Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/270

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438 Notice on Khote?. ' It is bounded by the mountains of Tibut to the south, by the country of Aksoo to the north, to the west by Yarkund, and to the east by China proper. It is only forty days'journey from Peking, but the road is interdicted. ' At eight days' journey from Yungee-kishlak, in the direction of south-south-east, is a district which abounds with gold in grains and masses, in collecting which five hundred to a thousand men are comtanfiy employed on the part of the Emperor of China. Kho- ten is supposed to possess this and other metals ? but if the inha- bitants be acquainted with any mines, they carefully conceal them from the knowledge of their rulers, lest they should be compelled to work them on the account of the emperor*. ' The Dereas Kara, or Black River, contains in its bed pebbles, called in Toorkee, yushm: such stones as are nearly transparent, perfecfiy white, and free from specks or stains, are highly esteemed in China, and Chinese guards are constantly stationed along the banks of the river to prevent private individuals procuring any, as these jaspers, or agates, formerly an object of commerce, are now reserved for the use of the emperor alone. ' The workmen employed in searching for them are compelled every day to take the whole of their prizes to a Chinese officer, specially appointed to examine and select them; and when a stone of extraordinary bulk and clearness is presented to him, he always welcomes its arrival with a most profound obeisance. ' The climate of Khoten is dry and particularly salubrious, the winters are colder, and the summers hotter than those of Ladakh. ' The soil, most luxuriantly productive, is very sandy, with water near the surface, well tasted and wholesome. Almost every house is provided with a well. The inhabitants are represented as being generally above the middle size: the males well formed and robust, with agreeable features and complexions of red and white: the females of delicate and elegant forms, and remarkable for the beauty of their eyes. eye-brows, and hair, the latter of which is care- fully preserved in the greatest possible luxuriance of growth: and though not confined to their apartments or concealed, they are not subjected to the drudgery of out-door-work, like their Tibutee neighbours of the same sex. The spinning of cotton affords them much in-door employment, as also the rearing of silk-worms and the winding of the thread; but the men gather and bring in the leaves of the mulberry for feeding the worms. Marco Polo says, that the people of Khoten are Mahometans; the translator of

  • 'At Aksoo there'is amine of rubies which is not worked. Near Eel-,, a short

tlme ago, a rich vein ?f silver was discovered accidentall[y, and information of itwa? given ? the Umbau, or resident, who extracted from i? aoout a thousand Ser? for his own use, and then, clo?ing it, forbade its further exploration. In?,elligonce of ?hil transaction was, however, conveyed ? Peking; and this concealment being ,, capit?l crime, the Umbau was poisoned by order of the emperor with a cup of medicated tea.' Digitized by Google