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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Such as the vividly coloured Kashan velvets


specially dealt in are the cotton and wool fabrics called _ghilim_, the designs of which are most artistic; and to a certain extent other fabrics, such as the vividly coloured Kashan velvets, the watered silks of Resht, the Kerman cloths resembling those of Cashmir, the silver and gold embroidered brocades of Yezd, and the silk handkerchiefs manufactured in the various silk districts, principally Tabriz, Resht, Kashan and Yezd.

The stamped and hand-drawn _kalamkars_ in stringent colours upon white cotton also find their way in large quantities to Europe, but are more quaint than beautiful. Large and ill-proportioned figures are frequently attempted in these designs. When of truly Persian manufacture the colours are said to be quite permanent under the action of both light and water.

The firm of Hotz and Son deals in well-nigh everything, and has made good headway of late years. It has large establishments at Isfahan, Shiraz and Bushire, and two agencies, one at Ahwaz on the Karun River, and one in Teheran (Groeneweg, Dunlop, and Co.); while it has correspondents in Bagdad, Busrah, Hongkong and Rotterdam, the head offices being in London. Its carpet manufacturing business in Sultanabad is now carried on by the Persian Manufacturing Co. The exports are similar to those of Ziegler and Co.

There are also smaller firms, particularly in Teheran, such as the Toko, Virion, and others

who do a retail business in piece goods and articles of any kind, and are entirely in the hands of foreigners, Belgians, Austrians, and French. Without reference to statistics, which are absolutely worthless in a country like Persia, the yearly foreign trade of Persia, divided between the Gulf ports and the north and north-western and south-western frontiers, may be put down roughly at some nine or ten millions sterling.

The Russian trade in the north may be considered as about equal to the British in the south. Then there are the goods brought by the Trebizonde-Tabriz trade route from Turkey and the Mediterranean, and by the Bagdad-Kermanshah, another very important route.

The extravagant system of farming prevailing until quite lately in Persia, as well as the uncertainties of Customs and revenue returns, makes it difficult to give trustworthy figures; but in future, probably this year, we may expect some more reliable data from the new Belgian customs office, a really sensible and well-managed administration organised by Monsieur Naus, who is, indeed, to be congratulated on the success with which his efforts at bringing about so radical a reform in the system of collecting duties have in so short a time been crowned. We often hear in England that the Customs of Persia are absolutely in the hands of Russia, and are worked by Russian officials. Even serious papers like _The Times_ publish misleading statements of this kind, but nothing could be more erroneous. M. Naus, at the head of the Customs, is a Belgian, and so are nearly all the foreign employees (there are one or two French, I believe) in Persian employ, but not a single Russian is to be found among their number. That the Russians hold a comparatively trifling mortgage on the Customs as a security for their loan is true, but, as long as Persia is able to pay interest on it, Russia has no more power over the Persian Customs than we have. Under regular and honest management, like the present, the Customs have already given considerable results, and were it not for the weakness of the Government in the provinces, the Customs receipts might easily be doubled, even without a change in the tariff.

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