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150                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER sxm

and flowers, marigolds and autumnal roses being now
in the ascendant. Marble basins with fountains, and
marble walks between the parterres, suggest coolness, and
walnuts, apples, and apricots give shade. The men's and
women's apartments are frequently on opposite sides of
the quadrangles, and the latter usually open on atriums,
floored with white marble and furnished with rugs and
brocaded curtains. I have only seen the women's
apartments, and these in the houses of rich traders and
high officials are as ornamental as the exteriors are
repulsive and destitute of ornament. Gilding, arabesques
in colour, fretwork doors and panelling, and ceilings and
cornices composed of small mirrors arranged so as to
represent facets, are all decorative in the extreme. These
houses, with the deep shade of their courtyards, the cool
plash of their fountains, and their spacious and ex-
quisitely-decorated rooms, contrast everywhere with the
low dark mud hovels, unplastered and windowless, in
which the poor live, and which the women can only
escape from by sitting in the heaped and filthy yards
on which they open, and which the inhabitants share
with their animals. The contrast between wealth and
poverty is strongly emphasised in this, as in all Persian
cities, but one musfadd that the gulf between rich and
poor is bridged by constant benevolence on the part of
the rich, profuse charity being practised as a work of merit
by all good Moslems.

The bazars are shabby and partially ruinous, but very
well supplied with native produce and manufactures,
English cottons, Eussian merchandise, and "knick-knacks"
of various descriptions. The presence of foreigners in
the town, although they import many things by way of
Baghdad, has introduced foreign articles of utility into
the bazars, which are not to be found everywhere, and
which are commending themselves to the people, " Peek