The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Garden marriage Samarkand

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On Monday, the 6th of October, the lord ordered a great feast to be given, at the place where his horde was encamped on the plain, and he ordered that his relations and women, all his sons and grandsons who were near, his councillors, and all the people who were scattered round, should assemble at this place. On this day the ambassadors were brought to the plain, and, when they arrived, they found many handsome tents pitched, most of them on the banks of the river, close together, and it was a very beautiful sight. The ambassadors went through some streets of tents, where they sold all that was required by this great host; and, when they were near the tents of the lord, they were placed under an awning, made of white linen cloth, ornamented with cloths of various colours, and it was long, and secured above by cords, to two poles, and there were many awnings of this kind on the plain, and they make them long and high, that the sun may be screened off, and that air may enter freely. Near these awnings, there was a great and lofty pavilion, which was like a tent, only square, and three lances high. It was a hundred paces broad, and had four corners, and the ceiling was round, like a vault. It was pitched against twelve poles, each as large round as a man, measured round the chest. They were painted gold and blue, and other colours, and from corner to corner there were poles, three fastened together, and making one. When they pitched the tents, they used wheels, like those of a cart, which were turned by men, and they have ropes fixed in various directions, to assist them. From the vault of the ceiling of the pavilion silken cloths descended, between each of the poles, which were fastened to them, and when they were fastened, they made an arch from one side to the other. Outside this square pavilion, there were porticoes, joined above to the pavilion, and supported by twenty-four poles, not so large as the central ones, so that the whole pavilion was supported by thirty-six poles. From this pavilion at least five hundred red cords were extended, and inside there was a crimson carpet, beautifully ornamented with silken cloths of many colours, and embroidered with gold threads. In the centre of the ceiling there was the richest work of all; and in the four corners were the figures of four eagles, with their wings closed. The outside of the pavilion was lined with silk cloths, in black, white, and yellow stripes. At each corner there was a high pole, with a copper ball, and the figure of a crescent on the top; and in the centre, there was another tall pole, with a much larger copper ball and crescent; and, on the top of the pavilion, between these poles, there was a tower of silken cloths, with turrets, and an entrance door; and when the wind blew the pavilion about, or made the poles unsteady, men went on the top, and secured anything that was loose. This pavilion was so large and high that, from a distance, it looked like a castle; and it was a very wonderful thing to see, and possessed more beauty than it is possible to describe. Within the pavilion there was, in one part, a chamber covered with carpets, for the use of the lord; and on the left hand there was another carpeted chamber, and another beyond that. Round this pavilion there was a wall, like that of any castle or city, made of silken cloths of many colours, ornamented in various ways, with turrets, and it had cords, inside and out, to draw it straight, and inside there were poles, which supported it. The wall was round, and encircled a space which was about three hundred paces across, and it was as high as a man on horseback. It had a broad gate, made like an arch, and on the top of it there was a tower with turrets; and the wall, as well as the tower and turrets, was ornamented with patterns and devices of very beautiful workmanship, and they call this wall Zalaparda {The encampments of old Futteh Ali, the Shah of Persia between 1798 and 1834, resembled these of Timur. He had a vast pavilion, surrounded by a canvass wall of bright coloured cloths, with numerous handsome tents within the inclosure. Malcolm; Harford Jones; Fraser}. Within the wall there were many tents, and awnings pitched in various ways; amongst which was a high tent, not drawn out by cords. The walls were of poles, a little larger than a lance, which crossed each other like a net; and on the top of these poles, there were others forming a high capital. These poles were secured by broad girths to each other, and to stakes fixed near the walls of the tent. The tent was so high, that it was wonderful how it could be secured with these girths, and the top was covered with a crimson cloth, and the walls were lined with cotton, like a coverlid, so that the sun could not penetrate. It had no ornaments or figures whatever, except that there were some white stripes all round the outside. These stripes were covered with silver-gilt bezants, as broad as a man's hand, which were adorned with precious stones. Between these stripes there were others, which went all round the tent, folded in small folds like the skirts of a robe, and embroidered with gold threads. When there was any wind, these folds moved backwards and forwards, and looked very beautiful. The tent had an entrance, with doors of very small canes, covered with red cloth. Near this tent there was another, drawn out by cords of red velvet; and there were four other tents close to each other, so that there was a passage from one to the other, and the street between them was covered over. Within the wall there were many tents; and joined to the wall there was another as large, made of silk, with windows at intervals, but no man could enter through them, because silken nets were drawn across. In the centre of the space formed by this wall there was another very high tent, made like the former one, with the same red cloth and silver-gilt bezants; and these tents were higher than three lances. On the highest part of the latter tent there was a very large silver-gilt eagle, with wings displayed, and a little below it, above the door of the tent, were three silver-gilt falcons, with extended wings, and heads turned towards the eagle, which seemed to wish to attack them. These figures were very well made, and were so placed as to present a very beautiful effect. Above the door of the tent there was a silken awning of many colours, which made a shade before the door, and protected it from the sun; and it was made to move, so that the rays of the sun could never enter the tent. The first wall and tents were for the use of the chief wife of the lord, who was called Cano; and the other was for his second wife, called Quinchicano, which means 'the little lady.' Near this wall there was another, with many tents and awnings within it; and in the centre there was a lofty tent, made in the same way as those I have already described to you; and these walls were joined to each other, and they are called Zalaparda. Each had its own colour, and in each there was one of those large tents, without cords, all covered with red cloth, and made in the same manner, and there were many tents and awnings in each. Between the walls there was only a narrow passage, and they were placed in rows, so as to look very beautiful. These enclosures were for the women of the lord and of his grandsons, and during the summer they were as good as houses. At noon the lord came out of one of these enclosures, and went to the great pavilion, and caused the ambassadors to be brought in, giving them a great dinner of roasted sheep and horses; and when the dinner was over, the ambassadors returned to their lodgings.