Their chief delight

Sir John Malcolm, a British diplomat travelling in Persia at the turn of the 19th century, has left us a number of insights concerning Persian jesters, along with a few anecdotes.  Here, he includes them in a list of preferred pastimes and entertainments.

They do not often indulge in intoxicating liquors : their chief delight is in sitting together, smoking their pipes, and in listening to songs and tales, or in looking at the tricks, grimaces, and witticisms, of buffoons, (who are to be found in every quarter of Persia;) and some of whom are perfectly skilled in their art.

I like the repeated ‘i’ sound of ‘tricks, grimaces and witticisms’, and am curious what the grimaces looked like.  Perhaps like this medieval manuscript face-pulling fool?

Source: Malcolm, Sir John (1769-1833), The History of Persia, from the Most Early Period to the Present Time, vol. 2 (London: J. Murray, 1815), p. 611


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