Among the Turkomen on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of volume.


Another endless source of dispute among the Turcomans is in regard to measure. … Another kind of measuring is employed in the vending of corn—the chanak. This literally means 'bowl,' but it has also come to signify the quantity of corn which, piled to the utmost, can be held in the two palms, when joined after the manner of a basin. The sizes of the hands of these Turcomans vary very much, and a great variety of disputes is the consequence. There is another peculiarity in connexion with selling by measure. When the orthodox chanak bowl, one of certain recognised dimensions, is used, the buyer is generally allowed to measure for himself. He takes his place by the heap of corn, and his open sack stands ready at his side. He fills the chanak with his hands, heaping the corn carefully on so that it may rise as high as possible in a conical shape, and while a single grain more can be got to remain on the pile, he will not relinquish his attempts to be the gainer, be it by never so little. All this time he keeps repeating 'one, one, one,' 'two, two, two,' alluding to the first or second chanak, as the case may be, which he is engaged in filling up. Immediately upon pouring the contents of the bowl into his sack, he begins to fill afresh, again incessantly repeating the number of the chanak. It is curious to mark the expressions upon the faces of merchant and buyer—the avarice upon the countenance of the one, and the anxiety on that of the other.

Edmund O'Donovan.
The Merv Oasis. Travels and Adventures East of the Caspian during the Years 1879-80-81 including Five Months' Residence among the Tekkes of Merv.
London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1882.
Vol. I, page 250.

Sorry. No information on contributors is available for this page.

home | units index | search |  contact drawing of envelope |  contributors | 
help | privacy | terms of use