Pigafetta meets the King of Zzubu

Diplomacy old style ... for Jean Vengua

When we had come to town, we found the King of Zzubu at his palace, seated on the ground on a mat of palms, with many people. He was quite naked, except for a linen cloth covering his private parts, and round his head a very loose cloth, embroidered with silk. Round his neck he had a very heavy and rich chain, and in his ears two gold rings hung with precious stones. He was a short man, and fat, and had his face painted with fire in divers patterns. He ate on the ground from another palm mat, and then he was eating turtle eggs on two porcelain dishes, and he had four jars full of palm wine, which he drank from reed pipes. We made reverence to him as we presented what the captain had sent him, and we told him, by the mouth of the interpreter, that it was not in return for the present which he had given to the captain, but for the love which he bore him. Then we clothed him in the robe, put the cap on his head, and kissed the glasses that I presented to him and that he accepted. Then the king made us eat those eggs and drink from the said reeds. And meanwhile his people told him all the good words and assurances of peace and faith that had been given to them. Then the king wished to retain us for supper, but we made our excuses, and on this we took leave of him.

The prince, nephew of this king, led us to his house, and showed us four girls who were playing on four very strange and very sweet instruments, and their manner of playing was rather musical. One played on a taborin after our fashion, but it stood on the ground. Another was striking, with a thick stick wrapped at the head with a palm leaf, the bottom of two instruments shaped like a long taborin. Another was striking another larger instrument in the same manner. And the last, with two other similar instruments, one in one hand and the other in the other. And they struck in harmony, making a very sweet sound. These girls were very beautiful, and almost as white and as tall as ours. They were naked, except that from the waist to the knees they wore a garment made from the said palm cloth, covering their nature. And some were quite naked, having long black hair and a small veil round their head, and they go always unshod. The prince made us dance with three of them who were quite naked. And we had refreshment there, and then we returned to the ship. Those taborins are of metal, and they are made in the country of Sinus Magnus, which is China. They use them as we do bells, and they are called aghon.

from Magellan's Voyage: A Narrative Account of the First Navigation; by Antonio Pigafetta; trans. & ed. R. A. Skelton, Yale, 1969

1 comment:

ZZUBU (ZETSI) said...

gud. thats why the name of our society is Zzubu Eco-Tourism Society, Cebu Philippines