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0125 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 125 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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In the Chiu T'ang shu, it is said that the Eastern Kingdom of Women ' bordered on the south-

east on Ya-chou (south-west of Ch'êng-tu), and was conterminous to the   Lo-nü Man and the
Po-lang (or «White Wolf») Barbarians. The Po-lang are known from other texts, and are to be located on the south-western border of Ssû-ch'uan. The case of the Lo-nü Man is more difficult. In principle, Man is the designation of tribes of southern China which are not of Tibetan origin : Lolo, Nan-chao, the modern Yao who claim descent from P'an-hu, etc. ; most of them lived or live in Yunnan, Kuei-chou and Tongking. Lo-nü seems to mean « Lo girl », « Lo woman », Lo (*LA) alone being a transcription, and there are, from T'ang times down to the late Middle Ages, many mentions of a

tribe or kingdom of the Lo (*LA) or   j1 Lo-shih (« Lo clan »). Among the ancient Pan-tun Man
(« Board-shield Man »; cf. supra, p. 679), there were five leading clans, the first of which was the Lo clan (cf. D'HERVEY DE SAINT-DENYS, Ethnographie, Méridionaux, 56); in the middle of the 13th cent., we still hear of the Lolo Lo-pu, or « Lo tribe », the ancient seat of which was consequently called Lo-pu, between Ta-li and Yün-nan-fu. But I am not prepared to propose a precise identification for the « Lo-women Man », and only wish to draw attention to the fact that the occurrence of in the name suggests a rendering «Lo-women Man », i. e. seems to imply the notion of a Kingdom of Women ». This may be the ' Kingdom of Women ' west of the Pan-tun Man alluded to in the Liang ssû kung chi.

The tradition that one or several ` Kingdoms of Women ' existed in Yün-nan or in Indo-China cannot be doubted. The Man shu, written in 864, describes in several paragraphs the countries surrounding the Nan-chao kingdom of Yün-nan. One of them (44 b) is devoted to the kingdom

of r§4   Yeh-pan (*Ia-puân), lying north of the Nan-chao, in which women had sexual intercourse
only with demons (kuei; cf. also T'ai-p'ing yü-lan, 789, 18 b); this would seem to connect the tradition concerning this kingdom with the tale of women having intercourse with demons in the account of the `Kingdom of Women' in Indonesia; but I think that the real connection is rather with the later ` demon priests ' of the Lolo. Another paragraph concerns the ` Kingdom of the Woman King ' (Nu-wang kuo) ; this passage is also cited in T'ai-p'ing yti-lan, 787, 19 a, as drawn from the Nan-i chih, « Description of the Southern Barbarians », which is the title under which the T'aip'ing yü-lan cites the Man shu. The text is the following : « The Kingdom of the Woman King is more than thirty days distant from the [seat of the] southern governor (j a g chên-nan chieh-tu) of the territory of the Man (i. e. of the Nan-chao Kingdom; the seat of this southern governor of the Nan-chao probably was in the region of P'u-êrh or of Ssû-mao; cf. H. MASPERO, in BEFEO, XVIII, III, 32). This kingdom is ten days (erroneously « ten months » in T'ai-p'ing yü-lan) from , Jl] Huan-chou (in the modern province of Nghê-an in northern Annam, perhaps at the village of Nhan-thâp; cf. BEFEO, IV, 183-184; XVIII, III, 30), and often engages in trade with the people of Huan-chou. The Man robbers (Man-tsei, i. e. the Nan-chao) once led a punitive expedition of 20,000 men against that kingdom, but were hit by the poisonous arrows of the Woman King; not one out of ten remained; whereupon the Man robbers retired. » According to MASPERO (lot. tit., 32), the ' Kingdom of the Woman King ' must have been either a Tâi (Thai) tribe or a