OART, s. A coco-nut garden. The word is peculiar to Western India, and is a corruption of Port. orta (now more usually horta). “Any man’s particular allotment of coco-nut trees in the groves at Mahim or Girgaum is spoken of as his oart.” (Sir G. Birdwood).

1564.—“…e me praz de fazer merce a dita cidade emfatiota para sempre que a ortaliça des ortas dos moradores Portuguezes o christãos que nesta cidade de Goa e ilha te…possão vender.…” &c.—Proclamation of Dom Sebastian, in Archiv. Port. Orient. fasc. 2, 157.

c. 1610.—“Il y a vn grand nombre de Palmero ou orta, comme vous diriez ici de nos vergers, pleins d’arbres de Cocos, plantez bien pres à pres; mais ils ne viennent qu’ès lieux aquatiques et bas.…”—Pyrard de Laval, ii. 17–18 ; [Hak. Soc. ii. 28].

1613.—“E os naturaes habitão ao longo do ryo de Malaca, em seus pomares e orthas.”—Godinho de Eredia, 11.

1673.—“Old Goa…her Soil is luxurious and Campaign, and abounds with Rich Inhabitants, whose Rural Palaces are immured with Groves and Hortos.”—Fryer, 154.

[1749. — “…as well Vargems (Port. vargem, ‘a field’) lands as Hortas.”—Letter in Logan, Malabar, iii. 48.]

c. 1760.—“As to the Oarts, or Coco- nut groves, they make the most considerable part of the landed property.”—Grose, i. 47.

1793.—“For sale.…That neat and commodious Dwelling House built by Mr. William Beal; it is situated in a most lovely Oart.…”—Bombay Courier, Jan. 12.

OBANG, s. Jap. Oh’o-ban, lit. ‘greater division.’ The name of a large oblong Japanese gold piece, similar to the kobang (q.v.), but of 10 times the value ; 5 to 6 inches in length and 3 to 4 inches in width, with an average weight of 2564 grs. troy. First issued in 1580, and last in 1860. Tavernier has a representation of one.

[1662.—“A thousand Oebans of gold, which amount to forty seven thousand Thayls, or Crowns.”—Mandelslo, E.T. Bk. ii. 147 (Stanf. Dict.).

[1859.—“The largest gold coin known is the Obang, a most inconvenient circulating medium, as it is nearly six inches in length, and three inches and a half in breadth.”—Oliphant, Narrative of Mission, ii. 232.]

OLD STRAIT, n.p. This is an old name of the narrow strait between the island of Singapore and the mainland, which was the old passage followed by ships passing towards China, but has long been abandoned for the wider strait south of Singapore and north of Bintang. It is called by the Malays Salat Tambrau, from an edible fish called by the last name. It is the Strait of Singapura of some of the old navigators ; whilst the wider southern strait was known as New Strait or Governor’s Straits (q.v.).

1727.—“.…Johore Lami, which is sometimes the Place of that King’s Residence, and has the Benefit of a fine deep large River, which admits of two Entrances into it. The smallest is from the Westward, called by Europeans the Streights of Sincapore, but the Natives Salleta de Brew” (i.e. Salat Tambrau, as above).—A. Hamilton, ii. 92 ; [ed. 1744].

1860.—“The Old Straits, through which formerly our Indiamen passed on their way to China, are from 1 to 2 miles in width, and except where a few clearings have been made…with the shores on both sides covered with dense jungle…doubtless, in old times, an isolated vessel…must have kept a good look out against attack from piratical prahus darting out from one of the numerous creeks.”—Cavenagh, Rem. of an Indian Official, 285–6.

OLLAH, s. Tam. olai, Mal. ola. A palm-leaf ; but especially the leaf of the Palmyra (Borassus flabelliformis) as prepared for writing on, often, but incorrectly, termed cadjan (q.v.). In older books the term ola generally means a native letter ; often, as in some cases below, a written order. A very good account of the royal scribes at Calicut, and their mode of writing, is given by Barbosa as follows :—

1516.—“The King of Calecut keeps many clerks constantly in his palace ; they are all in one room, separate and far from the king, sitting on benches, and there they write all the affairs of the king’s revenue, and his alms, and the pay which is given to all, and the complaints which are presented to the king, and, at the same time, the accounts of the collectors of taxes. All this is on broad stiff leaves of the palm- tree, without ink, with pens of iron ; they write their letters in lines drawn like ours, and write in the same direction as we do. Each of these clerks has great bundles of these written leaves, and where ever they go they carry them under their arms, and the iron pen in their hands…and amongst these are 7 or

  By PanEris using Melati.

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