4o8 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
and a variety of hard stones set, ready to be engraved, as signet rings. Other drawers
contain old coins and various small articles of jewellery. In a large cabinet curious ornaments
of massive silver worn by the peasantry are kept. They are sold by weight. It is a collection
of this kind which is shown outside the cabinet on page 393, and the scales are near at hand.
This khan has only two narrow entrances, which are closed and guarded at night. One of
these doors leads from the silk-reelers' bazaar, and the other from the long arcade occupied by
the fancy carpenters.
When I first passed through one of these narrow doorways and found myself within
the khan, I could not help thinking that it looked like the patched-up ruin of some
deserted sanctuary, which had been invaded and taken possession of by an army of tinkers.
The smoke and the gas from the numerous charcoal fires, the noise of anvils and hammers,
and the loudly raised echoing voices of buyers and sellers almost bewildered me. I had,
perhaps unreasonably, expected to see an entirely different kind of place, and I could hardly
believe that the kawass who was attending me had conducted me rightly. However, he led
me through the crowded passages to the stall of a clever young Armenian silversmith, who
was engaged on some work for my brother. As I had some directions to give to him, I was
assisted to mount on to his platform, and was soon seated on a block of wood which was
borrowed for my use, and thoughtfully placed as far from the little furnace as possible. From
this point I had a good view of the novel scene around me, and the opportunity of seeing
various kinds of work in progress, and of examining the best productions of the workers ; for
although I had never visited the khan before, I found that I was well known there, and many
of the men quitted their stalls to show me their chefs d'ceuvre. There appeared to be no
jealousy or rivalry among them. They all seemed good-naturedly eager that I should see
everything that was worth seeing. One man showed me a very beautiful gold bracelet which
he had just completed for a customer. It was formed of seven filigree discs set with pearls,
linked together with pearl rosettes. The more elaborate and costly articles are generally made
to order, and I was told that only simple articles for which there is a general demand were
kept in stock.
Sometimes a goldsmith is hired, as of old, to work by the day at the house of his employer.
He brings his charcoal, stove, and tongs, his blow-pipe, and a few simple tools, and readily
converts worn-out trinkets into new ones, and mounts gold coins or transforms them into
delicate filigree work.
It will be remembered that it is from the roof of the silversmiths' bazaar that the
remarkable Greek inscription on a disused doorway of the Great Mosque can be seen (see
Another bazaar which interested me especially was that of the booksellers and bookbinders,
commonly called the " Suk el Miskiyeh," because it leads to the Great Mosque. I had been
assured that the Muslim booksellers were very fanatical, and would not show their books to non-
Muslims. However, with my brother's consent, I went there one day attended only by one of