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0532 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 532 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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516   183. COTTON

on horse-back, beating drums to frighten the sheep, may be related to the scaly dragon, which, on the other hand, is associated with water, and this would provide a link with the « water sheep » of the Wei lio. According to the Hsi-shih chi, the sheep are frightened by beating wood; but « wood » is the element of the east, and the east is the quarter assigned to the « blue-green dragon ». So I think that there is a fair chance that the term lung-chung-yang, when first created, meant « dragon-breed sheep ». It is more difficult to say why this lung, « dragon », was changed to lung, « hillock ». Perhaps this was due to the fact that the sheep was « sowed », and that, as a consequence, chung came to be understood in its other meaning « to sow »; hence the shortened form chung-yang, « sowed sheep », occurring more than once in the Mongol period. With such an interpretation, lung had become meaningless, since the sheep were not « dragon-sowed sheep »; lung, « hillock », was then adopted as a makeshift. The reason for its choice may be that it could be accounted for by the raised ridges (cf. supra) in the cotton fields. But I readily admit that my tentative explanation would be safer if we could trace at least one example of lungchung-yang written in such a way as actually to mean « dragon-breed sheep ».

A well-known author of the Mongol period, a.   Wu Lai (tzû A k Li-fu; 1297-1340), has
written (Yuan-ying chi, Ssu pu ts'ung-k'an ed., 4, 6 a-b; cf. CH'f l Yen's Yüan-shih chi-shih 6,

18-19) a poem entitled   ilk ';,7 4E fi   « Song of a pillow, written on the
skin of a sown sheep of the Western Countries, sent to Li Chung-yü »; Chung-yü is the tzei of Li I. The poem says : « In Persia in the valleys spirits speak at night. In Persia sheep are kept for various purposes. Stabbed with a knife on the right spot the sheep may be eaten; but within a valium the shin-bones of the sheep are left as seed. All round them a fence is built, and when the sound of the pounding is heard lambs are born again from the shin-bones. Green grass springs up densely, but the navels are not yet severed [so that the lambs cannot reach the grass(?)]. But when the iron-shod horse hoofs gallop round the fence, the lambs rear up on their hind legs [breaking the umbilical cords], and fall back on the grass... » The rest of the poem is of no interest for the present inquiry. LAUFER'S « vertebra of the neck » (The Story of the Pinna, 123) is due to a misprint, _ff thing for jjic hsing, in the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng.

Wu Lai's poem is alluded to in a curious text of Ajt f.pj   Yao T'ung-shou (first half of the
14th cent.) which is included in his($ g,; Lo-chiao ssu-yü (Pao-yen-t'ang pi-chi lith. ed., f. 13; part of it has been quoted at second-hand, and poorly translated by SCHLEGEL, The Shui-

yang, 25). Yao T'ung-shou says : « The great master (A   ta-shih)   Ch'u-shih is a venerable
old monk (sha-men); when he followed the Imperial cart to Shang-tu (see ' Ciandu '), he wrote the

poems ' North of the Desert '   Mo-pei), ' Cherishing the past '   A Huai-ku; or the poem
North of the desert, cherishing the past '), etc. In them (or ' in it ') I read ' They say themselves that sheep can be sowed, [but] do not believe that cocoons can give silk '. I was then in doubt whether he meant that sheep could be sowed. So I questioned the master on the point. The

master said : ' West of the Great Desert (A   s Ta-mo i hsi), people can sow sheep. Every
time they slaughter a sheep, they use its skin and flesh, but keep its bones, which they bury in

the ground on the first   wei day of the winter (wei is the cyclical sign corresponding to « sheep »
in the duodenary cycle). When reaching the first wei day of the last month of spring, they blow

flageolets and pronounce spells, and then lambs (3   tzû-yang) come out of the ground; for