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0100 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 100 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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vagueness and even inaccuracy in the bearings if we remember that, for instance, both T'ang histories locate Nepal to the west of Tibet and that, according to the Chiu T'ang shu, India (T'ienchu) lay north-west (sic) of the Onion Range. BUSHELL has located the Kingdom of Women of the Sui shu in « Eastern Tibet », and ROCKHILL says in a note on Ts'ung-ling that, from a text of the T'ang shu, « we learn that by this is to be understood that the Nü kuo embraced all northern Tibet ». It would seem, however, that the source of the Sui shu and the T'ung tien meant this Kingdom of Women to lie to the north-west of Tibet proper and perhaps not so very far from the Kingdom of Women located « west of Po-lü » in Wan Chieh's romantic account (cf. supra, p. 679). But this may be a delusive appearance. That confusions have been made, particularly in the Hsin T'ang shu, has been pointed out more than once, either in China or in Europe; the problem, however, is most entangled and, even at the end of a somewhat lengthy discussion, we lack the necessary elements for reaching a satisfactory solution of all the difficulties involved.

The question is not merely one of sinology. A Strirajya, « Kingdom of Women », is mentioned more than once in Indian texts among the countries to the extreme north-west of India (Mandbadrata, III, 1991; xi', 114; Brhat-sarnhitd, xiv, 22; xvi, 2; Harsacarita, ch. 7; transi., p. 210; Râjatarartyini, iv, 173, 185, 586, 665; cf. Mémorial Sylvain Lévi, 422; THOMAS, Tibetan literary texts and documents, I, 152); it also occurs, as a nation of the north-west, in Al-Bir€ni's lists based on the Vdyupurdna : « Strirajya, i. e. women amongst whom no man dwells longer than half a year » (SACHAU, Alberuni's India, I, 302). In the Chinese version of the Tathdyataguhya (one of the sûtra of the Ratnakûta), made by Chu Fa-hu in 288 A. D., a curious list of nations mentions the

A 1.' [ Nü-jên ch'u kuo, or « Kingdom of the Place of Women » (?*Stristhana; cf. S. LÉvi, in BEFEO, y, 289). The same list, in Chu Fa-hu's translation, contains a kingdom of; Chinpên, « Gold-origin », in which LEvi (ibid., 290) was tempted to recognize the Kingdom of Suvarnagotra, « Gold clan », about which more will be said anon. But the equation is not quite certain. In a list which occurs in the translation of the Candragarbha made in 566 by Narendrayasas, a

Kingdom of   Chin-hsing, « Gold-surname » (« Gold nature » in BEFEO, y, 274, is Lkvi's slip,
through an inadvertent confusion between ti hsing and ft hsing), and this is certainly Suvarnagotra. But with the Kingdom of Chin-hsing (ibid., 274, 283) there is a kingdom of , f

Su-pa-na (*Suo-b`uât-nja), the name of which has been hypothetically restored by L>`vi into « Suvana? », but is certainly Suvarna, « Gold » (or Sauvarna, « Golden »), and may represent the same name as the kingdom of « Gold-origin » (Sauvarna, Sauvarnya?). A country Suvarnabhù, « Land of Gold », occurs in the Brhat-sagihitd among the countries to the north-east.

The mention of a Kingdom of Women to the north-west of India has been sometimes ascribed to very early Chinese texts, owing to what I believe to be a series of misapprehensions. According to O. FRANKE (Zur Kenntnis der Türkvölker, Anhang to Abh. d. k. Pr. Ak. d. W. for 1904, 37), Chang Shou-chieh in his commentary on the Shih chi written in 736 cites (123, 3 a-b) a passage from a work A` A ttf_; Ta-huang hsi-ching, apparently already lost in his time, in which it was said :

« The   7jß Jo-shui (« Weak River ») has two springs, which flow north of the Kingdom of Women
and south of the A-nou-ta Mountain (Anavatapta), and have their confluence in the Kingdom of Women ». Then HERRMANN boldly asserted (in S. HEDIN's Southern Tibet, vIII, 247-248) that