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0424 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 424 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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And the fashions of this kingdom are thus. The women have their hair plaited in more than one hundred tresses, and they have a couple of tusks as long as those of wild boars.' And another fashion they have in this country is this.~ Sup-

Tartares, p. 107). Secondly : The term Ubashi is applied to some class of the Lamas among the Mongols. (Reuiliy, Desc. du Thibet, p. 36 ; Huc and Gabet in Jour. As. iv, ser. xi, 538). Lastly : among the Persian and Arabic writers the name regularly applied to the members of the Buddhistic religious orders is Bakshi, supposed to be a corruption of the Sanscrit Bhikshu, "a mendicant", which is one of their orthodox appellations. This term is used by Polo (Baksi, see i, 24), and by Ricold of Montecroce, who calls them "Baxitce, sc. quidam pontifices ydolorum," on which his editor can only observe in rather a helpless manner, "Fortasse hoc vocabulum cohceret cues Russico Bog, Deus" (Peregrinatores Quatuor, Lips., 1864, p. 117). This last (Bakshi) is probably the word intended by Odoric.

Whatever be the origin of the name it is not improbable that it was brought into the precise form presented, by a lodgment in the head of Odoric or his.scribes of the name of the Abassi Khaliffs, the Popes of the Saracens. Compare these two passages :


"In this city dwelleth Lo ABASSI, i.e. in their tongue the Pope, the Head of all the Idolaters, and who has the disposal of all their benefices," etc.

Benjamin of Tudela (p. 95).
"The Khalif Emir Al lthumenin AL

ABASSI   who is the chief of the
Mohammedan religion, and holds the same dignity over them which the Pope enjoys over the Christians."

1 The plaits of hair covered with pieces of turquoise, etc., may be seen in most drawings of Tibetan women. The boar's tusks (if there be no misapprehension) must be a rash generalization; though the disfigurement of the women in other respects by certain fashions that they have adopted is noticed in strong terms by both old and recent travellers. There is a hideous figure of a goddess (Prasrinmo), which is represented with boar's tusks, and is very common in Tibet.

But I suspect that the statement is an error of the scribe's. For the women in Tibet do commonly use boar's tusks as ornaments, both attached to the head and hung round the neck. (Giorgi, Alph. Tibet., p. 688 ; Voyages de Tavernier, (small edition) iv, 179; Journ. Asiat., Ser. 2, iv, p. 247).

Rubruquis says the people of Tibet used to eat their dead parents, but had left off the practice. " But they still make fine goblets from the heads of their parents, that, as they drink from these, in the midst of their jollity they may keep their kin in mind. This was told me by an eyewitness" (p. 289). Carpini heard of the same custom pro certo (p. 658). And Giorgi thus describes the Tibetan funeral rites : "The naked corpse, being doubled up like an unborn infant in the womb, is tied in a sack and