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0086 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 86 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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The text proceeds: « They said moreover that there was a kingdom, also in the sea, where there were only women and no men. They said too that they had obtained a hempen garment (10 A pu i), which had floated up out of the sea; its body was like a Chinese garment, [but] its two sleeves were thirty feet long. They had also found a broken boat which had been stranded on the seashore; [in it] was a man who had a second face on the nape of his neck (I hsiang). They took him alive, but they did not understand one another's language; [the man] did not eat, and he had died. These countries were all in the great sea east of the Wu-tsu. »

The long sleeves of the hempen garment are evidently meant to suggest that it had floated over the sea from the Kingdom of Women. The phrase it pAjj ch'i Jiang hsiu, « its two sleeves »,

is perhaps a corruption of jp   ift êrh ch'i hsiu, « but its sleeves »; the present text of the Po-wu
chih omits ch'i, but it is in the quotation in T'ai p'ing kuang-chi, 480, 8a; the Hou-Han shu gives jp A h êrh Jiang hsiu, « but the two sleeves »; the T'ung tien, 186, 4 b, and the T'ai-p'ing yülan, 784, 6 b, agree with the present text of the San-kuo chih. For « thirty feet » the Po-wu chih, 2, 2 b, and T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, 784, 6 b, substitute « twenty feet »; all other texts, the T'ung tien, etc., including the maimed and pointless sentence in Chin-lou-tzû, 5, 10 b, give « thirty ». Through KLAPROTH's mistranslation of a later quotation of this text, the whole of this sentence about the long sleeved garment is referred by LAUFER, Aufsätze... E. Kuhn, 1916, 206, to the women of the Kingdom of Women, who swim out of the sea « clad in a cloth garment » (pu i).

In its paragraph on the Northern Wu-tsu, the Hou-han shu, 115, 4 b, says: «Their old men say that in the sea they got a hempen garment (pu i); its shape was like that of a Chinese garment, but (ij êrh; cf. above) the two sleeves were thirty feet long. Moreover, on the seashore, they saw a man on board a broken boat; on the top of his head (JA ting, a common misreading of r« hsiang, « nape of the neck », which is correctly given in the two other texts), he had a second face; they could not understand one another; he did not eat and died. They said moreover that in the sea there is a Kingdom of Women (Nü-kuo), where there are no men; it is reported by some that in that kingdom there is a divine well (fib 4 shên-ching); [women] look into it, and then give birth to children. » Less satisfactory for the rest, and anachronical in the Hou-Han shu, this text has nevertheless the advantage of retaining the tradition of the well, omitted in the San-kuo chih.

I am sorry not to have been able to trace another text which is not without some connection with the above stories. SCHLEGEL (TP, vi, 248) has translated at second-hand from the T'u-shu chi-ch'êng (pien-i tien, 42, 11 a) a paragraph of WANG Ch'i's San-ts'ai t'u-hui (A J, 12, 24 b) devoted to the south-eastern Kingdom of Women which will be discussed further on. To this paragraph, the authors of the San-ts'ai t'u-hui have subjoined a second quotation, taken apparently from another work. SCHLEGEL and, after him, LAUFER, loc. cit., 206, have missed this point and thought of a continuous text. In an odd wording, it says : « [The Kingdom of Women] is conterminous with the A Hsi tribe (pu) and the iJ. in t Hsiao Ju-chê (« Small Ju-chê ») tribe; in that kingdom there are no men; [women] bear children by looking into a well. » The Hsi were close kin to the Ch'i-tan. The Great Ju-chê and Small Ju-chê are known as Mongolian or Tungus tribes of northern Manchuria; the classical references on them are Chiu T'ang shu, 299 B, 7 a, and Hsin T'ang shu, 219, 5 a, to which we may add Ts'ê fu yiian-kuei, 971, 16 b (See « Ciorcia », t. I, p. 386); but, neither in the notices on the Hsi, nor in the passages referring to the Ju-chê, have