By Michael Allaby
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Extra resources for Animals: From Mythology to Zoology (Discovering the Earth)
Coleridge by no means visited Xanadu. Had he performed so he may have obvious that there aren't any sacred river, no caverns, and no sea—with or with no sunshine. yet Xanadu definitely existed and it was once very good. Shang-tu is now in ruins, simply rubble and pottery shards left to remind the customer of its earlier grandeur. Kublai Khan based town in , and it grew to become referred to as the town of temples. this is often the way it seemed to Marco Polo: during this urban Kublai Khan outfitted an immense palace of marble and different decorative stones. Its halls and chambers are all gilded, and the complete development is marvellously decorated and richly decorated. the place the palace abutted town wall, one other wall prolonged from the town wall clear of the palace and enclosed a park with a space of approximately 5 sq. miles ( km). the single entry to the park used to be from the palace. The park contained springs and streams and there have been lawns. Marco Polo’s description endured as follows: right here the good Khan retains online game animals of every type, corresponding to hart, stag, and roebuck, to supply foodstuff for gerfalcons and different falcons which he has the following in mew. * The gerfalcons by myself quantity to greater than . as soon as per week he is available in individual to insect them within the mew. frequently, too, he enters the park with a leopard at the crupper of his horse; while he feels susceptible, he we could it cross and hence catches a hart or stag or roebuck to provide to the gerfalcons that he retains in mew. And this he does for activity and activity. in the course of this enclosed park, the place there's a attractive grove, the nice Khan has outfitted one other huge palace, developed solely of canes, yet with the inner all gilt and adorned with beasts and birds of very skilful workmanship. it really is reared on gilt and varnished pillars, on each one of which stands a dragon, entwining the pillar together with his tail and aiding the roof on his outstretched limbs. *A mew is a cage for containing birds of prey. 35 36 ANIMALS in addition to the sport animals, there have been leopards, lions, tigers, lynxes, wild asses, hippopotamus, and elephants within the park and eagles in addition to gerfalcons (Falco rusticolus). in line with Marco Polo, Kublai stayed at Shang-tu basically in the course of June, July, and August. The palace of canes used to be erected in time for his arrival and dismantled after his departure. Polo persevered: in terms of the th day of August, the nice Khan takes his go away of this urban and of this palace. each year he leaves in this distinct day; and that i will inform you why. in truth that he has a stud of snow-white stallions and snow-white mares, with out a speck of the other colour. Their numbers are such that the mares on my own volume to greater than ,. The milk of those mares will not be under the influence of alcohol via a person who's no longer of the imperial lineage, that's to assert of the lineage of the nice Khan. . . . The astrologers and idolaters have advised the good Khan that he needs to make a libation of the milk of those mares each year at the th August, flinging it into the air and on this planet, in order that the spirits could have their percentage to drink.