Online Encyclopedia

QUAICH, or QUAIGH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 709 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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QUAICH, or QUAIGH, a form of Scottish drinking vessel. The word is an adaptation of the Gaelic cuach, cup, bowl; cf. Welsh cawg, and is usually referred to the Gr. Kaii cos, KavKa, through Lat. caucus. In the 18th century it is sometimes spelled " quaff," and a connexion has been suggested with " quaff," to drink with a large or at a single draught; the New English Dictionary, however, considers this doubtful. The quaich " was doubtless inspired by the low silver bowls with two flat handles, frequently used as bleeding vessels in England and Holland in the 17th century. The earliest quaichs were made of a solid block of wood, or of small staves of wood, often of different colours, supported by hoops, like barrels. They are generally fitted with two, and, more rarely, three short projecting handles. In addition to wood, they are made of stone, brass, pewter, horn, and of silver. The latter were often engraved with lines and bands in imitation of the staves and hoops of the wooden quaichs. The origin of these vessels in Scotland is known is the Virginian Quail, or Colin, as it is sometimes called ' that being, according to Hernandez, its old Mexican name. It is the Ortyx (or Colinus) virginianus of modern ornithology, and has a wide distribution in North America, being called "part-ridge" in the Southern states, and elsewhere being known by the nickname of " Bob-White," aptly bestowed upon it from a call-note of the cock. Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to introduce this bird to England (as indeed similar trials have been made in the United States with quails from Europe). The beautiful tufted Quail of California, Lophortyx californica, has also been tried at large in Europe without success; but it is well established as an aviary bird. A few of the American Quails or Colins roost in trees. Interesting from many points of view as is the group of birds last mentioned, there is another which, containing a score of species (or perhaps more) often termed Quails or Button-Quails, is of still greater importance in the eyes of the systematist. This is that comprehended by the genus Turnix, or Hemipodius of some authors, the anatomical structure of which removes it far from the genera Coturnix, Ortyx, and their allies, and even from any of the normal Gallinae. T. H. Huxley regarded it as the representative of a generalized stock from which the Charadriomorphae and Alectoromorphae, to say nothing of other groups, have sprung. The button-quails are now placed as a separate sub-order, Turnices, of the order Galliformes (see BIRD). One species, T. sylvatica, inhabits Barbary and southern Spain, and under the name of Andalucian Hemipode has been included (though on evidence not wholly satisfactory) among British birds as a reputed straggler. The rest are natives of various parts of the Ethiopian, Indian and Australian regions. It is characteristic of the genus Turnix to want the hind toe; but the African Ortyxelus and the Australian Pedionomus, which have been referred to its neighbourhood, have four toes on each foot. (A. N.)
End of Article: QUAICH, or QUAIGH
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