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.
In it, besides idolaters and Mahometans, there are a good many Christians, who have three fair churches.  The idolaters have many temples and monasteries dedicated to their idols.  These idols are very numerous, and are made of stone, wood, or clay, some of them curiously inlaid with gold, and very artificially made:  Some are very large, almost ten paces high, standing upright, and having many smaller idols placed around, which seem to give reverence to the great one.  The priests of these idols appear to live more regularly, and are less addicted to voluptuousness than other idolaters.  Yet wantonness is not looked upon in this country as any great sin; for they say if a woman invites a man, there is no harm in compliance, but if the man solicits the woman, it is quite otherwise.

In this country they divide the year by lunations, and in every moon they keep certain days as holy, in some five, or four, or three days, in which they kill no beast or bird, and abstain from animal food.  The people of this country marry twenty or thirty wives, or as many as they are able to maintain, but the first wife always has the precedence over the others.  The husband receives no portion with his wife, but on the contrary has to assign her a dower in cattle, servants, and money, according to his ability.  If any of the wives does not live in harmony with the rest, or if she becomes disliked by her husband, it is lawful for him to put her away.  They marry their own near relations, and even the wives of their deceased father, excepting always their own mothers.  In the manners and customs of this country, I Marco was sufficiently experienced, having dwelt a whole year in this place, along with my father and uncle, for the dispatch of certain affairs of business.

In twelve days journey from Campion, we come to the city of Ezina[7], which borders on a sandy desert towards the north.  All the provinces and cities before mentioned, viz.  Sachion, Camul, Chinchintalas, Succair, Campion, and Ezina, are comprehended in the great country of Tangut.  The inhabitants of Ezina are idolaters, who live by agriculture, and on the produce of their flocks and herds, having great quantities of camels and other cattle, but carry on no trade.  In this country there are forests of pine trees, in which there are wild asses, and many other wild beasts; there are likewise abundance of falcons, particularly the lanner and sacre, which are reckoned excellent.  Such travellers as intend to pass through the great desert of Shamo, which is forty days journey in extent, must provide all their provisions in this place, as they afterwards meet with no habitations, except a few straggling people here and there on the mountains and valleys.

[1] Called also Kamul, Chamul, Khami, and Came-xu.—­Forst.

[2] The desert of Noman-Cobi; or Tzokurin of modern maps.—­E.

[3] Called likewise Cinchincalas, Sanghin-talgin, Sankin-talai, and
    Chitalas-dalai.—­Forst.  This appears to be the district stretching to
    the S.E. of the Bogdo mountains, between the Changai ridge on the
    north, and the Ungandag on the south, now occupied by a tribe of
    Eluts, and in which there do not appear to be any towns.—­E.

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