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Herba Bengalo

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HERBA BENGALO. Mention is made in several old works relating to India, of cloths having been made of a plant called Herba Ben gal°, which appears to be now unknown as a material of manufacture. Linschoten, who visited Bengal in 1599, is one of the earliest travellers who notice it (vide Navigatio ac Itinerarium Johan. H. Linscotani, A.D. 1599). Mandelso speaks of it as a certain herb having on the top of its stalk (which is about the compass of a man's thumb) a great button like a tassel : this tassel is spun out, and there are excellent stuffs made of it. The Portuguese call it Herba Bengal°, and make of it hangings and coverlets, in which they represent all sorts of figures' (vide Mandelso's Travels, A.D. 1639, translated by J. Davies, book ii. p. 94). A similar description is given of it by the Abbe Guyon in his History of the East Indies On trouve encore k Bengale nue espece singuliere des toiles qui n'est ni fil ni coton, dont on fait des tapis et des couvertes.

On les nomme simplement La tige de Therbe, dont elks sont faites, a un ponce d'epaisseur et au haut une espece de houppe qui contient une sorte de bourree que lee femmes du Paris filent on prendroit ces etoffes heure de loiser : mais elles sont sujettes a se couper dans les plis ' (vide Ilistoire des Indes Orientales, par M. PAbbe Guyon, A.D. 1744, iii, p. 19). Fitch, about the year 1586, and Hamilton in 1744, both refer to it in their accounts of Orissa. The latter calls it Herba, a sort of tough grass of which they make ginghams, pinascos, and several other goods for exportation' (New Account of the East Indies, by Captain A. Hamilton, A.D. 1744, i. 393).