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0590 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 590 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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574   191. CUNCUN

be no doubt that the mountains of « Cuncun » are the   p' Ch'in-ling, separating the basin of

the Wei from that of the Han, but the « twenty days » are difficult to account for and the name «Cuncun» is puzzling.

As to the distance, YULE ( Y, n, 34) has made use of a reading « VIII » instead of «XX » in a ms. of the FB class used by PAUTHIER (Pa, 364), but this same ms. gives «XX» the second time like all the others, and no stress can be laid on its single discrepancy.

In 1828, KLAPROTH stated « Cuncun » to be ; ` r f T Han-chung, on the Han River, and, while observing that the phonetic equivalence was not satisfactory, YULE (Y, II, 32) concurred with him; this identification is adopted without qualification in RR, 420. PAUTHIER (Pa, 363) maintained against KLAPROTH that, in Mongol times, Han-chung formed the department (lu) of ftn; Hsingyüan, which is true, and that it was Hsing-yüan which Polo rendered as « Cuncun ». But the phonetic equivalence is still less satisfactory than with Han-chung, and moreover, the names of lu do not seem to have then been much used in current speech; although Han-chung-fu, as such, does not go further back than the Ming dynasty, the region had been known, for centuries, as the «commandery» (chün) of Han-chung, and was probably designated as Han-chung in Polo's day; it is so called in a passage of Mongka's pên-chi which will be mentioned further on.

Against Han-chung, there is, however, a more serious objection. As suspected one moment by YULE and stated by CHARIGNON, it must be Han-chung which is meant by Polo under the Turkish-Persian designation « Acbalec Mangi» (q. v.). This was the reason which prompted CHARIGNON (Ch, II, 184) to propose another explanation of « Cuncun », to wit IM4 Kuan-chung, lit. « [the region] Within the Passes ». Phonetically, Kuan-chung ought to be rendered *Concion, not « Cuncun », but Han-chung fares no better, since we should expect it to be transcribed *Cancion. The real difficulty is that Kuan-chung, which never was an official designation of the province, is a comprehensive name which refers to the whole of Shàn-hsi province, including Hsi-an-fu itself and the region east and north of it; there was no reason to use it as a designation of the mountainous tract south of the Wei.

Rasidu-'d-Din's account of Mongka's campaign from Shàn-hsi to Ssù-ch'uan (Bl, II, 324328) might be of some use if it were properly elucidated; but unfortunately, BLOCHET'S notes are

not reliable. We know, however, from YS, 3, 4 a, that Mongka, coming from the   Liu-

p'an-shan (see « Cinghis », p. 311), entered the mountainous tract south of   tv Pao-chi (at the

very place where Polo probably did the same), then attacked the    j Chung-kuei-shan
(« Chung-kuei Mountain »), and afterwards stopped at Han-chung, which must be Han-chung on the Han River. But I do not think that the obscure name of the « Chung-kuei Mountain » can have anything to do with Polo's « Cuncun ».

I feel inclined to admit that Polo's « Cuncun » phonetically renders Han-chung, but not to locate it at Han-chung on the Han River, which is his «Acbaiec Mangi ». During the second

half of the 13th cent., the region of f,   Fêng-hsiang, which included Fêng-hsiang, Fu-fêng,

Ch'i-shan, Pao-chi, and Lin-yu had been made the seat of the   M r#r   .A   i;J
lien-fang-ssù of the «region » (tao) of Han-chung of Shàn-hsi (cf. YS, 60, 2 b). Fêng-hsiang and its various districts are all located north of the Ch'in-ling (not south of it, like the historical and modern Han-chung), and exactly correspond to the tract of land meant by Polo when he left the