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0122 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 122 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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in my opinion, by the fact that both Hsüan-tsang and Hui-ch'ao speak of it not in their notices on Kashmir and on the regions in the north-west of it, but when they are in the upper basin of the Ganges. This does not mean, however, that I am tempted, with FRANCKE and HERRMANN, to locate the Suvarnagotra at Rudok : although Rudok may have formed part of it, the extent and the seat of the kingdom remain undetermined.

Either the Suvarnagotra or the Su-p'i (Sum-pa) may have been the Strirajya of Indian history

and legend, but, as we have seen, the Suvarnagotra (gSer-rigs) and the Sum-pa are clearly differentiated in Tibetan prophecies. But these prophecies are retrospective and reflect conditions which prevailed in T'ang times. The Shih-chia fang-chih says that the Suvarnagotra or ' Eastern Kingdom of Women ' was the same as Great Yang-t'ung and that an authoritative historical text locates Great Yang-t'ung near the sources of the Huang-ho. We may suppose that, at an early stage of the Tibetan advance, the old ' Kingdom of Women ' split into several parts, and that, while some of its tribes remained south of the Kökö-nör, the central ones formed the restricted Su-p'i kingdom of Central Tibet, and the western ones Great Yang-t'ung.

On the location of the Su-p'i kingdom of the 7th-8th cents., the itineraries translated above afford

fairly precise information, at least for its north-eastern and south-western frontiers. In the notice of the Hsin T'ang shu on the To-mi, we are expressly told that the To-mi lived on the banks of the Yak River, i. e. the Murus usu ; but the itineraries show that they remained on the northern bank of the river. The southern bank at least was in the territory of the Su-p'i, which extented west (read « south-west ») to the Hu-mang Gorge. The original form of Hu-mang is not ascertained. The same characters hu-mang (*kuat-mdng or *yuat-mdng) are used in the Hsin T'ang shu (221 B, 8 a; cf. LAUFER, Sino-Iranica, 385) to render the Middle Persian name of the date fruit, Pers. hurmâ, but the transcription, somewhat abnormal, may have been influenced by the name of the Hu-mang Gorge; in any case, there can be no question of « dates » in Central Tibet. The main itinerary gives 1 390 li from the Yak River to the stage (i) north of the Hu-mang Gorge, and 1 140 li from it to Lhasa. The Hu-mang Gorge, to which the Tibetans came to meet a Chinese princess, can only be either the Dan-la or the « Ta-tsang-la ». With due allowance for the relative value of the estimates of distance in the text, it seems almost certain that it is the « Ta-tsang-la » which was known under the T'ang dynasty as the Hu-mang Gorge; consequently, the Su-p'i kingdom of the 8th cent. must have extended from the Murus usu in the north-east to the «Ta-tsang-la» in the south-west. This at least is a fairly safe solution, perhaps the only one in a most complicated problem, rendered more obscure by the vagueness and the contradictory statements of the various sources. I hardly need say that the above discussion cannot be considered as final ; it is primarily meant as a repertory of information

and an incentive for further research.

A few more words remain to be said about the Jo-shui, or « Weak Water », « Weak River », which

has been mentioned above in connection both with the K'un-lun and with the ' Eastern Kingdom of Women '. The name already occurs in the Tribute of Yii of the Shu ching, then in the romanced Mu t'ien-tzû chuan, and later in cosmogonie works like Huai-nan-tzü's chapter Ti-hsing hsün

(cf. ERKES, in Ostasiat. Zeitschr., v, 46, 72) and the Shan-hai ching; the Shuo wen writes   4 Ni-
shui, « Drowning water », which may represent the original word intended, but has not prevailed. As far as I know, the earliest datable text in which the traditional explanation of the name occurs is Kuo