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0235 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 235 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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"They have the art of printing in that country, and their books are printed. And as I wanted to be clear on the point whether their manner of printing was the same as our own, I took the Persian one day to see the printing office of M. Thomaso Giunti at San Giuliano : and when he saw the tin types and the screwpresses with which they print, he said that they seemed to him to be very much like the other.'

" Their city is fortified by a thick wall, filled with earth inside, so that four carriages can go abreast upon it. There are great towers on the walls and artillery planted as thickly as on the Grand Turk's. There is a great ditch which is dry, but can be filled with water at pleasure.

"They have a kind of oxen of great size, and which have long hair extremely fine and white.2

"The Cathayan people and pagans generally are prohibited from leaving their native country and going about the world as traders.

"On the other side of the desert north of Corassam as far as Samarcand, the Iescilbas or people of the green caps have sway. Those Green-caps are a certain race of Mahomedan Tartars3 who wear conical caps of green felt, and give themselves that name to distinguish themselves from the followers of the Soft, their deadly enemies, who are the rulers of Persia, who are also Mahomedans and wear red caps.4 And these Green-caps and Red-caps are continually at most cruel war with one another on account of certain religious differences and frontier disputes. Among the cities that the Green-caps have under their rule are among others at present Bochara and Samarcand, each of which has a prince of its own.

" Those people have their peculiar sciences which they call respectively Chimia, that which we call alchemy, Limia or the science of attracting love, and Simia, or that of illusions They have no coined money, but every gentleman or merchant has his gold or silver made into small rods, and these are divided into small fragments for spending, and this is the practice of all the inhabitants of Campion and Succuir.

1 The Hajji's observation must have been superficial, at least as regards the metal types. Printing with movable types (made of terra cotta) was invented in China by a smith named Pishing before the middle of the eleventh century, but the invention does not seem to have been followed up. Wood printing was known at least as early as A.D. 581; and about 904 engraving on stone for the press was introduced (Julien in Jour. Asiat., ser. iv, tom. ix, 509, 513 ; Chine Moderne, pp. 626 segq.).

2 The Yak.

3 Uzbeks.   4 The Kizil-bash.

5 Kimla (Ar.) Alchemy; Simla (Pers.) Enchantment or fascination. Limia is probably a factitious word made on the jingling principle spoken of in note at p. cxix.

D'Herbelot says, however, that Simia is that part of chemistry which refers to the preparation of metals and minerals, and that Kimia Simia is used to express chemistry in general. There is another Simia he adds, which has for its subject a sort of divination by names and numbers ; the word being connected with ism, a name.