Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Interior of a Tartar House

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Interior of a Tartar House

Interior of a Tartar House
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The Tartars of Kazan are in general well formed and handsome; their eyes are black or gray; they have a keen, piercing look, a rather lengthened form of face, a long nose, lips somewhat thicker than those of Europeans, a black beard, carefully trimmed, and the hair entirely shaven from the head, which is covered with a small cap, called a tebeteika; their ears are large, and standing out from the head; they have a long neck, very wide shoulders, and a broad chest—such is the description Dr. Fouks gives of their form and physiognomy. They are, moreover, tall and erect; and their gait is manly and imposing. The doctor remarks that whenever he entered a Tartar mosque he was always struck with the fine and noble features of their elders, and he asserts his belief that the ancient Italian artists might have chosen from among this race most admirable subjects for their sacred pictures. He is not so favorable, however, in his description of the Tartar women. He does not consider them good-looki ng; bu t then he had an opportunity of seeing only the wives and daughters of the poorer classes. In general, the Tartar women are middle-sized, and rather stout; like the men, they stand erect, but walk badly and awkwardly, a circumstance principally owing to the heavy dress they wear. They soon grow old—so much so, that a woman of twenty-seven has the look of one of forty: this is owing to the custom they have of painting their faces. Their complexion is rather yellow, and their faces are often covered with pimples and a rash, which proceeds partly from the habit of constantly lying on feather-beds, and partly from their heavy and over-warm clothing.

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855