Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/143

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AND PECULIARITIES OF TANGUTANS.

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But they are not so hospitable as the thoroughbred Mongols, and they are very cunning and mercenary, particularly those who mix with the Chinese.

A Tangutan will never do anyone a service for nothing, but will always try to get as much as he can for it, even though it were from his own brother.

Their usual salutation is extending both hands horizontally, with the words Aka temu, i.e. 'How do you do?' Aka, like the Mongol nokhor, signifying Master, or Monsieur, frequently used in conversation. On making a new acquaintance, and in general on visiting anyone, particularly if he be a person of distinction, a silk scarf[1] is invariably presented, the quality of which depends on the mutual good feeling subsisting between guest and host.

The Tangutans do not admit plurality of wives, but keep concubines. All the domestic work is done by the women, whose rights in the household are, as far as I could judge, equal to those of the men. They have a curious custom of stealing their neighbours' wives, of course not without their secret assent. In such case the stolen wife belongs to her ravisher, who pays the husband a good sum as compensation. They all count their age, not from the day of their birth, but from that of their conception, adding one to the years of their life for that passed in the mother's womb.

They are as zealous Buddhists as the Mongols,

  1. This etiquette of the Khata, or ceremonial scarf of silk, is expounded at large by Huc (ii. 86), and is mentioned also by Turner. — Y.