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hiaterial imported \vho!e from Entope. The glnfs beads and buttons of various fhapes and colours, \vorn by perfons of rank, are chiefly made at Venice; and this is among the remnants of the great and almoft exclufive trade which the Venetians formerly carried on with the Eait. The Chihefe make great ufe of fpe&acles, which they tie round the head. They are formed. of cryftal, which the Canton artifts cut into laminae, with a kind of fteel faw, formed by twifting two or more fine iron wires together, and tying them like a bowfiring to the extremities of a fmall flexible bamboo. Thev undo one end 0/ this filing in order to pafs the wire round the cryftal, where it is meant to be divided, and which i? then placed between two pivots. It is thus f'awed, in the manner which European watch-makers ufe in dividing fmall pieces of metal. Below the cryflal is a little trough of water, into which the filiceous
powder of the cryftal falls as it is cut by the revolution of the wire. With this mixture, the wire a»id the groove it forms in (he cryftal, are often rroiftened. The powder of the cryftal, like that of the diamond, helps to cut and polifh itfeif. The workmen did not feerrt to underftaiid any principle of optics, fo as t<> form the eye-giafP.-s of fuch convexities or concavities, as to fupply the various defects of virion; but left their cuftomers to choofe what was found to fuit them beft. The few lapidaries who cut diamonds at Canton, ufed for that purpofe adamantine fpar, which b:ing mixed in fmall proportions with grey granite, the mafs was imagined to contain nothing elfe, and excited a doubt, whether it could be real diamond^ which pure granite could affect. The Canton artifis are uncommonly expert in imitating European works."
Sketgh of the Female Economy of the Seraglio, and of the real
Condition of the Female Sex at Constantinople.
[From Dalhwav's Constantinople, Ancient and Modern.]
"T^HE inhabitant of the feraJ- glio exceed fix thoufand, of which about five hundred are women. Many who aie employed there during the day* have tiieir houfes and families iu the city.
"When the ful'.an comes to the throne thr grandees prefent him with virgin flaves, who, they hope, may become their patroiitffes.—From thefe principally, fix are then chofen, who are ftyled Kadinns, but the late fultan Abdul-hamid added a
feventh. The firft of them whd give, art hf ir to the empire becomes the favourite, and has the title of HalTeky-Sultan. There are many others iri the harem, but they leldom are fuftsred to infringe the exclufive priv'te^e of producing heirs to the empire, which the kadinns claim; for with the others the moll infamous means of prevention are forcibly adopted. Jf the child of the firft iiaffeky-fultan fhould die, her precedence is loft. f 2 The The old ftory of the ladies (landing in a row, and the fultan's throwing his handkerchief to his choice, is not true. His preference is always officially communicated by the kiflar-agha.
"So dependent is opinion upon education and the early habits of life, that the ftate of female fociety in the fer.iglio, is to themfelves that of the moll perfect happinefs. It was ordained by Mahommed that women fhould not be treated as intellectual beings, left they fliould afpire to equality with men. This fyftem he found already prevalent in the Eaft, and received by his converts, and therefore cannot be charged with having curtailed their liberty ar;d fecial iutercourfe.— Throughout Turkey, in every rank of life, the women are literally children of larger growth, as trifling in their arhufements as unbounded in their defires, and as abfolutely at the difpofal of others, being confidered by the men merely as created for the purpofes of nature, orfexual luxury. None of our miftakes concerning the opinions of the Turks, 'is more unjuft than that which refpeels the notion attributed to them, that women have no fouls; on the other hand, they are promifed in the Koran to be reftored with all the charms of eternal youth and
unblemifhed virginity, and whaf, in many inftances, may heighten the idea of perfect paradife to themfelves, npt again toTse united with their former earthly hu&ands, but to be allotted to other inn mufulmans by the benevolence of the prophet.
"The females of the feraglio are chiefly Georgian and Circ3iiian flaves, felefted from all tnat are either privately bought, or expoled to fale in the Avret bazar *, and, for many reafons, are admitted at an early age. We may readily conclude that an aflemblage of native beauty fo exquifite, does not exift in ant other place. .
"The education of thefe girls it very fcrupuloufly attended to; they are taught to dance with more luxuriance than grace, to fine and ro play on the tambourio, a ipecies of guitar; and fome of them excel in embroidery. This arrangemeut i> conducted folely by the elder women, though from the tafle for European fafhions, which fill tan i'elim openly avows, fome Greek women have been lately introduced ro teach them the harp and piano-forte^ which they had learned for thai purpofe. Amongft the five hundred already mentioned the kiflaragha precifely fettles all precedence. Some are difqualified by age from me notice of the fultan, and of thofe who are confidered as wive3 there are four; he is reftrifted to feven, but as to concubines there is 110 legal limitation, and their number depends on the inclination of their fublime matter. The fnperiors fpend their time in a feries of fec'entary amufements. Dreii, the moft fumptuous that can be imagined, changed frequently in the courfe of the day, the moft magnificent apartments and furniture, vifits of ceremony with each other, and the inceffant homage of their fubordinate companions, fill their minds with a fort of fupine happinefs, which indeed is all that moft Turkifli women afpire to, or are qualified to experience.
"* The Avret Bazar (woman market) confifts of an inclofed court, with a cloifter and fmall apartments furroujidins it. It is Supplied by female flaves brought frtm /Egypt, Abyfiinia, Georgia, and Circaffia, who are expofed to public lale evciy Friday momin?. Thofe from the (lift mentioned countries are generally purchafed for domestic fervices, which, in a menial capacity, noTurkifh won an will condefcendto perform ; their perfons or countenances arc rarely beautiful, and their price feldom cxcceJi forty pounds Englifh. The exquilite beauty of the others is enhanced by every an a€ drefs and oriental accomplifhmcnts, and they are ufually fold for fcveral thoutand piaftres. Many are referred for the feraglio, where though they ore confidcrcd as moil fortunate, they art mod frequently facrihecd. Intrigues arc concealed by the application of poifonous drugswhich often occafion death, and upon detection of prrcnanCT they are inftantly drowned. Ore fhudders to relate how many of thefe viSim* ne taken out into the fea at the dead of the night, and committed (o the deep. Fonwrlj, the Avret Bazar was open to Franks, who were fuppofed to purchafe flaves in order to redeem them, but they arc now excluded, by order of the prefent fultan's father-"
"Sometimes, as ait indulgence, they are permitted to go to the kiofques ne3r the fea, of which cirrumftance the officers of police are i iformed, that no veffel fhould approach too near the feraglio point. Every fummer the fultan vifits his palaces in rotation for a fhort time with his harem, when every pafs and avenue, within three or rive miles diftance, is guarded by fierce boftandjis*, left the approach of any male being fliould contaminate them.
"They depend entirely upon their female flaves for amufeme-rs which have any thing like gaiety for their object, and recline on their fofas for hours, whilft dancing, comedy, and buffoonery, as indelicate as our vulgar puppet (how, are exhibited before them. Greek and Frank ladies occaGonalfy vifit them, whofe hufbands are connected with the Porte as merchants or interpreters, under pretence of fhewing rliem curiofities from Europe.— From fuch opportunities all the ac
curate information concerning the interior palace muft be collected, and to fuch I am, at prefeut, indebted.
"The articles of female habiliment are infinite, both as to colt and number; but change of fhfhiou is adopted only for the head attire, which happens with fcarcely left frequency thai in the courts of Europe. They are imitated by the Greek ladies, whofedrefs differs little from theirs; but the original Greek drefs, rather than of the Turkifli harem, is that defcribed by lady M. , Wortley Montague. Both the ftyle of beauty and the idea of improving its effect by ornament amongft the Ottoman women, have much Angularity. Of the few I have feen with an open veil, or without one, the faces were remarkable for their fymmetry and brilliant complexion, with the nofe ftraight and fmall, the eyes vivacious, either black or dark blue, having the eyebrows partly from nature, and as much from art, very full and joining over the nofe. They have a cuftom too of dra»'ing a black line with a mixture of powder of antimony and oil, called Surmeh, above and under the eye-laflies in order to give, the eye more fire. Of the fhape and air little can be faid from our idea of lovelinefs. All the Levantine women, frum their mode of fitting on their fofa, ftoop extremely,and walk very awkwardly. Warm baths ufed without moderation, and nnrelieved idlenefs, fpoil in inoft inftances, by a complete relaxation of the folids, forms that nature intended fhould rival the elegance of their countenances. The naiK both of the fingers and feettare alwiys ftained of a rofe colour. S.:ch is the tafte of Aliatics. The difcri
narrative trak of beauty between the Circaffian and Greek women, is the more majeftic air and ftature of the former, while the latter excel upon a fmaller fcale, no lefs in brilliancy of complexion, that in fyminetry and delicacy of form. The ftataes of Juno, Minerva, or the Amazons, are contrarted by that of the Medicean Venus. Both very generally anfwer to Homer's defcription of 'the full-eyed,' and 'the deep-bofomed.*
"In the ftreets of Constantinople no female appears without her feradje and rnjhramah; the former refembles a loofe riding coat with a large fquare cape, covered with quilted illk, and hanging down low behind, made univerfallv amongft' the Turks of green cloth, and amongft the Greeks and Armenians of brown, or fome grave colour. The mahramih is formed by two pieces of mud in, one of which is tied under the chin, enveloping the head, and the other acrofs the mouth and half the nofe, admitting fpace enough for fight. Yellow boots are drawn over the feet; and thus equipp«J a woman may meet The public eye without fcandal. This drefs is of very ancient invention, calculated for concealment of the perfon, nor can there be a more complete difguife.
"In every civilized country the middle ranks in fociety enjoy the trued comfort. Whiift the ladies of the hat ems of great or opulent Turks, are confoliug themfelves with faftidious indulgence, in luxury unknown to the vulgar, the wives and concubines of fober citizens are allowed almolt a free interqourft with each other. The men, merchants or mechanics, are engaged in their various occupations, leav. ing the whole day at the difpofal of the women, who walk the ftreets
and ba2ars in groupes of muffled figures, or go to the cemeteries, where, upon ftated days, under pretence of faying prayers al the graves of deceafed friends, they enjoy the (hade of cypreffes, whiift loitering away many hours; and lliewunreflrained happinefs, by the moft vehement loqiacity. Several times a year they are drawn in arabahs, or painted waggons with a covering of red cloth, by buffaloes gaudily harnefled, to fomt favourite retreat in the country, but never attended by the men of their family.
"That love of fplendkf drefi which diftinguifhes the nations of the Eaft, pervades every rank of females. Thofe connected with the meaneft labourer occafionally wear brocade, rich furs and embroidery of gold orfilver, which are willingly fupplied by his daily toil, in large harems the number of children is proportionally fmall, where few w.omen produce more than three. Much has been faid concerning the infidelity of the Turkifh women belonging to harems of quality; whoever has palled a few years in this country, muft know that any fcheme of gallantry would be utterly impracticable, however they may have been prompted, by perfonal vanity, to impote a folic opinion on the world. In complete eftabiifhments they are guarded by thofe unfortunate men
< Who youth ne'er loved, and beauty ne'er enjoyed;'
and in thofe of lefs expence, by oM women, whofe ceafelefs vigilance is equally fecure.
"If fuch things ever happen, it may be fuppofed of thofe who are permitted to gad abroad: but this privilege is conditional, and never without a certain number ol rela- • tives or neighbours,
"During my refidence at Pfra, I heard of but one circumftance only. A young Venetian fcrved in the (hop of an apothecary at Conftantinopie, whom a Turkifh lady, attended only by her flave, came to confult, and was lhewn into another room, leaving the apprentice and the fair CircalF.an alone. It is faid, that nothing then paired between them.' In a few days returning with her miflrefs, and the fr.me opportunity recurring, fhe opened her iVeaTt, propofed elopement, and promifcd much treafure. She kept her word, and they difappe.lred without fubfequent detection. tJpon difcovery the punifhment of thefe lovers would have been horrible; he would have been impaled alive; and flie drowned in a fac.k. Sireh a penal code as that of the Turks, has in no period of corruption been adopted by any nation of Chriftians.
"Infidelity or licentioufnefs in women, is a fubjecY of the fevereft crimination amongft the Turks, and their punifhment of it borders upon, grofs barbarity. That branch of police" is under the jurifdicftion of the! boftandji baflii, or captain of the guard, with many inferior officers. When any of thefe referable" girls are apprehended, for the fTrft time they are put to hard labour, and ftrictly confined; but for the fecond they are re-committed, and many at a time tied up in facks, and taken in a boat to the Seragliopoint, where they tire thrown into the) tide. The Turks excufe this Cruelty by pleading the law, and adding that every woman has it in lier power to be attached to one man, by kebinn, or contrail for a certain term before the kady, which ceremony would exempt them from the cognizance of the police.
"The real date of female flaves in Turkey has been much mifreprefented. I do not allude to it previoufly to their eftablifhment in fome harem, when expofed to fale with -practices of their owners equally repugnant to humanity and decency: but when they become private property, they are well clothed, and treated with kindnefs by their miftrefles. If the hulband prefents his wife with a female flave, fhe becomes her fole property, and he cannot cohabit with her without legal complaint of the wife, excepting with her confent, which prudence generally inclines her to give. No woman of Turkifh birth can be an odalik, or domeftic flave. Illegitimacy is un- . known, for every child, born of the wife or concubine, has nearly equal rights. The fuperior privilege of the wife confifis onjy in the partition of the hulband's property on his deceafe, and the difficulty of procuring a divorce without her acquiefceOce. Odaliks are difmifTed and refold at pleafure, if they have borne no child. But it frequently happens that they become confidential with their miftreffes, are emancipated, and married to hufbands whom they provide fdr them. Few young men have more than one wife, but the elder, if opulent, indulge themfelves to the extent of the prophet's licence. My fair countrywomen, from fo flight a fketch of female economy in this eccentric nation, may forn.favourable conciufions refpeftirtg that of our own. They may rtft affured, that in no other country are the moral duties and rational liberty fo juftly appreciated, or f<» generally rewarded with happineis."