Tartar (named from Tartarus, the infernal regions, according to Paracelsus, on account of its fiery heat; also called argol), the crude bitartrate of potash, precipitated from wines as they ferment, being set free as alcohol is produced, in which it is insoluble. When purified it is known as cream of tartar or bitartrate of potassium. Salt of tartar is a name often given to pure carbonate of potash. Soluble tartar is a name given to the normal or neutral tartrate of potassium, used in medicine as a cooling purgative. (See Potassium, vol. xiii., p. 763.) - Tartar is also the name of an incrustation upon the teeth, composed, according to Bcrzelius, of salivary mucus 13.5, animal matter soluble in muriatic acid 7.5, and phosphate of lime (earthy phosphates) 7.9.
Tartars, a branch of the Mongolian or Turanian division of the human race, principally inhabiting Asia. The name is one of indefinite and indiscriminate application, used with varying comprehensiveness by different writers. In its widest sense it may be regarded as embracing the Altaian group of Mongolians, according to Virehow; that is, all the various tribes and nations inhabiting the table lands of central and northern Asia who are not of Aryan blood, including the Tartars proper, the Kirghiz, the Calmucks, the Mantchoos (sometimes called the Mantchoo Tartars), the Mongols proper, or people of Mongolia (who, however, probably constitute a separate branch), and the Tungusians, who are thought by Huxley to share the physical characteristics of the Esquimaux. In a more restricted application of the word, the Tartars comprise the Turanian inhabitants of Turkistan and the adjacent regions. These are the nomad Kirghiz, who dwell in Kho-kan and Kashgar, on the Pamir steppe, and in the adjacent valleys; the Uzbecks, who have advanced' furthest toward settled civilization and constitute the governing class in Turkistan; the Kiptchaks, a semi-nomadic people living in Khokan, who travel with their flocks during the grazing season; the Buddhist Cal-mucks of eastern Turkistan, extending into Dzungaria; the Kazaks, in the region of the Sir Darya; and many smaller tribes.
The predatory Turkomans inhabiting the country E. of the Caspian, from the Oxus to the Persian frontier, are of Tartaric origin, although the pure Tartar features are preserved in but few of the tribes, owing to the large admixture of Aryan blood. The characteristic Tartar physiognomy appears most distinctively at the present day among the Kirghiz, who have high cheek bones, noses thick but depressed, narrow eyes, and little or no beard. Almost every grade of variance from this type, however, is met with. In central Asia, the word Turk is used as synonymous with Tartar, merely to indicate Mongolians. According to Col. Yule, the two classes of people whom Marco Polo would identify with Gog and Magog represent the two genera of the Tartar race, namely, the White Tartars, or Turks, and the Black Tartars, or Mongols proper, who formed the bulk of the followers of Genghis Khan. Indeed, the name Mongol (bold), which he is said first to have given to the tribes who followed his standard, has been regarded as directly derived from Magog. - The word Tartar or Tatar (also Ta-ta) appears to be of Chinese origin, and was applied to early invaders of China from the upper Amoor region.
They were a warlike and savage race; and possessing vast numbers of horses, they often descended upon the peaceable Chinese, and plundered their villages. Their predatory characteristics came to be so closely associated with their name as to lead to its eventual application to numerous other robber hordes. The Altai mountains appear to have been the' centre of the great Mongolian migratory movement which began in the 4th century and lasted until the 10th, extending over the neighboring Asiatic countries, and under Attila far into Europe, where its results may still be traced in the Tartar population of eastern and southern Russia. The vast military expeditions of Genghis Khan and Timour were subsequent movements of a like character. Shamanism was the original faith of the Mongols. This was succeeded by Buddhism, which was abandoned for Lamaism about the end of the 16th century. Sunni Mohammedanism is now professed by the western Tartars generally, both in Asia and Europe.