowed from Pers. a.;, for which I can find no such meaning (cf. TP, 1931, 422-423). But the main point is that all'the Cayatai dictionaries speak of turma neither as silk, nor as cotton, but as a very fine woollen stuff. So it seems that there is a double inaccuracy in Ch'iu Ch'ang-ch'un's statement, first when he speaks of the t'u-lu-ma as po, « silk » and secondly when he identifies it with the « wool of the sowed sheep », which certainly is cotton.

In 1259, r, t Ch'ang Tê set out as an envoy from Qubilai to Hülägü in Persia. The account

of his journey was written down by A fir; Liu Yü in 1263 and entitled   f    Hsi-shih chi.
Though there is a remote possibility that Liu Yü may have added some particulars among the mirabilia at the end, as Shêng Ju-tzû did when copying Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai's Hsi yu lu, we may on the whole consider the Hsi-shih chi as a fairly faithful account of what Ch'ang Tê had seen or heard in the West. In the Hsi-shih chi the following passage occurs (WANG Kuo-wei ed., 10 a;

cf. Br, I, 154; LAUFER, The Story of the Pinna, 123) : « The ia   lung-chung-yang is pro-
duced in the Western Sea (Hsi-hai). The navel OW ch'i) of the sheep is sown (ff chung) in the ground and watered. On hearing thunder, [the sheep] comes out (lit. is born), the navel [remaining] attached to the ground. When full-grown, [the sheep] is frightened by [the striking of] wood (i.e. wooden instruments); the navel (i.e. the umbilical cord) breaks off, and [the sheep starts] browsing grass. On reaching autumn, [the sheep] can be eaten. In its navel, there are again seeds [to be planted]. » BRETSCHNEIDER'S rendering « the flesh of the navel » instead of « in its

navel » is due to a faulty reading 1J GM ch'i-jou instead of ja   ch'i-nei.

In the above texts we find the expression chung-yang, « sowed sheep », which is clear, and

another, } t   .: lung-chung-yang, which translators have been content to render as « sheep
planted on hillocks », without comment on the term itself. The character lixt lung is a variant of lung, which means « hillock », « mound »; but we never find this second, and more common form in the texts speaking of the lung-chung-yang. The term seems to have baffled LI Shih-chên,

who, in the Pên-ts'ao kang-mu (50 A, 34 b), writes it if ff   lung-chung-yang; from the Pên-
tsao kang-mu, this had passed into the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng, ch'in-ch'ung-tien, 112, 16 b (the account in the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng, mentioned by LAUFER, The Story of the Pinna, 116, 123, as an independent source, is merely a verbatim copy of the whole Pên-ts'ao kang-mu paragraph). But if lung, which is the designation of a gem, makes still less sense than lung, « hillock ». My impression is that the usual lung-chung-yang is the outcome of some confusion. Chung means « seed », « to sow », but also « race », « breed ». Now, there has been in China more than one product which

was said to be ALE   lung-chung, of the « dragon-breed ». Just before the lung-chung-yang, the

Hsi-shih chi speaks of the Act   Y,r4 lung-chung-ma, « horses of the dragon breed » (Br, I, 153).

The lung-chung-yang comes out of the ground (« is born ») when it hears thunder, and thunder is connected with the dragon. In the earlier texts on the « ground born sheep », the armoured men