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0112 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 112 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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1880, 527, without indication of source; the same text occurs in T'ai-p'ing huan-yii chi, 185, 3-4, and in Wên-hsinn t'ung-k'ao, 335, 4 b) : « Great Yang-t'ung. — Great Yang-t'ung (Ta Yangt'ung) borders to the east on Tibet (T'u-fan); on the west, it borders on Lesser Yang-t'ung (Hsiao Yang-t'ung); to the north, it is straight in the direction (' chih; the T'ai-p'ing huan-yü chi gives ?; chih, « one arrives at ») of Khotan. From east to west, it is more than 1 000 li, and has 80,000 to 90,000 trained soldiers. The people plait their hair, wear felt gowns, and live by breeding cattle. There is much wind and snow, and ice is more than ten feet thick. The products are much the same as with the [T'u-]fan (Tibetans). They have no writing, and merely cut notches in sticks and tie knots in cord (k'o-mu chieh-shêng; traditionally in use in primitive China). The punishments are severe. When chiefs die, [their skulls are cleft] and the brain scooped out; [then] the space is filled with pearls and jade; the five viscera are [taken out] by cutting open [the abdomen], and replaced with gold; a false gold nose and [false] silver teeth [are put on]; men follow [the chiefs] in death (hsiin). Having fixed by divination a propitious day, they bury the body in the cave of some cliff, in such a way that no other man should know about it, and slaughter many cows, ewes

and mares (It   ,~?~ ; but the text of the T'ai-p'ing huan-yü chi, t)) [read I f ] '   : ~? , « cows
and mares », seems preferable) in way of sacrifice. Mourning is put off when the funeral is over.

The surname (hsing) of the king is .k   Chiang-ko (*Kiang-kât, which supposes an original like
*Kyaii-kar). He has four ministers (ta-ch'ên) who respectively take care of the affairs of state. They had never had intercourse with China, but, in the 15th chêng-kuan year of the Great T'ang (641), they sent an envoy to come and render homage to the Court. » The T'ai-p'ing huan-yü chi adds : « In the end of the chêng-kuan [years] (649), they were destroyed by the Tibetans, who divided the people and scattered them in adjacent lands. » The embassy of 641 is not recorded in the pen-chi of the Chiu T'ang shu, but another one is mentioned there, in 647 (3, 8 a) ; it is stated to have come from Yang-t'ung, without indication of 'Great' or 'Lesser'. In the same way, we are told in the Chiu T'ang shu (196 A, 1 b; cf. Hsin T'ang shu, 216 A, 2a) that, when the Tibetan empire began its conquests in the first third of the 7th cent., it reduced Yang-t'ung, and it is only by hypothesis that we may think that « Great Yang-t'ung » is intended. After their submission by the Tibetans, the Yang-t'ung people maintained an autonomous existence within the Tibetan empire. In the middle of the 9th cent., we hear (Hsin T'ang shu, 216 B, 7 a) of a certain

Shang-pei-pei (*Liang-b`jwie-b`jwie; *Lan-byi-byi, [or Pei-pei alone], probably a byname or the name of his office), who was a man of the kingdom of Yang-t'ung, and whose family had held for

generations high offices with the Tibetans; his personal name was   )1.   Tsan-sin-ya (*Tsân-

siam-nga,? bCan-O-mna'), and he belonged to the clan (hsing)   j Mo-lu (*Muat-luo; 'Bro).
'Bro clearly is the place of origin of the clan, and it is known from other Tibetan sources (cf. Sarat CHANDRA DAS, Dictionary, 934, and TP, 1915, 15). This indication might be of some importance for determining the location of Yang-t'ung; unfortunately, I do not know where 'Bro lay in Tibet.

As to the location of Yang-t'ung, BUSHELL's indication that it lay « on the plateau to the south of Khotan » is vague, and is based only on the above text of the T'ung tien. In S. HEDIN, Southern Tibet, vIII, 452, HERRMANN merely says that Yang-t'ung « is a nation in eastern Tibet », which is not easy to reconcile with the location « south of Khotan ». In Hui-ch'ao's Relation, it is said that, fifteen days to the north-east of Kashmir, one reaches the kingdoms of «Lesser Po-lü », Yang-