Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet/Volume 1/The Khata


P. 73.

The fullest notice of this curious usage in polite intercourse is given by Huc (ii. 85 seqq.):—

'There are khatas of all sizes and prices; for it is an article that the poor can dispense with no more than the rich. No one moves about without a little store of them. If you go to pay a visit of ceremony, or to ask a favour of anyone, or to return thanks for one received, you begin by displaying the khata; you take it in both hands and present it to the person whom you wish to honour. If two friends who have not met for a long time chance to forgather, their first care is the reciprocal offer of the khata; . . . also when a letter is written it is customary to fold up along with it a small khata. The finest phrases, the handsomest presents, all are of no esteem without the khata; with it, the most ordinary objects acquire an immense value . . . These khatas form an important branch of commerce for the Chinese of Tang-keu-eur (Tonkir). The Tibetan embassies never pass without carrying away a prodigious stock of them.' Bogle and Turner often mention the thing, but not the name of khata.—[Y.]