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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 49

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gentlemen, and of the principal Greek and Armenian families, members of which occupy various posts in the central govern-ment. There is some trade here in cotton fabrics, some of them made in the city, but most in the villages outside. They have the art of dying in red and yellow skins tanned with sumach,, and the general opinion is that the colours are brighter than those of Barbary. They stamp cotton cloths with indelible colours, which get prettier with washing. They dye also the red cloth called bucassini, for which they use the root madder or alizari, a product of the island, mixed with ox-blood; this colour too is durable and never fades. Other island produce is collected in Nicosia, together with imports from Caramania, but they all find their way to the traders of Larnaca whence they are distributed. While at Nicosia I found myself at several Turkish enter-tainments, particularly at the circumcision of four little boys, and at the wedding of a Turkish gentleman. I shall do well to. give some account of them here. Circumcision among the Turks is performed after the com-pletion of the boy's seventh year : but at a child's birth a little salt is put in its mouth, with some words from the Qur'an to the effect " precious to thee for the gift of life be the name of the true God, to Whom thou shalt give honour and glory.'*, For eight days before they get up feasting and merry-makings, then, on the appointed day, the boy is clothed in gala dress, and led through the city on a horse with gay trappings. The green banner of Islam precedes him, and singis or dancers. Followed by various instruments and the crowd, he is con-ducted to a mosque, where prayer is said, and then to his. home, where an expert performs the operation, while the patient repeats their confession of faith, lifting the thumb, and using the words "La ilaha ilia Allah, wa Mohammad rasul Allah"—there is no god but God, and Mohammad is His prophet. The function over the guests make presents to the vi] of the Island and Kingdom of Cyprus 45

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