Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/789

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769
MUD AS A BUILDING MATERIAL.

had been repeated by means of a stamp which had been pressed or imprinted when wet, producing a raised pattern; the impression left was so clean and perfect, it might have been gilt, and it would have been quite equal to the work we have at home on picture-frames.

Mud was the exclusive building material of that part of the world. The simple houses of the villages are formed of it; the defensive walls of the towns, which, owing to the Turkomans, were an absolute necessity to every village, were constructed of

PSM V41 D789 Mud walls of nishapur khorassan.jpg
Fig. 5.—The Mud Walls of Nishapur, Khorassan.

the same. The houses of the rich were also formed with it, and it had been developed into a highly decorative style of architecture.

One would not expect much durability from such walls, yet I was informed that there are walls of sun-dried brick in Ispahan which are over three hundred or four hundred years old. This quality of durability will no doubt depend upon the character of the soil. In the northern part of Persia, according to Mr. A. Finn, of the consular service, the walls of the old city of Erig are still standing, and they are said to have existed for twelve hundred years. There still remains at Cacha, in Peru, a wall of adobes, or sun-dried bricks—part of the Temple of Viracocha, which was in a ruined condition about three centuries ago, when Garcilasso described it, and this wall is still standing to a height of forty feet.[1] There are the remains of very old walls in Egypt. There is a Devonshire saying regarding the "cob," or mud walls, of that


  1. Squier's Peru, p. 407.