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0115 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 115 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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nagotra, of identical meaning. But we now know the equivalent of Suvarnagotra in Tibetan texts; the name occurs there as gSer-rigs, « Golden Race » (cf. THOMAS, Tibetan Texts and Documents, I, 152). Moreover, a Tibetan chronicle of the 8th or 9th cent. states that, in 709, « the king of Se-rib was taken prisoner » (BACOT, THOMAS and TOUSSAINT, Documents de Touen-houang, 42). I think it probable that Hsi-li is this Se-rib, and, renouncing my former hypothesis, dismiss the kingdom of Hsi-li from the intricate problem of the 'Kingdoms of Women'.

Scholars have been agreed that the Chinese texts of the T'ang period confused two 'Kingdoms of Women', one to the north-west, and one to the east of Tibet. Sometimes these have even been mixed

up with the legendary 'Kingdom of Women' to the east of Fu-sang. At the end of the modern edi-

tions of the T'ai-p'ing huan-yü chi (a work written in 976-983), there is a critical note saying : « There are three 'Kingdoms of Women' (Nü-kuo) recorded in various books. One was to the east of Fu-

sang, and seems not to belong to mankind. One was among the south-western Barbarians ( I;

« south-western » here means bordering on [or included in] Ssû-ch'uan and Yün-nan), and was called 'Eastern Kingdom of Women' (Tung Nü-kuo). One was south of the Onion Range (Ts'ung-ling);

this must be the one from which the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women' was differentiated by a distinc-

tion of 'Eastern' and 'Western' (as we shall see, this is an error). The T'ung tien records the 'Kingdom of Women' of Fu-sang, but not the 'Kingdom of Women' of the Onion Range. The T'ang hui-

yao records [both] the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women' and the 'Kingdom of Women' of the Onion

Range (as a matter of fact, there is in the T'ang hui-yao, 99, 8-11, only one notice, which is devoted to the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women', with a note saying that it was so called to distinguish it from

another one in the Western Sea; the differentiation is not between a 'Kingdom of Women' among the

'south-western Barbarians' and another one south of the Onion Range). The Hsin T'ang shu records only the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women'. The original text of the [T'ai-p'ing huan-yü]chi recorded

only one kingdom, the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women', and erroneously placed it among the 'eastern

Barbarians', after [the notice on] Fu-sang. Now, following the T'ung tien, we have transferred [this notice] to the 'south-western Barbarians' (hsi-nan Man) ; and, since it was conterminous to Fu-kuo,

we have put it between Fu-kuo and Ai-lao. Moreover, after [the notice on] Fu-sang, we have

added the notice on the 'Kingdom of Women' of Fu-sang of the T'ung tien, so as to fill up the omission in the present [T'ai-p'ing huan-yii] chi ». In spite, and partly on account of its serious mistakes,

this note bears good evidence to the great confusion which prevailed in Chinese mediaeval texts in

regard to the 'Kingdoms of Women'. BUSHELL (JRAS, 1880, 531) stated that the Su-p'i who submitted to China in 755 « were the remnant of a remarkable people of Eastern Tibet who were called

the Nü wang state », and that Hsüan-tsang, in his notice on Suvarnagotra, has « wrongly identified » it with this « Nü wang state » of eastern Tibet. In TP, 1912, 358, I have expressed a similar opinion, but ascribed the confusion to the author of the Hsin T'ang shu, who had misapplied the information provided by the pilgrim. When discussing the question of Suvarnagotra, THOMAS (Tibetan Texts and Documents, I, 152) leaves out the 'Kingdom of Women' in south-eastern Tibet (i. e. the Tungnü kuo) as irrelevant. HERRMANN (in S. HEDIN, Southern Tibet, vIII, 22) locates in Rudok, in western Tibet, the 'Kingdom of Women' of the Sui shu and Hsüan-tsang's Suvarnagotra, but (ibid., vIII, 448) says that the Su-p'i were a tribe in eastern Tibet. Before him, FRANCKE (JRAS, 1910, 489) had already said that Suvarnagotra was « evidently the ancient name of Guge, Ruthog [Tib. Ru-thog