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0104 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 104 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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one has been called Eastern [Kingdom of] Women. Their custom is to take women as rulers.

Eastwards, it borders on    Mao-chou (near the Min River, NNW of Ch'êng-tu) and the Tang-
hsiang ; to the south-east, it borders on a'JIj Ya-chou (south-west of Ch'êng-tu), and is conterminous

with the gi   Lo-nü Man and the Po-lang (« White Wolf ») Barbarians. Its territory extends over
nine days journey from east to west, and twenty days journey from north to south; it has more than eighty cities, great and small. The place where the queen lives is called IA 4 J([ K'ang-yench'uan (« K'ang-yen [*K`âng-iän] Valley »; unidentified). In [the kingdom ?, or the valley ?] there is the Weak River (Jo-shui), which flows to the south; it is crossed by means of boats made of ox hide. There are more than 40,000 families (hu), and more than 10,000 trained soldiers. The people live scattered in the valleys of the mountains (span-ku). The queen is called (hao)

pin-chiu; there are women officials, called   kao-pa, who discuss and settle state questions.

The provincial offices are all entrusted to men. The female attendants of the queen are several

hundred; every five days, there is a council of state. When the queen dies, great quantities of

gold coins, reaching to several myriads, are collected, and two eminent women from the royal clan are invited and put on the throne. The great one is made ruler, and the second one is made

little ruler (hsiao-wang). When the great ruler dies, the 'little ruler' succeeds her; or when the

mother dies, her daughter-in-law becomes her heir; there is no forcible usurpation. For dwellings they all erect storeyed houses, the queen having up to nine stories, the people of the king-

dom up to six stories. The queen dresses in a skirt and a short-collar shirt of thin blue woollen cloth, over which she throws a blue robe with sleeves trailing on the ground; in winter a lambskin ornamented with embroideries. Her hair is done up in a little topknot, which she adorns with gold; in her ears she hangs ear-rings, on her feet she wears sandals. »

The text of the last two sentences is : ^l   Jj(*   4,g -F N V j #1   It 4l


4(- 'J   J * :   ; )J, it   ifi ; J : If A it Z.   ft f T. Here, in

the first clause, the reading is confirmed by that in the T'ang hui-yao of the Northern Sung, 99, 9 a; but, according to the Pei-hu lu (Shih-wan-chican-lou ts'ung-shu ed., 2, 2 a), the original T'ang

hui-yao of the T'ang merely spoke of   mao-ch'ün, which the author of the Pei-hu lu, right or
wrong, understood as meaning « feather skirts » and included in a paragraph devoted to feather textiles. On these feather textiles cf. LAUFER in TP, 1915, 360-362, and The Story of the Pinna in The Journal of American Folk-Lore, xxviri, 1915, 103-128. So-to (*sâk-d`âk, « sandals ») is not a word of the Kingdom of Women, as stated by LAUFER in TP, 1914, 28, for it is already found in

the Shih ming of the late Han dynasty. It is, however, a word of foreign origin (f,)J 4r ÿR   )
which meant shoes open in front. The ancient pronunciation suggests something like *saydaq; cf. TP, xxvi [1929], p. 141, n. 1.

« Their custom is to honour women, but to make light of men. The writing (   wên-tzii)

is the same as in India (   T'ien-chu). Our eleventh moon is their first. Their custom is,

as soon as the tenth moon begins, to order a diviner to go into the mountains to make offerings of ch'u and to scatter in the air barley which has been steeped in wine. With great incantations he calls the birds. Suddenly a bird like a pheasant comes flying to the bosom of the diviner, who then splits its belly open and examines it. Whenever there is one grain of corn in it, the coming