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0180 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 180 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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the Golden Mountain.' The party of Zemarchus on their arrival were immediately summoned to an interview with Dizabulus. They found him in his tent, seated on a golden chair with two wheels, which could be drawn by one horse when required. Then they addressed the Barbarian in accordance with the fashion of those people, and laid the presents before him, which were taken charge of by those whose office it was. , Zemarchus then made a polite speech [which may be omitted], and Dizabulus replied in like manner. Next they were called to a feast, and passed the whole day in conviviality in the tent. Now this tent was furnished with silken hangings of various colours artfully wrought. They were supplied with wine, not pressed from the grape like ours, for their country does not produce the vine, nor is it customary a: iong them to use grape wine ; but what they got to drink was some other kind of barbarian liquor.2 And at last they departed to the place assigned for their quarters. Next day again they assembled iu another pavilion, adorned in like manner with rich hangings of silk, in which figures of different kinds were wrought. Dizabulus was seated on a couch that was all of gold,3 and in the middle of the pavilion were drinking vessels and flagons and great jars, all of gold.4 So they engaged in another drinking match, talking and listening to such purpose as people do in their drink,

and then separated.5 The following day there was another bout in a pavilion supported by wooden posts covered with gold, and in which there was

a gilded throne resting on four golden peacocks.6 In front of the place of meeting there was a great array of waggons, in which there was a huge quantity of silver articles consisting of plates and dishes, besides numerous figures of animals in silver, in no respect inferior to our own. To such a pitch has attained the luxury of the Turkish Sovereign !

1 Ek-tag or Ak-tagh would, I believe, be "White Mountain." The Altai or Golden Mountain of the Mongols, which was the original seat of these Turks, may be meant, but it is very remote. All that can be deduced from the narrative is that it was beyond Talas, for the party pass that place on their march towards Persia (infra). Sitnocatta also says it was an established law among the Turks that the Golden Mountain should be in the hands of the most powerful Khagan (vii, 8).

No doubt Darassun ; see Shah Rukh's embassy in Note xvii infra.

3 So Rubruquis describes Batu as seated " on a long broad throne like a bed, gilt all over" (p. 268).

4 "At the entrance of the tent there was a bench with Cosmos (Kumis or fermented mare's milk), and great goblets of gold and silver set with

precious stones" (Ibid). See also Shah Rukh's Embassy infra.   •

5 This constant drinking corresponds exactly to the account of the habits of the Mongol court in Plano Carpini and Rubruquis. Thus the former, on the occasion of Kuyuk Khan's formal inthroning, says that after the homage had been done " they began to drink, and as their way is, continued drinking till hour of vespers" (p. 758). Rubruquis's account of his residence at the Court of Mangu Khan is quite redolent of

drink. One sees how Sultan Baber came by his propensity to strong drink.

Probably the lineal predecessor of the Peacock Throne of Dclili.