The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Garden elephant games

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The ambassadors waited until noon, when the lord came forth from his tent, and went under the pavilion. The ambassadors, a great number of his relations, and other people sat with him, according to the order which had been previously arranged. On this day there were many games, played in various ways, and the elephants which the lord had, were painted green and red, with their castles, and they were made to exhibit their performances. The noise made by the drums, during these games, was so great that it was quite wonderful; and near the pavilion, where the lord sat, there were many performing jugglers. There were three hundred jars of wine placed before the lord, on the ground; and there were also large skins full of cream, into which the attendants put loaves of sugar, and mixed it up; and this was what they drank on that day. When the people were all arranged in order round the wall which encircled the pavilion, Cano, the chief wife of the lord, came forth to be present at the feast. She had on a robe of red silk, trimmed with gold lace, which was long and flowing, but without sleeves, or any opening, except one to admit the head, and two arm holes. It had no waist, and fifteen ladies held up the skirts of it, to enable her to walk. She had so much white lead on her face, that it looked like paper; and this is put on to protect it from the sun, for when they travel in winter or summer, all great ladies put this on their faces. She had a thin veil over her face, and a crested head dress of red cloth, which hung some way down the back. This crest was very high, and was covered with large pearls, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones, and it was embroidered with gold lace, on the top of which there was a circlet of gold, set with pearls. On the top of all there was a little castle, on which were three very large and brilliant rubies, surmounted by a tall plume of white feathers. One of these feathers hung down as low as the eyes, and they were secured by golden threads; and, as she moved, they waved to and fro. Her hair, which was very black, hung down over her shoulders, and they value black hair much more than any other colour. She was accompanied by three hundred ladies, and an awning was carried over Cano, supported by a lance which was borne by a man. It was made of white silk, in the form of the top of a round tent, and held over her, to protect her from the sun. A number of eunuchs, who guard the women, walked before her, and in this way she came to the pavilion where the lord was, and sat down near him, with all her ladies, and three ladies held her head dress with their hands, that it might not fall on one side. As soon as she was seated, another of the wives of the lord came out from another enclosure, with many ladies, dressed in the same way, and sat down in the pavilion, a little below Cano. She was the second wife, and was called Quinchicano. Then, from another enclosure, came another wife, and sat down a little below the second; and in this way nine wives came out, and sat round the lord, eight of them being his own, and one the wife of his grandson. The wives of the lord had the following names. The chief wife was named Cano, which means 'queen' or 'great lady,' and she was the daughter of a former emperor of Samarkand, named Ahincan {Kamil Khan ?}, who also reigned over Persia and Damascus. They knew the mother of this emperor, but not his father; and he was very brave in battle, and made many laws and ordinances, which still regulate the empire. The second wife was called Quinchicano, which means little lady, and she was a daughter of Tumanga, the king of a land called Andricoja. The names of the others were Dileoltagna, Cholpamalaga, Mundagasa, Vengaraga, Ropa-arbaraga, and Yauguraga, which means 'queen of the heart,' and Timur Beg gave her that name last August.