THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE CALENDAR PLANT OF BABYLONIA AND CHINA
Dr Terrien de LACOUPERIE
[Extracted from Babylonian Oriental Record, vol. 2 (1888). pp. 149-59.]
The following notice is the description of No. 59 of the sixty items of civilization which I have enumerated* as those which have been carried from the West of the Hindu Kush and the vicinity of Elam, about 2250 B.C. and afterwards, by the migratory Bak tribes and other tribes, to the N.W. of Flowery land, otherwise China.
Besides the important and serious facts which have proved to demonstration so many loans of civilization, there are some traditions, more or less wrapped in fable, which are worthy of being studied. Though written on the margin of history, they disclose characteristics which show them to be valuable similarities and proofs of borrowings, as their prototypes can be found in the same cradle as the others. The individual value of such smaller items is slight should they be isolated, but their importance and value are singularly enhanced when looked upon as a part of a long chain of evidence.
The conventional character of the representations of sacred trees on the Assyro-Babylonian
monuments is a well-known fact—so much so that their various species at the
beginning are still ill-ascertained.1 The traditional distinction of the Tree of
Life and of the Tree of Knowledge is not as yet ascertained by the
Assyriologists, even in the oldest monuments.2 Prof. Fritz Hommel has fairly
shown that the giskin of Eridu (now Abusharein) or the Kin tree was the
palm-tree.3 It had become mythological in a bilingual hymn which has been
translated several times; but the sort of tree indicated by this expression had
been variously understood. Let us remark, by the way, that the use of a single
sign4 [glyphs] (Assyr.
[glyphs],) to denote it is in accordance with the probability that
the writing was received from a southern clime where [p.150] palm-trees grew, and therefore not from a
northern region.5 The oldest cylinders where the sacred tree is represented
justify the conclusion that it was a palm-tree.6 There are a few big leaves,
four on one side and three on the other, and at no distance from the top of the
tree; under the leaves are two big fruits, which seem to be clusters of
bananas,6b but may have been simply intended to represent clusters of dates, as
the date-palm is the tree par excellence of Babylonia. A sort of conventionalism
about the branches or leaves is already visible in these figures of the tree
which we have roughly described, and which are represented on cylinders from Erech. But we do not know if their somewhat conventional form is the result of a
forgetful antiquity or of a rudeness of art. The latter is the least improbable
of the two views.
The conventional form became gradually more decided, though the perfection of art permits us to recognize that the species of trees became varied. The fruits were arranged in several ways, according to the sort of trees. But the characteristic to which it is my purpose to call the attention of my readers is the limited number of their branches. In some instances there are twelve, six on each side, but this number does not occur often; seven, fourteen, or fifteen if we include the top of the tree, and thirty are the usual numbers. In case of the latter larger number, as if no room was available for so many branches, 23 are represented on the two sides and top, while the complementary seven formed another row at the inside top.
Now the connection of these numbers of seven, fifteen, and thirty with those of the week, and of the lunar wax and wane is so obvious, that it is difficult not to believe it to have been intentional.
How and when it began is as yet difficult to say; but the fact is manifest, though no indication of its symbolism seems to have been discovered in the Assyrian texts hitherto deciphered, so far as the present writer is aware, unless we could find some allusion to it in one of the Assyrian meanings of the aforesaid name [glyphs]. These meanings are especially those of 'tree,' 'plant,' and usurat, 'limit.'7 The linear form [glyph] of the sign [glyphs]8 confirms the latter translation in its sense of something limited or confined, and we need not trouble ourselves as to what the original picture may have represented. Now this meaning of limited or confined agrees pretty well with a possible connection with a regular number of days, and it is not, perhaps, too bold an inference that at a certain time of its symbolical history such a sign should have been understood in that sense with reference to the regular conventionalism of [p.151] the pictures representing the sacred tree of which it was the appellative, written and spoken. The allegorical meaning once understood and transmitted in that way would necessarily have helped the artists in their conventional designs of the trees.
There are reasons to believe that such happened to be the case at a certain time, as shown by the following instance of one of the three scores of items of Babylonian civilization carried, by the migratory Bak tribes, who from the west of the Hindu-Kush and the vicinity of Elam migrated eastwards to the N.W. borders of China.
The tradition, which we have to report here, refers to the reign of Yao, circa
2100 b.c, the first of the Chinese rulers referred to in the truncated Shu-King.
It is not recorded in this work from which all the marvellous and that which
could not be utilised for the praise and blame system of the moral philosophy of
Confucius has been carefully pruned off. We find it in a more ingenious and
therefore more truthful resume of ancient traditions, the Tchuh shu ki nien or
annals of the Bamboo books, dating from the fourth century before the Christian
era.9 There are even some probabilities that the early part of the annals, which
is here of interest to us, dates from the eighth century b.c.
When the Emperor Yao had been on the throne seventy years10 .... a kind of plant .... grew on each side11 of the palace stairs. On the first day of the month12 it grew a pod, and so on, every day a pod, to the last day of the month; and if the month was a short one (of 29 days), one pod shrivelled up, without falling.
It was called the calendar plant [Chinese glyphs] lik kiep; and also the [Chinese glyphs] ming kiep or mik-kiep, a name of which the exact meaning is not well ascertained, though it implies a plant-tree bearing big fruits.13 It is simply described as a felicitous plant,14 an expression which suggests its mythological character15 and does away with the possibility of determining its botanical nature.
The parallelism of this legend with the conventional representations of the sacred trees of Babylonia, those of the tree of life among others, is too complete in its decisive denomination and description of the calendar plant of the Chinese tradition to receive any other explanation than that of a borrowing. And all the circumstances of the case show it to have been a loan of ancient west to early east.
* * *
The Chinese mind is deeply impressed with the necessary repetition of
[p.152] events, regularity of numbers and
categories, alliteration in words, occurrence over and again of the same ideas
and facts, &c. otherwise of a necessary reiteration in everything, and such a
tradition could not fail to suggest imitations or similar cases.
For instance, the Chinese fancy something of the kind with the [Chinese glyphs] Wu tung,16 the Elaococca verrucosa of the botanists, which is now the national tree of China, and grows over the central provinces.17 They say that from it the months of the year may be known; it is supposed to bear annually twelve leaves, six on each side, one leaf for every month; but during the intercalary year it puts forth thirteen leaves, when at the time of mid-autumn one leaf falls off.18
The beautifying and magnifying style of Lieh-tze, the curious writer of the Vth century b.c, of whom I have spoken in another paper, makes use of the same word Ming as in Ming-kiep, the calendar plant. It is with reference to a marvellous tree which was said to grow in the south of the King country, a region corresponding to southern Hunan, and still unknown at the time of the writer. He was speaking, therefore, from mere hearsay, which apparently only reached him after passing from mouth to mouth, each one more or less deceptive. The vagueness of the information about the plant, and the general unacqnaintedness of the country permitted him to draw on his extensive love of fabulous traditions to embellish his descriptions.
Hence we cannot be surprised that he should have spoken of the Ming-ling [Chinese glyphs]19 as a supernatural plant-tree which required five hundred years to bloom and eight thousand years to produce fruit.20
Now 8000 is the multiple of 500 by sixteen, and the latter is the number of the day when a change occurred in the Ming-kiep, the calendar plant of Yao. This shows how the influence of the former fable was worked out in the new.
* * * *
Legendary accounts of sacred trees were current among the Chinese of early
times, and were part of the stock of ideas, institutions, and arts imported from
S.W. Asia. In the previous sections of this paper we have chiefly spoken of the
sacred trees so far as they had a conventional appearance which could suggest,
and as a fact did suggest a calendar symbolism. Now we shall call the attention
of our readers to marvellous reports of another kind which contain some
different survivals of similar legends.
They are found in the oldest works still existing on subjects congenial to them, and from which we have already made several extracts.21 All the other works (and very few they are) of older times, which have escaped [p.153] the wreck of ancient literature in China deal with subjects which did not permit their authors to introduce therein legendary traditions of this kind; and there is no doubt that, if such very old works were still in existence, we should find these traditions in them probably less beautiful and less magnified, but more faithful to their primitive character and less suffused with Indian and heterogeneous ideas. Lieh-tze, who was flourishing about 400 B.C.22 Hwai-nan-tze, and Szema Siang-ju, of the second century B.C. are the principal writers who have embodied many of the old legends and fabulous reports in their allegoric rhapsodies and romantic accounts. They are chiefly arranged with reference to Si-Wang-Mu, the Western Queen-mother and her residence in the Kuenlun range. This interesting personage of Chinese fable,23 once stripped of all its mythological adornments and marvellous character, turns out simply to be the impersonation of the successive female rulers in the north-east of Tibet, of tribes where matriarchate and gynecocracy were the rule.24 In the course of their history the Chinese have had some relations with several of such tribes.25 But their first connection with one of these female rulers dates from the very beginning, when the Bak tribes were advancing along the Kuenlun range towards N.W. China, in the twenty-third century b.c, as shown by their oldest records, where we see that these curious institutions were not without effect on the paternity of their first rulers.26
We can easily understand how they were stmck by these peculiarities, so much the more that they were acquainted with the legend of Sargon, who himself had no paternal ancestry.27
It is in the descriptions of the Elysian residence of Si Wang Mu in the Kuenlun that the sacred trees are mentioned. There are seven of them. Four on the west; the tree of pearls, tchu shu,28 the tree of jade, yu thu,29 the gemmy tree, siuen shu,30 and the tree of immortality, puh se shu.31 One on the south, the red tree, Kiang shu32; and on the north the green-jade tree, pih shu,33 and the green jasper tree, yao shu.34
The tree of immortality, puh se shu, is also called the K'iung35 tree, and is fully described as composed of the finest sort of jade, red or white; its blossom, if eaten, conferred the gift of immortality.36
The characteristic of all these seven trees37 (the number of the week) is their connection with the jade in the various sorts of which six of them were made. And so they were in this mythological account, because jade was the most precious and highest-valued stone with which the Chinese became acquainted in olden times. The special symbol for it is [Chinese glyph] ancient sound ok,38 which in its concrete sense is 'jade',39 but in its [p.154] general acceptation is 'precious, as a gem, beautiful;' and it is in the latter meaning that it is generally used in ancient books.40
Now let us return to the liturgical hymns of Babylonia which we have already referred to, and let us examine the description given therein of the tree of the sacred garden of Ea;41
(In) Eridu a Kin tree grew overshadowing; in a holy place did it become green; its root was of uknu stone, which stretched towards the deep;42
We have already referred to the Kin tree, and need not speak of it again. The interesting point is this uknu stone, which seems to be a valuable gem of some sort, precious enough for the poet to have imagined it in connection with the sacred tree. The fabulous description is, without doubt the prototype of that which was magnified in the legendary and mythical account of the Elysian garden of Si Wang Mu, we have quoted above.
What the [glyphs] zagin stone, Assyrian uknu,43 was, has been for long doubtful, and is perhaps not as yet well ascertained. As it is written with a complex ideogram it has not been necessarily known to the creators of the writing; and the proper meaning of the expression being shining and whitish44 is sufficiently vague to permit its adaptation to many stones; marble, alabaster, jasper, onyx, hyacinth, &c., have been proposed and at present 'white crystal' is the meaning current among the Assyriologists.
Anyhow a great importance was given to that stone in ancient Babylonian times and it must have been very precious and difficult to get.
The staff of Marduk to touch sick people was adorned with an Uknu stone.45 It was a jewel of Ishtar. In some mythological descriptions, the god holds in his hand a mountain of alabaster, lapis and uknu, and his offensive weapon is made of gold and uknu.46 In the Izdhubar legend of the Flood, it is spoken of as a charm round the neck.47
The finest sort of uknu was the uknu sadi,48 the uknu of the East and it was brought from the Bikni country, at the extreme east of Media near the Caspian, and mentioned in the cylinder of Esarhaddon.49 It is also mentioned with reference to a country of Dapara, the identification of which is still unascertained.50
* * * * *
In placing together these fragments of marvellous legends, we have been enabled to see in them as many echoes of a tradition primeval for the Chinese, and connected with the celebrated tree of life and other sacred [p.155] trees of ancient Babylonia, as well as with the sacred mountains of Sumero-Akkadian legends. Such being the case, they receive an explanation which is not devoid of interest for history. Though the calendar character of the sacred plant Ming Kiep does not seem to be more deeply rooted in Chinese traditions than than we may have expected to be the case from its fabulous appearance, it is certainly very old. It may consequently be the illustration or imagery, of the ancient value attributed to the marvellous plant, if not in its earliest symbolism complete or in part, at least in the interpretation or adaptation given to it in the quarters from which the civilisers of the Chinese have received it. Terrien de Lacouperie.
1) On the sacred trees, cf. W. Baudissin, Studien zur semitische Religiongeschichte, vol. II, p. 190-225: Francois
Lenormant, Les Origines de l'histoire, vol. I, p. 75-90.
2) In the early ideographic spelling of Sumer some traces may perhaps be found of a state of things connected with the idea of sacred trees. The name was written [glyphs] Ki-en-gi as proved by the inscriptions of all the ancient kings of Chaldea and Babylonia. Cf, A. Amiaud (in Bab. Orient. Record, vol. I, 122), Now Ki is country, en is lord, and gi is said to be "a tree" or "a reed" which its primitive form is said to have represented. The figure indicated by the earliest forms of the signs on Ur-Ba-u and Uru-Kagina texts (cf. Amiaud & Mechineau, Tableau, No. 267) is more like a tree [symbol] and even a palm-tree, while the slanting stroke on stem under the leaves seems intended to represent the two big fruits like clusters of dates which appear on the illustrations of the sacred tree on the oldest cylinders, such as those of Erech. (Cf. Menant, Glyptique, I, pl. iii, fig. 5, and also p. 191). Therefore Ki-en-gi, the meaning of which seems to have been early lost, would have been originally the country of the sacred tree, or of the divine palm-tree. Should the original and pictorial position of the character have been the reverse, i.e., the left to the top [symbol] as Mr. Pinches thinks, instead of the right to top, as I think with Prof. A. H. Sayce and the Rev. W. Houghton, (Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., VI, 473), the meaning would be different only as to the sort of plant.
3) Die Semitischen Volker, 1883, vol. I, pp. 306, 488.
4) Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, IV, 15 v., 1. 62-64, Francois Lenormant, Les Origines de l'histoire, 1882, II, 104, has translated the two characters [glyphs] KIZ KIN, by a "pine tree." Prof. A. H. Sayce, in his Hibbert Lectures for 1887, translates them uncompromisingly by "a stalk" which is certainly not sufficient. But we must remark that both Lenormant and himself were fettered in their translation by the view that the signs of writing had been invented in a northern land.
5) As another proof I may remark that the cedar tree, which was also [p.156] a sacred tree when a northern influence became prominent, was transcribed by a complex ideogram of two characters [glyphs], translated in Assyrian erin. The ideographic values of these symbols seem to suggest that a comparison was made between the minute and numerous foliage of the cedar, and the appearance of the warp and woof. Francois Lenormant (Les origines de l'histoire, I, 81,) has indicated several statements in Cuneif. Inscript. of West. Asia (vol. IV, pl. 16, 2 pl. 29,1) where the cedar tree and its fruit are especially sacred; and he quotes also a fragment then unpublished relating a prescription of Ea to Marduk: "Prends le fruit du cedre, et presente le a la face du malade; le cedre est l'arbre qui donne le charme pur et repousse les demons ennemis, tendeurs de pieges," Kirim erini liqi va—ana pt marqi sukunsu—erinu igu nadin sipti ellitiv—tarid rahiqi limnuti.
6) Cf. their pictures in J. Menant, (Glyptique Orientale, vol. I. 61)
6b) With reference to this peculiarity, it will be curious to remark that the
Banana or Musa paradisiaca (Linn.) has been so called from the popular tradition
which made the banana figure in the story of Eve and the Paradise. On the
Asiatic original home of that tree of A. de Candolle, Origin of cultivated
plants, London, 1884, pp. 304-311. The palm-trees, which seems to have been much
more numerous in former times
than at present, do not extend further north than the Sindjar, the Singali of
the Kurds. On the banks of the Euphrates the last great agglomeration of them is
that of Anah; at Tekrit, on the Tigris, are seen the two last date-palms. Cf.
Elisee Reclus, Asie Anterieure, p. 410; A de Candolle, O.C. p. 302; W. K.
Loftus, Chaldea and Susiana (London, 1857), p. 158.
7) Sayce, Assyrian Grammar, 221. J. Halevy in Journal Asiatique. Mars-Avril 1876, p. 350. F. Lenormant, Etudes Accadiennes, II, 281. J. Menant, Grammaire Assyrienne, No. 191.
8) Amiaud & Mechineau, Tableau compare des ecritures Babylonienne et Assyrienne Archaiques et Modernes, No. 194.
9) These Annals, which are concise as ephemerids, refer to the Central and successive dynasties until 770 b.c, and from that date to 377 B.C., it is the principality of Tsin (in Shansi) which is their chief object.
10) According to other sources, the event took place in the 45th year of Yao's reign. Cf. the Kang Kien y tchi luh; Medhurst, Ancient China, p. 330.
11) There were therefore two of these plant-trees.
12) Or Moon.
13) In the Shwoh Wen (A. D, 89) the symbol Kiep is described as that for a plant bearing fruit. Khang-hi Tze tien, s.v. 140-47, f. 41 V.) The expression [Chinese glyphs] sih-mik of the Erh-ya (500 b.c.) is explained in the Nan tu fu by Tchang Heng of the After Han dynasty (200 B.C.) as meaning 'yams and melons' (Kang-hi tze tien, s.v. 140+10, f. 76 v.; Medhurst, Chinese-English dictionary, pp. 900, 913) though in the Erh-ya itself it is said to be a [Chinese glyphs] ta tsi, i.e. a great bursa pastoris. (Erh-yah-tcheng wen tchen yn, ed. 1861, II, 20; on this tsi cfr. Meddhurst, O. C, p. 933). Dr. Wells Williams (Syllabic Dictionary, p. 803), describes also sih-mik as a capsella, but Dr. E. Bretschneider in his Early European researches into the Flora of China, (J. North China [p.157] Br. R. A. S. 1880, vol. XV, p. 137) does not give any Chinese character for this plant.
14) Shuei tsao, in the Tang-yun dictionary of 670-679 a.d.
15) Dr. Wells Williams suggests (Syll. Dict. p. 600) that it was perhaps a bulbous plant, whose leaves alternately sprouted and died. I do not think such an explanation is wanted.
16) On the Tung tree, cf. K'anghi tze-tien, s. v. 75 + 6, ff. 38-39. Also R. K. Douglas, The Calendar of the Hia dynasty, p. 36, and pl. viii, of Orientalia Antiqua, ed. T. de L. (London, 1882). Also the Li-ki, yueh ling, part. Ill, 4.
17) Cf. C. Bretsohneider, Early European researches into the Flora of China, loc. cit., pp. 34,172, 185. Wells Williams, Syllabic Dict. p. 934.
18) According to the Tun kia shu, an ancient Taoist work older than the VIth century; it is one of the 38 quotations of as many different works given about that tree in the Tai ping yu lan, Bk. 956, f. 4. v.
19) Ming has been already noticed. Ling is 'supernatural'; as an adjective, in the Chinese ideology, it ought to be placed before its noun. But as it is the reverse and agrees so far with the post-placing ideology of the Pre-Chinese languages of Southern China (cf. my work on The languages of China before the Chinese part IV; London, 1887), the expression Ming-ling seems to be imitated from a similar name in one of the native languages.
20) Liehtze whose real name was Lieh Yu Keu. In Tai-ping yu-Idn, Bk. 961, f. 2.
21) The shifted Cardinal points. From Elam to Early China, in the B. O. R. January, 1888, vol. II, p. 29. And above.
22) Short biographical notices of them are given in W. F. Mayer, The Chinese Reader's Manual, Nos. 387, 412.
23) On the mythological aspect of Si Wang Mu. Cf. W. F. Mayer, O. C, No. 572, and his article on The "Western King Mother" pp. 12-14 of Notes and Queries on China and Japan, vol. II, Hong Kong, 1868. I have collected all the available historical information which I will embody in a further article on the special subject.
24) On these institutions the earliest work, though rather mystic, is that of Dr. J. J. Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht, Fine Untersuchung uber die Crynaikokratia der Alien Welt, nach ihner religiosen und reehtlichen Natur. Stuttgart, 1861, 4to. In 1865 MacLennan published his independent inquiry Primitive Marriage, Edinburgh. The most important other works on the matter are the following: from the same author: Studies in Ancient History, London, 1886. L. H. Morgan: Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family (Smithsonian contributions to knowledge, vol. XVII, Washington, 1871); Ancient Society, New York, 1877. Fison and Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kurnai, Melbourne, 1880, and several papers in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute. Prof. A. Giraud-Teulon: La mere chez certains peuples de l'antiquite, Paris, 1867: Les Origines de la Famille, Geneve, 1874; Les origines du Mariage et de la Famille, Geneve, 1884. The latter work is a clear and most complete expose of the whole question and the various solutions proposed.
25) There are in Chinese documents, notice of about ten of them, but several are simply a fabulous echo of the genuine ones.
26) Cf. the first parts of the Tchu shu ki nien.
27) Cf. the Legend of Sargon=Shennung in my paper on The Chinese Mythical Kings and the Babylonian canon (London, 1883).
28) [Chinese glyphs] Tcliu shu.
29) [Chinese glyphs] yiu shu.
30) [Chinese glyphs] Siuen shu. Not identified.
31) [Chinese glyphs] Puh se shu.
32) [Chinese glyphs] Kiang shu.
33) [Chinese glyphs] Pih shu.
34) [Chinese glyphs] yao shu.
35) [Chinese glyph] Kiung. In the old Kuwen, according to the rude phonetic spelling of the time it was written with the mute determinative [Chinese glyph] and [Chinese glyph] Kin (ng for the initial, covered by [Chinese glyphs] M(eu for the final. Cf. Min Tsi Kih, Luh shu thing, Bk. 4, f. 37.
36) It was said to he a myriad fathoms in height and three hundred arm-spans in circumference. (Kang-hi tze tien, s. v. 96 + 15 f. 45 v.) and F. W. Mayers, Ch. R. M., (No. 317). A less exaggerated description is quoted in the Yu pien (a dictionary of a.d. 643 by Ku Yeh-wang), where it is stated that in the Tsh shieh country grows the Kiung tree, which is 120 fathoms in height and thirty arm-spans in circumference. Now Tseh-shih or 'heaped stones' was situated on the spur of the Kuenlun range, S.W. of modern Si ning fu. Cf. Shoh Hai King, edit. Pih yuen Bk. II, fol. 20). It is spoken of in the Yu-Kung, I, 82, II, 7, and it is from there that Fanni Tubat started in a.d. 433 his kingdom in Tibet (cf. T. de L. Tibet in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. XXIII, p. 345). It is perhaps by a revivification of the old legend that the monastery of Kumbum (Sku-hum) H. Jacsehke, Tibetan English Dict. pp. 22, 394), near this same spot, is famous through a sacred tree, fabled to produce leaves bearing the image of Buddha, and of which the fallen leaves are sold as a sort of panacea. Pere Huc, in his Souvenirs dun Voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet et la Chine (Paris, 1850) had published with confidence this fabulous report which since has been exploded by the Hungarian Count Bela Szechenyi. Cf. Lieut. Kreitner, Im Fernen Osten (Vienna, 1881), p. 708.
37) On the west, south, and north sides. On the east side of the mountain there were the sha fang and the lang Kan, but these are not called trees, shu.
38) In Sinico-Annamite ngok, in Cantonese yuk. This old Chinese character ok "precious, beautiful" finds its antecedent in the Old Babylonian uk which is explained by ru-u-tu to which cf. the Assyrian rutu, 'sovereignty, charm,' as shown by the comparison of their respective forms: Old Babylonian: [glyph] Amiaud-Mechineau, Tableaux, No. 214. Early Chinese: [Chinese glyph] Min Tsikih, Luh shu Vung, IX, 11 z.
39) Where it ought to be completed by the word 'stone' [Chinese glyph] shek, decayed from an older tak, tsak. On the method of finding out the old Chinese sounds cfr. sec. 3 of my paper on The land of Sinim not Chinam; The Babylonian and Oriental Record of Sept. 1887, pp. 187-190.
40) Such as the Shu-king; the Shan hai King in its early parts, &c.
41) On Ea=Oannes=Aeanu, cf. The Academy, 9th June 1888.
42) Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia., vol. IV, pi. 15. I follow the translation of Prof. A. H. Sayce in his Hibbert Lectures for 1887, p. 238, substituting only 'Kin tree' for 'stalk,' and 'uknu stone' for 'white crystal.' The reasons of these changes appear in the present paper. Francois Lenormant in his Origins de l'histoire, [p.159] vol. ii. Paris, 1882, p. 104, had translated the same hymn, of which the two first verses which are here given, have also been translated by Mr. W. St. Chad Boscawen (Modern Thought, July, 1883, p. 327.) Both scholars translate "its fruit" instead of "its root."
43) For the lecture zagin (na) cf. Prof. J. Halevy Notes de Lexicographie Assyrienne, 7, p. 184 of Zeitschr. f. Keilschriftforsch. Leipzig, 1884, vol. I, quoting the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, vol. IV, 1. 19-21, which Fr. Lenormant read zakuna, in his paper Les Noms de V iruin et du cuivre, &c., p. 843, Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch. 1879, vol. II.
44) Cf. Lenormant, Les noms, &c. pp. 340-343. M. Menant, Grammaire Assyrtenne, No 16.
45) W. St. Chad Boscawen, MS. note.
46) Cuneiform Inscriptions of. Western Asia IV, 31; II, 19, 2; Lenormant, Op. cit. p. 341.
47) Col. III, 53; Cf. Smith, History of Babylonia, edit. Sayce, p. 46; F. Lenormant, Les Origines de l'histoire, I, p. 615.
48) Cuneiform I. of W. A., II, 38, 386.
49) Theo. G. Pinches, British Museum Guide to the Kouyunjik Gallery, p, 157. Francois Lenormant, Lettres Assyriologiques, vol. 1, p. 45, has identified the Bikni country with the [Greek] of Ptolemy. Perhaps the Uknu of the East was a sort of 'jade,' though few specimens have hitherto been found. Dr. Otto Schoetensack, Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, Berlin 1887, pp. 125-126, describes two jade-axes from Mukeyyer, two nephrit-axes from the same place and one nephrit-cylinder from Nimnid.
50) Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, II, 51, 13, F. Lenormant, Les noms de Vairain et du cuivre, &c. 1. c. p. 342, has suggested an identification with the Tabaristan, in proximity of the Bikni country; he has also suggested a connection between the name of the Uknu stone and that of the uknu canals or small rivers west of the Euphrates (cf. Finzi, Ricerche per le studio del antichita Assira, p. 125). But it does not necessarily imply that the precious stone was also found there, as the word may have been employed solely in its meaning of shining and pure applied to the water of these small rivers in contradistinction to that of the great rivers, inasmuch as the determinative for stone which is always used when the uknu stone is mentioned does not appear in their name. Prof. Sayce (Hibbert Lectures p. 289) quotes the passage referred to about Dipara in the following terms: "An early geographical list calls Dapara the mountain of the bull-god the country of crystal; and that this was to be sought in Southern Babylonia is indicated by the name of Uknu, the river of 'crystal'." There is some evidence that the primitive Bull-god was Merodach himself entitled in early astronomical literature Gudi-bir, "the bull of light." The same scholar is inclined to connect the bull-god of Dapara very closely indeed with the city of Eridu, because the two great deities of Eridu were attended by a body guard of divine bulls (ibid. p. 290). But I do not see in these interesting remarks any proof of the geographical localisation of the mountain or country of Dapara, which, perhaps known by hearsay to the Babylonians may have been called the mountain of the Bull-god or of Merodach simply because it was the country where the uknu was brought from, and that the staff of Merodach was adorned with uknu. T. de L.
* Babylonia and China (London, Nutt, 1837) reprinted from the Babylonian and Oriental Record of June 1887; and in my work on The Languages of China before the Chinese (London, Nutt, 1887) § 192.