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which women attached to their forehead, and let them fall
their nose ; but Chardin, who certainly was a diligent observer of eastern customs, no where saw this frontal ring in the east, but every where the ring in the
His testimony is supported by Dr. Russel, who describes the women in some of the villages about Aleppo, and all the Arabs and Chinganas (a sort of gypsies), as wearing a large ring of silver or gold, through the external cartilage of their right nostril. It is worn, by the testimony of Egmont, in the same manner by the women of Egypt. The difference in the statements of these travellers is of little importance, and may be reconciled by supposing, what is not improbable, that in some eastern countries they wear the ring in the left, and in others in the right nostril ; all agree that it is worn in the nose, and not upon
the forehead. Some remains of this custom have been discovered among the Indians in North America, where Clark and Lewis, in their travels to the sources of the Missouri, fell in with some tribes that wore a long tapering piece of shell, or bead, put through the cartilage of the nose,
Two words are used in the Scriptures to denote these ornamental rings, Ora and 3497; Mr. Harmer seems to think they properly signified ear-rings; but this is a mistake ; the sacred writers use them promiscuously for the rings both of the nose and of the ears. That writer, however, is probably right in supposing that nezem is the name of a much smaller ring than agil. Chardin observed two sorts of rings in the east; one so small and close to the ear,
i Hist. of Aleppo, vol. i, p. 106. Egmont and Heyman, vol. ii, p. 85. See also Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxxiii, cap. 6. Xenophon Cyropæd. lib. i. Du Tott's Mem. vol. i, p. 192 ; and Thevenot's Trav. part ii, p. 94.
there is no vacuity between them ; the other so large, as to admit the fore-finger between it and the ear; these last are adorned with a ruby and a pearl on each side, strung on the ring. The circle of some of these large ear-rings is sometimes four inches in diameter, and almost two fins gers thick, made of several kinds of metals, wood and horn, according to the rank of the wearer. The remark of Chardin is certainly just, that nothing can be more disagree. able to the eyes of those that are unaccustomed to the sight; for these pendants, by their weight, widen so ex. tremely the hole of the ear, that one might put in two fingers, and stretch it more than one that never saw it would imagine. That intelligent traveller saw some of these ear-rings with figures upon them, and strange characters, which he believed were talismans or charms ; but which were probably the names and symbols of their false gods. We know from the testimony of Pliny that rings with the images of their gods were worn by the Romans.) The Indians say they are preservatives against enchantment ; upon which Chardin bazards a very probable conjecture, that the ear-rings of Jacob's family were perhaps of this kind, which might be the reason of his demanding them, that he might bury them under the oak before they went up to Bethel."
Besides those ornamental rings in the nose and the ears, they wore others round the legs, which made a tinkling as they went. This custom has also descended to the present times; for Rauwolf met with a number of Arabian women on the Euphrates, whose ankles and wrists were adorned with rings, sometimes a good many together, which moving up and down as they walked, made a great noise. Chardin attests the existence of the same custom in Persia, in Arabia, and in very hot countries, where they commonly go without stockings, but ascribes the tinkling sound to little bells fastened to those rings. In the East Indies golden bells adorned the feet and ankles of the ladies from the earliest times; they placed them in the flowing tresses of their hair ; they suspended them round their necks and to the golden rings which they wore on their fingers, to announce their superior rank, and exact the ho. mage which they had a right to expect from the lower orders ;m and from the banks of the Indus, it is probable the custom was introduced into the other countries of Asia."
j Nat. Hist. lib. xxxiii, cap. 6. * Harmer's Observ. vol. iv, p. 321, 322.
The Arabian females in Palestine and Syria, delight in the same ornaments, and according to the statements of Dr. Clarke, seem to claim the honour of leading the fashion. “ Their bodies are covered with a long blue shift; upon their heads they wear two handkerchiefs; one as a hood, and the other bound over it, as a fillet across the temples. Just above the right nostril they place a small button, sometimes studded with pearl, a piece of glass, or any other glittering substance ; this is fastened by a plug thrust through the cartilage of the nose. Sometimes they have the cartilaginous separation between the nostrils bored for a ring as large as those ordinarily used in Europe for hanging curtains ; and this pendant in the upper lip covers the mouth ; so that, in order to eat, it is neces
m Maurice's Ind. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 339 ; and vol. v, p.139. n Maurice's Hist. of the East Indies, vol. ii, p. 38. Forbes's Orient. Mem. vol. i, p. 263. Buckingham's Trav. in Palestine, vol. i, p. 79.“ Most of the women,” says Mr. Buckingham, “ that we saw (at Soor, or Tyre), wore also silver bells, or other appendages of precious metal, suspended by silken cords to the hair of the head.”
sary to raise it. Their faces, hands, and arms are tattooed, and covered with hideous scars; their eye-lashes and eyes being always painted, or rather dirted with some dingy black or blue powder. Their lips are dyed of a deep and dusky blue, as if they had been eating blackberries. Their teeth are jet black; their nails and fingers brick red; their wrists, as well as their ankles, are laden with large metal cinctures, studded with sharp pyramidal knobs and bits of glass. Very ponderous rings are also placed in their ears."
But the persons of the Assyrian ladies are elegantly clothed and scented with the richest oils and perfumes ;P and it appears from the sacred Scriptures, that the Jewish females did not yield to them in the elegance of their dress, the beauty of their ornaments, and the fragrance of their essences. So pleasing to the Redeemer is the ex. ercise of divine grace in the heart and conduct of a true believer : “ How much better is thy love than wine, and the smell of thine ointments than all spices ? The smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon."! When a queen was to be chosen by the king of Persia instead of Vashti, the virgins collected at Susana, the capital, underwent a purification of twelve months duration, to wit, “ six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours.”' The general use of such precious oils and fragrant perfumes among the ancient Romans, particularly among ladies of rank and fashion, may be inferred from these words of Virgil :
Ambrosiæque comæ divinum vertice odorem
• Clarke's Trav. in Palest. vol. ii, chap. xiii, p. 425, 426. Russel's Hist. of Aleppo, vol. I, p. 111.
9 Song iv, 10, 11. P Forbes's Orient. Mem. vol. ii, p. 228.
Esther ii, 12.
« From her head the ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance; her robe hung waving down to the ground." In the remote age of Homer, the Greeks had already learnt the lavish use of such perfumes; for in describing Juno's dress, he represents her pouring ambrosia and other perfumes all over her body:
Αλυψατο δε λιπ ελαιω,
Il. lib. xii, l. 197.* Hence, to an eastern lady, no punishment could be more severe, none more mortifying to her delicacy, than a diseased and loathsome habit of body, instead of a beautiful skin, softened and made agreeable with all that art could devise, and all that nature, so prodigal in those countries of rich perfumes, could supply. Such was the punishment which God threatened to send upon the haughty daughters of Zion in the days of Isaiah : “ And it shall come to pass, that instead of perfume there shall be ill savour ; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackloth ; and a sun-burnt skin instead of beauty."S
The description which Pietro della Valle gives of his own wife, an Assyrian lady, born in Mesopotamia, and edų, cated at Bagdad, whom he married in that country, will enable the reader to form a pretty distinct idea of the appearance and ornaments of an oriental lady in full dress, “ Her eye-lashes, which are long, and according to the custom of the east, dressed with stibium, (as we often read in the holy Scriptures of the Hebrew women of old ; and in Xenophon of Astyages, the grandfather of Cyrus, and the Medes of that line), give a dark, and at the same time a majestic shade to the eyes.
* The maid, says Hesiod, anointed with fat oil feels no cold. Opera et Dies. 1. 522, 523.
s Isa. iii, 24.
+ Trav. vol. i, p. 17.