A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.

When a person of any estimation dies, his funerals are celebrated with much ceremony.  An astrologer is sent for by the kindred, and informed of the year, month, day, and hour when the deceased was born, when he calculates the aspect of the constellation, and assigns the day when the burial is to take place, sometimes at the distance of seven days, or perhaps the planet may not have a favourable aspect for six months, during all which time the body is kept in the house.  For this purpose a fit chest or coffin is provided, which is so artificially jointed that no noisome smell can escape, and in this the body is placed, having been previously embalmed with spices.  The coffin is ornamented with painting, and is covered over with an embroidered cloth.  Every day, while the body remains unburied, a table is spread near the coffin, and set out with meat, bread, and wine, which remains for as long a time as a living person would require to eat and drink, and the soul of the deceased is supposed to feed upon the savour.  The astrologers sometimes forbid the body to be carried out for interment at the principal door of the house, pretending to be regulated in this by the stars, and order it to be carried out by some other way; or will even command a passage to be broken out in the opposite wall of the house, to propitiate the adverse planet.  And if any one object to this, they allege that the spirit of the dead would be offended, and would occasion injury to the family.  When the body is carried through the city to be buried, wooden cottages are built at certain distances by the way, having porches covered with silk, in which the coffin is set down, with a table spread out with bread and wine and delicate viands, that the spirit of the dead may be refreshed with the savour.  When the body is carried to the place of the funeral, a number of pieces of paper, made of the bark of trees, curiously painted with figures of men and women servants, horses, camels, money, and garments of all kinds are carried in procession, all the instruments of music in the city sounding as the cavalcade moves along; and all these pieces of painted paper are burned in the same funeral pile with the body, under the idea that the deceased will have as many servants, cattle, and garments in the next world, and as much money, as there were pictures of these things burnt along with his body, and shall live perpetually hereafter in the enjoyment of all these things[7].

[1] The text is here obviously transposed.  While the editor endeavours to
    illustrate and explain the descriptions of the author, he does not
    consider himself at liberty to alter the text, even in the most
    obviously faulty places.—­E.

[2] Charchan, Charcham, Carcam, Hiarkand, Jarkun, Jerket, Jerken, Urkend;
    such are the varieties in the editions of these travels, for the
    Yarkand of modern maps.  This paragraph ought obviously to have
    followed the account of Cashgar.—­E.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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