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0260 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.2 / Page 260 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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856   362TINGIU

a designation explains the error Ibn Battütah makes when he says (iv, 256) that porcelain is made in China only at Zâitûn (= Ch'üan-chou) and at Sinkälân (= Canton); he mistook the ports of export for the places where the wares were manufactured.

Fortunately, another Chinese work, the Tao-i chih-lio of 1349-1350, gives a more precise indication: in five cases, it speaks of « porcelain of Ch'u-chou », or of « porcelain of Ch'u[-chou] », or of « green porcelain of Ch'u[-chou] » (cf. ROCKHILL, in TP, 1915, 112, 132, 136, 147, 271). The place-name is well known; it is 1 )4] frf Ch'u-chou-fu in Chê-chiang, the prefecture to which the hsien of Lung-ch'üan belonged. It has been commonly believed, on the authority of the Chingtê-chên t'ao lu (6, 6 a, which in fact repeats the words of the T'ao-shuo, 1914 ed., 2, 9 a), that the Lung-ch'üan factories were moved to Ch'u-chou-fu at the beginning of the Ming dynasty (cf. JULIEN, Hist. et fabrication, 30; HIRTH, Ancient Porcelain, 36), and ROCKHILL, because of the texts of the Tao-i chih-lio, remarked that the factories must have been moved at an earlier date (TP, 1915, 112). This is certainly a grievous error. JULIEN'S and HIRTH'S opinion merely follows a tradition which may be valueless, and the work may have gone on at Lung-ch'üan well into the middle of the Ming dynasty. There is in Sir Percival DAVID'S collection a celadon libation cup bearing on

one side the inscription    , « Libation vessel of the Confucian College of the

district of Lung-ch'üan », and on the other, i;1,   A ;L « Established (li) in the third

month of the fourth year of Hung-chih (1491) ». It may have been made at Ch'u-chou-fu, though it may just as well have been made at Lung-ch'üan. As a matter of fact, the Lung-ch'üan hsien chih, 3, 18 b, speaks of porcelain manufactured at Lung-ch'üan in 1436-1449, and even as late as 1465-1505. Moreover, even when the celadon wares were still manufactured at Lung-ch'üan, they could very well have been, and were in fact, commonly known under the name of the prefectural city. This was positively stated in the revised Ko-ku yao-lun of 1459 (end of ch. 7) : « The old Lung-ch'üan ware... is now called Ch'u-ch'i [Ware of Ch'u-Chou-fu] or Ch'ing-ch'i [Green ware] » (HIRTH, Ancient Porcelain, 34). In any case, what is of interest for us is to find the name « Ch'uchou porcelain » used as an adequate designation of celadon half a century after Polo. We have seen that Polo's porcelain must be celadon. Now, the most frequent clerical errors in mediaeval manuscripts are the confusion of t and c and that of n and u. Ch'u-chou ought to be *Ciugiu in Polo's system of transcribing Chinese names. I have no doubt that « Tingiu » has been altered from *Ciugiu = Ch'u-chou[-fu]; but the corruption, at least that of c- to t-, must have occurred in the archetype of all our manuscripts.

The word « porcellaine » is employed by Polo in its two meanings of « shell » (cowry) and of

« china » (a third meaning, « purslane », < Fr. « pourcelaine » < It. « porcellana », occurs in Pegolotti [EVANS, 427], and may partly account for some of the corruptions of the Mss. in Polo's chapter on « Lochac »; cf. Vol. i, 369). It is borrowed from the Italian porcellana (and porcelletta), a derivative form of the word porcella, « sow ». The sense of « shell » is of course the more ancient. Polo's

text is up to the present the earliest where the word occurs with an unambiguous meaning of « china » (cf. YULE, Hobson-Jobson2, 725; HEYD, Hist. du commerce, II, 678-680). With Polo's French text in front of us, we cannot but feel some amazement when we read in BLOCH, Dict. étymol. de la langue française, II, 171, that the meaning of « white pottery imported from the East » was evolved only in the 16th cent.