Hara-moran, or Hoang-he. Thaigin may therefore
be Tan-gin, about twenty
miles east from that river, in Lat. S6-1/4 N. In which case, Pian-fu
may be the city of Pin-yang; and Tain-fu, Tay-uen.—E.
An account of Thibet, and several other Provinces, with the Observations made by the Author in passing through them.
At the end of twenty days journey through the before mentioned depopulated country, we met with cities and many villages, inhabited by an idolatrous people, whose manners are so licentious that no man marries a wife who is a virgin. Hence when travellers and strangers from other countries come among them, the women of the country who have marriageable daughters bring them to the tents of the strangers, and entreat them to enjoy the company of their daughters so long as they remain in the neighbourhood. On these occasions the handsomest are chosen, and those who are rejected return home sorrowful and disappointed. The strangers are not permitted to carry away any of these willing damsels, but must restore them faithfully to their parents; and at parting the girl requires some toy or small present, which she may shew as a token of her condition; and she who can produce the greatest number of such favours has the greatest chance of being soon and honourably married. When a young woman dresses herself out to the best advantage, she hangs all the favours she may have received from her different lovers about her neck, and the more acceptable she may have been to many such transitory lovers, so much the more is she honoured among her countrymen. But after marriage they are never suffered to have intercourse with strangers, and the men of the country are very cautious of giving offence to each other in this matter.
The people of this country are idolaters, who live by hunting, yet cultivate the ground, and are much addicted to stealing, which they account no crime; they are clothed in the skins of wild beasts, or in coarse hempen garments, having no money, not even the paper money of the khan, but they use pieces of coral instead of money. Their language is peculiar to themselves. The country of which we now speak belongs to Thibet, which is a country of vast extent, and has been some time divided into eight kingdoms, in which are many cities and towns, with many mountains, lakes, and rivers, in some of which gold is found. The women wear coral necklaces, which they likewise hang about the necks of their idols. In this country there are very large dogs, almost as big as asses, which are employed in hunting the wild beasts, especially wild oxen called Boyamini. In this province of Thibet there are many kinds of spices which are never brought into Europe. This, like all the other provinces formerly mentioned, is subject to the great khan.