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0160 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 160 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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756   263. JAVA

port that ships took their course towards Java. That Java is really meant results from the indications of Polo about the wealth of the island, its great richness, the number of foreign ships which go there, and the fact that there reigns a great king, absolutely independant from the Great Khan. It is well-known that shortly after Polo's passage towards the West, Qubilai, in 1292-1293, tried to conquer Java, and failed; but, contrary to what has been sometimes supposed, there is no allusion to that campaign in Polo's narrative.

In 1904 (BEFEO, iv, 265-306), I discussed in some detail the names and the mentions of Java in Chinese texts from the beginning of our era to the 14th cent. Many partial contributions have appeared since, due to MIRTH, ROCKHILL, ROUFFAER, FERRAND, CŒDLS; GERINI is of no value. On the whole, I can still adhere to my former conclusions, at least as far as the names are concerned;

but the use of the name « Java » (in Chinese IN   Shê-p'o ; there is no ambiguity in the use of
Chao-wa > Kua-wa in the Mongol period and later) may in some cases have been transferred by Chinese to the South-Eastern part of Sumatra (as it is certainly the case in Arabic texts) or even to some place on the continent. Both transcriptions occur in YS (cf. BEFEO, iv, 320). It would require a whole monograph to state all the facts clearly, and I shall only call attention here to two minor points.

10 In BEFEO, iv, 266, I proposed to see Yavadvipa, « Yava Island » (whether it be Java or Sumatra) in the Kingdom of It,f,PJ Yeh-t'iao, an embassy of which reached China in the beginning of 132 A. D., and this restitution has been generally accepted; it is of importance as testifying already to an Indian nomenclature in Java not found only in Indian or Western sources. The king who sent the embassy is called f Pien. FERRAND (JA, 1916, it, 521, 530; 1918, II, 107; 1919, 455-456) has read this last name , jf f T'iao-pien, which he thinks is certainly a transcription of Devavarman (this has passed into DAMES, Barbosa, II, 192). But he is probably wrong. T'iao, given in one of the texts only, must be interpolated from Yeh-t'iao, and pien (*b'ian), which never ended in -m, cannot be considered as a probable transcription of -varman or of a Prâkrit form of -varman.

20 Ibn Battûtah speaks of a country of *~ JA Mul-iâwa (Fe, 427, 445, 446, 450), and in terms which have led to believe that it was on the continent (the Krah Isthmus for GERINI, Researches, 517; « somewhere on the coast of the Gulf of Siam », says YULE, Y, II, 349). But Wassâf (cf. Hat, 44) describes the expedition sent by Qubilai in 1292 to ,I, JY Mal-Câwah (read Mûl-Jâwah), and there is not the slightest doubt that, for the Persian historian, Mal-Jàwa is our island of Java. We must of course give more credit to Wassâf, a redundant, but accurate, historian; in Ibn Battûtah's wrong use of the name, we have only one more illustration of the fictitious character of his journey beyond India. Rasidu-'d-Din, when speaking of Qubilai's expedition (Bl, II, 452), simply uses Jâwah. The word mu/ (or mû1), which forms the first component of Mal-Jâwah, has been studied by FERRAND in JA, 1924, I, 222-230, who thinks it of Iranian origin; but it seems to me to be on a par with the -bar of Malabar, Zanzibar, etc., and I do not exclude the possibility that the terms may have originated among Tamil seamen. In any case, Mûl-Jâwah must have been, among Indian and Arabo-Persian seamen, a designation of Java proper.