« Note on Mo-lo -so »

« Note on Mo-lo-so ». Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1908. p. 188‑189.

Francke, August Hermann. “Note on Mo-Lo -So.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1908, pp. 188–89, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25210547. FRA 1908 a2.

p. 188

Note on Mo-lo-so.

The problem as to the identity of the country represented by the Chinese Mo-lo-so (Hiuen Tsang) was practically solved by General Alexander Cunningham. He took Mo-lo-so to be the present Ladakh. I should not have thought it necessary to reopen the question had not

p. 189

several later scholars, among them Vincent Smith, tried to find Mo-lo-so in quite other countries, for instance in Malva. Even if the ancient kings of Mo-lo-so bore Indian (Sanskrit) instead of Tibetan names, this fact would present no difficulty, for I have shown, with the help of Ladakhi archaeology, that Indian names were used in Tibet between one and two thousand years ago. I am, however, in a position to strengthen General Cunningham’s theory by several corroborative arguments. In the first place, there is no necessity to write Mo-lo-po instead of Mo-lo-so. The Chinese mo-lo-so does not correspond to the Tibetan word mar-po, ‘red’ but to the Tibetan mar-sa, ‘low-land.’ (Mar occurs in the compound yar mar, ‘up and down.’)

Mar-sa is a synonym of mar yul, ‘low-land’ the old as well jus the present name of Ladakh. (The name Mar yul is found on seals of the last independent king of Ladakh.) In Tibetan names synonyms are often interchanged, as has been noted by several scholars. Thus, in the seventeenth century, the names Mi pham mgon and Mi pham dbangpo are used of the same person.

San-po-ho is also a name of Ladakh, as Cunningham correctly observes. It is the Chinese attempt to represent ytsang-po, ‘river’, this being the ordinary name of the Indus in Ladakh.

The Chinese name Lo-u-lo refers to Lahoul, as the country is situated between Kulu and Ladakh. But I cannot believe that Lahul is the Indian equivalent of a Tibetan word Lho yul, ‘south-land,’ for I have never yet heard a Tibetan speak of Lahul as Lho yul. The Tibetan name of Lahul is Garzha, Gazha, perhaps even dKar zhva. And the country was already known by that name in the days of Padmasambhava, us we learn from historical works which refer to that teacher’s times. The name Lahul is used only by the people of Kulu.

A. H. Francke, Moravian Missionary.

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