The Travels of Marco Polo/Book 1/Chapter 61
Of the City of Chandu, and the Kaan's Palace There. 
And when you have ridden three days from the city last mentioned, between north-east and north, you come to a city called CHANDU, which was built by the Kaan now reigning. There is at this place a very fine marble Palace, the rooms of which are all gilt and painted with figures of men and beasts and birds, and with a variety of trees and flowers, all executed with such exquisite art that you regard them with delight and astonishment.
Round this Palace a wall is built, inclosing a compass of 16 miles, and inside the Park there are fountains and rivers and brooks, and beautiful meadows, with all kinds of wild animals (excluding such as are of ferocious nature), which the Emperor has procured and placed there to supply food for his gerfalcons and hawks, which he keeps there in mew. Of these there are more than 200 gerfalcons alone, without reckoning the other hawks. The Kaan himself goes every week to see his birds sitting in mew, and sometimes he rides through the park with a leopard behind him on his horse's croup; and then if he sees any animal that takes his fancy, he slips his leopard at it, and the game when taken is made over to feed the hawks in mew. This he does for diversion.
Moreover [at a spot in the Park where there is a charming wood] he has another Palace built of cane, of which I must give you a description. It is gilt all over, and most elaborately finished inside. [It is stayed on gilt and lackered columns, on each of which is a dragon all gilt, the tail of which is attached to the column whilst the head supports the architrave, and the claws likewise are stretched out right and left to support the architrave.] The roof, like the rest, is formed of canes, covered with a varnish so strong and excellent that no amount of rain will rot them. These canes are a good 3 palms in girth, and from 10 to 15 paces in length. [They are cut across at each knot, and then the pieces are split so as to form from each two hollow tiles, and with these the house is roofed; only every such tile of cane has to be nailed down to prevent the wind from lifting it.] In short, the whole Palace is built of these canes, which (I may mention) serve also for a great variety of other useful purposes. The construction of the Palace is so devised that it can be taken down and put up again with great celerity; and it can all be taken to pieces and removed whithersoever the Emperor may command. When erected, it is braced [against mishaps from the wind] by more than 200 cords of silk.
The Lord abides at this Park of his, dwelling sometimes in the Marble Palace and sometimes in the Cane Palace for three months of the year, to wit, June, July, and August; preferring this residence because it is by no means hot; in fact it is a very cool place. When the 28th day of [the Moon of] August arrives he takes his departure, and the Cane Palace is taken to pieces. But I must tell you what happens when he goes away from this Palace every year on the 28th of the August [Moon].
You must know that the Kaan keeps an immense stud of white horses and mares; in fact more than 10,000 of them, and all pure white without a speck. The milk of these mares is drunk by himself and his family, and by none else, except by those of one great tribe that have also the privilege of drinking it. This privilege was granted them by Chinghis Kaan, on account of a certain victory that they helped him to win long ago. The name of the tribe is HORIAD.
Now when these mares are passing across the country, and any one falls in with them, be he the greatest lord in the land, he must not presume to pass until the mares have gone by; he must either tarry where he is, or go a half-day's journey round if need so be, so as not to come nigh them; for they are to be treated with the greatest respect. Well, when the Lord sets out from the Park on the 28th of August, as I told you, the milk of all those mares is taken and sprinkled on the ground. And this is done on the injunction of the Idolaters and Idol-priests, who say that it is an excellent thing to sprinkle that milk on the ground every 28th of August, so that the Earth and the Air and the False Gods shall have their share of it, and the Spirits likewise that inhabit the Air and the Earth. And thus those beings will protect and bless the Kaan and his children and his wives and his folk and his gear, and his cattle and his horses, his corn and all that is his. After this is done, the Emperor is off and away.
But I must now tell you a strange thing that hitherto I have forgotten to mention. During the three months of every year that the Lord resides at that place, if it should happen to be bad weather, there are certain crafty enchanters and astrologers in his train, who are such adepts in necromancy and the diabolic arts, that they are able to prevent any cloud or storm from passing over the spot on which the Emperor's Palace stands. The sorcerers who do this are called TEBET and KESIMUR, which are the names of two nations of Idolaters. Whatever they do in this way is by the help of the Devil, but they make those people believe that it is compassed by dint of their own sanctity and the help of God. [They always go in a state of dirt and uncleanness, devoid of respect for themselves, or for those who see them, unwashed, unkempt, and sordidly attired.]
These people also have a custom which I must tell you. If a man is condemned to death and executed by the lawful authority, they take his body and cook and eat it. But if any one die a natural death then they will not eat the body.
There is another marvel performed by those BACSI, of whom I have been speaking as knowing so many enchantments. For when the Great Kaan is at his capital and in his great Palace, seated at his table, which stands on a platform some eight cubits above the ground, his cups are set before him [on a great buffet] in the middle of the hall pavement, at a distance of some ten paces from his table, and filled with wine, or other good spiced liquor such as they use. Now when the Lord desires to drink, these enchanters by the power of their enchantments cause the cups to move from their place without being touched by anybody, and to present themselves to the Emperor! This every one present may witness, and there are ofttimes more than 10,000 persons thus present. 'Tis a truth and no lie! and so will tell you the sages of our own country who understand necromancy, for they also can perform it.
And when the Idol Festivals come round, these Bacsi go to the Prince and say: "Sire, the Feast of such a god is come" (naming him). "My Lord, you know," the enchanter will say, "that this god, when he gets no offerings, always sends bad weather and spoils our seasons. So we pray you to give us such and such a number of black-faced sheep," naming whatever number they please. "And we beg also, good my lord, that we may have such a quantity of incense, and such a quantity of lignaloes, and"--so much of this, so much of that, and so much of t'other, according to their fancy--"that we may perform a solemn service and a great sacrifice to our Idols, and that so they may be induced to protect us and all that is ours."
The Bacsi say these things to the Barons entrusted with the Stewardship, who stand round the Great Kaan, and these repeat them to the Kaan, and he then orders the Barons to give everything that the Bacsi have asked for. And when they have got the articles they go and make a great feast in honour of their god, and hold great ceremonies of worship with grand illuminations and quantities of incense of a variety of odours, which they make up from different aromatic spices. And then they cook the meat, and set it before the idols, and sprinkle the broth hither and thither, saying that in this way the idols get their bellyful. Thus it is that they keep their festivals. You must know that each of the idols has a name of his own, and a feast-day, just as our Saints have their anniversaries.
They have also immense Minsters and Abbeys, some of them as big as a small town, with more than two thousand monks (i.e. after their fashion) in a single abbey. These monks dress more decently than the rest of the people, and have the head and beard shaven. There are some among these Bacsi who are allowed by their rule to take wives, and who have plenty of children.
Then there is another kind of devotees called SENSIN, who are men of extraordinary abstinence after their fashion, and lead a life of such hardship as I will describe. All their life long they eat nothing but bran, which they take mixt with hot water. That is their food: bran, and nothing but bran; and water for their drink. 'Tis a lifelong fast! so that I may well say their life is one of extraordinary asceticism. They have great idols, and plenty of them; but they sometimes also worship fire. The other Idolaters who are not of this sect call these people heretics--Patarins as we should say--because they do not worship their idols in their own fashion. Those of whom I am speaking would not take a wife on any consideration. They wear dresses of hempen stuff, black and blue, and sleep upon mats; in fact their asceticism is something astonishing. Their idols are all feminine, that is to say, they have women's names.
Now let us have done with this subject, and let me tell you of the great state and wonderful magnificence of the Great Lord of Lords; I mean that great Prince who is the Sovereign of the Tartars, CUBLAY by name, that most noble and puissant Lord.
- [There were two roads to go from Peking to Shangtu: the eastern road through Tu-shi-k'ow, and the western (used for the return journey) road by Ye-hu ling. Polo took this last road, which ran from Peking to Siuen-te chau through the same places as now; but from the latter town it led, not to Kalgan as it does now, but more to the west, to a place called now Shan-fang pu where the pass across the Ye-hu ling range begins. "On both these roads nabo, or temporary palaces, were built, as resting-places for the Khans; eighteen on the eastern road, and twenty-four on the western." (Palladius, p. 25.) The same author makes (p. 26) the following remarks: "M. Polo's statement that he travelled three days from Siuen-te chau to Chagannor, and three days also from the latter place to Shang-tu, agrees with the information contained in the 'Researches on the Routes to Shangtu.' The Chinese authors have not given the precise position of Lake Chagannor; there are several lakes in the desert on the road to Shangtu, and their names have changed with time. The palace in Chagannor was built in 1280" (according to the Siu t'ung kien).--H. C.]
- Chandu, called more correctly in Ramusio Xandu, i.e. SHANDU, and by Fr. Odorico Sandu, viz. SHANG-TU or "Upper Court," the Chinese title of Kublai's summer residence at Kaipingfu, Mongolice Keibung (see ch. xiii. of Prologue) [is called also Loan king, i.e. "the capital on the Loan River," according to Palladius, p. 26.--H. C.]. The ruins still exist, in about lat. 40 deg. 22', and a little west of the longitude of Peking. The site is 118 miles in direct line from Chaghan-nor, making Polo's three marches into rides of unusual length. The ruins bear the Mongol name of Chao Naiman Sume Khotan, meaning "city of the 108 temples," and are about 26 miles to the north-west of Dolon-nor, a bustling, dirty town of modern origin, famous for the manufactory of idols, bells, and other ecclesiastical paraphernalia of Buddhism. The site was visited (though not described) by Pere Gerbillon in 1691, and since then by no European traveller till 1872, when Dr. Bushell of the British Legation at Peking, and the Hon. T. G. Grosvenor, made a journey thither from the capital, by way of the Nan-kau Pass (supra p. 26), Kalgan, and the vicinity of Chaghan-nor, the route that would seem to have been habitually followed, in their annual migration, by Kublai and his successors.
The deserted site, overgrown with rank weeds and grass, stands but little above the marshy bed of the river, which here preserves the name of Shang- tu, and about a mile from its north or left bank. The walls, of earth faced with brick and unhewn stone, still stand, forming, as in the Tartar city of Peking, a double enceinte, of which the inner line no doubt represents the area of the "Marble Palace" of which Polo speaks. This forms a square of about 2 li (2/3 of a mile) to the side, and has three gates--south, east, and west, of which the southern one still stands intact, a perfect arch, 20 ft. high and 12 ft. wide. The outer wall forms a square of 4 li (1-1/3 mile) to the side, and has six gates. The foundations of temples and palace-buildings can be traced, and both enclosures are abundantly strewn with blocks of marble and fragments of lions, dragons, and other sculptures, testifying to the former existence of a flourishing city, but exhibiting now scarcely one stone upon another. A broken memorial tablet was found, half buried in the ground, within the north-east angle of the outer rampart, bearing an inscription in an antique form of the Chinese character, which proves it to have been erected by Kublai, in honour of a Buddhist ecclesiastic called Yun-Hien. Yun-Hien was the abbot of one of those great minsters and abbeys of Bacsis, of which Marco speaks, and the exact date (no longer visible) of the monument was equivalent to A.D. 1288.
This city occupies the south-east angle of a more extensive enclosure, bounded by what is now a grassy mound, and embracing, on Dr. Bushell's estimate, about 5 square miles. Further knowledge may explain the discrepancy from Marco's dimension, but this must be the park of which he speaks. The woods and fountains have disappeared, like the temples and palaces; all is dreary and desolate, though still abounding in the game which was one of Kublai's attractions to the spot. A small monastery, occupied by six or seven wretched Lamas, is the only building that remains in the vicinity. The river Shangtu, which lower down becomes the Lan [or Loan]-Ho, was formerly navigated from the sea up to this place by flat grain-boats.
[Mgr. de Harlez gave in the T'oung Pao (x. p. 73) an inscription in Chuen character on a stele found in the ruins of Shangtu, and built by an officer with the permission of the Emperor; it is probably a token of imperial favour; the inscription means: Great Longevity.--H. C.]
In the wail which Sanang Setzen, the poetical historian of the Mongols, puts, perhaps with some traditional basis, into the mouth of Toghon Temur, the last of the Chinghizide Dynasty in China, when driven from his throne, the changes are rung on the lost glories of his capital Daitu (see infra, Book II. ch. xi.) and his summer palace Shangtu; thus (I translate from Schott's amended German rendering of the Mongol):
"My vast and noble Capital, My Daitu, My splendidly adorned!
And Thou my cool and delicious Summer-seat, my Shangtu-Keibung!
Ye, also, yellow plains of Shangtu, Delight of my godlike Sires!
I suffered myself to drop into dreams,--and lo! my Empire was gone!
Ah Thou my Daitu, built of the nine precious substances!
Ah my Shangtu-Keibung, Union of all perfections!
Ah my Fame! Ah my Glory, as Khagan and Lord of the Earth!
When I used to awake betimes and look forth, how the breezes blew
loaded with fragrance!
And turn which way I would all was glorious perfection of beauty!
* * * * *
Alas for my illustrious name as the Sovereign of the World!
Alas for my Daitu, seat of Sanctity, Glorious work of the Immortal
All, all is rent from me!"
It was, in 1797, whilst reading this passage of Marco's narrative in old Purchas that Coleridge fell asleep, and dreamt the dream of Kublai's Paradise, beginning:
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred River, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery."
It would be a singular coincidence in relation to this poem were Klaproth's reading correct of a passage in Rashiduddin which he renders as saying that the palace at Kaiminfu was "called Langtin, and was built after a plan that Kublai had seen in a dream, and had retained in his memory." But I suspect D'Ohsson's reading is more accurate, which runs: "Kublai caused a Palace to be built for him east of Kaipingfu, called Lengten; but he abandoned it in consequence of a dream." For we see from Sanang Setzen that the Palaces of Lengten and Kaiming or Shangtu were distinct; "Between the year of the Rat (1264), when Kublai was fifty years old, and the year of the Sheep (1271), in the space of eight years, he built four great cities, viz. for Summer Residence SHANGTU KEIBUNG Kuerdu Balgasun, for Winter Residence Yeke DAITU Khotan, and on the shady side of the Altai (see ch. li. note 3, supra) Arulun TSAGHAN BALGASUN, and Erchuegin LANGTING Balgasun." A valuable letter from Dr. Bushell enables me now to indicate the position of Langtin: "The district through which the river flows eastward from Shangtu is known to the Mongolians of the present day by the name of Lang-tirh (Lang-ting'rh).... The ruins of the city are marked on a Chinese map in my possession Pai-dseng-tzu, i.e. 'White City,' implying that it was formerly an Imperial residence. The remains of the wall are 7 or 8 li in diameter, of stone, and situated about 40 li north-north-west from Dolon-nor."
(Gerbillon in Astley, IV. 701-716; Klaproth, in J. As. ser. II. tom. xi. 345-350; Schott, Die letzten Jahre der Mongolenherrschaft in China (Berl. Acad. d. Wissensch. 1850, pp. 502-503); Huc's Tartary, etc., p. seqq.; Cathay, 134, 261; S. Setzen, p. 115; Dr. S. W. Bushell, Journey outside the Great Wall, in J. R. G. S. for 1874, and MS. notes.)
One of the pavilions of the celebrated Yuen-ming-Yuen may give some idea of the probable style, though not of the scale, of Kublai's Summer Palace.
Hiuen Tsang's account of the elaborate and fantastic ornamentation of the famous Indian monasteries at Nalanda in Bahar, where Mr. Broadley has lately made such remarkable discoveries, seems to indicate that these fantasies of Burmese and Chinese architecture may have had a direct origin in India, at a time when timber was still a principal material of construction there: "The pavilions had pillars adorned with dragons, and posts that glowed with all the colours of the rainbow, sculptured frets, columns set with jade, richly chiselled and lackered, with balustrades of vermilion, and carved open work. The lintels of the doors were tastefully ornamented, and the roofs covered with shining tiles, the splendours of which were multiplied by mutual reflection and from moment to moment took a thousand forms." (Vie et Voyages, 157.)
- [Rubruck says, (Rockhill, p. 248): "I saw also the envoy of a certain Soldan of India, who had brought eight leopards and ten greyhounds, taught to sit on horses' backs, as leopards sit."--H. C.]
- Ramusio's is here so much more lucid than the other texts, that I have adhered mainly to his account of the building. The roof described is of a kind in use in the Indian Archipelago, and in some other parts of Transgangetic India, in which the semi-cylinders of bamboo are laid just like Roman tiles.
Rashiduddin gives a curious account of the way in which the foundations of the terrace on which this palace stood were erected in a lake. He says, too, in accord with Polo: "Inside the city itself a second palace was built, about a bowshot from the first: but the Kaan generally takes up his residence in the palace outside the town," i.e., as I imagine, in Marco's Cane Palace. (Cathay, pp. 261-262.)
["The Palace of canes is probably the Palm Hall, Tsung tien, alias Tsung mao tien, of the Chinese authors, which was situated in the western palace garden of Shangtu. Mention is made also in the Altan Tobchi of a cane tent in Shangtu." (Palladius, p. 27.)--H. C.]
Marco might well say of the bamboo that "it serves also a great variety of other purposes." An intelligent native of Arakan who accompanied me in wanderings on duty in the forests of the Burmese frontier in the beginning of 1853, and who used to ask many questions about Europe, seemed able to apprehend almost everything except the possibility of existence in a country without bamboos! "When I speak of bamboo huts, I mean to say that posts and walls, wall-plates and rafters, floor and thatch, and the withes that bind them, are all of bamboo. In fact, it might almost be said that among the Indo-Chinese nations the staff of life is a bamboo! Scaffolding and ladders, landing-jetties, fishing apparatus, irrigation wheels and scoops, oars, masts, and yards [and in China, sails, cables, and caulking, asparagus, medicine, and works of fantastic art], spears and arrows, hats and helmets, bow, bowstring and quiver, oil-cans, water-stoups and cooking-pots, pipe-sticks [tinder and means of producing fire], conduits, clothes-boxes, pawn-boxes, dinner-trays, pickles, preserves, and melodious musical instruments, torches, footballs, cordage, bellows, mats, paper; these are but a few of the articles that are made from the bamboo;" and in China, to sum up the whole, as Barrow observes, it maintains order throughout the Empire! (Ava Mission, p. 153; and see also Wallace, Ind. Arch. I. 120 seqq.)
- "The Emperor ... began this year (1264) to depart from Yenking (Peking) in the second or third month for Shangtu, not returning until the eighth month. Every year he made this passage, and all the Mongol emperors who succeeded him followed his example." (Gaubil, p. 144.)
["The Khans usually resorted to Shangtu in the 4th moon and returned to Peking in the 9th. On the 7th day of the 7th moon there were libations performed in honour of the ancestors; a shaman, his face to the north, uttered in a loud voice the names of Chingiz Khan and of other deceased Khans, and poured mare's milk on the ground. The propitious day for the return journey to Peking was also appointed then." (Palladius, p. 26.)--H. C.]
- White horses were presented in homage to the Kaan on New Year's Day (the White Feast), as we shall see below. (Bk. II. ch. xv.) Odoric also mentions this practice; and, according to Huc, the Mongol chiefs continued it at least to the time of the Emperor K'ang-hi. Indeed Timkowski speaks of annual tributes of white camels and white horses from the Khans of the Kalkas and other Mongol dignitaries, in the present century. (Huc's Tartary, etc.; Tim. II. 33.)
By the HORIAD are no doubt intended the UIRAD or OIRAD, a name usually interpreted as signifying the "Closely Allied," or Confederates; but Vambery explains it as (Turki) Oyurat, "Grey horse," to which the statement in our text appears to lend colour. They were not of the tribes properly called Mongol, but after their submission to Chinghiz they remained closely attached to him. In Chinghiz's victory over Aung-Khan, as related by S. Setzen, we find Turulji Taishi, the son of the chief of the Oirad, one of Chinghiz's three chief captains; perhaps that is the victory alluded to. The seats of the Oirad appear to have been about the head waters of the Kem, or Upper Yenisei.
In A.D. 1295 there took place a curious desertion from the service of Ghazan Khan of Persia of a vast corps of the Oirad, said to amount to 18,000 tents. They made their way to Damascus, where they were well received by the Mameluke Sultan. But their heathenish practices gave dire offence to the Faithful. They were settled in the Sahil, or coast districts of Palestine. Many died speedily; the rest embraced Islam, spread over the country, and gradually became absorbed in the general population. Their sons and daughters were greatly admired for their beauty. (S. Setz. p. 87; Erdmann, 187; Pallas, Samml. I. 5 seqq.; Makrizi, III. 29; Bretschneider, Med. Res. II. p. 159 seqq.)
[With reference to Yule's conjecture, I may quote Palladius (l.c. p. 27): "It is, however, strange that the Oirats alone enjoyed the privilege described by Marco Polo; for the highest position at the Mongol Khan's court belonged to the Kunkrat tribe, out of which the Khans used to choose their first wives, who were called Empresses of the first ordo."--H. C.]
- Rubruquis assigns such a festival to the month of May: "On the 9th day of the May Moon they collect all the white mares of their herds and consecrate them. The Christian priests also must then assemble with their thuribles. They then sprinkle new cosmos (kumiz) on the ground, and make a great feast that day, for according to their calendar, it is their time of first drinking new cosmos, just as we reckon of our new wine at the feast of St. Bartholomew (24th August), or that of St. Sixtus (6th August), or of our fruit on the feast of St. James and St. Christopher" (25th July). [With reference to this feast, Mr. Rockhill gives (Rubruck, p. 241, note) extracts from Pallas, Voyages, IV. 579, and Professor Radloff, Aus Siberien, I. 378.--H. C.] The Yakuts also hold such a festival in June or July, when the mares foal, and immense wooden goblets of kumiz are emptied on that occasion. They also pour out kumiz for the Spirits to the four quarters of heaven.
The following passage occurs in the narrative of the Journey of Chang Te-hui, a Chinese teacher, who was summoned to visit the camp of Kublai in Mongolia, some twelve years before that Prince ascended the throne of the Kaans:
"On the 9th day of the 9th Moon (October), the Prince, having called his subjects before his chief tent, performed the libation of the milk of a white mare. This was the customary sacrifice at that time. The vessels used were made of birch-bark, not ornamented with either silver or gold. Such here is the respect for simplicity....
"At the last day of the year the Mongols suddenly changed their camping-ground to another place, for the mutual congratulation on the 1st Moon. Then there was every day feasting before the tents for the lower ranks. Beginning with the Prince, all dressed themselves in white fur clothing....
"On the 9th day of the 4th Moon (May) the Prince again collected his vassals before the chief tent for the libation of the milk of a white mare. This sacrifice is performed twice a year."
It has been seen (p. 308) that Rubruquis also names the 9th day of the May moon as that of the consecration of the white mares. The autumn libation is described by Polo as performed on the 28th day of the August moon, probably because it was unsuited to the circumstances of the Court at Cambaluc, where the Kaan was during October, and the day named was the last of his annual stay in the Mongolian uplands.
Baber tells that among the ceremonies of a Mongol Review the Khan and his staff took kumiz and sprinkled it towards the standards. An Armenian author of the Mongol era says that it was the custom of the Tartars, before drinking, to sprinkle drink towards heaven, and towards the four quarters. Mr. Atkinson notices the same practice among the Kirghiz: and I found the like in old days among the Kasias of the eastern frontier of Bengal.
The time of year assigned by Polo for the ceremony implies some change. Perhaps it had been made to coincide with the Festival of Water Consecration of the Lamas, with which the time named in the text seems to correspond. On that occasion the Lamas go in procession to the rivers and lakes and consecrate them by benediction and by casting in offerings, attended by much popular festivity.
Rubruquis seems to intimate that the Nestorian priests were employed to consecrate the white mares by incensing them. In the rear of Lord Canning's camp in India I once came upon the party of his Shutr Suwars, or dromedary-express riders, busily engaged in incensing with frankincense the whole of the dromedaries, which were kneeling in a circle. I could get no light on the practice, but it was very probably a relic of the old Mongol custom. (Rubr. 363; Erman, II. 397; Billings' Journey, Fr. Tr. I. 217; Baber, 103; J. As. ser. V. tom. xi. p. 249; Atk. Amoor, p. 47; J. A. S. B. XIII. 628; Koeppen, II. 313.)
- The practice of weather-conjuring was in great vogue among the Mongols, and is often alluded to in their history.
The operation was performed by means of a stone of magical virtues, called Yadah or Jadah-Tash, which was placed in or hung over a basin of water with sundry ceremonies. The possession of such a stone is ascribed by the early Arab traveller Ibn Mohalhal to the Kimak, a great tribe of the Turks. In the war raised against Chinghiz and Aung Khan, when still allies, by a great confederation of the Naiman and other tribes in 1202, we are told that Sengun, the son of Aung Khan, when sent to meet the enemy, caused them to be enchanted, so that all their attempted movements against him were defeated by snow and mist. The fog and darkness were indeed so dense that many men and horses fell over precipices, and many also perished with cold. In another account of (apparently) the same matter, given by Mir-Khond, the conjuring is set on foot by the Yadachi of Buyruk Khan, Prince of the Naiman, but the mischief all rebounds on the conjurer's own side.
In Tului's invasion of Honan in 1231-1232, Rashiduddin describes him, when in difficulty, as using the Jadah stone with success.
Timur, in his Memoirs, speaks of the Jets using incantations to produce heavy rains which hindered his cavalry from acting against them. A Yadachi was captured, and when his head had been taken off the storm ceased.
Baber speaks of one of his early friends, Khwaja Ka Mulai, as excelling in falconry and acquainted with Yadagari or the art of bringing on rain and snow by means of enchantment. When the Russians besieged Kazan in 1552 they suffered much from the constant heavy rains, and this annoyance was universally ascribed to the arts of the Tartar Queen, who was celebrated as an enchantress. Shah Abbas believed he had learned the Tartar secret, and put much confidence in it. (P. Delia V. I. 869.)
[Grenard says (II. p. 256) the most powerful and most feared of sorcerers [in Chinese Turkestan] is the djaduger, who, to produce rain or fine weather, uses a jade stone, given by Noah to Japhet. Grenard adds (II. 406-407) there are sorcerers (Ngag-pa-snags-pa) whose specialty is to make rain fall; they are similar to the Turkish Yadachi and like them use a stone called "water cristal," chu shel; probably jade stone.
Mr. Rockhill (Rubruck, p. 245, note) writes: "Rashideddin states that when the Urianghit wanted to bring a storm to an end, they said injuries to the sky, the lightning and thunder. I have seen this done myself by Mongol storm-dispellers. (See Diary, 201, 203.) 'The other Mongol people,' he adds, 'do the contrary. When the storm rumbles, they remain shut up in their huts, full of fear.' The subject of storm-making, and the use of stones for that purpose, is fully discussed by Quatremere, Histoire, 438-440." (Cf. also Rockhill, l.c. p. 254.)--H. C.]
An edict of the Emperor Shi-tsung, of the reigning dynasty, addressed in 1724-1725 to the Eight Banners of Mongolia, warns them against this rain-conjuring: "If I," indignantly observes the Emperor, "offering prayer in sincerity have yet room to fear that it may please Heaven to leave MY prayer unanswered, it is truly intolerable that mere common people wishing for rain should at their own caprice set up altars of earth, and bring together a rabble of Hoshang (Buddhist Bonzes) and Taosse to conjure the spirits to gratify their wishes."
["Lamas were of various extraction; at the time of the great assemblies, and of the Khan's festivities in Shangtu, they erected an altar near the Khan's tent and prayed for fine weather; the whistling of shells rose up to heaven." These are the words in which Marco Polo's narrative is corroborated by an eye-witness who has celebrated the remarkable objects of Shangtu (Loan king tsa yung). These Lamas, in spite of the prohibition by the Buddhist creed of bloody sacrifices, used to sacrifice sheep's hearts to Mahakala. It happened, as it seems, that the heart of an executed criminal was also considered an agreeable offering; and as the offerings could be, after the ceremony, eaten by the sacrificing priests, Marco Polo had some reason to accuse the Lamas of cannibalism. (Palladius, 28.)--H. C.]
The practice of weather-conjuring is not yet obsolete in Tartary, Tibet, and the adjoining countries.
Weather-conjuring stories were also rife in Europe during the Middle Ages. One such is conspicuously introduced in connection with a magical fountain in the romance of the Chevalier au Lyon:
"Et s'i pant uns bacins d'or fin
A une si longue chaainne
Qui dure jusqu'a la fontainne,
Lez la fontainne troveras
Un perron tel con tu verras
* * * *
S'au bacin viaus de l'iaue prandre
Et dessor le perron espandre,
La verras une tel tanpeste
Qu'an cest bois ne remandra beste,"
The effect foretold in these lines is the subject of a woodcut illustrating a Welsh version of the same tale in the first volume of the Mabinogion. And the existence of such a fountain is alluded to by Alexander Neckam. (De Naturis Rerum, Bk. II. ch. vii.)
In the Cento Novelle Antiche also certain necromancers exhibit their craft before the Emperor Frederic (Barbarossa apparently): "The weather began to be overcast, and lo of a sudden rain began to fall with continued thunders and lightnings, as if the world were come to an end, and hailstones that looked like steel-caps," etc. Various other European legends of like character will be found in Liebrecht's Gervasius von Tilbury, pp. 147-148.
Rain-makers there are in many parts of the world; but it is remarkable that those also of Samoa in the Pacific operate by means of a rain-stone.
Such weather conjurings as we have spoken of are ascribed by Ovid to Circe:
"Concipit illa preces, et verba venefica dicit;
Ignotosque Deos ignoto carmine adorat,
* * * *
Tunc quoque cantato densetur carmine caelum,
Et nebulas exhalat humus."--Metam. XIV. 365.
And to Medea:--
--"Quum volui, ripis mirantibus, amnes
In fontes rediere suos ... (another feat of the Lamas)
... Nubila pello,
Nubilaque induco; ventos abigoque, vocoque."--Ibid. VII. 199.
And by Tibullus to the Saga (Eleg. I. 2, 45); whilst Empedocles, in verses ascribed to him by Diogenes Laertius, claims power to communicate like secrets of potency:--
"By my spells thou may'st
To timely sunshine turn the purple rains,
And parching droughts to fertilising floods."
(See Cathay, p. clxxxvii.; Erdm. 282; Oppert, 182 seqq.; Erman, I. 153; Pallas, Samml. II. 348 seqq.; Timk. I. 402; J. R. A. S. VII. 305-306; D'Ohsson, II. 614; and for many interesting particulars, Q. R. p. 428 seqq., and Hammers Golden Horde, 207 and 435 seqq.)
- It is not clear whether Marco attributes this cannibalism to the Tibetans and Kashmirians, or brings it in as a particular of Tartar custom which he had forgotten to mention before.
The accusations of cannibalism indeed against the Tibetans in old accounts are frequent, and I have elsewhere (see Cathay, p. 151) remarked on some singular Tibetan practices which go far to account for such charges. Della Penna, too, makes a statement which bears curiously on the present passage. Remarking on the great use made by certain classes of the Lamas of human skulls for magical cups, and of human thigh bones for flutes and whistles, he says that to supply them with these the bodies of executed criminals were stored up of the disposal of the Lamas; and a Hindu account of Tibet in the Asiatic Researches asserts that when one is killed in a fight both parties rush forward and struggle for the liver, which they eat (vol. xv).
[Carpini says of the people of Tibet: "They are pagans; they have a most astonishing, or rather horrible, custom, for, when any one's father is about to give up the ghost, all the relatives meet together, and they eat him, as was told to me for certain." Mr. Rockhill (Rubruck, p. 152, note) writes: "So far as I am aware, this charge [of cannibalism] is not made by any Oriental writer against the Tibetans, though both Arab travellers to China in the ninth century and Armenian historians of the thirteenth century say the Chinese practised cannibalism. The Armenians designate China by the name Nankas, which I take to be Chinese Nan-kuo, 'southern country,' the Manzi country of Marco Polo."--H. C.]
But like charges of cannibalism are brought against both Chinese and Tartars very positively. Thus, without going back to the Anthropophagous Scythians of Ptolemy and Mela, we read in the Relations of the Arab travellers of the ninth century: "In China it occurs sometimes that the governor of a province revolts from his duty to the emperor. In such a case he is slaughtered and eaten. In fact, the Chinese eat the flesh of all men who are executed by the sword." Dr. Rennie mentions a superstitious practice, the continued existence of which in our own day he has himself witnessed, and which might perhaps have given rise to some such statement as that of the Arab travellers, if it be not indeed a relic, in a mitigated form, of the very practice they assert to have prevailed. After an execution at Peking certain large pith balls are steeped in the blood, and under the name of blood-bread are sold as a medicine for consumption. It is only to the blood of decapitated criminals that any such healing power is attributed. It has been asserted in the annals of the Propagation de la Foi that the Chinese executioners of M. Chapdelaine, a missionary who was martyred in Kwang-si in 1856 (28th February), were seen to eat the heart of their victim; and M. Huot, a missionary in the Yun-nan province, recounts a case of cannibalism which he witnessed. Bishop Chauveau, at Ta Ts'ien-lu, told Mr. Cooper that he had seen men in one of the cities of Yun-nan eating the heart and brains of a celebrated robber who had been executed. Dr. Carstairs Douglas of Amoy also tells me that the like practices have occurred at Amoy and Swatau.
[With reference to cannibalism in China see Medical Superstitions an Incentive to Anti-Foreign Riots in China, by D. J. Macgowan, North China Herald, 8th July, 1892, pp. 60-62. Mr. E. H. Parker (China Review, February-March, 1901, 136) relates that the inhabitants of a part of Kwang-si boiled and ate a Chinese officer who had been sent to pacify them. "The idea underlying this horrible act [cannibalism] is, that by eating a portion of the victim, especially the heart, one acquires the valour with which he was endowed." (Dennys' Folk-lore of China, 67.)--H. C.]
Hayton, the Armenian, after relating the treason of a Saracen, called Parwana (he was an Iconian Turk), against Abaka Khan, says: "He was taken and cut in two, and orders were issued that in all the food eaten by Abaka there should be put a portion of the traitor's flesh. Of this Abaka himself ate, and caused all his barons to partake. And this was in accordance with the custom of the Tartars." The same story is related independently and differently by Friar Ricold, thus: "When the army of Abaga ran away from the Saracens in Syria, a certain great Tartar baron was arrested who had been guilty of treason. And when the Emperor Khan was giving the order for his execution the Tartar ladies and women interposed, and begged that he might be made over to them. Having got hold of the prisoner they boiled him alive, and cutting his body up into mince-meat gave it to eat to the whole army, as an example to others." Vincent of Beauvais makes a like statement: "When they capture any one who is at bitter enmity with them, they gather together and eat him in vengeance of his revolt, and like infernal leeches suck his blood," a custom of which a modern Mongol writer thinks that he finds a trace in a surviving proverb. Among more remote and ignorant Franks the cannibalism of the Tartars was a general belief. Ivo of Narbonne, in his letter written during the great Tartar invasion of Europe (1242), declares that the Tartar chiefs, with their dog's head followers and other Lotophagi (!), ate the bodies of their victims like so much bread; whilst a Venetian chronicler, speaking of the council of Lyons in 1274, says there was a discussion about making a general move against the Tartars, "porce qu'il manjuent la char humaine." These latter writers no doubt rehearsed mere popular beliefs, but Hayton and Ricold were both intelligent persons well acquainted with the Tartars, and Hayton at least not prejudiced against them.
The old belief was revived in Prussia during the Seven Years' War, in regard to the Kalmaks of the Russian army; and Bergmann says the old Kalmak warriors confessed to him that they had done what they could to encourage it by cutting up the bodies of the slain in presence of their prisoners, and roasting them! But Levchine relates an act on the part of the Kirghiz Kazaks which was no jest. They drank the blood of their victim if they did not eat his flesh.
There is some reason to believe that cannibalism was in the Middle Ages generally a less strange and unwonted horror than we should at first blush imagine, and especially that it was an idea tolerably familiar in China. M. Bazin, in the second part of Chine Moderne, p. 461, after sketching a Chinese drama of the Mongol era ("The Devotion of Chao-li"), the plot of which turns on the acts of a body of cannibals, quotes several other passages from Chinese authors which indicate this. Nor is this wonderful in the age that had experienced the horrors of the Mongol wars.
That was no doubt a fable which Carpini heard in the camp of the Great Kaan, that in one of the Mongol sieges in Cathay, when the army was without food, one man in ten of their own force was sacrificed to feed the remainder. But we are told in sober history that the force of Tului in Honan, in 1231-1232, was reduced to such straits as to eat grass and human flesh. At the siege of the Kin capital Kaifongfu, in 1233, the besieged were reduced to the like extremity; and the same occurred the same year at the siege of Tsaichau; and in 1262, when the rebel general Litan was besieged in Tsinanfu. The Taiping wars the other day revived the same horrors in all their magnitude. And savage acts of the same kind by the Chinese and their Turk partisans in the defence of Kashgar were related to Mr. Shaw.
Probably, however, nothing of the kind in history equals what Abdallatif, a sober and scientific physician, describes as having occurred before his own eyes in the great Egyptian famine of A.H. 597 (1200). The horrid details fill a chapter of some length, and we need not quote from them.
Nor was Christendom without the rumour of such barbarities. The story of King Richard's banquet in presence of Saladin's ambassadors on the head of a Saracen curried (for so it surely was),--
"soden full hastily
With powder and with spysory,
And with saffron of good colour"--
"A lor cotiaus qu'il ont trenchans et afiles
Escorchoient les Turs, aval parmi les pres.
Voiant Paiens, les ont par pieces decoupes.
En l'iave et el carbon les ont bien quisines,
Volontiers les menjuent sans pain et dessales."
(Della Penna, p. 76; Reinaud, Rel. I. 52; Rennie's Peking, II. 244; Ann. de la Pr. de la F. XXIX. 353, XXI. 298; Hayton in Ram. ch. xvii.; Per. Quat. p. 116; M. Paris, sub. 1243; Mel. Asiat. Acad. St. Petersb. II. 659; Canale in Arch. Stor. Ital. VIII.; Bergm. Nomad. Streifereien, I. 14; Carpini, 638; D'Ohsson, II. 30, 43, 52; Wilson's Ever Victorious Army, 74; Shaw, p. 48; Abdallatif, p. 363 seqq.; Weber, II. 135; Littre, H. de la Langue Franc. I. 191; Gesta Tancredi in Thes. Nov. Anecd. III. 172.)
- Bakhshi is generally believed to be a corruption of Bhikshu, the proper Sanscrit term for a religious mendicant, and in particular for the Buddhist devotees of that character. Bakhshi was probably applied to a class only of the Lamas, but among the Turks and Persians it became a generic name for them all. In this sense it is habitually used by Rashiduddin, and thus also in the Ain Akbari: "The learned among the Persians and Arabians call the priests of this (Buddhist) religion Bukshee, and in Tibbet they are styled Lamas."
According to Pallas the word among the modern Mongols is used in the sense of Teacher, and is applied to the oldest and most learned priest of a community, who is the local ecclesiastical chief. Among the Kirghiz Kazzaks again, who profess Mahomedanism, the word also survives, but conveys among them just the idea that Polo seems to have associated with it, that of a mere conjuror or "medicine-man"; whilst in Western Turkestan it has come to mean a Bard.
The word Bakhshi has, however, wandered much further from its original meaning. From its association with persons who could read and write, and who therefore occasionally acted as clerks, it came in Persia to mean a clerk or secretary. In the Petrarchian Vocabulary, published by Klaproth, we find scriba rendered in Comanian, i.e. Turkish of the Crimea, by Bacsi. The transfer of meaning is precisely parallel to that in regard to our Clerk. Under the Mahomedan sovereigns of India, Bakhshi was applied to an officer performing something like the duties of a quartermaster-general; and finally, in our Indian army, it has come to mean a paymaster. In the latter sense, I imagine it has got associated in the popular mind with the Persian bakhshidan, to bestow, and bakhshish. (See a note in Q. R. p. 184 seqq.; Cathay, p. 474; Ayeen Akbery, III. 150; Pallas, Samml. II. 126; Levchine, p. 355; Klap. Mem. III.; Vambery, Sketches, p. 81.)
The sketch from the life, on p. 326, of a wandering Tibetan devotee, whom I met once at Hardwar, may give an idea of the sordid Bacsis spoken of by Polo.
- This feat is related more briefly by Odoric: "And jugglers cause cups of gold full of good wine to fly through the air, and to offer themselves to all who list to drink." (Cathay, p. 143.) In the note on that passage I have referred to a somewhat similar story in the Life of Apollonius. "Such feats," says Mr. Jaeschke, "are often mentioned in ancient as well as modern legends of Buddha and other saints; and our Lamas have heard of things very similar performed by conjuring Bonpos." (See p. 323.) The moving of cups and the like is one of the sorceries ascribed in old legends to Simon Magus: "He made statues to walk; leapt into the fire without being burnt; flew in the air; made bread of stones; changed his shape; assumed two faces at once; converted himself into a pillar; caused closed doors to fly open spontaneously; made the vessels in a house seem to move of themselves," etc. The Jesuit Delrio laments that credulous princes, otherwise of pious repute, should have allowed diabolic tricks to be played before them, "as, for example, things of iron, and silver goblets, or other heavy articles, to be moved by bounds from one end of a table to the other, without the use of a magnet or of any attachment." The pious prince appears to have been Charles IX., and the conjuror a certain Cesare Maltesio. Another Jesuit author describes the veritable mango-trick, speaking of persons who "within three hours' space did cause a genuine shrub of a span in length to grow out of the table, besides other trees that produced both leaves and fruit."
In a letter dated 1st December, 1875, written by Mr. R. B. Shaw, after his last return from Kashgar and Lahore, this distinguished traveller says; "I have heard stories related regarding a Buddhist high priest whose temple is said to be not far to the east of Lanchau, which reminds me of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. This high priest is said to have the magic power of attracting cups and plates to him from a distance, so that things fly through the air into his hands." (MS. Note.--H. Y.)
The profession and practice of exorcism and magic in general is greatly more prominent in Lamaism or Tibetan Buddhism than in any other known form of that religion. Indeed, the old form of Lamaism as it existed in our traveller's day, and till the reforms of Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), and as it is still professed by the Red sect in Tibet, seems to be a kind of compromise between Indian Buddhism and the old indigenous Shamanism. Even the reformed doctrine of the Yellow sect recognises an orthodox kind of magic, which is due in great measure to the combination of Sivaism with the Buddhist doctrines, and of which the institutes are contained in the vast collection of the Jud or Tantras, recognised among the holy books. The magic arts of this code open even a short road to the Buddhahood itself. To attain that perfection of power and wisdom, culminating in the cessation of sensible existence, requires, according to the ordinary paths, a period of three asankhyas (or say Uncountable Time x 3), whereas by means of the magic arts of the Tantras it may be reached in the course of three rebirths only, nay, of one! But from the Tantras also can be learned how to acquire miraculous powers for objects entirely selfish and secular, and how to exercise these by means of Dharani or mystic Indian charms.
Still the orthodox Yellow Lamas professedly repudiate and despise the grosser exhibitions of common magic and charlatanism which the Reds still practise, such as knife-swallowing, blowing fire, cutting off their own heads, etc. But as the vulgar will not dispense with these marvels, every great orthodox monastery in Tibet keeps a conjuror, who is a member of the unreformed, and does not belong to the brotherhood of the convent, but lives in a particular part of it, bearing the name of Choichong, or protector of religion, and is allowed to marry. The magic of these Choichong is in theory and practice different from the orthodox Tantrist magic. The practitioners possess no literature, and hand down their mysteries only by tradition. Their fantastic equipments, their frantic bearing, and their cries and howls, seem to identify them with the grossest Shamanist devil dancers.
Sanang Setzen enumerates a variety of the wonderful acts which could be performed through the Dharani. Such were, sticking a peg into solid rock; restoring the dead to life; turning a dead body into gold; penetrating everywhere as air does; flying; catching wild beasts with the hand; reading thoughts; making water flow backwards; eating tiles; sitting in the air with the legs doubled under, etc. Some of these are precisely the powers ascribed to Medea, Empedocles, and Simon Magus, in passages already cited. Friar Ricold says on this subject: "There are certain men whom the Tartars honour above all in the world, viz. the Baxitae (i.e. Bakhshis), who are a kind of idol-priests. These are men from India, persons of deep wisdom, well-conducted, and of the gravest morals. They are usually acquainted with magic arts, and depend on the counsel and aid of demons; they exhibit many illusions, and predict some future events. For instance, one of eminence among them was said to fly; the truth, however, was (as it proved), that he did not fly, but did walk close to the surface of the ground without touching it; and would seem to sit down without having any substance to support him." This last performance was witnessed by Ibn Batuta at Delhi, in the presence of Sultan Mahomed Tughlak; and it was professedly exhibited by a Brahmin at Madras in the present century, a descendant doubtless of those Brahmans whom Apollonius saw walking two cubits from the ground. It is also described by the worthy Francis Valentyn as a performance known and practised in his own day in India. It is related, he says, that "a man will first go and sit on three sticks put together so as to form a tripod; after which, first one stick, then a second, then the third shall be removed from under him, and the man shall not fall but shall still remain sitting in the air! Yet I have spoken with two friends who had seen this at one and the same time; and one of them, I may add, mistrusting his own eyes, had taken the trouble to feel about with a long stick if there were nothing on which the body rested; yet, as the gentleman told me, he could neither feel nor see any such thing. Still, I could only say that I could not believe it, as a thing too manifestly contrary to reason."
Akin to these performances, though exhibited by professed jugglers without claim to religious character, is a class of feats which might be regarded as simply inventions if told by one author only, but which seem to deserve prominent notice from their being recounted by a series of authors, certainly independent of one another, and writing at long intervals of time and place. Our first witness is Ibn Batuta, and it will be necessary to quote him as well as the others in full, in order to show how closely their evidence tallies. The Arab Traveller was present at a great entertainment at the Court of the Viceroy of Khansa (Kinsay of Polo, or Hang-chau fu): "That same night a juggler, who was one of the Kan's slaves, made his appearance, and the Amir said to him, 'Come and show us some of your marvels.' Upon this he took a wooden ball, with several holes in it, through which long thongs were passed, and, laying hold of one of these, slung it into the air. It went so high that we lost sight of it altogether. (It was the hottest season of the year, and we were outside in the middle of the palace court.) There now remained only a little of the end of a thong in the conjuror's hand, and he desired one of the boys who assisted him to lay hold of it and mount. He did so, climbing by the thong, and we lost sight of him also! The conjuror then called to him three times, but getting no answer, he snatched up a knife as if in a great rage, laid hold of the thong, and disappeared also! By and bye he threw down one of the boy's hands, then a foot, then the other hand, and then the other foot, then the trunk, and last of all the head! Then he came down himself, all puffing and panting, and with his clothes all bloody, kissed the ground before the Amir, and said something to him in Chinese. The Amir gave some order in reply, and our friend then took the lad's limbs, laid them together in their places, and gave a kick, when, presto! there was the boy, who got up and stood before us! All this astonished me beyond measure, and I had an attack of palpitation like that which overcame me once before in the presence of the Sultan of India, when he showed me something of the same kind. They gave me a cordial, however, which cured the attack. The Kazi Afkharuddin was next to me, and quoth he, 'Wallah! 'tis my opinion there has been neither going up nor coming down, neither marring nor mending; 'tis all hocus pocus!'"
Now let us compare with this, which Ibn Batuta the Moor says he saw in China about the year 1348, the account which is given us by Edward Melton, an Anglo-Dutch traveller, of the performances of a Chinese gang of conjurors, which he witnessed at Batavia about the year 1670 (I have forgotten to note the year). After describing very vividly the basket- murder trick, which is well known in India, and now also in Europe, and some feats of bamboo balancing similar to those which were recently shown by Japanese performers in England, only more wonderful, he proceeds: "But now I am going to relate a thing which surpasses all belief, and which I should scarcely venture to insert here had it not been witnessed by thousands before my own eyes. One of the same gang took a ball of cord, and grasping one end of the cord in his hand slung the other up into the air with such force that its extremity was beyond reach of our sight. He then immediately climbed up the cord with indescribable swiftness, and got so high that we could no longer see him. I stood full of astonishment, not conceiving what was to come of this; when lo! a leg came tumbling down out of the air. One of the conjuring company instantly snatched it up and threw it into the basket whereof I have formerly spoken. A moment later a hand came down, and immediately on that another leg. And in short all the members of the body came thus successively tumbling from the air and were cast together into the basket. The last fragment of all that we saw tumble down was the head, and no sooner had that touched the ground than he who had snatched up all the limbs and put them in the basket turned them all out again topsy-turvy. Then straightway we saw with these eyes all those limbs creep together again, and in short, form a whole man, who at once could stand and go just as before, without showing the least damage! Never in my life was I so astonished as when I beheld this wonderful performance, and I doubted now no longer that these misguided men did it by the help of the Devil. For it seems to me totally impossible that such things should be accomplished by natural means." The same performance is spoken of by Valentyn, in a passage also containing curious notices of the basket-murder trick, the mango trick, the sitting in the air (quoted above), and others; but he refers to Melton, and I am not sure whether he had any other authority for it. The cut on this page is taken from Melton's plate.
Again we have in the Memoirs of the Emperor Jahangir a detail of the wonderful performances of seven jugglers from Bengal who exhibited before him. Two of their feats are thus described: "Ninth. They produced a man whom they divided limb from limb, actually severing his head from the body. They scattered these mutilated members along the ground, and in this state they lay for some time. They then extended a sheet or curtain over the spot, and one of the men putting himself under the sheet, in a few minutes came from below, followed by the individual supposed to have been cut into joints, in perfect health and condition, and one might have safely sworn that he had never received wound or injury whatever ... Twenty-third. They produced a chain of 50 cubits in length, and in my presence threw one end of it towards the sky, where it remained as if fastened to something in the air. A dog was then brought forward, and being placed at the lower end of the chain, immediately ran up, and reaching the other end, immediately disappeared in the air. In the same manner a hog, a panther, a lion, and a tiger were successively sent up the chain, and all equally disappeared at the upper end of the chain. At last they took down the chain and put it into a bag, no one ever discovering in what way the different animals were made to vanish into the air in the mysterious manner above described."
[There would appear (says the Times of India, quoted by the Weekly Dispatch, 15th September, 1889) to be a fine field of unworked romance in the annals of Indian jugglery. One Siddeshur Mitter, writing to the Calcutta paper, gives a thrilling account of a conjurer's feat which he witnessed recently in one of the villages of the Hooghly district. He saw the whole thing himself, he tells us, so there need be no question about the facts. On the particular afternoon when he visited the village the place was occupied by a company of male and female jugglers, armed with bags and boxes and musical instruments, and all the mysterious paraphernalia of the peripatetic Jadugar. While Siddeshur was looking on, and in the broad, clear light of the afternoon, a man was shut up in a box, which was then carefully nailed up and bound with cords. Weird spells and incantations of the style we are all familiar with were followed by the breaking open of the box, which, "to the unqualified amazement of everybody, was found to be perfectly empty." All this is much in the usual style; but what followed was so much superior to the ordinary run of modern Indian jugglery that we must give it in the simple Siddeshur's own words. When every one was satisfied that the man had really disappeared, the principal performer, who did not seem to be at all astonished, told his audience that the vanished man had gone up to the heavens to fight Indra. "In a few moments," says Siddeshur, "he expressed anxiety at the man's continued absence in the aerial regions, and said that he would go up to see what was the matter. A boy was called, who held upright a long bamboo, up which the man climbed to the top, whereupon we suddenly lost sight of him, and the boy laid the bamboo on the ground. Then there fell on the ground before us the different members of a human body, all bloody,--first one hand, then another, a foot, and so on, until complete. The boy then elevated the bamboo, and the principal performer, appearing on the top as suddenly as he had disappeared, came down, and seeming quite disconsolate, said that Indra had killed his friend before he could get there to save him. He then placed the mangled remains in the same box, closed it, and tied it as before. Our wonder and astonishment reached their climax when, a few minutes later, on the box being again opened, the man jumped out perfectly hearty and unhurt." Is not this rather a severe strain on one's credulity, even for an Indian jugglery story?]
In Philostratus, again, we may learn the antiquity of some juggling tricks that have come up as novelties in our own day. Thus at Taxila a man set his son against a board, and then threw darts tracing the outline of the boy's figure on the board. This feat was shown in London some fifteen or twenty years ago, and humorously commemorated in Punch by John Leech.
(Philostratus, Fr. Transl. Bk. III. ch. xv. and xxvii.; Mich. Glycas, Ann. II. 156, Paris ed.; Delrio, Disquis. Magic. pp. 34, 100; Koeppen, I. 31, II. 82, 114-115, 260, 262, 280; Vassilyev, 156; Della Penna, 36; S. Setzen, 43, 353; Pereg. Quat. 117; I. B. IV. 39 and 290 seqq.; Asiat. Researches, XVII. 186; Valentyn, V. 52-54; Edward Melton, Engelsch Edelmans, Zeldzaame en Gedenkwaardige Zee en Land Reizen, etc., aangevangen in den Jaare 1660 en geendigd in den Jaare 1677, Amsterdam, 1702, p. 468; Mem. of the Emp. Jahangueir, pp. 99, 102.)
- ["The maintenance of the Lamas, of their monasteries, the expenses for the sacrifices and for transcription of sacred books, required enormous sums. The Lamas enjoyed a preponderating influence, and stood much higher than the priests of other creeds, living in the palace as if in their own house. The perfumes, which M. Polo mentions, were used by the Lamas for two purposes; they used them for joss-sticks, and for making small turrets, known under the name of ts'a-ts'a; the joss-sticks used to be burned in the same way as they are now; the ts'a-ts'a were inserted in suburgas or buried in the ground. At the time when the suburga was built in the garden of the Peking palace in 1271, there were used, according to the Empress' wish, 1008 turrets made of the most expensive perfumes, mixed with pounded gold, silver, pearls, and corals, and 130,000 ts'a-ts'a made of ordinary perfumes." (Palladius, 29.--H. C.)]
- There is no exaggeration in this number. Turner speaks of 2500 monks in one Tibetan convent. Huc mentions Chorchi, north of the Great Wall, as containing 2000; and Kunbum, where he and Gabet spent several months, on the borders of Shensi and Tibet, had nearly 4000. The missionary itinerary from Nepal to L'hasa given by Giorgi, speaks of a group of convents at a place called Brephung, which formerly contained 10,000 inmates, and at the time of the journey (about 1700) still contained 5000, including attendants. Dr. Campbell gives a list of twelve chief convents in L'hasa and its vicinity (not including the Potala or Residence of the Grand Lama), of which one is said to have 7500 members, resident and itinerary. Major Montgomerie's Pandit gives the same convent 7700 Lamas. In the great monastery at L'hasa called Labrang, they show a copper kettle holding more than 100 buckets, which was used to make tea for the Lamas who performed the daily temple service. The monasteries are usually, as the text says, like small towns, clustered round the great temples. That represented at p. 224 is at Jehol, and is an imitation of the Potala at L'hasa. (Huc's Tartary, etc., pp. 45, 208, etc.; Alph. Tibetan, 453; J. A. S. B. XXIV. 219; J. R. G. S. XXXVIII. 168; Koeppen, II. 338.) [La Geographie, II. 1901, pp. 242-247, has an article by Mr. J. Deniker, La Premiere Photographie de Lhassa, with a view of Potala, in 1901, from a photograph by M. O. Norzunov; it is interesting to compare it with the view given by Kircher in 1670.--H. C.]
["The monasteries with numbers of monks, who, as M. Polo asserts, behaved decently, evidently belonged to Chinese Buddhists, ho-shang; in Kublai's time they had two monasteries in Shangtu, in the north-east and north-west parts of the town." (Palladius, 29.) Rubruck (Rockhill's ed. p. 145) says: "All the priests (of the idolaters) shave their heads, and are dressed in saffron colour, and they observe chastity from the time they shave their heads, and they live in congregations of one or two hundred."--H. C.]
- There were many anomalies in the older Lamaism, and it permitted, at least in some sects of it which still subsist, the marriage of the clergy under certain limitations and conditions. One of Giorgi's missionaries speaks of a Lama of high hereditary rank as a spiritual prince who marries, but separates from his wife as soon as he has a son, who after certain trials is deemed worthy to be his successor. ["A good number of Lamas were married, as M. Polo correctly remarks; their wives were known amongst the Chinese, under the name of Fan-sao." (Ch'ue keng lu, quoted by Palladius, 28.)--H. C.] One of the "reforms" of Tsongkhapa was the absolute prohibition of marriage to the clergy, and in this he followed the institutes of the oldest Buddhism. Even the Red Lamas, or unreformed, cannot now marry without a dispensation.
But even the oldest orthodox Buddhism had its Lay brethren and Lay sisters (Upasaka and Upasika), and these are to be found in Tibet and Mongolia ( Voues au blanc, as it were). They are called by the Mongols, by a corruption of the Sanskrit, Ubashi and Ubashanza. Their vows extend to the strict keeping of the five great commandments of the Buddhist Law, and they diligently ply the rosary and the prayer-wheel, but they are not pledged to celibacy, nor do they adopt the tonsure. As a sign of their amphibious position, they commonly wear a red or yellow girdle. These are what some travellers speak of as the lowest order of Lamas, permitted to marry; and Polo may have regarded them in the same light.
(Koeppen, II. 82, 113, 276, 291; Timk. II. 354; Erman, II. 304; Alph. Tibet. 449.)
- [Mr. Rockhill writes to me that "bran" is certainly Tibetan tsamba (parched barley).--H. C.]
- Marco's contempt for Patarins slips out in a later passage (Bk. III. ch. xx.). The name originated in the eleventh century in Lombardy, where it came to be applied to the "heretics," otherwise called "Cathari." Muratori has much on the origin of the name Patarini, and mentions a monument, which still exists, in the Piazza de' Mercanti at Milan, in honour of Oldrado Podesta of that city in 1233, and which thus, with more pith than grammar, celebrates his meritorious acts:--
"Qui solium struxit Catharos ut debuit UXIT."
Other cities were as piously Catholic. A Mantuan chronicler records under 1276: "Captum fuit Sermionum seu redditum fuit Ecclesiae, et capti fuerunt cercha CL Patarini contra fidem, inter masculos et feminas; qui omnes ducti fuerunt Veronam, et ibi incarcerati, et pro magna parte COMBUSTI." (Murat. Dissert. III. 238; Archiv. Stor. Ital. N.S. I. 49.)
- Marsden, followed by Pauthier, supposes these unorthodox ascetics to be Hindu Sanyasis, and the latter editor supposes even the name Sensi or Sensin to represent that denomination. Such wanderers do occasionally find their way to Tartary; Gerbillon mentions having encountered five of them at Kuku Khotan (supra, p. 286), and I think John Bell speaks of meeting one still further north. But what is said of the great and numerous idols of the Sensin is inconsistent with such a notion, as is indeed, it seems to me, the whole scope of the passage. Evidently no occasional vagabonds from a far country, but some indigenous sectaries, are in question. Nor would bran and hot water be a Hindu regimen. The staple diet of the Tibetans is Chamba, the meal of toasted barley, mixed sometimes with warm water, but more frequently with hot tea, and I think it is probable that these were the elements of the ascetic diet rather than the mere bran which Polo speaks of. Semedo indeed says that some of the Buddhist devotees professed never to take any food but tea; knowing people said they mixed with it pellets of sun-dried beef. The determination of the sect intended in the text is, I conceive, to be sought in the history of Chinese or Tibetan Buddhism and their rivals.
Both Baldelli and Neumann have indicated a general opinion that the Taosse or some branch of that sect is meant, but they have entered into no particulars except in a reference by the former to Shien-sien, a title of perfection affected by that sect, as the origin of Polo's term Sensin. In the substance of this I think they are right. But I believe that in the text this Chinese sect are, rightly or wrongly, identified with the ancient Tibetan sect of Bon-po, and that part of the characters assigned belong to each.
First with regard to the Taosse. These were evidently the Patarini of the Buddhists in China at this time, and Polo was probably aware of the persecution which the latter had stirred up Kublai to direct against them in 1281--persecution at least it is called, though it was but a mild proceeding in comparison with the thing contemporaneously practised in Christian Lombardy, for in heathen Cathay, books, and not human creatures, were the subjects doomed to burn, and even that doom was not carried out.
["The Tao-sze," says M. Polo, "were looked upon as heretics by the other sects; that is, of course; by the Lamas and Ho-shangs; in fact in his time a passionate struggle was going on between Buddhists and Tao-sze, or rather a persecution of the latter by the former; the Buddhists attributed to the doctrine of the Tao-sze a pernicious tendency, and accused them of deceit; and in support of these assertions they pointed to some of their sacred books. Taking advantage of their influence at Court, they persuaded Kublai to decree the burning of these books, and it was carried out in Peking." (Palladius, 30.)--H. C.]
The term which Polo writes as Sensin appears to have been that popularly applied to the Taosse sect at the Mongol Court. Thus we are told by Rashiduddin in his History of Cathay: "In the reign of Din-Wang, the 20th king of this (the 11th) Dynasty, TAI SHANG LAI KUN, was born. This person is stated to have been accounted a prophet by the people of Khita; his father's name was Han; like Shak-muni he is said to have been conceived by light, and it is related that his mother bore him in her womb no less a period than 80 years. The people who embraced his doctrine were called [Arabic] (Shan-shan or Shinshin)." This is a correct epitome of the Chinese story of Laokiun or Lao-tse, born in the reign of Ting Wang of the Cheu Dynasty. The whole title used by Rashiduddin, Tai Shang Lao Kiun, "The Great Supreme Venerable Ruler," is that formerly applied by the Chinese to this philosopher.
Further, in a Mongol [and Chinese] inscription of the year 1314 from the department of Si-ngan fu, which has been interpreted and published by Mr. Wylie, the Taosse priests are termed Senshing. [See Deveria, Notes d'Epigraphie, pp. 39-43, and Prince R. Bonaparte's Recueil, Pl. xii. No. 3.--H. C.]
Seeing then that the very term used by Polo is that applied by both Mongol and Persian authorities of the period to the Taosse, we can have no doubt that the latter are indicated, whether the facts stated about them be correct or not.
The word Senshing-ud (the Mongol plural) is represented in the Chinese version of Mr. Wylie's inscription by Sin-sang, a conventional title applied to literary men, and this perhaps is sufficient to determine the Chinese word which Sensin represents. I should otherwise have supposed it to be the Shin-sian alluded to by Baldelli, and mentioned in the quotations which follow; and indeed it seems highly probable that two terms so much alike should have been confounded by foreigners. Semedo says of the Taosse: "They pretend that by means of certain exercises and meditations one shall regain his youth, and others shall attain to be Shien-sien, i.e. 'Terrestrial Beati,' in whose state every desire is gratified, whilst they have the power to transport themselves from one place to another, however distant, with speed and facility." Schott, on the same subject, says: "By Sian or Shin-sian are understood in the old Chinese conception, and particularly in that of the Tao-Kiao [or Taosse] sect, persons who withdraw to the hills to lead the life of anchorites, and who have attained, either through their ascetic observances or by the power of charms and elixirs, to the possession of miraculous gifts and of terrestrial immortality." And M. Pauthier himself, in his translation of the Journey of Khieu, an eminent doctor of this sect, to the camp of the Great Chinghiz in Turkestan, has related how Chinghiz bestowed upon this personage "a seal with a tiger's head and a diploma" (surely a lion's head, P'aizah and Yarligh; see infra, Bk. II. ch. vii. note 2), "wherein he was styled Shin Sien or Divine Anchorite." Sian-jin again is the word used by Hiuen Tsang as the equivalent to the name of the Indian Rishis, who attain to supernatural powers.
["Sensin is a sufficiently faithful transcription of Sien-seng (Sien-shing in Pekingese); the name given by the Mongols in conversation as well as in official documents, to the Tao-sze, in the sense of preceptors, just as Lamas were called by them Bacshi, which corresponds to the Chinese Sien-seng. M. Polo calls them fasters and ascetics. It was one of the sects of Taouism. There was another one which practised cabalistic and other mysteries. The Tao-sze had two monasteries in Shangtu, one in the eastern, the other in the western part of the town." (Palladius, 30.) --H.C.] One class of the Tao priests or devotees does marry, but another class never does. Many of them lead a wandering life, and derive a precarious subsistence from the sale of charms and medical nostrums. They shave the sides of the head, and coil the remaining hair in a tuft on the crown, in the ancient Chinese manner; moreover, says Williams, they "are recognised by their slate-coloured robes." On the feast of one of their divinities whose title Williams translates as "High Emperor of the Sombre Heavens," they assemble before his temple, "and having made a great fire, about 15 or 20 feet in diameter, go over it barefoot, preceded by the priests and bearing the gods in their arms. They firmly assert that if they possess a sincere mind they will not be injured by the fire; but both priests and people get miserably burnt on these occasions." Escayrac de Lauture says that on those days they leap, dance, and whirl round the fire, striking at the devils with a straight Roman-like sword, and sometimes wounding themselves as the priests of Baal and Moloch used to do.
(Astley, IV. 671; Morley in J. R. A. S. VI. 24; Semedo, 111, 114; De Mailla, IX. 410; J. As. ser. V. tom. viii. 138; Schott ueber den Buddhismus etc. 71; Voyage de Khieou in J. As. ser. VI. tom. ix. 41; Middle Kingdom, II. 247; Doolittle, 192; Esc. de Lauture, Mem. sur la Chine, Religion, 87, 102; Peler. Boudd. II. 370, and III. 468.)
Let us now turn to the Bon-po. Of this form of religion and its sectaries not much is known, for it is now confined to the eastern and least known part of Tibet. It is, however, believed to be a remnant of the old pre-Buddhistic worship of the powers of nature, though much modified by the Buddhistic worship with which it has so long been in contact. Mr. Hodgson also pronounces a collection of drawings of Bonpo divinities, which were made for him by a mendicant friar of the sect from the neighbourhood of Tachindu, or Ta-t'sien-lu, to be saturated with Sakta attributes, i.e. with the spirit of the Tantrika worship, a worship which he tersely defines as "a mixture of lust, ferocity, and mummery," and which he believes to have originated in an incorporation with the Indian religions of the rude superstitions of the primitive Turanians. Mr. Hodgson was told that the Bonpo sect still possessed numerous and wealthy Vihars (or abbeys) in Tibet. But from the information of the Catholic missionaries in Eastern Tibet, who have come into closest contact with the sect, it appears to be now in a state of great decadence, "oppressed by the Lamas of other sects, the Peunbo (Bonpo) think only of shaking off the yoke, and getting deliverance from the vexations which the smallness of their number forces them to endure." In June, 1863, apparently from such despairing motives, the Lamas of Tsodam, a Bonpo convent in the vicinity of the mission settlement of Bonga in E. Tibet, invited the Rev. Gabriel Durand to come and instruct them. "In this temple," he writes, "are the monstrous idols of the sect of Peunbo; horrid figures, whose features only Satan could have inspired. They are disposed about the enclosure according to their power and their seniority. Above the pagoda is a loft, the nooks of which are crammed with all kinds of diabolical trumpery; little idols of wood or copper, hideous masques of men and animals, superstitious Lama vestments, drums, trumpets of human bones, sacrificial vessels, in short, all the utensils with which the devil's servants in Tibet honour their master. And what will become of it all? The Great River, whose waves roll to Martaban (the Lu-kiang or Salwen), is not more than 200 or 300 paces distant.... Besides the infernal paintings on the walls, eight or nine monstrous idols, seated at the inner end of the pagoda, were calculated by their size and aspect to inspire awe. In the middle was Tamba-Shi-Rob, the great doctor of the sect of the Peunbo, squatted with his right arm outside his red scarf, and holding in his left the vase of knowledge.... On his right hand sat Keumta-Zon-bo, 'the All- Good,' ... with ten hands and three heads, one over the other.... At his right is Dreuma, the most celebrated goddess of the sect. On the left of Tamba-Shi-Rob was another goddess, whose name they never could tell me. On the left again of this anonymous goddess appeared Tam-pla-mi-ber,... a monstrous dwarf environed by flames and his head garnished with a diadem of skulls. He trod with one foot on the head of Shakia-tupa [Shakya Thubba, i.e. 'the Mighty Shakya,' the usual Tibetan appellation of Sakya Buddha himself].... The idols are made of a coarse composition of mud and stalks kneaded together, on which they put first a coat of plaster and then various colours, or even silver or gold.... Four oxen would scarcely have been able to draw one of the idols." Mr. Emilius Schlagintweit, in a paper on the subject of this sect, has explained some of the names used by the missionary. Tamba-Shi-Rob is "bstanpa gShen-rabs," i.e. the doctrine of Shen-rabs, who is regarded as the founder of the Bon religion. [Cf. Grenard, II. 407.--H. C.] Keun-tu-zon-bo is "Kun-tu-bzang-po," "the All Best."
[Bon-po seems to be (according to Grenard, II. 410) a "coarse naturism combined with ancestral worship" resembling Taoism. It has, however, borrowed a good deal from Buddhism. "I noticed," says Mr. Rockhill (Journey, 86), "a couple of grimy volumes of Boenbo sacred literature. One of them I examined; it was a funeral service, and was in the usual Boenbo jargon, three-fourths Buddhistic in its nomenclature." The Bon-po Lamas are above all sorcerers and necromancers, and are very similar to the kam of the Northern Turks, the bo of the Mongols, and lastly to the Shamans. During their operations, they wear a tall pointed black hat, surmounted by the feather of a peacock, or of a cock, and a human skull. Their principal divinities are the White God of Heaven, the Black Goddess of Earth, the Red Tiger and the Dragon; they worship an idol called Kye'-p'ang formed of a mere block of wood covered with garments. Their sacred symbol is the svastika turned from right to left [Symbol]. The most important of their monasteries is Zo-chen gum-pa, in the north-east of Tibet, where they print most of their books. The Bonpos Lamas "are very popular with the agricultural Tibetans, but not so much so with the pastoral tribes, who nearly all belong to the Gelupa sect of the orthodox Buddhist Church." A. K. says, "Buddhism is the religion of the country; there are two sects, one named Mangba and the other Chiba or Baimbu." Explorations made by A----K----, 34. Mangba means "Esoteric," Chiba (p'yi-ba), "Exoteric," and Baimbu is Boenbo. Rockhill, Journey, 289, et passim.; Land of the Lamas, 217-218; Grenard, Mission Scientifique, II. 407 seqq.--H. C.]
There is an indication in Koeppen's references that the followers of the Bon doctrine are sometimes called in Tibet Nag-choi, or "Black Sect," as the old and the reformed Lamas are called respectively the "Red" and the "Yellow." If so, it is reasonable to conclude that the first appellation, like the two last, has a reference to the colour of clothing affected by the priesthood.
The Rev. Mr. Jaeschke writes from Lahaul: "There are no Bonpos in our part of the country, and as far as we know there cannot be many of them in the whole of Western Tibet, i.e. in Ladak, Spiti, and all the non-Chinese provinces together; we know, therefore, not much more of them than has been made known to the European public by different writers on Buddhism in Tibet, and lately collected by Emil de Schlagintweit.... Whether they can be with certainty identified with the Chinese Taosse I cannot decide, as I don't know if anything like historical evidence about their Chinese origin has been detected anywhere, or if it is merely a conclusion from the similarity of their doctrines and practices.... But the Chinese author of the Wei-tsang-tu-Shi, translated by Klaproth, under the title of Description du Tubet (Paris, 1831), renders Bonpo by Taosse. So much seems to be certain that it was the ancient religion of Tibet, before Buddhism penetrated into the country, and that even at later periods it several times gained the ascendancy when the secular power was of a disposition averse to the Lamaitic hierarchy. Another opinion is that the Bon religion was originally a mere fetishism, and related to or identical with Shamanism; this appears to me very probable and easy to reconcile with the former supposition, for it may afterwards, on becoming acquainted with the Chinese doctrine of the 'Taosse,' have adorned itself with many of its tenets.... With regard to the following particulars, I have got most of my information from our Lama, a native of the neighbourhood of Tashi Lhunpo, whom we consulted about all your questions. The extraordinary asceticism which struck Marco Polo so much is of course not to be understood as being practised by all members of the sect, but exclusively, or more especially, by the priests. That these never marry, and are consequently more strictly celibatary than many sects of the Lamaitic priesthood, was confirmed by our Lama." (Mr. Jaeschke then remarks upon the bran to much the same effect as I have done above.) "The Bonpos are by all Buddhists regarded as heretics. Though they worship idols partly the same, at least in name, with those of the Buddhists,... their rites seem to be very different. The most conspicuous and most generally known of their customs, futile in itself, but in the eyes of the common people the greatest sign of their sinful heresy, is that they perform the religious ceremony of making a turn round a sacred object in the opposite direction to that prescribed by Buddhism. As to their dress, our Lama said that they had no particular colour of garments, but their priests frequently wore red clothes, as some sects of the Buddhist priesthood do. Mr. Heyde, however, once on a journey in our neighbouring county of Langskar, saw a man clothed in black with blue borders, who the people said was a Bonpo."
[Mr. Rockhill (Journey , 63) saw at Kao miao-tzu "a red-gowned, long-haired Boenbo Lama," and at Kumbum (p. 68), "was surprised to see quite a large number of Boenbo Lamas, recognisable by their huge mops of hair and their red gowns, and also from their being dirtier than the ordinary run of people."--H. C.]
The identity of the Bonpo and Taosse seems to have been accepted by Csoma de Koroes, who identifies the Chinese founder of the latter, Lao-tseu, with the Shen-rabs of the Tibetan Bonpos. Klaproth also says, "Bhonbp'o, Bhanpo, and Shen, are the names by which are commonly designated (in Tibetan) the Taoszu, or follower of the Chinese philosopher Laotseu." Schlagintweit refers to Schmidt's Tibetan Grammar (p. 209) and to the Calcutta edition of the Fo-koue-ki (p. 218) for the like identification, but I do not know how far any two of these are independent testimonies. General Cunningham, however, fully accepts the identity, and writes to me: "Fahian (ch. xxiii.) calls the heretics who assembled at Ramagrama Taosse, thus identifying them with the Chinese Finitimists. The Taosse are, therefore, the same as the Swastikas, or worshippers of the mystic cross Swasti, who are also Tirthakaras, or 'Pure-doers.' The synonymous word Punya is probably the origin of Pon or Bon, the Tibetan Finitimists. From the same word comes the Burmese P'ungyi or Pungi." I may add that the Chinese envoy to Cambodia in 1296, whose narrative Remusat has translated, describes a sect which he encountered there, apparently Brahminical, as Taosse. And even if the Bonpo and the Taosse were not fundamentally identical, it is extremely probable that the Tibetan and Mongol Buddhists should have applied to them one name and character. Each played towards them the same part in Tibet and in China respectively; both were heretic sects and hated rivals; both made high pretensions to asceticism and supernatural powers; both, I think we see reason to believe, affected the dark clothing which Polo assigns to the Sensin; both, we may add, had "great idols and plenty of them." We have seen in the account of the Taosse the ground that certain of their ceremonies afford for the allegation that they "sometimes also worship fire," whilst the whole account of that rite and of others mentioned by Duhalde, shows what a powerful element of the old devil-dancing Shamanism there is in their practice. The French Jesuit, on the other hand, shows us what a prominent place female divinities occupied in the Bon-po Pantheon, though we cannot say of either sect that "their idols are all feminine." A strong symptom of relation between the two religions, by the way, occurs in M. Durand's account of the Bon Temple. We see there that Shen-rabs, the great doctor of the sect, occupies a chief and central place among the idols. Now in the Chinese temples of the Taosse the figure of their Doctor Lao-tseu is one member of the triad called the "Three Pure Ones," which constitute the chief objects of worship. This very title recalls General Cunningham's etymology of Bonpo.
[At the quarterly fair (yueh kai) of Ta-li (Yun-Nan), Mr. E. C. Baber (Travels, 158-159) says: "A Fakir with a praying machine, which he twirled for the salvation of the pious at the price of a few cash, was at once recognised by us; he was our old acquaintance, the Bakhsi, whose portrait is given in Colonel Yule's Marco Polo."--H. C.]
(Hodgson, in J. R. A. S. XVIII. 396 seqq.; Ann. de la Prop, de la Foi, XXXVI. 301-302, 424-427; E. Schlagintweit, Ueber die Bon-pa Sekte in Tibet, in the Sitzensberichte of the Munich Acad. for 1866, Heft I. pp. 1-12; Koeppen, II. 260; Ladak, p. 358; J. As. ser. II. tom. i. 411-412; Remusat. Nouv. Mel. Asiat. I. 112; Astley, IV. 205; Doolittle, 191.)
- Pauthier's text has blons, no doubt an error for blous. In the G. Text it is bloies. Pauthier interprets the latter term as "blond ardent," whilst the glossary to the G. Text explains it as both blue and white. Raynouard's Romance Dict. explains Bloi as "Blond." Ramusio has biave, and I have no doubt that blue is the meaning. The same word (bloie) is used in the G. Text, where Polo speaks of the bright colours of the Palace tiles at Cambaluc, and where Pauthier's text has "vermeil et jaune et vert et blou," and again (infra, Bk. II. ch. xix.), where the two corps of huntsmen are said to be clad respectively in vermeil and in bloie. Here, again, Pauthier's text has bleu. The Crusca in the description of the Sensin omits the colours altogether; in the two other passages referred to it has bioda, biodo.
["The Tao-sze, says Marco Polo, wear dresses of black and blue linen; i.e. they wear dresses made of tatters of black and blue linen, as can be seen also at the present day." (Palladius, 30.)--H. C.]
- ["The idols of the Tao-sze, according to Marco Polo's statement, have female names; in fact, there are in the pantheon of Taoism a great many female divinities, still enjoying popular veneration in China; such are Tow Mu (the 'Ursa major,' constellation), Pi-hia-yuen Kiun (the celestial queen), female divinities for lying-in women, for children, for diseases of the eyes; and others, which are to be seen everywhere. The Tao-sze have, besides these, a good number of male divinities, bearing the title of Kiun in common with female divinities; both these circumstances might have led Marco Polo to make the above statement." (Palladius, p. 30.)--H. C.]