Re: [INDOLOGY] Origin of Mahācīna

Mark McClish mark.mcclish at
Thu Mar 10 20:33:12 UTC 2016

Hi Deven,

There is also a reference in the extant Arthaśāstra (from the Kyoto edition)

KAZ02.11.107/ maagadhikaa pauNDrikaa sauvarNa.kuDyakaa ca pattra.uurNaa //
KAZ02.11.108/ naaga.vRkSo likuco bakulo vaTaz ca yonayaH //
KAZ02.11.109/ piitikaa naaga.vRkSikaa //
KAZ02.11.110/ go.dhuuma.varNaa laikucii //
KAZ02.11.111/ zvetaa baakulii //
KAZ02.11.112/ zeSaa nava.niita.varNaa //
KAZ02.11.113/ taasaaM sauvarNa.kuDyakaa zreSThaa //
KAZ02.11.114/ tayaa kauzeyaM ciina.paTTaaz ca ciina.bhuumijaa vyaakhyaataaH //

I’m inclined to agree with Witzel (2006: 488), however, that this reference has likely been added later.


On Mar 10, 2016, at 1:48 PM, Deven Patel <deven.m.patel at GMAIL.COM<mailto:deven.m.patel at GMAIL.COM>> wrote:

Dear list members,

A Sinologist colleague of mine has raised the following question to me.  Any thoughts would be appreciated:

Conventional wisdom among certain Sinologists is that the Western name "China" derives from the Sanskrit Mahācīna, etc.  Sinologists do not seem to know, or at least do not cite, sources for this attribution.  How old is the name, and how trustworthy are the texts?

Thank you,

Deven M. Patel
South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
INDOLOGY mailing list
indology-owner at (messages to the list's managing committee) (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)

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