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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Beluch children are rather quaint


The

dress of the better class Beluch men consists of a _khuss_, or sort of loose shirt reaching below the knees, and the enormous trousers falling in ample folds, but fitting tight at the ankle. At an angle on the head they wear a conical padded cap, embroidered in gold or silver, inside a great turban of white muslin. They also wear shawls or long scarves thrown over the shoulders in a fashion not unlike our Highlanders. Either shoes with turned-up toes are worn or else sandals. Felt coats or sheep-skins are donned in winter, while the richer people wear handsome coats and waistcoats of cloth embroidered in gold or silver. The chiefs possess most beautiful and expensive clothes.

The women of the poorer classes are garbed in a short petticoat, usually red or blue, and a loose shirt. A long cloth, not unlike a chudder, is thrown over the head, and is kept tight round the forehead by a band. It is fashionable to let it drag on the ground behind. Women generally go about barefooted. Better class ladies wear similar clothes but of better material, and often richly embroidered. Occasionally they put on large trousers like Persian women. The hair is either left to flow loose at the sides of the head, or is tied into a knot behind.

Necklaces, ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets and armlets are worn; white shells of all sizes from the Persian Gulf, as well as glass beads, playing a very important part in women's ornaments.

Bracelets cut out of a large white sea-shell are common.

Beluch children are rather quaint, with little skull caps, much decorated with silver coins, one of which larger than the others hangs directly over the forehead. The poor little mites are further burdened with ear-rings, bracelets and heavy necklaces of glass beads. Mothers seem tenderly fond of their children.

I was much delighted on the morning of January 29th to find that all the chiefs of the neighbouring tribes, garbed in their gaudy robes, had come with their retinues to pay their salaams to me. I heard the buzzing noise of a crowd approaching up the hill, and on looking out of the bungalow window beheld a most picturesque sight. A tall, long-haired figure in a brilliant long gown of red velvet, with gold embroideries in front and back, walked slowly a-head, followed by a cluster of venerable old men, some in long yellow skin _poshteens_, others in smart waistcoats covered with gold and silver embroidery. All wore huge turbans with gold embroidered conical caps inside. Behind them came a mass of armed men with swords and rifles.

On reaching the bungalow, fearing that I should still be asleep, they became silent, and as I watched them unseen from behind the blinds I do not believe that I have ever in my life gazed upon such a fine, dignified, manly lot of fellows anywhere. They seated themselves in a perfect circle, some twenty yards in diameter, directly outside the bungalow, carpets having been spread where the chiefs were to be accommodated. The chiefs sat together, and the soldiers and followers--over 150--with guns, matchlocks and Snider rifles, squatted down in two semicircles at their sides.


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