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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

[1] The proper name of this place is Kan-balgassan, or, for shortness,
    Khan-balga, signifying the city of the khan.  Arabian authors have
    changed it to Khan-balick or Khan-baligh; and the Italians to
    Chanbalig, Chanbalu, Cambalu, and even Gamelecco.  The Chinese call
    this northern part of the imperial city King-tshing, which has the
    same meaning with the Tartar name, and may be translated Kingstown. 
    Pe-king, the other part of the same city, signifies the northern court
    or residence.—­Forst.

[2] The description of this palace is exceedingly confused and
    unintelligible, most probably from erroneous transcription and
    mistakes in translation.—­E.

[3] By this obscure expression, it seems to be implied that there are no
    upper rooms.—­E.

[4] The soldiers mentioned here and in other places, as present in the
    great hall upon solemn occasions, can only mean the officers of the
    military actually on guard over the person of the khan at the time. 
    —­E.

SECTION XII.

Of the Magnificence of the Court of the Great Khan, and of the Manners and Customs of his Subjects.

In the beginning of March the great khan departs from Cambalu, and proceeds north towards the ocean[1], which is at the distance of two days journey, accompanied by 10,000 falconers, with falcons, ger-falcons, hawks, and other birds of prey, that are trained to the sport.  These falconers disperse themselves in companies of 100 or 200 together, and most of the birds that are taken are brought to the khan; who, on account of the gout, which has disabled him from riding, sits in a wooden house, covered with lions skins, and hung within with cloth of gold, which is carried on the backs of two elephants.  For his particular recreation, he is accompanied by twelve choice hawks, carried by twelve nobles, many other noblemen and soldiers attending him.  When any cranes, or pheasants, or other birds are seen, notice is given to the falconers who are near the khan, and by these to the khan himself, who then orders his travelling house to be removed, and the hawks to be flown at the game, and he, sitting in his bed, enjoys the sport.  Ten thousand men attend the khan, who disperse two and two together, to mark where the falcons fly, that they may assist them when needful, and bring back them, and their game to the khan.  These men are called Tascoal, which signifies watchmen or marksmen, and have a peculiar whistle by which they call in the hawks and falcons, so that it is not necessary that the falconers who let fly the hawks should follow them, as these tascoal are busily employed in taking up the hawks, and are very careful that none of them be hurt or lost.  Every hawk has a small plate of silver attached to the foot, on which is the peculiar mark of its master, that each may be restored to its right owner.  But if the mark be lost, or cannot be known, the hawk is delivered to a certain baron, whose name of office is Bulangazi, to whom all lost things whatever must be brought, otherwise the finder would be punished as a thief; and to the Bulangazi all who have lost any thing make application.  This man is distinguished by a peculiarly conspicuous ensign, that he may be easily found out in so numerous an assemblage.

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