CUBEB, s. The fruit of the Piper Cubeba, a climbing shrub of the Malay region. [Its Hind. name kabab chini marks its importation from the East by Chinese merchants.] The word and the articles were well known in Europe in the Middle Ages, the former being taken directly from the Arab. kababah. It was used as a spice like other peppers, though less common. The importation into Europe had become infinitesimal, when it revived in last century, owing to the medicinal power of the article having become known to our medical officers during the British occupation of Java (1811-15). Several particulars of interest will be found in Hanbury and Flückiger’s Pharmacog. 526, and in the notes to Marco Polo, ii. 380.

c. 943.—“The territories of this Prince (the Maharaja of the Isles) produce all sorts of spices and aromatics.…The exports are camphor, lign-aloes, clove, sandal-wood, betel-nut, nutmeg, cardamom, cubeb (alkababah).…”—Mas’udi, i. 341 seq.

13th cent.—

“Theo canel and the licoris
And swete savoury meynte I wis,
Theo gilofre, quybibe and mace.…”

King Alesaunder, in Weber’s Metr. Rom., i. 279.

1298.—“This Island (Java) is of surpassing wealth, producing black pepper, nutmegs, spikenard, galingale, cubebs, cloves.…”—Marco Polo, ii. 254.

c. 1328.—“There too (in Jaua) are produced cubebs, and nutmegs, and mace, and all the other finest spices except pepper.”—Friar Jordanus, 31.

c. 1340.—“The following are sold by the pound. Raw silk; saffron; clove-stalks and cloves; cubebs; lign-aloes.…”—Pegolotti, in Cathay, &c., p. 305.

“Cubebs are of two kinds, i.e. domestic and wild, and both should be entire and light, and of good smell; and the domestic are known from the wild in this way, that the former are a little more brown than the wild; also the domestic are round, whilst the wild have the lower part a little flattened underneath like flattened buttons.” —Pegolotti, in Cathay, &c.; in orig. 374 seq.

c. 1390.—“Take fresh pork, seethe it, chop it small, and grind it well; put to it hard yolks of ‘eggs, well mixed together, with dried currants, powder of cinnamon, and maces, cubebs, and cloves whole.”—Recipe in Wright’s Domestic Manners, 350.

1563.—“R. Let us talk of cubebs; although, according to Sepulveda, we seldom use them alone, and only in compounds.

O. ’Tis not so in India; on the contrary they are much used by the Moors soaked in wine…and in their native region, which is Java, they are habitually used for coldness of stomach; you may believe me they hold them for a very great medicine.”—Garcia, f. 80–80v.

1572.—“The Indian physicians use Cubebs as cordials for the stomach.…”—Acosta, p. 138.

1612.—“Cubebs, the pound…xvi. s.” —Rates and Valuatioun (Scotland).

1874.—“In a list of drugs to be sold in the…city of Ulm, A.D. 1596, cubebs are mentioned…the price for half an ounce being 8 kreuzers.”—Hanb. & Flück. 527.

CUBEER BURR, n.p. This was a famous banyan-tree on an island of the Nerbudda, some 12 m. N.E. of Baroch, and a favourite resort of the English there in the 18th century. It is described by Forbes in his Or. Mem. i. 28; [2nd ed. i. 16, and in Pandurang Hari, ed. 1873, ii. 137 seqq.]. Forbes says that it w as thus called by the Hindus in memory of a favourite saint (no doubt Kabir). Possibly, however, the name was merely the Ar. kabir, ‘great,’ given by some Mahommedan, and misinterpreted into an allusion to the sectarian leader.

[1623.—“On an other side of the city, but out of the circuit of the houses, in an open place, is seen a great and fair tree, of that kind which I saw in the sea coasts of Persia, near Ormuz, called there Lul, but here Ber.” —P. della Valle, Hak. Soc. i. 35. Mr. Grey identifies this with the CUBEER BURR.]

1818.—“The popular tradition among the Hindus is that a man of great sanctity named Kubeer, having cleaned his teeth, as is practised in India, with a piece of stick, stuck it into the ground, that it took root, and became what it now is.”—Copland, in Tr. Lit. Soc. Bo. i. 290.

CUCUYA, CUCUYADA, s. A cry of alarm or warning; Malayal. kukkuya, ‘to cry out’; not used by English. but found among Portuguese writers, who formed cucuyada from the native word, as they did Crisada

  By PanEris using Melati.

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