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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The height of the arcade is from thirty to sixty feet


We

shoved our way along through the very narrow streets with a long row before us of sun columns, piercing through the circular openings in the domed arcade of the bazaar, and projecting brilliant patches of light now on brightly-coloured turbans, now on the black chudder of a woman, now on the muddy ground constantly sprinkled with water to keep the streets cool.

There are miles of bazaar, in Teheran and Isfahan, roofed over in long arcades to protect the shops and buyers from the sun in summer, from the rain and snow in winter. The height of the arcade is from thirty to sixty feet, the more ancient ones being lower than the modern ones.

To any one well acquainted with other Eastern countries there is absolutely nothing in a Persian bazaar that is worth buying. The old and beautiful objects of art have left the country long ago, and the modern ones have neither sufficient artistic merit nor intrinsic value to be worth the trouble and expense of sending them home. For curiosity's sake--yes, there are a few tawdry articles which may amuse friends in Europe, but what I mean is that there is nothing that is really of intense interest or skilful workmanship, such as one can find in Japan, in China, in Morocco or Egypt.

We ride through the street of hatters, each shop with walls lined with piles of _kolah_ hats, black and brimless, shaped either in the section of a cone or rounded

with a depression on the top. They are made of astrakan or of black felt, and are worn by the better people; but further on we come to cheaper shops, where spherical skull caps of white or light brown felt are being manufactured for the lower classes.

As we ride along, a stinging smell of dyes tells us that we are in the cloth street, indigo colours prevailing, and also white and black cottons and silks. One cannot help pitying the sweating shopman, who is busy unrolling cloths of various makes before a number of squatting women, who finger each and confabulate among themselves, and request to have the roll deposited by their side for further consideration with a mountain of other previously unrolled fabrics,--just like women at home. The rolls are taken from neat wooden shelves, on which, however, they seldom rest. Soiled remnants of European stocks play a very important part in this section of the bazaar.

On turning round a corner we have shoes and boots, foreign made, of the favourite side-elastic pattern, or the native white canvas ones with rope soles--most comfortable and serviceable for walking. The local leather ones have strong soles with nails and turned-up toes, not unlike the familiar Turkish shoe; while the slippers for women have no back to them at the heel and have fancy toes.

Then come the attractive sweet-shops, with huge trays of transparent candy, and the _Pash mak_ pulled sugar, as white and light as raw silk, most delicious but sticky. In bottles above, the eye roams from highly coloured confetti to _Abnabad_ and _Kors_ or other deadly-looking lozenges, while a crowd of enraptured children deposit shais in the hands of the prosperous trader, who promptly weighs and gives in exchange a full measure of _rahat-ul-holkoom_, "the ease of the throat," or candied sugar, duly packed in paper bags.


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