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0338 Marco Polo : vol.1
Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 338 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000271
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~• II

  • I 52.

FINE HOUSES & PEACEFUL PEOPLE IN QUINSAI ,MARCO POLO z should be believed, they are so extraordinary a thing. And again I tell you that all the z FB z great men and their wives and also all the heads or •great •masters of the stations of z the trades of which I have told you do nothing at all with their hands, but all live z as delicately and as clean[66dj1y as if they were kings and barons. And their ladies R R and wives are also very delicate and angelic things, as has been said, and tenderly and very delicately reared, and dress with so many ornaments of silk and of jewels that the value of them z could not be estimated. Moreover I tell you that it was ordained by their king aforesaid R L of the said city and province while he reigned that each inhabitant must always do the trade VB of his father and of his ancestors; and if he were to have a hundred thousand besants TA Z of gold he could not do any other trade than his father had done. Do not indeed R suppose that they were obliged to work with their own hands, but •yet they were obliged to keep Z R Z the shop and • to keep men as was said above to practise the said • ancestral • trade. But they are not at all bound to this by the great lord, for if an arti&an has grown to such wealth that he can and will forsake his trade, he is forced by none to practise the trade any more. For the great Kaan reasons in this way; if a man practises sonie trade because he is poor for otherwise be cannot supply himself with necessaries—and in the process of time fortune has so prospered hint that he can spend his life in dignity without the practice of his trade, why, if he does not wish, must he be forced to practise a trade? For it would seem to be unfitting and unjust that, if the gods R give him good success, nien must go against it. • They have their houses very well built and richly worked, and they take so great delight in ornaments, paintings, and buildings, that the sums they spend on them are a stupendous thing. The native inhabitants of the city of Quinsai are peaceful people through having been so brought up and habituated by their kings, who were of the same nature. They do not handle arms nor keep them at home. Quarrels or any difference are never heard or noticed among them. They do their merchandise and arts with great sincerity and truth. They love one another so that a district may be reckoned as one family on account of the friendliness which exists between the men and the women by reason of the neighbourhood. So great is the familiarity that it exists between them without any jealousy or suspicion of their women, for whom they have the greatest respect; and one who should dare to speak improper words to any married woman would be thought a great villain. They are equally friendly with the foreigners who come to them for the sake of trade, and gladly receive them at home, saluting them, and give them every help and advice in the business which they do. On the other hand they do not like to see soldiers, nor those of the great Kaan's guards, as it seems to them that by reason of them they have been deprived of their natural kings and lords. And again I tell you that towards FB Z midday from the city, that is to say inside the city, is a lake very beautiful and great which V R FB is quite thirty miles round, and all round this lake are built many very beautiful R and great palaces and many beautiful houses so wonderfully made that they could not be better devised nor made, nor more richly, which belong to gentle men and


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