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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Jan Potocki among the Khazars

“… we arrived at last at [the aoul] of Din-Islam, where we saw from a long ways off a crowd that parted before us.

Our first homage was for the troop of young girls who had gathered together on a hillside around a swing; but at our approach these savage persons quit their games, and in advancing we saw no more than a pile of silk veils.

Then Tumen addressed himself to them in the Nogai language, making them a compliment in the following sense: that they need have no fear of us, seeing that we had not come to do them any harm, but only to ask them to dance. The gentle words, accompanied by the music of the kabour, tamed these young beauties, who deigned to lift their veils and show us the ends of their flat noses; then, two got up and advanced towards us. A musician lifted their veils, and at that signal they began to dance; but their eyes were so cast down that I believed they were completely shut. Besides, they lacked neither an ear for the measure nor grace in the arms. When they finished, they put their two hands over their faces with the air of modest embarrassment; the musician pulled back down their veils, and they stepped away.” – Jan Potocki, August 20, 1797

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

LI, Parajanov could have filmed this scene. or Pasolini. Can't you almost see it?

If Has were to, in the mode of his Saragossa Manuscript film, I imagine the demur flat-nosed dancing damsels would transform into seductive pointy-nosed men-eating ghost princesses, in the blink of an eye!

Amie

roger said...

Yes, I was thinking of Pasolini too. The shaky camera. You know, Potocki claims that literacy was high among the Kalmuck women and men. He describes the wife of some tribal chief calmly reading the life of genghiz khan while he conferred with her husband.

northanger said...

AQ 4621 = NOTRE PREMIER HOMMAGE FUT POUR LA TROUPE DES JEUNES FILLES QUI S'ÉTAIENT RASSEMBLÉES SUR UNE COLLINE AUTOUR D'UNE ESCARPOLETTE ; MAIS À NOTRE APPROCHE CES FAROUCHES PERSONNES QUITTÈRENT LEURS JEUX, ET EN AVANÇANT NOUS NE VÎMES PLUS RIEN QU'UN TAS DE MOUCHOIRS DE SOIE.

AQ 297 = BOOK OF THE KHAZAR = ALFRED JULES AYER = BOURGEOIS ORDER = JACOB FRANK IN BRNO = LION OF LECHISTAN = RUPERT TAYLOR = THOMAS OF LONDON.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9_wdqRo0uo

Amie