National Geographic : 1903 Sep
354 THE NATIONAL GE community was found within only sixty or seventy miles of Lhassa. CLIMATE AND POPULATION The climate was found to be harsh and dry. Snow falls occasionally from De cember to March; rain from May to August. April, September, October, and November are dry. The medium annual temperature was found to be 42, 67, and 50 degrees Fahrenheit for morn ing, noon, and night respectively. The data for December was 17, 34, and 27 degrees, and for July 60, 77, and 65 degrees. The population, which has at times been estimated at 33,000,000, is proba bly about one-tenth of this number. It is decreasing through disease, particu larly smallpox, and on account of the large number of celibate priests. The sons of Chinese soldiers and mer chants temporarily resident in Tibet are counted Chinese, the daughters Tibet ans. Other foreign residents are Indians from Cashmere and Mongolians and Tibetans from Nepul, the latter being skilled artisans, architects, sculptors, and jewelers. The Cashmere Mahom etans are traders. They usually convert their Tibetan wives. Almost all the land in central Tibet belongs to the Dalai Llama. Only high officials in Lhassa have hereditary homes. The Tibetan houses are of brick and stone, and have chimneys only in the kitchen. The other rooms have holes to let the smoke escape, and are cheerlessly cold. Dried dung is the principal fuel. The common folks wear white, the wealthy red, officials yellow, and soldiers blue clothing of homespun. Jewels are worn in great abundance by the women. Barley meal, soup, the raw flesh of the yak and of sheep, butter, sour milk, and vegetables are main items of the diet. Wheat spirits sell for a cent a bottle. Men smoke tobacco and the priests take snuff. ]OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE PEOPLE RELIGIOUS AND IMMORAL The people of central Tibet are pas sionately attached to their religious ob servances, which are purely formal. Prayers are regarded as of magic po tency and figure in all ordinary and extraordinary affairs of life. Medicine is in small popular favor. Morals are primitive, and marriage ties are loose. Both polygamy and polyandry are com mon. Agriculture and cattle-raising are the principal employments. Wheat, barley, peas and beans, cattle, sheep, yaks, horses, asses, and mules are the main products. Yaks and asses are used as pack animals. Labor is cheap, men being paid two or three cents a day, while women usually serve fqr their food and clothing. Even a llama re ceives only ten cents for a whole day's prayers. :Sheepskins, cattle, yak tails, statues, books, and yellow llama caps are exported. The yak tails serve as horse tails in the outfit of Turkish pachas. English and Indian cottons and woolens and copper and enamel utensils are introduced from India and tea, silks, cottons, horses, and asses from China. EXHAUSTING METHOD OF WORSHIP Lhassa was built in the seventh cen tury. It has a picturesque location on the southern slope of a mountain, with luxurious gardens on the west and south. The Uitchu River passes to the south of the city. Dikes and canals have been constructed as protections against overflows. A fine, broad street around the city serves for religious processions and penitential exercises. Penitents go the length of this street, falling to the ground every five or six feet, so that in a day they prostrate themselves about 3,000 times. The city is small, having at most only Io,ooo regular inhabitants. It is, however, an important trade center. The native traders are all women.