Exploration on Zhujunda : The legend of a vegetable along the Silk Road
Yu Xin (Professeur d’Histoire chinoise médiévale,département d’Histoire de l’Université Fudan, Shanghai)
Vendredi 13 février
16h-18h, Amphithéâtre Rataud, ENS (45, rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris)
In Dunhuang Manuscript P. 3391, the problematic entry “zhujunda” is found in the category of vegetable in the text. What’s the meaning ? This puzzle baffles scholars. This research aims to provide an accurate description of this word from the dimensions of semantics and natural history, employing materials from various unearthed documents, medical books, anecdotes, and encyclopedias.
It tries to show the role which zhujunda had played in the medieval social life as well as in the cultural exchange between the west and the east. It arrives at the following conclusions : both of leaf-beet and root-beet came from Persian. In the period of Sassanid Empire leaf- beet arrived in China, and its translation “junda” was originated from Medieval Persian language, while root-beet came in after Arab invaded Iran, and its translation “zhujunda” found its root in new Persian language, which should be no late than the early 10th century. These things and their corresponding names passing from Iran to China enriched Chinese culture in the medieval ages.