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0621 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 621 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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Bänàkäti (cf. KLAPROTH, loc. cit. 120; Pa, 397) : « In one of the kingdoms [to the west of China], all the people cover their teeth with a gold case (yilafi) which they take off when they take their meals and put on again afterwards ».

Neither the Man shu nor Raid makes any distinction between men and women as to the use of gold teeth; this may be an indication that those mss. of Polo which state that men and women use them are right. On the other hand, RAMUSIO alone gives in the chapter devoted to the Zar-dandân an account of tattooing shorter than, but very similar to, the one which occurs afterwards in the chapter on « Caugigu ». This passage of RAMUSIO, inserted into BENEDETTO'S text (RR, 192; B', 198), is merely alluded to in a note of Vol. I, 281 of this edition. But both the Man shu and Raid speak of tattooing in connection either with the Zardandân themselves, or with tribes of the same group, and consequently I think that the passage of RAMUSIO in question must have a genuine origin.

The « Directing Commissariat (hsüan fu-ssû) of the Chin-ch'ih and other places », which was the last separate organization of that part of the country under the Yüan dynasty, was « to the south-west of Ta-li, had the Lan-ts'ang-chiang (— Mekong) as its eastern limit and bordered on the Burmese (Mien) territory on the west » ( YS, 61, 12 b; Pa, 397, has mispunctuated and misunderstood the text). In 1260, the chief of the Chin-ch'ih sent his son to render homage to the Court. In 1261, a « Pacifying Commissariat » (an fu-ssû) was created to take charge of

the region, which was divided in 1273 into an eastern district (lu) for the   - Pai-i and a
western district for the Chin-ch'ih (the YS, 61, 12 b, dates this division in 1271, but the pênchi, more reliable, relate that on April 8, 1273, « the Chin-ch'ih kingdom was divided into two lu »; YS, 8, 1 b). The « Pacifying Commissariat » became in 1278 a « Directing Commissariat », having six districts (lu) under its jurisdiction. It was suppressed in 1286, according to YS, 61, 12 b, and the whole territory included in the jurisdiction of a « Directing Commissariat of Ta-li, Chin-ch'ih, and other places ». It is certainly the same event which is mentioned in the pên-chi (YS, 13, 8 a) as follows : « In the 22nd chih-yüan year (1285), ... the ninth month, ... on the day wu-ch'ên ... , the two Directing Commissariats of Ha-la-chang (Qara-Jang) and of Chin-ch'ih were reduced to one, which had its seat at Yung-ch'ang (see ' Uncian ') ». As I show under « Caragian », and in agreement with Polo's text, Qara-fang was the Mongol name of Ta-li. But the date given in the pên-chi is impossible (as it is with some other entries which precede), whereas it answers correctly for the year 1286, giving September 23, 1286; it seems as though some entries referring to 1286 were unduly inserted by the hasty compilers of YS into the pên-chi of 1285.

The territory of the Chin-ch'ih proper lay to the west of the Saiween, either on the Nam-ti and Ta-ping, or on the Shweli River, all of them tributaries of the Irawadi (cf. BEFEO, ix, 665; Ch, II, 245-246; I think HUBER was mistaken when he extended the territory of the true Chin-ch'ih of about A. D. 1300 to the east of the Saiween and to Yung-ch'ang [see « Uncian »]; but no certain solution can be reached until the last paragraphs of YS, 61, have been elucidated). The ethnic appurtenance of the Chin-ch'ih has not been determined, and there is until now, at least as far as I know, no critical study of the important information about them scattered in Chinese historical works. In the 18th cent., the • T., A Piao-jên (cf. BEFEO, VIII,