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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Which Sadek duly spread upon the floor


We

had come between mountains, and some twelve miles from Fezahbad we reached Kudarz (altitude 6,580 ft.), a village situated at the foot of the range we had crossed. As the sun peeped above the mountains close by to the east a large plain disclosed itself before the observer. A long mountain range, bluish and indistinct, could just be perceived in the distance, bounding the plain to the north. Some low, semi-spherical and a few conical hills, and also a somewhat higher and rugged rocky elevation, were found on entering the plain from the west.

Oskholun village lies in the plain 16 miles from Fezahbad. At the foot of the mountains on one's right one notices a curious deposit of sand and gravel, cushion shaped, rising in a gentle incline up the mountain side to a height of 150 feet. It would be interesting to find out exactly how these accumulations have formed, and whether the wind or water or both are responsible for them.

On arriving at Bambis (altitude 5,660 ft.) Sadek was in a great state of mind to find a suitable house where we could put up, as there were no caravanserais. Several of the principal people in the town offered me their own houses, and eventually, after careful inspection, I accepted the cleanest.

Of course, in small, out-of-the-way villages no great luxury could be expected even in dwellings of well-to-do people, but after entering by a miserable door and going

through a filthy passage, one came to a nice little court with an ornamental tank of somewhat fetid water. Swarms of mosquitoes rose from the floating leaves of the water plants as soon as we appeared and gave us a very warm reception. In a few seconds we were stung all over.

The women folks were made to stampede to the upper storey on our arrival, where they remained concealed while we stayed in the house, and the younger male members of the family hastily removed all the bedding and personal belongings from the principal room, which I was to occupy. Clouds of dust were raised when an attempt was made to sweep the dried mud floor. Out of the windows of the upper storey the women flung handsome carpets, which Sadek duly spread upon the floor.

The room was a very nice one, plastered all over and painted white, enriched with adhering dried leaves of red roses forming a design upon the ceiling. There were nine receptacles in the walls, and four more in the sides of the chimney piece. Next to this room was another similar one, and opposite in the courtyard a kind of alcove was used as a kitchen. It had a raised part of mud bricks some three feet high and about as broad, on which was fixed the weaving loom that stretched right across the court when in use. A hole was made in the raised portion, in which the weaver sat when at work, so as to keep the legs under the loom.

[Illustration: Persian Spinning Wheels and Weaving Looms.]

The loom is simple enough, the two sets of long horizontal threads being kept at high tension by an iron bar fixed into the cylindrical wooden rollers, round which the threads are rolled. There is then a vertical arrangement for moving the long horizontal sets of threads alternately up and down by means of pedals, a cross thread being passed between them with a spool, and beaten home each time with the large comb suspended in a vertical position. The threads are kept in position by two additional combs which represent the width of the cloth, and in which each horizontal thread is kept firm in its central position by a clever device of inverted loops between which it is passed and clenched tight. The cloth is rolled round a wooden cylinder. It is extremely strong and durable. Almost each house has a weaving loom.


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