The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Badakshan embassy to Samarkand

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On Thursday, the 26th of October, the lord gave a great feast, and invited the ambassadors. It was given in one of the richest enclosures of tents, in a tent without cords, very richly ornamented. The ambassadors entered with the lord, who drank wine with those who were with him; and, that they might get drunk sooner, he gave them spirits. The drinking was such that many men came out of the tent drunk. The lord remained in the tent, very jovial, and the ambassadors returned to their lodgings; but the eating and drinking lasted all night. On Friday, the 27th of October, Cano, the chief wife of the lord, gave a great feast, and invited the ambassadors. The lady gave her entertainment in an enclosure of very rich tents, to which a great assembly of people came, as well ambassadors from various countries, as friends of her own, both knights and ladies. The enclosure was full of very rich tents, and the outer wall was made of white cloth, ornamented and embroidered with letters and figures, in a very beautiful design. The ambassadors, when they came to the horde, were taken to the enclosure by certain knights, who were relations of the lord, and they entered a tent near the gateway of the enclosure. This tent was of crimson cloth, embroidered inside and out with white. Here they sat down, and much meat and drink was Set before them. When they had eaten, Cano ordered that they should be shown the tents in her enclosure. Among them there was one tent very large and high, unsupported by cords, and covered with very beautiful red silk. There were bands of silver gilt plates all round it, and the tent was beautifully adorned inside and out, and it had two doors, one within the other. The first doors were made of thin red wands, close to each other, like a hurdle, and covered outside with rose coloured silk, beautifully woven. These doors were made in this way, in order that when they were shut, the air might enter freely, and that those inside might see the people outside, while those outside could not see the people inside. The second doors were so high, that a man might go through them on horseback, and they were covered with silver gilt, consisting of many square plates. They were ornamented very skilfully, and in a variety of patterns, amongst which were blue and gold knots, and the workmanship was so cunning and so excellent, that it could not be equalled, either in that country or in christendom. On one door was the figure of St. Peter, and on the other that of St. Paul, with books in their hands, which were covered with silver; and they say that Timur Beg found these gates at Bursa, when he pillaged the treasury of the Turk. Opposite these gates, in the middle of the tent, there was an ornamental cabinet or chest, containing silver. It was made of gold and very rich enamel work, and as high as a man's breast. The top was flat, and surrounded by small turrets, in green and blue enamel, with many precious stones and large pearls. In the centre of one of the sides, amongst these jewels, there was a stone as large as a small nut, and round, but not very bright. This cabinet had a small door, and within there was a shelf full of cups, above which there were six golden balls, covered with pearls and precious stones. At the foot of this cabinet there was a small golden table, about two palmos high, round which were many precious stones, and on the top there was a very clear and brilliant emerald, which was flat, and four palmos long, and covered the whole table, being also a palmo and a half broad. In front of this small stand or table, there was a golden tree, made to resemble an oak; with the trunk as big as a man's leg, from which many branches spread out in all directions, with leaves like those of an oak; and it was as high as a man, and overshadowed the table, which stood near it. The fruit of this tree consisted of rubies, emeralds, torquoises, sapphires, and wonderfully large pearls, selected for their shape and beauty. On this tree there were many birds, made of enameled gold of various colours, which were seated on the leaves of the tree, with their wings spread out, and in the act of picking the fruit. In front of this tree, against the wall of the tent, there was a wooden table, inlaid with silver gilt, and near it there was a bed of rich silk, embroidered with golden leaves and flowers, and many other devices. On the opposite side of the tent there was a similar table and bed, and the ground was covered with rich silken carpets. When the ambassadors had seen this tent, they were taken to the place where the lord was drinking wine with his Meerzas and knights. The feast was given because the lord had given one of his grandaughters in marriage to one of his grandsons, the night before. Entering the enclosure, on the right hand there was a tent of red cloth, embroidered and ornamented with white silk, and other colours. This tent was surrounded by doors and windows, covered with silken nets. The ambassadors entered by one of these doors, which was beautifully ornamented, and led to a vaulted passage, at the end of which there was another handsome door, which opened into the body of the tent. Beyond there was a door leading to another tent, which was embroidered with gold, and beyond this there was a great tent, where the lord sat drinking wine, and there was a great noise. These tents and doors were all of red cloth, and they were so rich and so well made, that they cannot be described by writing, and they cannot be imagined without being seen. The ambassadors were taken from this tent to a wooden house, which was in the enclosure. It was high, and was approached by a flight of steps. It was beautifully painted in gold and blue, and was made so that it could be set up and taken down at pleasure. This house was the mosque, in which the lord said his prayers, and he took it with him on his journeys. They were then taken to a tent, which was supported by green cords. It contained two beds. Thence they went to another tent, close to the former one, which was without cords. It was covered with red cloth outside, and ornamented in various ways inside. Part of the inside was lined with sables, which is the most precious skin in the world, and each skin is worth fourteen or fifteen ducats in that land, and in other countries its value is much greater. Above the entrance, there was an awning to prevent the sun from entering the tent. The ambassadors went from these tents to some others, which were close at hand. They were covered with white satin, and near them there were many awnings of silk; and in this horde, there were not only these enclosures and tents belonging to the lord, but many others for the use of his Meerzas and courtiers, which were wonderful to behold; so that whichever way a man turned, he saw plenty of beautiful tents and silken walls. In this horde, which the lord had assembled, there were as many as fourteen or fifteen thousand tents, which was a beautiful thing to see; and besides these tents there were many others in the gardens, meadows, and fields around the city. The lord caused all the Meerzas and nobles in the land of Samarkand to come to this festival; amongst whom was the lord of Balaxia {Badakshan ?}, which is a great city, where rubies are procured; and he came with a large troop of knights and followers.