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.
honour of the khan, and returns to his place in the assembly.  After the conclusion of this ceremony, the various gifts which have been already mentioned are presented to the khan.  And then the tables are prepared, and a most solemn and splendid dinner is served up, of which all the assistants, with their wives, partake, eating and drinking with great joy, as formerly described.  In the course of this solemn feast, a tame lion is led up to the khan, which lies down at his feet as gentle as a whelp, acknowledging and caressing his lord.

In those three winter months during which the khan resides in Cambalu, viz.  December, January, and February, all the imperial huntsmen who are maintained in the provinces contiguous to Kathay, employ themselves continually in hunting, and bring all the larger wild beasts, such as stags, deer, roe-bucks, bears, and wild-boars, to their governors or masters of the game; and if within thirty days journey of Cambalu, all these are sent in waggons to the court, being first embowelled; but such as are at a greater distance, send only the skins, which are used in making housings and other military articles.

The khan has many leopards, wolves, and even lions, trained for hunting.  These lions are larger than those which are found near Babylon, and are variegated with small spots of white, black, and red.  They are bred to catch bears, boars, stags, roe-bucks, wild asses, and wild bulls, and it is wonderful to see their dexterity and fierceness in the chase.  When these lions are taken out to hunt, they are carried in waggons, two together, accompanied by a dog, with which they are familiar.  They are managed in this manner, because of their fierce and unruly disposition, and they must be drawn towards the game against the wind, otherwise the beast would scent them and fly away.  There are also many tame eagles, so trained as to take hares, roe-bucks, deers, and foxes; and some of these will even seize upon wolves, and vex them so grievously, that the men may take them without danger.  For the conduct of the imperial hunt, there are two great officers called Ciurco, or masters of the game, who are brothers, named Boyan and Mingan, each of whom have the command of 10,000 men; those who belong to one of these divisions being clothed in red, and the others in sky blue; and they keep various kinds of dogs, such as mastiffs and others, for hunting, to the number of 5000 or more.  When the khan goes to hunt, one of these great companies of hunters stretches out on his right hand, and the other on his left, occupying the plain country to the breadth of a whole days journey, so that no beast can escape them; and when they have collected the game into a circle, it is delightful to see the khan going into the middle, with numbers of dogs, which hunt down the harts and bears, and other wild beasts.  The masters of the game are bound by their commissions to send to court, between the beginning of October and end of March, 1000 head of beasts, besides birds of various kinds, and fish, the best they can procure.

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