Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/147

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

the individual. Shawls alike cover and adorn the head in a thousand different ways: they fall down the back over the shoulders, twist round the neck, or are fastened on the crown of the head, without any other rule than taste to determine their position.

The dress of women of the lower class has a rather dismal effect: it is commonly of a very dark brown colour. The trowsers, chemise, and veil, are of one and the same cloth. In this attire, the wearers always look as if they belonged to a funeral procession.



Of all the habits of a Persian, the most common is that of smoking. Whether he is with his women, or in the divan-kaneh, in the company of his friends; whether he is going abroad or to court, he is never without his pipe, which fills the intervals of silence, relieves him from the fatigue of talking, and frequently causes him to be deemed more intelligent than he really is.

The Persian pipe, called kallioun or narquilly, is totally different from ours. It is shaped like a bottle terminated by the neck, at the top of which is a bowl for receiving he tobacco. The tube is attached to the bottom of this bowl, and frequently makes several windings in the bottle. The latter, which is of blown glass, has a curious appearance to a stranger: it is ornamented in the inside with representations of trees, flowers, and sometimes with small medallions. When the glass is just blown, these ornaments are fixed in the bottle with small pincers; and so neatly are the pieces joined together, as entirely to escape observation. A handsome kallioun costs, we are told, nearly fifty guineas.

To use this pipe, the bottle is filled with water, and the tobacco lighted. The smoke, after thus passing through the bottle, arrives at the mouth cool and disengaged from the coarser vapours.

The Peshkedmats are a class of servants who take charge of the smoking apparatus; and an excellent figure the man, his horse, and all the appendages of his office, make in one of their motley cavalcades. A couple of cylindrical leather cases are fastened on each side of his saddle, at the places usually destined for the holsters; one contains the kallioun with its tubes, &c. and the other the tobacco. On the left flank of the beast, and suspended by a chain long enough to clear the belly, hangs an