Fw: Fw: Chinese in India

Richard Salomon rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Aug 20 00:10:51 UTC 2002

[The following response to Patrick Olivelle's question is by Jason Neelis; I
am forwarding it to the list, as he is not currently a subscriber.

> In The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan, Bridget and F.R.
Allchin cite "evidence of trade and other more profound contacts with the
Chinese world" (p. 116) in the discussion of neolithic sites in Kashmir and
Swat. Perhaps more relevant to our period of interest is a reference in the
1st century CE Periplus Maris Erythraei to "Chinese pelts" and Chinese cloth
traded at the ports of Barbaricon at the mouth of the Indus River and
Barygaza (Skt. Bhr.gukaccha) near the mouth of the Narmada River in Gujarat.
Both of these ports functioned as outlets for items traded through the
northwest, some of which may have originated in China and Central Asia.
> I am not certain when "Ciina" or "Mahaaciina" first appears in Sanskrit,
but people called Ciinas are linked with Kaambojas and other peoples in the
northwest, with Praagjyotis.a in the northeast, and with a country near the
source of the Ganges River in the Mahabharata (D.C. Sircar, Studies in the
Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, p. 104, cites Mahabharata 6.9.66,
5.19.15, and 3.177.12). An early Indian epigraphical reference to Ciina is
in a list of countries purportedly converted by Buddhist monks from
Tam.bapam.n.a (Sri Lanka) in a third century CE Nagarjunikonda Prakrit
inscription of regnal year 14 of Viirapurus.adatta:
kasmiira-gam.dhaara-ciina- ... (EI 20 [1929-30]: pp. 22-3; D.C. Sircar,
Select Inscriptions,vol.1: no. 101, pp. 23-6). It seems that by the late
third century CE, Ciina belonged to a list of countries generally localized
in the northern or northwestern frontiers of the Indian subcontinent, but
not necessarily denoting China proper.
> Hope this helps,
> Jason Neelis
> > > Can anyone on the list shed light on when China has its first trade
> > > or other contact with India -- or at least the northwestern regions
> > > of the subcontinent? And when do you think that the term "Ciina" to
> > > refer to the Chinese could have first arisen within Sanskrit?
> > >
> > > Thanks.
> > >
> > > Patrick
> > >
> >
> >

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