After traveling through the heart of Asia, taking 17 years in total, the Polos began their homeward journey by taking the sea route along the coast of Annam (modern Vietnam), past the Malaya Peninsula (Malaysia), and into the islands of Indonesia.
|photo source: That Artist Woman|
Wayang Kulit is a unique form of Indonesian shadow puppet theatre that was around when Marco Polo went through the area. The puppets are crafted from buffalo hide and mounted on bamboo sticks. When held up behind a piece of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as the light source, shadows are cast on the screen. The plays are invariably based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, "The Mahabarata" and "The Ramayana". That Artist Woman has a wonderful post on making a puppet which includes templates (and here.)
They spent five months on the island of Sumatra, waiting for the monsoon rains to end. While they were stranded there, Marco noticed that the North Star had dipped behind the horizon (he was now in the southern hemisphere). One of the spices so prized there was cloves.
Lemon Clove Cookies
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon Cloves, Ground
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Extract
Mix flour, cloves and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon extract; beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed.
Divide dough in half. Form each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 9 inches long. Wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
For the Lemon Glaze, mix confectioners' sugar, water and lemon extract in small bowl untill well blended. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let stand until glaze is set.