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"Tesh, City of the Crawling Liquid. Its moats and glass cats, and the Catoblepas Plain and merchant trawlers and tramp diplomats and the Crying Prince."
Cutter considers what he knows of Tesh

Tesh, also known as The City of the Crawling Liquid, is a powerful city-state to the far west of New Crobuzon, located on the coastal plain adjacent to the Firewater Straits. At the time of Iron Council, Tesh and New Crobuzon are engaged in a protracted conflict over the Firewater Straits, a vital trade route for both nations.


Little is known about the domestic situation in Tesh. Passing reference is made to something or someone called the Crying Prince, but it is not clear if this refers to a landmark, a ruler, or some other significant figure in Tesh culture.

In a 1779 address to New Crobuzon's citizens, then-mayor Bentham Rudgutter referred to Tesh as "a city ruled by witches" - a system of government also seen the Witchocracy, Tesh's close neighbor and ally on the other side of the Firewater Straits.


Tesh is located on the south-western coastal plain bordering the Firewater Straits. Tesh is walled, with large gates barring passage into the city from the Catoblepas Plains that surround it, possibly to protect from the highly dangerous catoblepas. Beyond the city, in an unspecified direction, is an area known as the briarpits, formerly home to at least one Tesh monestary.

The city itself is known for its "glass cats" and numerous moats, located in the aptly-named "Moatlands" that lay between the city and the surrounding briarpits and Catoblepas Plain. As of the war with New Crobuzon, the moats have been refilled.


Tesh likely shares its cultural history with the Witchocracy, as indicated by the two city-states' proximities and their similar systems of government. The great importance that Tesh attaches to its elite ambassadors and the large, seemingly exclusive role of thaumaturgy in the Tesh military indicate that the hidden science plays a much larger role in Tesh's culture than in New Crobuzon's.

Tesh culture "does not classify" things to the same degree as New Crobuzon culture or Galaggi cultures. There is no name for the Galaggi Veldt adjacent to the coastal plain the city sits on, and Tesh names are unisex.


Teshi sea traders who cross the Firewater Straits to trade with New Crobuzon are known to have filed teeth and henna tattoos and to travel on "barquentines and dandy catboats all raggedy with coloured cloth". Tesh is also known for importing large quantities of olive oil and vinhog wine from the nomadic tribes who inhabit the surrounding Galaggi Veldt, and likely has trade relations with the Witchocracy.


By tradition the Tesh embassy has always been empty, with the ambassador living as "a vagrant" in New Crobuzon, unknown to the city officials, communicating only by mail for official business. During the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, New Crobuzon's Parliament has severe difficulties even communicating with Tesh, although there are reports of the mayor and teams of linguists meeting with unseen Tesh delegations in Perdido Street Station.

The Teshi ambassador to New Crobuzon, Spiral Jacobs during the time of the series, is capable of extremely powerful "ambassadormagicks".


Although most Teshi, such as Ambassador Spiral Jacobs, are not religious, certain Teshi follow the philosophy and religion of the Manifold Horizon. Followers of the Manifold Horizon worship a variety of "Moments", something between gods and locations.

The Briarlands on the outskirts of Tesh were home to a monastery of monks who follow the Manifold Horizon. Prior to the monastery's destruction by New Crobuzon slave-assassins during the events of Iron Council, there were a variety of monastic orders there:

  • The Monks of Cadmer, Moment of Calculation - These monks were essentially mathematical savants who sacrificed their emotions for incredible mathematical prowess. During the New Crobuzon attack on the monastery, the Monks of Cadmer realized that they would not survive, and allowed themselves to be killed without resisting.
  • The Monks of Zaori, Moment of Magic Wine - The Monks of Zaori drank themselves to a "visionary death" when the New Crobuzon militia approached the monastery.
  • The Monks of the Moment of Doves - These monks were able to command doves, and used their abilities in concert with the Monks of Desiccation, the Monks of Tekke Shim, and the Monks of Pharru to send flocks of doves to attack the slave-assassins in defense of the monastery.
  • The Monks of Desiccation - These monks were able to turn their enemy's blood to sand.
  • The Monks of Pharru, the Moment of the Forgotten Snow - The Monks of Pharru were able to command ice and snow. They used this ability to slow and degrade the New Crobuzon militia during their attack on the monastery.
  • The Monks of Tekke Shim, the Moment of Memory - The Monks of Tekke Shim worked with the Monks of Pharru to create ice storms to hinder the progress of the militia.
  • The Monks of Tekke Vogu, the Moment of the Hidden and Lost - The monks of Tekke Vogu were the only survivors of the monastery. Although the order's neophytes were quickly killed by the militia, the senior monks were able to hide themselves and make themselves lost to their attackers. The only known monk, Qurabin, was an "eighth-ring red monk".

Despite the destruction of the monastery during the war, it is likely that there are other monasteries scattered throughout the Tesh outlands.



Teshi science and thaumaturgy is radically different that that of New Crobuzon, leading to further miscalculations and confusion during the Tesh-New Crobuzon War. For much of the war New Crobuzon and Tesh are fairly evenly matched, although the war's exact toll on Tesh's military is not known. During this war, it was not uncommon for Tesh to use children as suicide bombers, carried out by loading them up with flesh-melting hexes and sending them at New Crobuzon soldiers. Toward the end of the conflict, Tesh sent a witnessing as a form of intimidation and as a means of gathering information.

Tesh's most potent weapons of war were also its ambassadors, each one a highly skilled hecatombist with the ability to destroy city-states so absolutely that ripples are sent backwards in time from the moment of destruction.


The Teshi military uses a variety of weapons and forces, including "Ifrit winds", "soulcannon", and "toothbombs". In at least one instance, it is believed that Tesh also used a colourbomb against the New Crobuzon miltia during an engagement.

Reference is also made to Tesh weapons "circling in flocks" along with Tesh ships, possibly suggesting some degree of autonomy for certain Tesh weaponry.

Naval forces[]

Reference is made to the use of "shunboats" as a means of enforcing tariffs and patrolling the Firewater Straits. It is not clear what kind of vessel this term refers to.

Tesh-New Crobuzon War[]

See Tesh-New Crobuzon War

During the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, Tesh was allied with Shud Zar Myrion Zar Koni, also known as the Witchocracy. The Witchocracy assisted Tesh in casting a massive hex over the Firewater straits, closing them off to the New Crobuzon Navy until it was eventually broken

Known Teshi[]

  • Spiral Jacobs - The Tesh ambassador to New Crobuzon from c.1779–1804.
  • Qurabin - A Teshi monk of the Moment of the Hidden and the Lost. He later joins Cutter's group and the Iron Council after the destruction of his monastery.

Places and locations of Bas-Lag

Armada · Cobsea · Dreer Samheer · Gengris · Gharcheltist · Gnurr Kett· High Cromlech · Jangsach · Kar Torrer Kingdom · Khadoh · Maru'ahm · Myrshock · Neovadan · New Crobuzon · Salkrikaltor Cray Commonwealth · Shankell · Suroch · Tesh · Troglodopolis · The Brothers · Witchocracy · Yoraketche

Islands and minor territories

Bartoll · Basilisk Channel · Dancing Bird Island · Figh Vadiso · Firewater Straits · Galaggi Veldt · Geshen · Jheshull Islands · Nova Esperium · Qé Banssa · Rin Lor · The Shards


Bered Kai Nev · Fractured Land · Rohagi · Shoteka