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0057 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 57 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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227. FACFUR   653

mean « God », as Iranian baga does in Achaemenid inscriptions (cf. Russian bog, « God »; and S. Ltvi, in JA, 1934, I, 19).

[The distinction between the senses of « sky », « Heaven » (the abode of God), and « God » is perhaps as elusive in the Chinese use of T'ien as it is in our own use of Heaven. On a scrap of paper found with the Ms. of this Note, PELLIOT had written : « For the idea of T'ien in the sense of a personal God, and of T'ien-tzû meaning Son of God, cf. the remarkable story in GILES, Biogr. Dict., No. 393, given with still more detail in the original text of the San-kuo chick. » The story,

given as an example of ready wit, is found in the notice of   Ch'in Mi, 148-226 (San-kuo chip,
38 [shu, 8], 4-6). In the year 224, an envoy from Wu to Shu met Ch'in Mi there and catechized him about T'ien. « Has T'ien a name ? » the envoy asked, « Yes, Mi replied, and it is Liu ». « How do you know that ? » « The name of the T'ien-tzû is Liu ( 3 T. itIJ) », referring to Liu Pei, who had been enthroned the previous year. And again « For the term T'ien-tzü employed

in Yün-nan for others besides the Emperor, cf.   jc    Tsao lin tsa tsu, fj, 28 b. »

Early Mussulman writers knew, however, the true meaning of T'ien-tzii and transferred it to fayfûr (or baybûr). In 851, Sulaymàn says that the Chinese Emperor « is called with the title of baybûr, which means Son of Heaven; in Arabic, we say ~1,:. maybûr» (cf. FERRAND, Voyage du marchand arabe Sulaymdn, 62; maybûr is surprising, and may be corrupt instead of fayfûr; for other examples of in- instead of f- in the transcription of the same term, cf. infra, and in Mas`ûdi once « Man§urah » and another time, correctly, « Fansurah » [cf. Hobson-Jobson2, 152]). In the next century, Mas`udi speaks of a Chinese Emperor who « received the title of honour of baybùr, that is to say 'son of heaven'; the title, however, which belongs to the sovereigns of China and which is always employed when addressing them is tamyamd Jabdn, and not baybûr » (cf. BARBIER

DE MEYNARD, Les Prairies d'or, I, 306;   1.i i tamyamd 'akin certainly is corrupt for
4.j6. ~V~~ tamyig hdn, « khan of the Taßya6 », given in Abu-'l-Fida, II, II,123; on Taßyac = Chinese, see « Cin », p. 274). Speaking on the authority of information obtained in 966-967 A. D., the author of the Fihrist says : « The meaning of baybûr in Chinese is 'son of heaven' » (Fe, 131). The Arabic word here used for « heaven » is samd', which actually means « sky », « firmament », rather than « heaven »; not only does it not mean « god » as bay-, but it does not even imply the meaning of « immaterial heaven », « Heaven », which attaches to Chinese t'ien.

Very similar to Chinese t'ien-tzû and Iranian fayfûr is Skr. devaputra, « son of the gods », a title to which S. LEvi has devoted a learned monograph (JA, 1934, 1-21). As a title, the term has never been met with in Sanskrit literature, except in a passage of the Suvarnaprabhasa; yet it is of frequent occurrence in the epigraphy of the Kusana, as the royal title of that dynasty. The apparent exception of the Suvarnaprabadsa may almost be said to confirm, rather than to qualify the exclusive use of the title by the Kwaria, as it seems that the work was composed under their rule, and merely extolls the title of the dynasty. Since the Ku§aiia had come from China, and remained in touch with the land of their origin, the conclusion seems almost necessary that they had followed the example of the Chinese « Son of Heaven ». Here, there seems to be some contradiction in Live's views. On the one hand, he says (p. 15) that the notion of the « divine Heaven », dyu, Dyaus pitd, had not outlived Vedic times, so that the secondary notion of deva, « a god », remained