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0126 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 126 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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Kha tribe of Hua-phan or of the southern border of the Sip-song-phan-na. Some connection is not impossible with the kingdom of Pa-pai hsi-fu, « Eight hundred Wives », of early Ming times.

The It ç;   Tu-yang tsa-pien, written by g,; ;1,5 Su r: in the last quarter of the 9th cent.,
contains the following paragraph (Hsüeh-chin t'ao-yüan ed., 3rd ch., 4-5; except the final note, it has been copied in T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi, 480, 5) : « In the beginning of the ta-chung [years] (847859), the ` Kingdom of the Women-Man ' (Nü-man kuo) offered in tribute a pair of dragon-rhino-

ceroses (   J shuang lung-hsi; I do not know the term, but I do not think that it is possible
to understand the text as meaning « a pair of dragons and [a pair of] rhinoceroses »). The scales, the bristles, the claws and the horns of the two dragons were entirely covered with a brilliant reddish

brocade, which was said to be made by refining ' water scented hemp ' (   iJ   gti lien shui-
hsiang-ma; lien means « to melt », « to refine by fire »; shui-ma is Lycoris radiata; hsiang-ma is either Hibiscus cannabinus or Andropogon schoenanthus; but I do not know shui-hsiang-ma); its brilliancy was dazzling (the text is here better in T'ai-p'ing kuang-chi) and its fragrant smell clung to people; the five colours were mixed in it; it was of more exquisite beauty than Chinese brocade. The people of that kingdom do up their hair in a high knot with a golden crown, and

their bodies are covered with necklaces; so they have been called   P'u-sa Man (« Man [orna-
mented like] p'u-sa [i. e. bodhisattva] »). On that occasion, singing actors made the ' song (ch'ü) of the P'u-sa Man ', for which many writers made poems (51 tz' ü). Moreover, the ' Kingdom of

the Woman King ' (Nu-wang kuo) offered in tribute ` dragon-oil damask ' (f   lung-yu-ling)

and ' fish-oil brocade '   yü-yu chin), the designs and colours of which were most extra-

ordinary. When dipped into water, they did not become wet, which was said to be on account of the dragon-oil and fish-oil. Actors also made the ` Song of the Kingdom of the Woman King ' ; the tune was pleasant and has remained in use at the Bureau of Music (yo pu). » A final note recalls the ` Kingdom of the Woman King ' mentioned by the Hou-Han shu in the north-eastern sea, and the six ` Kingdoms of Women ' of the Liang ss ei kung chi. A shorter version of the offering

of the ` dragon-oil damask ', occurring in a Sung work entitled jj   Nan-pu hsin-shu

(sect.   hsin, 11 a, in the Yüeh-ya-t'ang ts'ung-shu ed.), is clearly taken from the Tu-yang tsa-


The Tu-yang tsa-pien is a work of mirabilia, crammed with anachronical dates and fictitious names of countries; it has long been accepted, however, and is still adduced as authority in the Tz' ü yüan, for determining the date at which the ` Song of the P'u-sa Man ' was created and, as a consequence, for disputing the authenticity of the song of that title which occurs in the works of Li Po (Li T'ai-po) a century earlier. But WANG Kuo-wei was certainly right when he maintained (Kuan-t'ang chi-lin, 21, 7-8) that the tune known as the `Song of the P'u-sa Man' already existed in the second quarter of the 8th cent. Two Western scholars, MAYERS and HIRTH, have spoken of the P'u-sa Man, and both have been very unfortunate. MAYERS (Chinese Reader's Manual, No. 566) has

said that the proper form was 4   P'u-sa man, « Bodhisattva garlands », but all ancient texts
give the same P'u-sa Man as the Tu-yang tsa-pien, and this is confirmed by Mss. of the 9th cent. recovered from Tun-huang. As to HIRTH (HR, 16), he found in the P'ing-chou k'o-t'an (2, 4 b), written c. 1120, the following passage : ((The Bureau of Music (yo fu) has the `P'u-sa Man [song]', and I did not know what it meant. When I was in Canton, I saw that the Barbarian wives (Fan fu)