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0124 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 124 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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sur les Tou-kiue, 153, 154, 313). But the Central Asiatic ' Kingdom of Women ' itself, vaguely located in the region of the K'un-lun, had been also associated with the « Weak Water »; as for example in the text of undetermined origin which was used in 736 A. D. by Chang Shou-chieh (cf. supra, p. 696). We find the same association in the notice on the 'Eastern Kingdom of Women ' of the Chiu T'ang shu, where we are told that, in that kingdom, there is the « Weak Water », which flows to the south, and is crossed by means of boats made of ox hide (this disposes of HIRTH'S attempt, China and the Roman Orient, 291, 293, to connect the use of these boats on the «Weak River» with the skin-boats of the Euphrates; HIRTH knew neither the date of the statement, nor the region to which it referred). In the same notice, we also hear of a petty ' King of the Weak Water ', who submitted to the Governor General of Ssû-cifuan in 793, and the text adds that the ' King of the Weak Water ' was the head of what had been known as the ' Weak Water tribe of the Kingdom of Women ' in the beginning of the T'ang dynasty. In the ' King of the Weak Water ' of 793, we have undoubtedly to deal with a tribe located not in the region of the K'un-lun Mountains, but to the north-east of Tibet, on the borders of Ssû-ch'uan. Unfortunately, I can find no other information on the ' Weak Water tribe of the Kingdom of Women ' of early T'ang days, and am not in a position to say whether and how it may be connected with the « Weak Water » and the ' Kingdom of Women' of the source used by Chang Shou-chieh. Theoretically, in the case of the western borders of Ssû-

ch'uan, one might think of an occasional confusion of the   4 Jo (*Nziak)-shui, « Weak Water »,
with the Z, 4C Jo (* Nziak)-shui, « Jo Water », our Ya-lung, the great left affluent of the upper Yangtzû; but in the texts I do not find any support for such a hypothesis.

The tradition of a Central Asiatic ' Kingdom of Women ', which was not only a kingdom ruled by women, long survived in Mussulman countries. I do not know of any original text on the subject, but the following paragraph in Clavijo (SREZNEVSKIÏ ed. 334-335; LE STRANGE transi., 293-294) certainly rests, apart perhaps from the last sentences, on a legend heard on the spot : « Fifteen days from the city of Samarkand, in the direction of Catay (= China), there is a country which was that of the Amazons, and to our day they maintain the custom not to have men with them. Only at a certain season of the year, they have permission from their elders, take their daughters with them and go to the countries and places thereto adjacent. When the men see them, they invite them, and they go with the ones they like best, eat and drink with them, remain there some time eating and drinking, and afterwards they return to their own country. If they give birth to daughters, they keep them with them; if they give birth to sons, they send them to the place where the fathers are. These women are under the sovereignty of Tamurbec (Tamerlane), although [formerly] they used to be under the sovereignty of Catay. They are Christians of the Greek faith. They are of the lineage of the Amazons who were in Troy when the Greeks destroyed it; in Troy there were two tribes of Amazons; one was from the country of Turquia (Turkey, in Asia Minor), and the other was this one.» Clavijo stayed in Samarkand in 1404.

As late as the second half of the 18th cent., the Kingdom of Women and that of the Dogs still appear side by side in the last section of the Hsi-yü wên-chien lu or Hsi-yü so-t'an, a work devoted to Chinese Turkestan, and to a great extent based on local information.