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0066 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 66 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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662   228. FANSUR

Jobson2, 69 (« Baros ») and 151 (« camphor ») ; HEYD, Hist. du Commerce, II, 590-595; DAMES, Barbosa, II, 207; DALGADO, Glossétrio Luso-Asiâtico, 203. But the difference in the use of the two names is not clear. YULE'S idea that on account of a (late) Malay form Pasûri they may, through a metathesis, go back to a common original does not carry conviction (cf. JA, 1922, II, 95) ; both names are ancient and have coexisted.

The older name is that of Barus (> modern Baros). At least from the first half of the 6th cent. the Chinese have known foreign camphor under the name of 4 {* * p'o-lü hsiang, « P'o-lii

perfume », or 4 ft   kao, « P'o-lü oil » (kao means « grease », « unguent », « oil »; in T'ang

times, « petroleum » was called both   fi shih-yu and 5   shih-kao, « stone oil »), and P'o-lü
(*B`uâ-11uét) is a regular transcription of Barus (cf. Liang shu, 54, 6 b; BEFEO, iv, 341; HIRTH and ROCKHILL'S opinion [HR, 194] that p'o-lü should be a « truncated transcription » of Skr. karp ûra, « camphor », is phonetically untenable and, moreover, runs counter to the very text they quote). In ch. 7 of the Chinese Suvarnaprabhâsa, there is a transcription of a Sanskrit name equivalent to p'o-lü kao, which yields an uncertain original; the question will be discussed at the end of the present note. In the second half of the 7th cent., I-thing (CHAVANNES, Religieux éminents,

36) speaks of the state of 4 Aa   P'o-lu-shih (*B`uâ-iuo-si), *Baru"si, and the Hsin T'ang shu

(222 C, 5 a [ed. Po-na]) mentions PIS   ItfiLang-p'o-iu-ssû (*Lâng-b`uâ-iuo-sib), *Lang-Barus

(or *Lang-Barus, through confusion with Langbàliis, the Nicobar?; it is a moot question; provisionally, cf. FERRAND, in JA, 1919, I, 298; Mi, 157, 187; « lang » of « *Lang-Barus » can hardly be Atchenese lam, « piece of land », as said by GERINI, Researches on Ptolemy's Geography, 430, and MOENS in Tijdschr. v. Ind. Taal-Land en Volkenkunde, Vol. LXXVII, 1937, 330). S. LÉVi has identified Sanskrit forms Pàrusya (or Pârua) and Vârusaka (JA, 1921, I, 332; 1923, II, 38). About 860, the Yu-yang tsa-tsu (Chin-tai pi-shu ed., 18, 8 b) speaks of camphor, which, at its place of

production, was called rj   q. ku-pu p'o-lü (cf. also HR, 194; LAUFER, Sino-Iranica; my
remarks in TP, 1912, 475; JA, 1919, II, 56); F ku (*kuo) is probably an erroneous reading instead

of   ko, and ko-pu p'o-lii (*kd puat b`ud-liuét) certainly renders Jay. kapur barus, Malay kâpur
bdrus, the very name of the camphor of Sumatra (cf. FAVRE, Dict. malais-français, I, 247). Beginning in the middle of the 10th cent., we find in Arabic texts a place Balûs (Fe, 692) and a sort of camphor called bâlûs, which is only another form of Barus, but the name attaches itself in Mus• sulman writings to a second-class sort of impure camphor (cf. Fe, 113, 289, 545). I-IAMILTON (1727) speaks of the Baros camphor. The name of the state of Barus occurs in the garakrétâgama, dated 1365 (Fe, 652), and later in BARROS' list of states in Sumatra, also in a Malay document of 1615 (Fe, 671). The place has maintained some importance. If we can trust GERINI (Researches on Ptolemy's Geography), Baros camphor is still known in Môn as « Prut », and in Burmese as « Parût » (pronounced « Parûk »), both traceable to Baros.

The other name, )?_,,:; Fansûr, appears first in Arabic texts, from the middle of the 9th cent. (Cf. FERRAND, Voyage du marchand arabe Sulaymân, 34; BARBIER DE MEYNARD, Maçoudi, I, 338; III, 49; in the latter passage, Ma5`üdi's text speaks of camphor of the «country of Mansurah» but I agree with YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 152, against GERINI, Researches, 439, that the correct reading must be « country of Fansûr », since the text of I, 338, is expressly referred to in III, 49; the error seems to have a double origin, first graphic through confusion between f- and m- [see