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0120 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 120 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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free of such borrowings. Yet, since Hsüan-tsang is the first to speak both of the ' Eastern Kingdom of Women ' and of the ' Kingdom of Women in the Western Sea ', I feel inclined to think that the new designation originated with him.

The text of the Sui shu provides no certain clue for the location of this ' Kingdom of Women '. It lay ' south of the Onion Range ', but this term must certainly be taken here as a very broad designation, and cover at least the western part of the K'un-lun Range. I have no information on the salt trade between that ' Kingdom of Women ' and India. Of more importance is the indication that the ' Kingdom of Women ' more than once fought against India and the Tang-hsiang. India would seem here to mean Kashmir, but the Tang-hsiang carry us much more to the east. The Tang-hsiang, which are the ancestors of the Tangutan tribes of Kan-su, were of the same stock and, to a great extent, the descendants of the earlier Ch'iang, and, c. 600, lived on the western borders of Kan-su and Ssû-ch'uan. Their many tribes included, among others, the Po-lang or White

Wolves, and all described themselves as having a monkey ancestry (0 fiwfig'   ff Sui shu,
83, 2 b). Their wandering tribes could spread far enough towards the west; the Sui shu (followed by Chiu T'ang shu, 198, 1 b) gives as their western limit « [the territory of] the yeh-hu », i. e. the yabyu, which means the sovereign of the ' Western T'u-chüeh ' (Turks). But this can be accepted only inasmuch as the sway of the yabyu extended over Chinese Turkestan, and it was certainly not in the north-western part of Tibet that the Tang-hsiang could come into conflict with the ' Kingdom of Women '. Consequently, the ' Kingdom of Women ', i. e. the Suvarnagotra or Su-p'i, seems to have covered a large area in the central part of northern Tibet ; and there may be some foundation in Hsüan-tsang's statement that it was « extended from east to west, but narrow from north to south ».

Apart from the clan name Su-p'i, and the title Chin-chü of the husband of the woman king, the only native name of the ' Kingdom of Women ' occurring in the Sui shu is the ' appellation'

of the woman king, that is to say, in the present case, her real name, transcribed *   Mo-chieh
(*Muât-kjät). This must have begun with ma° or bao, but -t- may render -t-, -d-, -r-, -1-; *Markar or *Bal-kar are only two possible forms out of many.

Other features in the notice, like the many-storeyed houses, the polyandry and the painted faces, point to Tibetan habits; and so does the use of monkeys in sacrifice, also attested for the Tibetans proper (T'u-fan) in Chiu T'ang shu, 196A, 1 a; the Tibetans, like the Tang-hsiang, had the tradition of a monkey ancestry. It must be admitted, however, that the clan name Su-p'i and the title Chin-chü are the only direct connection between this ' Kingdom of Women ' and the kingdom of Su-p'i or Sum-pa on the one hand, and the Suvarnagotra or ' Gold Race ' on the other. The Chiu T'ang shu and the Hsin T'ang shu do not allude to the ' Kingdom of Women ' when speaking of the Kingdom of Su-p'i, and the names of the sovereigns never coincide. Moreover, the Tibetan texts published by THOMAS leave no doubt that, for the Tibetans, the Gold Race and the Sum-pa were two different countries.

But who were the Su-p'i (Supiya, etc.) or Sum-pa? THOMAS holds them to have been originally Hsiung-nu, adding that they were of « Sien-pi » origin, and he seems to consider Su-p'i, Sum-pa and « Sien-pi » as different forms of one and the same name; at the time of the events narrated in

the prophecies, their name would have been inherited by Qarluq Turks. The If   Hsien-pei