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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

This is the coppersmiths' bazaar


There

is nothing very attractive in the butchers' bazaar; the long rows of skinned animals black with flies, and in various degrees of freshness, made even less artistic by ornamentations of paper rosettes and bits of gold and silver paper. Beef, camel, mutton, game and chickens, all dead and with throats cut--the Mahommedan fashion of killing--can be purchased here, but the smell of meat is so strong and sickening that we will promptly adjourn to the leather-work bazaar.

For a man, this is probably the most typical and interesting section of the Persian retail commerce. There is something picturesque and artistic in the clumsy silver or brass or iron mounted saddles, with handsome red, or green, or brown ample leather flaps, gracefully ornamented with more or less elaboration to suit the pockets of different customers. Then the harness is pretty, with its silver inlaid iron decoration, or solid silver or brass, and the characteristic stirrups, nicely chiselled and not unlike the Mexican ones. The greater part of the foot can rest on the stirrup, so broad is its base. Then come the saddlebags of all sizes, the _horjin_, in cloth, in sacking, in expensive leather, in carpeting, of all prices, with an ingenious device of a succession of loops fastening the one into the other, the last with a padlock, to secure the contents of the bag from intrusive hands.

These _horjins_--or double bags--are extremely convenient and

are the most usual contrivance in Persia for conveying luggage on horseback or mules.

Then in the lower part of the shop there is a grand display of leather purses, sheaths for knives, and a collection of leather stock whips, gracefully tied into multiple knots.

In this same bazaar, where everything in connection with riding or loading animals can be purchased, are also to be found the bell shops. These confine themselves particularly to horses', mules' and camels' neck decorations. Long tassels, either red or black, in silk or dyed horsehair, silk or leather bands with innumerable small conical shrill bells, and sets of larger bells in successive gradations of sizes, one hanging inside the other, are found here. Then there are some huge cylindrical bells standing about two and a half feet high, with scrolls and geometrical designs on their sides. These are for camels and are not intended to hang from the neck. They are slung on one side under the lighter of the two loads of the pack.

[Illustration: The Palace Gate, Isfahan.]

Next, one is attracted by a shop full of leather trunks, of the reddest but not the best morocco, stretched while wet upon a rough wooden frame. Primitive ornamentations are painted on the leather, and the corners of each box are strengthened with tin caps and rings. The trunks for pack animals are better made than the others, and are solidly sewn, with heavy straps and rings to sling them upon the saddles. Gaudy revolver pouches, cartridge belts, and slings for daggers are to be purchased in the same shop.

CHAPTER XXX

The Brass Bazaar--Mirror shop--Curdled milk--A tea shop--Fruit and vegetable bazaar--The walnut seller--The Auctioneer--Pipe shops--Barber--Headdress--Bread shops--Caravanserais--The day of rest.

Winding our way through the labyrinth of narrow streets, and meeting a crescendo of diabolical din as we approach it, we emerge into a more spacious and lighter arcade, where hundreds of men are hammering with all their might upon pieces of copper that are being shaped into trays, pots with double spouts, or pans. This is the coppersmiths' bazaar. On a long low brick platform, extending from one end to the other on both sides of the street, is tastefully arranged the work already finished. Huge circular trays have coarse but elaborate ornamentations of figures, trees and birds chiselled upon them--not unlike the Indian Benares trays in general appearance, but not in the character of the design. Copper vases with spouts are gracefully shaped, the ancient Persian models being maintained. They are much used by Persians in daily life. More elaborate is the long-necked vessel with a circular body and slender curved spout, that rests upon a very quaint and elegantly designed wash-basin with perforated cover and exaggerated rim. This is used after meals in the household of the rich, when an attendant pours tepid water scented with rose-water upon the fingers, which have been used in eating instead of a fork. These vessels and basins are usually of brass. All along the ground, against the wall, stand sets of concentric trays of brass, copper and pewter, and metal tumblers innumerable, having execrable designs upon them, and rendered more hideous by being nickel-plated all over. Each shop, about ten to twenty feet long and eight to fifteen wide, has a furnace in one corner.


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