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0099 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 99 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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country] produces brass (4 Ej tou-shih), cinnaber, musk, yaks, swift horses (chün-ma), and «Ssûch'uan » horses (N ,j Shu-ma; I know no authority for ROCKHILL's « striped horses »). Salt is particularly abundant, and [people] constantly carry it to India for sale, making a profit of several hundred per cent. They have also often fought with India (T'ien-chu) and the Tang-hsiang (Tangutan tribes). When the queen dies, the people collect many gold coins and [with them] ask from the clan (tsu) of the dead the two ablest women (hsien-nü), one to be queen, and the second to be little queen. When a noble dies, they flay off his skin and put the bones and flesh mixed with gold dust into a jar which they bury; after a year, they put the skin into an iron vessel and bury it. Their

custom is to worship the asura ((ipJ fac   a-hsiu-lo) ; they also have tree-gods ([ ffilp shu-shên).
At New Year they sacrifice men or monkeys (4'(îf mi-hou). When the sacrifice is over, they go into the mountains, where [a diviner] makes incantations. A bird like a female pheasant comes and perches on the [diviner's] hand; he splits open the stomach and examines it. If there is grain, the year will be fruitful; if sand and gravel, there will be calamities; they call this « bird divination » („- [. niao-pu). In the sixth k'ai-huang year (586), they sent an envoy to render homage to the Court end offer tribute; but intercourse ceased afterwards. »

The same Sui shu, in its notice on Khotan, says (83, 6 a) that 3 000 li south of Khotan one arrives at the Kingdom of Women; the same text has passed into Pei shih (97, 3 a). In the T'ung tien (193, 6 b), it is in the notice on ; Tai {jJ Chu-chü-po (*t§ju-kiu-puâ) that we are told that « 3 000 li south [of Chu-chü-po] one arrives at the Kingdom of Women », and this has passed into the Hsin T'ang shu (221 A, 9 b; cf. CHAVANNES, Doc. sur les Tou-kiue, 124).

The notice of the Sui shu on the Kingdom of Women, as well most probably as the statements on the location of this kingdom 3 000 li south both of Khotan and of Chu-chü-po, have been taken

from a more complete account which is now lost. HERRMANN'S statement, in S. HEDIN, Southern

Tibet, viii, 22, that it was it   P'ei Chü's   jrft 66 Hsi-yü t'u-chi, written c. 607, is not impro-
bable, but remains a hypothesis. The information can be supplemented by both T'ang histories, where, however, extraneous information of later origin has been added, and by the T'ung tien (193, 7 b), where the text, although more abridged than that of the Sui situ, has further details which seem to go back to the source used in the Sui shu itself. The T'ung tien gives the « surname » Su-p'i of the woman-king, and the « designation » Chin-chü of her husband, but not her « appellation » Mo-chieh. Instead of « all the people (jên) let their hair hang down », the T'ung tien gives « all the men (nan jên) let their hair hang down; the women (fu jên) plait their hair and coil the [plaits] », which seems to be the correct version. About the death of the queen, the T'ung tien says : « If she has no daughter to succeed to the throne, the people of the kingdom levy and collect several millions of gold coins to buy from the family of the deceased sovereign a girl whom they put on the throne. In that country, there are five men to three women... Women of the nobility have many male attendants; men cannot have female attendants; even women in straitened conditions are always heads of a family, and have several husbands. When a child is born, he takes the surname (hsing) of his mother. »

The Ts'ung-ling, or « Onion Range », is in principle the range of mountains to the north-west and south-west of Kâsyar, with a possible extension south and south-east of Khotan (on the Ts'ungling, see « Cascar », t. I, p. 204). We must be prepared, moreover, to make allowance for a certain