Kerman Macro Polo

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Macro Polo's Observations about Kerman PoloTravels of Marco Polo

A southern arm of the Aryan trade roads ran through Kerman province and city. A branch would also have passed through the southern town of Jiroft. Marco Polo passed through the kingdom of Kerman in 1271 CE after visiting Yazd. Chapter 17 of The book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, Vol. I, translated by Henry Yule, describes Kerman as follows:

Kerman, City of Historical Places of Worship

"In this kingdom (of Kerman) are produced the stones called turquoises in great abundance; they are found in the mountains, where they are extracted from the rocks. There are also plenty of veins of steel and Ondanique (Yule's note: Ondanique of the Geog. Text, Andaine of Pauthier's, Andanicum of the Latin, is an expression on which no light has been thrown since Ramusio's time. The latter often asked the Persian merchants who visited Venice, and they all agreed in stating that it was a sort of steel of such surpassing value and excellence, that in the days of yore a man who possessed a mirror, or sword, of Andanic regarded it as he would some precious jewel. This seems to me excellent evidence, and to give the true clue to the meaning of Ondanique. I have retained the latter form because it points most distinctly to what I believe to be the real word, viz. Hundwaniy, 'Indian Steel'). The people are very skilful in making harness of war; their saddles, bridles, spurs, swords, bows, quivers, and arms of every kind, are very well made indeed according to the fashion of those parts. The ladies of the country and their daughters also produce exquisite needlework in the embroidery of silk stuffs in different colours, with figures of beasts and birds, trees and flowers, and a variety of other patterns. They work hangings for the use of noblemen so deftly that they are marvels to see, as well as cushions, pillows, quilts, and all sorts of things (Yule's note: It is possible that the 'hangings' spoken of by Polo may refer to the carpets. I have seen a genuine Kerman carpet in the house of my friend Sir Bartle Frere. It is of very short pile, very even and dense; the design, a combination of vases, birds, and floral tracery, closely resembling the illuminated frontispiece of some Persian manuscripts). In the mountains of Kerman are found the best falcons in the world. They are inferior in size to the Peregrine, red on the breast, under the neck, and between the thighs; their flight so swift that no bird can escape them."   

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