« السابقةمتابعة »
age, the houses are built of such materials, and these are used perhaps in all cases in the constructions of rank or sacred character. In many places mud is resorted to; the mud is pressed tightly between planks, and then assiduously beaten down by feet and clubs; in this they shew great dexterity, five or six persons, chiefly women beating at once a piece of mud of small dimensions. The mud is beaten down on that which has been previously so treated, so that when they come to any height, there must be considerable danger of falling, particularly as the beaters make most extraordinary antics. When each piece is sufficiently compacted it is allowed to dry. As portions of mud of a parallelogrammic form are thus treated, the house presents lines, which at first lead one to suppose that it is built of blocks of coarse sand-stone. process is very tedious.
The sculpture they possess would appear to be Chinese: some of the figures were really excellent; the finest we saw were at Dewangiri, especially that of the Dhurma, before which it is considered impossible to sin, and this may be the reason of the natives striving so strenuously to do so. All these figures were well dressed. The few figures of Boodh that I saw were rather rude, in the usual position, and with the usual long fingers and toes. These people certainly have an idea of drawing, and this was very pleasing. To a native of the Plains you may shew a drawing which you have every reason to be pleased with, particularly if you have done it yourself, and he says, "kya?" or he mistakes a house for a boat, or a tree for a cow. In Bootan, however, the case is very different; our sketches were recognised immediately, no matter what subjects we intended to represent. They are also ready at comprehending charts. And with regard to their own performances we had opportunities of judgment presented to us by the walls of many houses, which were covered with scrawls; they excel in the representation of animals, particularly when the shape depends upon the will of the artist.
Music enters into most of their ceremonies, and the favourite instrument emits a sound like that of a bassoon. Another favourite instrument is a clarionet, particularly when made from the thigh bone of a man the sound of this is equal to that of any Bengal musical instrument, and is as disagreeable as it is continuous, the skill of the performer depending entirely upon his length of wind. One of these instruments generally heads every procession of sufficient importance.
At two of our interviews with Soobah we had an opportunity of witnessing the mode of dancing, which was done entirely by women, and as certain qualifications for dancing girls exist to a remarkable extent in Bootan, they are chosen indiscriminately. The dancing merely consists in slow revolutions and evolutions, and outturning of the
hands. They danced to their own music, which consisted of a low monotonous chanting, of a much more pleasing nature that the altissimo screeching so admired in India.
Of their manufacturing skill I saw few or no instances. All the woollen cloths of ordinary quality are imported from Bengal or Thibet; their own manufacture being, it is said, confined to the production of coarse, often striped, blankets, scarcely a foot wide. They make but very little cotton cloth, and the manufacture of this appears to be confined to the villages near the Plains; the article is of poor and coarse quality: all their silks and many other parts of their fine apparel are Chinese.
I have before mentioned the use they make of bamboos, and rattans : in the work of articles manufactured from these materials they are not superior to the wildest of the Hill tribes to be found about Assam.
Their ordinary drinking cups are wooden, and look as if they were turned; and they are perhaps the best specimens of manufacture we witnessed.
Their workers in metal are very inferior; we saw some miserable blacksmiths and silversmiths, provided with utterly inefficient apparahowever there is not much demand on their skill, as all their arms, and all their better sort of utensils are of foreign manufacture, principally Thibetan. They are said to manufacture the copper pans used for cooking or dyeing, and which are frequently of very large dimensions; and they went so far as to point out the place of manufacture, viz. Tassangsee. But I doubt this, for in the first place the vessels resemble much those made in Thibet; and in the second, I saw nothing like any manufacture going on at Tassangsee, except that of burning charcoal, which is much used in cooking. Paper they certainly do make, and in some quantity: I had no opportunity of seeing the process. The material is furnished by two or three species of Daphne. The article varies much in size, shape, and quantity; the finest being white, clean, and very thin; the worst nearly as coarse as brown paper. If bought from the manufacturers themselves it is cheap, the price being six annas for twenty large sheets; if from an agent the price of course increases in a centesimal proportion. It is well adapted for packing, as insects will not come near it, always excepting the formidable white ant, who however consumes the contents of the paper, not the article itself. This paper appears to be precisely the same as that manufactured to the north-west and south-east by the Shan Chinese.
The only potteries, I saw were near Punukka, but although they supplied the capital, there were only two or three families employed. The clay is obtained close to the potteries, and is of tolerable quality;
it is pulverised by thrashing with a flat club, and is then sifted. It is subsequently kneaded by means of water into the proper consistence. The operations are conducted entirely by the hand, and the dexterity which is shewn in fashioning the vessels is considerable. Of vessels for containing water the upper half is made first, and the under is added afterwards. Those made during the day are burnt at night, being covered with straw, which is then set on fire; the finishing operation, if required, and which is intended as a substitute for glazing, is rubbing them over with tarry turpentine; they are then packed and carried off to market, or rather to the palace: the artists are the poorest of the poor, and as filthy as any other class in Bootan. They live close to the potteries, in the most miserable hovels imaginable. The wares they furnish are of several sorts-dishes, and pans, (some of which have very small inefficient handles) gurrahs, and large oblong vessels for containing water; of these one family consisting of ten or twelve can make a considerable number, say sixty in one day.
Of their manufactures of leathern articles I can say nothing: the only articles I saw of this nature were the boots, which are of untanned hides, and the reticules for holding tobacco, which are of decent fashioning, tanned and coloured. And I believe I may here close the list, meagre as it is, for the sugar, oil, ghee, &c. they use, is all brought up from the Plains. As their manufactures are at so low an ebb, not much is to be expected in the way of commerce; and this must continue to be the case so long as they derive every thing from the Plains, and make no returns whatever; so long as they may live an idle life at the expense of others. Throughout the country indeed there is but little evidence of frequency of intercourse. The busiest place by far was Dewangiri, but this depended chiefly on the steps taken for the provision of our party, and on the daily assembling of the Kampas prior to descending to Hazoo. The Deb is stated to be the principal merchant, but we only met two coolies laden with his merchandise! All the Soobahs likewise trade, but I apprehend their dealings are altogether insignificant; for excepting their followers, who are disinclined to pay, even had they money, and the priests who will not pay, I know none from whom advantage in the way of traffic could with any reason be expected.
The exports from Bootan to the Plains are generally exposed for sale at annual fairs, of which Hazoo and Rungpore are the principal. The articles are ponies, mules, woollen cloth, and rock salt. To these I must add a peculiar spice, known in Assam by the name of Jubrung, and which is used, I believe, to some extent by the natives in their cookery. It is very fragrant, very aromatic, and excessively pungent, and if kept in the mouth but a short time, occasions a
remarkably tremulous sensation of the tongue and lips. It is the capsule of a species of Zanthoxylon found on other mountains to the north-east, although I am not aware whether it is used as a spice elsewhere than in Bootan. Captain Jenkins first pointed it out to me, and I had several opportunities of seeing the shrub producing it during my visit to Bootan. All these are of inferior quality, scarcely less so, perhaps, than the article in which they pay the greater part of even their nominal tribute. From Thibet they obtain all their silks and tea, there is, however, very little intercourse between the countries.
I am afraid that this very imperfect account will be considered as prejudiced; but I believe it will be found, if put to the test, tolerably faithful. I went into the country prepossessed in favour of every thing bearing the name of Bootan-I expected to see a rich country, and a civilized people. I need not say how all my expectations were disappointed. Whatever ulterior benefits may be derived from the Mission, one, and that by no means inconsiderable, has already resulted-I allude to the demolition of the extravagant ideas entertained, even by our frontier officers, of the prowess and riches of Bootan. As the Mission will have been the means of reducing this people to their proper level among barbarous tribes, we may expect their demeanour will become more respectful, their behaviour more cautious, and the payment of the tribute more sound and more punctual. In a word, they will understand that they are tolerated by-not the equals of the gigantic British power. I have stated my opinion of them with some severity, but with impartiality; and my conviction is, that they are in all the higher attributes very inferior to any other mountainous tribe I am acquainted with on the northeast frontier.
It must not be supposed that, however disgusted with the inhabitants of the country, the Mission was not a source of great gratification to me. It afforded me an opportunity of visiting a very alpine country; and, what is much more important, of fixing, through the kindness and skill of Captain Pemberton, the localities of nearly 1500 species of plants with such accuracy, that the collection will be of much interest to all students of botanical geography. It afforded me too an opportunity of profiting from the valuable instructions of Captain Pemberton; so much so, that it will always be a matter of regret to me that I was so ignorant of so many essential requisites during the other journeys I have had the honour of performing.
Asst. Surg. Madras Est. in Med. charge Bootan Mission.
ART. II.-Account of Tamba Patra Plates dug up at Baroda in Goojrat; with Facsimile and Translation.
(Laid before the Meeting of the Asiatic Society of 5th June, 1839.)
The Tamba Patras now submitted to the inspection of the members of this Society were placed in my hands by Mr. W. P. GRANT, who obtained them from BENI RAM, of Baroda, and whose account of the method of their discovery as derived from that person, was, that they were dug up in excavating the foundations of a house in that city.
The grant is peculiar in many respects. It is in a character not exactly corresponding with any previously observed, but sufficiently similar to that of the grants decyphered by Mr. WATHEN to be easily made out by persons accustomed to the work, after a little study and comparison. The pandits and antiquaries of Baroda, indeed, were baffled in their attempts to make out the character, and the plates were put into my hands as undecypherable; but KAMLAKANTA, the pandit who assisted our late Secretary in his discoveries, undertook the task of reading them with confidence, and accomplished the complete transcription into Devanâgrí in about a fortnight. The plates are submitted to inspection with a transcript, fac-simile, and close translation, the latter made by SARODA PARSHAD CHAKRAVARTI.
They are found to be the record of a deed of grant made by KARKA Raja of Látéshwara to BHA'NU BRAHMIN, son of SA'MADITYA, in the year of Saka 734, corresponding with 812 A.D., that is, just one thousand and twenty-seven years ago. Their state of preservation is wonderful for such a period, but that may be owing partly to the purity of the copper, and partly to the care with which the edges have been beaten up so as to take all the friction, and prevent the faces of the plates from rubbing against one another. Their present appearance is owing to an acid having been used to clean them.
Although uniformly clean and bright, the marks of corrosion will be observed in several places, which are the effect of antiquity; but fortunately the letters are so deeply engraved that scarcely any are completely effaced.
The historical facts deducible from this Tamba Patra are the following:
First, That towards the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th century of our era, that is during the reign of CHARLEMAGNE of France, Hindoostan and the Dukhun were divided into four kingdoms :-The Gajara Raj westward-the Malwa Raj centrical-to the east the Gourha Raj, (including Bengal and Behar)-and the Lâtéshwara Raj