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0073 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 73 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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228. FANSUR   669

rice », and the name must have been given owing to the granular appearance of the product (« small grained camphor », as GROENEVELDT translates). There is no reason to suppose, with MAYERS (China Review, III, 224), supported by GERINI (Researches, 441), that mi is here the first element of a foreign term. The « bluish camphor » is strangely reminiscent of the « blue camphor » (azraq) of the Arabs, and probably is the same stuff; it has remained in use in later Chinese materia medica (cf. Pên-ts'ao kang-mu, 34, 60 a).

In his notice on Borneo (HR, 156), Chao Ju-kua enumerates four kinds of camphor : « plum-

flower camphor » (4 $   gi mei-hua nao), « quick camphor » (} Nr su-nao; su is also used in

the terminology concerning gharu-wood; cf. HR, 206-207), « gold-foot camphor » (    Jo *I chin-

chiao nao), and « rice camphor » (*   mi nao); but the special notice on camphor (HR, 194)
omits « quick camphor », adding « bluish camphor » at the end of the list; and it may be, as is surmised in HR, 194, that « quick camphor » and « bluish camphor » refer to the same sort, which would probably be the lowest, in agreement with the notice on camphor and with the notice translated above from the Sung shin. On the other hand, azraq or blue camphor is the last in Ibn Baytâr's list, so that the identity of the two is the more probable; and perhaps the other terms of the two lists are also in some sort of correspondence. « Plum-flower camphor» is also mentioned by Chao Ju-kua in the notice on Lambri as being used in the preparation of betel (HR, 73, but mispunctuated as if « plum-flower » and « camphor » were two distincts items). It occurs also in the notice of the Tao-i chih-lio on « Ambergris Island » (Pulo Bras?), but has been omitted from ROCKHILL's translation (TP, 1915, 158; the paragraph is mistranslated throughout). In the notice of the same Tao-i chih-lio on Borneo, Wang Ta-yuan mentions, among the products

of the country, ;fir   mei-hua p'ien nao, which ROCKHILL (TP, 1915, 265) translated « 'plum-
blossom' and 'flake' camphor ». But the passage must be read in connection with the notice in Chao Ju-kua, which says: « [The camphor] which forms 'flakes' (p'ien; the translation « crystals» in HR, 193, is not adequate) is called 'plum-flower camphor' because it resembles plum-flowers» (cf. also Ming i t'ung chin, 90, 17 a, based on Chao Ju-kua). So it is clear that, in the Tao-i chihlio, there is only one product, and that we must translate « plum-flower flake camphor ». In the preface to the Hsi-yang ch'ao-kung tien-lu, the author speaks of 4 O mei-nao; it is the same as mei-hua nao, « plum-flower camphor », abbreviated for reasons of rhythm, and has nothing to do with mi-nao, « rice camphor », contrary to what was supposed by MAYERS (China Review, III, 224) and accepted by GERINI (Researches, 441). In the same work, in the section on Borneo

(Yüeh ya-t'ung ts'ung-shu ed., 1, 18 b, the author,   W.. Huang Hsing-ts'êng, speaks of
4.4.16igiitm lung-nao niu-nao mei-hua-nao; niu-nao is certainly corrupt for mi-nao, but the very enumeration « camphor, rice camphor and plum-flower camphor », as well as its order, shows that Huang Hsing-ts'êng was not familiar with his subject.

Lung-nao, « dragon brain », is of course a purely Chinese designation given to true camphor on account of its scent; it is of the same type as hu-p'o, « tiger soul », for « amber », also on account of the scent, or as ma-nao, «horse brain », for agate, on account of its appearance. I cannot trace an example of lung-nao before the 7th cent., although it probably existed already in the 6th, alongside of « P'o-Iii perfume ». In spite of its legendary character, a paragraph of the lost Liang ssü kung-tzû chi (on which see « Femeles », pp. 677), preserved in T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, 803, 6-7 (and,