National Geographic : 1936 Jan
WITH THE NOMADS OF CENTRAL ASIA Toward midday, as we were drinking ku miss inside the yurt, we heard a pounding of hoofs outside; it was the mares arriving for milking time. Twice or three times a day they come in (usually without being driven) to suckle the foals which are tied to a long picket line near the yurts. Ordinarily the mares are docile and permit themselves to be milked; if one is obstreperous the foal is first allowed to suckle a while and then the milker takes its place. THE MAKING OF KUMISS The mare's milk is put into a large sack, made of a sheep's skin, or more often a colt's skin, in which there . is still some sour milk with the fermentative bacteria left from the day before. The milk remains in the skin for about 24 hours and intermittently the old women churn it with STITCH BY S a dasher. Nerime, the old mother of our host, The little girl serv explained that they tion of Russian des churn it from ten to a Khan's "golden hor there has been much dozen times a day, for nomadwar lords hay five or ten minutes each Russian arts and cult time. The milk separates into a thick white curd which settles to the bottom and a thin ner upper layer which is the kumiss. This is ready to draw off and drink the next day and tastes much like buttermilk. The curds are used in tanning hides. In summer there is an abundance of kumiss and a wealthy man with hundreds of horses can easily provide for all his household. Our host had to provision three yurts; his own, his parents', and the servants', pro viding for about 25 people in all. During one of the rounds of kumiss in the main yurt a servant dragged a sheep to TITCH A KAZAK MAID HELPS WITH HER MISTRESS' DOWRY ant of Ala Beg's fiancee is embroidering a wall decora sign. Since the early 13th century, when Genghis des" swept over Asia, and the Tatars ruled supreme, Singling of Russian and Tatar blood. Now, many e tamed down to the ways of city merchants, adopting ture. the door; the animal must be blessed before being slain. We stretched out our arms, palms heavenward, muttering the prayer, "Allah ekber rakmet" (God is great, we thank Thee). The ritual was completed by stroking our beards, or, if beardless, our chins. The eastern Turk is meticulous in ob serving blessings. No animal is butchered on a festal occasion; no one gets up to leave after a meal; no ceremony is complete until, after a moment of silence with palms out stretched, the Beneficent Provider is in voked.