Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/140

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NOMAD HABITS; INDUSTRY.

We saw some Tangutans near Chobsen, living with Chinese, engaged in agriculture; but a settled life does not harmonise with their restless natures. They pine after the careless pastoral existence best suited to their indolent character.

Their encampments always consist of a few yurtas standing together, very rarely of single tents as is the case so frequently with the Mongols. Indeed, the habits and manners of the two races are quite distinct. The one loves his dry, barren desert, and fears damp more than any hardship; the other, inhabiting a country lying so near, but at the same time physically so different, is quite another stamp of man. He prefers the moist climate and rich soil of his native valleys; he hates and fears the desert. The same remarks apply to their respective animals. The camel of the Mongol is a four-footed counterpart of its master, while the yak typifies the chief peculiarities of the Tangutan.

In the wooded parts of Kan-su, a few Tangutans turn with the lathe different utensils, such as wooden bowls for eating out of, or for keeping butter in; the latter purpose being in general served by yaks or sheep's bladders.

The most common, indeed the only, industry of the Tangutans is preparing yak (or more rarely sheep's) wool for cloth, out of which all their clothes are made. They spin the wool on a long stick with a crook at the end for holding the spindle. The yarn is woven into cloth, not by themselves, but by the Chinese. We may mention that the only measure