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0093 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 93 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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ruled by a woman whom the Chinese in the vicinity know as the C 3 nii-wang, « woman-king ». We must also take into account, in India, the feminine look which almost beardless races had to the bearded Indians. In Al-Birùni's Indian list of tribes, based on the Yiayupurdna, the Nârimukha, or « men with women's faces », are stated to be the Turks (cf. SACHAU, Alberuni's India, I, 302).

Nothing is known, beyond the title, of a   f 4 Nan Na êrh kuo chuan, « Relation
of the two Kingdoms of Men and of Women », in one ch., which is mentioned in the bibliographical sections of the Sui shu (33, 10 b), and, consequently, was written at the latest in the first years of the 7th cent. Apart from much older sources (Huai-nan-tzû, the Shan-hai Ching, Kuo P'o's commentary, and the K'uo-ti t'u), I know in Chinese texts of no other mention of a « Kingdom of Men » existing side by side with a « Kingdom of Women », as we find them in Polo, Jourdain Cathala, and Mussulman writers. So here again I am in doubt as to whether this lost relation referred to island kingdoms or to Central Asia. In the list of the Kingdoms of Women given in the Liang ss û kung chi, two are to the north-east and east of Tibet and one to the north-west. All of them occur in historical texts, but the eastern and western ones seem to have been more than once mixed up, particularly in the Hsin T'ang shu, and it is not always easy to determine which is which.

The earliest historical mention of a Kingdom of Women occurs in connection with the a 4:

T'u-yü-hun, a nation of Altaic stock, probably Mongolian, which had migrated c. 250 A. D. to Kan-su, and later to the region of the Kökö-nôr. Their capital lay first at ft ? Pao-han, the modern Ho-chou, south-west of Lan-chou, and, at a later period, 15 li west of the great lake. They were finally reduced by the Tibetans in 663. In the second quarter of the 5th cent., the ruler

of the T'u-yü-hun,   *1J   Mu-li-yen (or Mu Li-yen, or Mu Yen), who had ascended the throne
in 436, being hard pressed by some of his revolted kin who had the support of the Wei Emperor

T'ai-wu (423-4.52), first sought refuge with the   Po-lan, but, pursued there by the enemy,
led his tribe further west to Khotan, the king of which he killed, and even went on an expedition to the south against Kashmir (Chi-pin). But in 450, longing after his former haunts, he asked for

help from the Emperor Wên of the (Liu) Sung (424-453), who sent him cars ($   ch'ien-chü);
he then returned to his former country, the capital of which was still at Ho-chou, but soon died, in 452 at the latest. When asking for the Emperor Wên's assistance, Mu-li-yen had sent him, among other presents, « caps (mao) of the ,,7 it Wu-wan, gold wine-vessels of the Kingdom of Women (Nü-kuo) and gold bracelets (chin-ch'uan) of the King of the Jj Hu » (Sung shu, 96, 2 b; Wei shu, 101, 5 a-b; 102, 2 b; Pei shih, 96, 6 a; 97, 3 a).

The history and political geography of the regions west, north, and north-east of Tibet in the early Middle Ages are still so little known that it is difficult to give a pertinent commentary of this text. Wu-wan or ,, 7 , Wu-huan lived in the basin of the Liao River (province of Jehol; cf. GIBERT, Dict. hist. et géogr. de la Mandchourie, 712-713); « the King of the Hu » is a vague term, which may here refer to the king of Turfan; and so the place of origin of the various presents is not necessarily to be looked for in the immediate neighbourhood of the T'u-yü-hun. Yet something may be deduced about the Kingdom of Women which produced the gold wine-vessels if we give some attention to the general trend of events and to the topographical indications of various historical texts. The Po-lan, to whose territory Mu-li-yen fled with his tribe before proceeding further to