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0116 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 116 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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the same as « Rudok »], and Eastern Ladakh ». In two works which are not at my disposal for the

present (F[) ft 11 pL Yin-tu cha-chi, and an essay on the Ganges, ill   y( Hêng-ho k'ao), the

modern Chinese scholar   4,f HUANG Mou-ts'ai has attempted, however, to determine the position

of the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women', and of its capital in the K'ang-yen Valley, and proposed a region south-west of the Himalaya, in the upper basin of the Ganges (cf. TING Ch'ien's Sui-shu ssû-i chuan ti-li k'ao-chêng, Chê-Chiang t'u-shu-kuan ts'ung-shu ed., 15 a, and Hsin-chiu T'ang shu hsiyü chuan ti-li k'ao-chêng, same ed., 3 b). So HUANG Mou-ts'ai did not distinguish between two 'Kingdoms of Women', nor did TING Ch'ien when citing him. But TING Ch'ien (Hsin-chiu T'ang shu hsi-yü chuan ti-li k'ao-chêng, 35 b) does not hint at any connection between the 'Kingdom of Women' and the Su-p'i. On the other hand, the Suvarnabhû, « Land of Gold », of the Brhatsarnhitâ has been regarded by KERN as « in all likelihood a mythical land » (cf. Ind. Antiquary, xxii, 190), and S. LEvi (cf. Mémorial Sylvain Lévi, 422) also considers the Strirâjya, or « Kingdom of Women », as half fabulous. As to Hsüan-tsang's 'Eastern Kingdom of Women', WATTERS (On Yuan Chwang's Travels, I, 330) declares it to be « undoubtedly a mythical region ». Suvarnagotra means « Gold clan », but Hsüan-tsang speaks of the excellent gold produced in the country. So S. LÉvi connected his account with the famous fable of the gold-digging ants in the Mahâbhârata and Herodotus (cf. Mémorial Sylvain Lévi, 442; on this fable, see also LAUFER, in TP, 1908, 429-452; THOMAS, Tibetan Texts and Documents, t, 168-169). New documents, and a more careful examination of the ones previously known, have convinced me, however, that the views formerly expressed, including my own, do not correspond to the true facts. A confusion has occurred in Chinese texts, but different from the one which has been supposed hitherto.

The first point to emphasize is that Suvarnagotra, « Gold Race », in Tibetan gSer-rigs, was not a mythical, but a real country, the name of which occurs any number of times in the Tibetan texts translated by THOMAS. That these texts are not strictly historical, but often present as prophecies what is a retrospective interpretation of past events, need not raise suspicion; the names are true names, and the « Gold Race » is no less entitled to be accepted into historical nomenclature than for instance gDon-dmar, « Red Faces », as a designation of the Tibetans. Another certain point is that the « Gold Race » was in frequent and close intercourse with Khotan; but here we may be under a partly biassed impression, on account of the fact that, in the present case, our Tibetan documents are of Khotanese origin, and leave in the dark the activities of the 'Gold Race' with which Khotan was not concerned. Finally, Hsüan-tsang derives the name of the 'Gold Race' from its production of a superior 'gold'; in a similar manner, Tibetan texts mention in the country of the 'Gold Race' a mountain of 'gold' to which traders eagerly repaired.

We also have much more information now on the Su-p'i (*Suo-b`ji), who, according to the Hsin T'ang shu, received the name of Sun-po (*Suan-puâ) after their annexion to the Tibetan empire, this clearly meaning that Sun-po was their Tibetan name. *Suan-puâ would seem to suppose *Sun-pa, but I have shown in TP, 1921, 330-331, that the true original was Sum-pa, and explained why the Chinese, having no word sum in their language, had to resort to sun (*suan) ; the equivalence of Sun-po with Sum-pa has been amply confirmed by later research. Both names Su-p'i and Sun-po are now well-known from sources other than Chinese.

THOMAS (Tibetan Texts and Documents, i, 9, 42) was first, I believe, to connect the Su-p'i with