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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Called inappropriately Kerman shawls


However,

Ala-el-Mulk is, above all, a philosopher, and he certainly makes the best of his opportunities. He has to contend with many difficulties, intrigue, false dealing, and corruption being rampant even among some of the higher officials in the town; but with his sound judgment and patience he certainly manages to keep things going in a most satisfactory manner.

Besides his official business, and with the aid of his nephew, he superintends the manufacture, as we have already seen, of the best, the most characteristically Persian carpets of the finest quality and dyes. There are a great many looms in the buildings adjacent to the Palace and hundreds of hands employed in the Governor's factories. He also possesses a good collection of very ancient carpets, from which the modern ones are copied.

I returned his visit at his Palace, where the Consul and I were received most cordially and had a lengthy and most interesting conversation with his Excellency. Then he showed me all the buildings in the Ark.

Kerman is celebrated for its cloth manufacture and felts. The cloth is of fine worsted, and is generally in pieces six yards long by three quarters of a yard wide. It is much used by the natives, both for hangings and for making clothes for men and women, being very soft and durable. Embroidered turbans and kamarbands are made from these cloths, especially in white cloth, generally of a

fine quality. The process of weaving these cloths, called inappropriately "Kerman shawls," is identical with that of the loom described at the village of Bambis in Chapter XXXVI. The material used for the best quality is the selected fine wool, growing next to the skin of goats. These dyed threads are cut into short lengths and woven into the fabric by the supple and agile fingers of the children working, packed tight together, at the looms. Some of the best cloths, not more than ten feet in length, take as long as a month per foot in their manufacture, and they realise very high prices, even as much as nine or ten pounds sterling a yard. The design on the more elaborate ones is, as in the carpets, learnt by heart, the stitches being committed to memory like the words of a poem. This is not, however, the case with the simpler and cheaper ones, which are more carelessly done, a boy reading out the design from a pattern or a book.

[Illustration: Tiled Walls and Picturesque Windows in the Madrassah, Kerman.]

[Illustration: Sirkar Agha's Son, the Head of the Sheikhi Sect, Kerman.]

The carpet factories of Kerman are very extensive, the process being similar to that already described in a previous chapter.

CHAPTER XLIII

The Madrassah--"Peace on Abraham"--The _Hammam_--Trade caravanserais--The Hindoo caravanserai--Parsees--Ancient fortifications--The Kala-i-Dukhtar, or virgin fort--Speculation--The Kala-Ardeshir--A deep well--Why it was made.

A visit to the Madrassah on the north side of the bazaar was extremely interesting, it being the best preserved building of that type I had so far seen in Persia. The Consul and I were shown round it by the Son of Sirkar Agha, the head of the Sheikhi sect, a most dignified individual with long black cloak and ample white turban, and with a beard dyed as black as ink. He conversed most intelligently and took great delight in showing every nook of the building.


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