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0238 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 238 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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834   339. SINGIU MATU

road to which the digression has been attached. It is not even certain that, in such cases, the mentions of « south-east » are due to Polo at all, and « yseloc » is not given in connection with « Singiu » in all Mss. Whatever the case may be, Polo's real itinerary was certainly from Yang-chou to Kuachou, with a textual digression from Yang-chou made in order to speak of «Singiu» (= I-chêng).

I-chêng received the name of Chên-chou in 1013, became a chün in 1117, but was again made a chou a little later; it was always under the name of Chên-chou that the place was the seat of various

administrations during the Yüan dynasty. The name of   4 I-chên (changed to a is I-chêng
in 1723 on account of a taboo), with the lower status of hsien, dates only from 1369 (YS, 59, 9 b; Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chili, 66, map, 2 a; text, 1 b).

It is at « Singiu » (= I-chêng) that Polo gives his description of the navigation on the Yangtzû, and this can be accounted for by the fact that I-chêng was in itself a much more important centre than Kua-chou where Polo's party, with « Cocacin », actually crossed the river. But the real motive of Polo's digression was the importance of the salt gabelle at I-chêng. So we have three cases in which, between Cho-chou and the Yang-tzû, Polo goes out of his way to speak of other places of which he plainly has personal knowledge, « Cianglu » (Ch'ang-lu), « Cingiu » (< *Caigiu, Hai-chou = Hai-mên) and « Singiu » (Chên-chou = I-chêng), these three places being important gabelle centres. From this fact, the inference may be drawn that Polo's services with Qubilai were in all probability, for a great and perhaps for the greatest part, connected with the salt gabelle. And when Polo speaks of his three years' tenure of office at Yang-chou, I should not be surprised if his had been indeed an office in the salt administration.

Some details about the salt-trade at I-chêng in the Mongol period are given in Ch, ni, 45.


cinguy matu, siguy matu FA

sainguy matu FAt

segui V

sighui TA3

sigumatu VBr

sinçumatu, singçumatu Z

(c. 135)

singiu F, Ft singiu matu F, L, VA singni TA' singrimata P singui Fr, LT singuimata Pr

singuimatu VL; R singuinatu, singul VB singuy FB, FBt singuy matu FA, FB ymgay G

This is certainly 1.h ~'JJ , Fl A Hsin-chou ma-t'ou, « the Port of Hsin-chou »; the long adverse argument in Ch, III, 15-21, is sheer nonsense. It may be also, as generally assumed, Odoric's « Suçumato », etc. (read « *Sinçumato »?); cf. Y', rr, 214-215; Wy, 471. Ma-fou means «quay », « river-port », and is of common use; Ragidu-'d-Din knows of it and says that in China, ports and quays are called , . matu (BI, ii, 469; batu in JA, xi, 1824, 352, is merely a misreading); for the use of names with ma-t'ou in Yüan nomenclature, cf. for instance TP, 1915, 398, or YS, 64, 6 b. Roughly speaking, Hsin-chou ma-t'ou corresponds to the modern Chi-ning; it is, and was already