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0258 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 258 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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854   362. TINGIU

hsien north-east of Ch'üan-chou and a well-known centre for the manufacture of white porcelain. The same solution is adopted by ARNAIZ (TP, 1911, 688), in reply to PHILLIPS who had once more thought of the region around Chang-chou (see « Çaiton »). CHARIGNON (Ch, III, 118-119), bent on a de facto identification with Ching-tê-chên, corrected « Tiungui » to « Ciungui », and saw in « Ciungui » a transcription of tt. 'JJ Hung-chou, another name of Nan-ch'ang, the capital of the province in which Ching-tê-chên is located. But Hung-chou is an obsolete name of T'ang times; in the Yüan period, Nan-ch'ang was called Lung-hsing, which was the name known to foreigners like Ragidu-'d-Din and Wa§sâf (see « Çaiton »); Hung-chou is therefore out of the question.

The identification with Tê-hua was rejected by HIRTH (Ancient Porcelain, Leipzig and Munich, 1888, 44) because, according to the Ching-tê-chên t'ao lu (1891 ed., 7, 13 b), quoted in JuLIEN's Histoire et fabrication de la porcelaine chinoise, p. 29, the manufacture of porcelain at Tê-hua began only in the Ming dynasty. The same objection is repeated by CHARIGNON (Ch, III, 118). I do not think it carries great weight, as recent information as to the Ming date of the manufacture of porcelain at Tê-hua seems to be contradicted by Sung and Yüan fragments of Tê-hua ware found in Fu-chien as well as in the Near East.

But while so many others were allured by Ching-tê-chên's comparatively late fame, HIRTH was the first to bring into the case the name of the great centre where was manufactured the ware most extensively exported in the Middle Ages, i. e. f a Lung-ch'iian in the southern corner of Chê-chiang, the motherland of the famous « celadon ». As some clue was to be found for « Tingui » (RAMuslo's form), HIRTH attempted to derive it from A J1i Chien-ch'uan, one of the names by which Lung-ch'üan was called in Sung times.

I do not think that Chien-ch'uan was a happy suggestion as an etymology of « Tingui »; in such a case we should expect something like *Camcian or *Camcion. Moreover Lung-ch'üan was only called Chien-ch'uan from 1120 to 1131 (Sung shih, 88, 2 b; or 1122-1131 according to Lungch'iian hsien chih, 1878 ed., I, 2 a), and there is very little chance that the latter short-lived name should have survived in current speech in the Mongol period. Its use in the inscription on a vase of 1327 in the collection of Sir Percival DAVID (HOBSON, A Catalogue of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain, 1934, p. 52) is of an archaistic and bookish character, as is shown by the use in the same inscription of an obsolete name for Ch'u-chou-fu. Nevertheless, HIRTH had hit the mark as to the place, if not as to the name. I have no doubt that the ware described by Polo is Lung-ch'üan celadon.

It might be objected that Polo seems to locate his « Tingiu », or whatever the true form of the name may be, in the same province as Fu-chou, whereas Lung-ch'üan belonged in his time to the « moving shêng » of Chiang-chê and still forms part of Chê-chiang. But such an objection would apply to an even greater degree to faraway Ching-tê-chên, while Lung-ch'ünn at least borders on Fu-chien. Polo had not been to « Tingiu », and might well have assigned it to the Fu-chien province if from « Tingiu » the ware came direct to Ch'üan-chou; and this we know to be the case.

Apart from an instinctive feeling that celadon must be meant, HIRTH was guided in his identification by a sentence peculiar to RAMuSIO, which has been incorporated in BENEDETTO'S text (cf. RR, 264; Bi, 274), and is given in a note of the present translation. The text is certainly puzzling, to such a point that BENEDETTO, having now two mentions of « Tingiu », wonders whether they