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314                 JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN      LETTER sxis

LETTEE  XXIX   (Continued}

WHO is or is not in this house it is hard to say. Mirza
tells me that there are 115 guests to-day! Among
them are a number of Tyari men, whose wild looks,
combined with the splendour of their dress and arms,
are a great interest. Their chief man has invited me
to visit their valley, and they say if I will go to them
they will give me "a fine suit of clothes." I need it
much, as doubtless they have* observed! Their jackets
are one mass of gold embroidery (worked by Jews), their
shirts, with hanging sleeves, are striped satin; their
trousers, of sailor cut, are silk, made from the cocoons
of their own silkworms, woven with broad crimson stripes
on a white ground, on which is a zigzag pattern; and their
handsome jack-boots are of crimson leather. With their
white or red peaked felt hats and twisted silk pagris, their
rich girdles,.jewelled daggers, and inlaid pistols, they
are very imposing. Female dress is very simple.

These Tyari men come «from one of the wildest and
most inaccessible valleys of Central Kurdistan, and belong
to those Ashirets or -tribal Syrians who, in their deep
and narrow rifts, are practically unconquered by the
Turks and unmolested by the Kurds, and maintain a
fierce semi-independence under their maleks (lit. kings) or
chiefs. They are wild and lawless mountaineers, paying
taxes only when it suits them; brave, hardy, and warlike,
preserving their freedom by the sword; fierce, quarrel-