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bearing acorns, and its trunk exhibit. ing all the external marks of an aged tree. I have also had orange and citron trees of the same size, bearing fruit of a very fine flavour. One of these orange-trees used to produce, at the same moment, incipient buds, blossoms in full flower, fruit newly set, and of full size, in a green state and ripe. But the greatest curiosity I had, was a bamboo-tree, two feet and a half high, so distorted, as to represent a dragon with a boy seated on his back.
I had a very curious Camelia Jas ponica ; I never heard of, or saw one like it in China. It was of a unique, bright purple colour. The Chinese could not have dyed it, as it bloomed in my own possession. The flower was large, and its form was perfect. All these dwarfs of the vegetable world were the gift of a valued friend, who took some pains to procure thein for me; but the air of Hong-Kong destroyed them, as it does everything else. I have seen a lu-chee tree, whose natural size is that of our fullgrown mulberry-tree, dwarfed into one of three feet; its trunk had all the appearance of old timber, and the branches tapered similar to those on a natural-sized tree. I have heard of an orange-tree being distorted into the form of a man's hand ; but I did not see it. The mode of dwarfing is simple: the branch of a full-grown tree is covered with mould, which is bound round with cloth or matting, and kept constantly wet; the fibres of the branch thus covered soon shoot into the mould, and then the branch is carefully cut from the tree, the bandage is removed, and it is planted in new earth. The fibres then become roots, and thus that which was previously a branch on the parent tree becomes a trunk, bearing flowers and fruit. The buds at the extremity of the branches, which are intended to be dwarfed, are torn off as soon as they appear, and by this means, the branches are arrested in their growth, and other buds and branches shoot out. After a certain time, sugar-juice is applied to the trunk of the dwarftree, by which means insects are at tracted, and thus the bark is injured, and that knotted appearance is produced, peculiar to old trees. When it is proposed to give any particular
form to a tree, the branches are bent into shape, and retained in it by means of pieces of bamboo. Although China does not abound in a redundancy of those large trees and forests, seen in other parts of Asia, still there is no paucity of timber or useful trees, excepting in the Ladrone Islands, of which Hong-Kong is the worst specimen. The banyan or pagoda-tree, flourishes well, sending down its branches to root in the earth, and reproduce other trees, to be similarly multiplied, till innumerable arched trees, and cloistered alcoves, surround the enormous parent trunk. It is necessary to see this tree, to estimate its beauty, or the comfort afforded by its shade. It is needless to speak of the mulberry-trees which furnish food for the innumerable silkworms, whose silk forms so material an article in the exports from China. From the lackertree, which is the size of our ash, the Chinese obtain a very valuable oil, which they employ for varnish ; it is necessary, however, to be most careful in the use of this oil, for, if drop. ped on the skin, it produces a cutaneous disease, which it is difficult to cure. There is a particular tree, which I heard of, but did not see, in China, which attracts a bee, called the " white-wax bee,” which feeds upon its blossoms; the natives fasten nests in this tree, in which the bee deposits her wax, which is remarkably pure. The most curious tree in China is the tallow-tree, from whose fruit is extracted a vegetable fat, from which candles are manufactured; and from the kernels an oil is prepared, which is used by the poorer classes. When the fruit is ripe, which in appearance is something like the elderberry, but much larger, the leaves are tinted with a most beautiful purple-scarlet hue. The only laurel known in China is the camphor-laurel, which grows to a great size, and is used in ship-building. The camphor is obtained by boiling the branches and leaves, when an oil is collected from the surface of the water, and is then passed through a variety of processes ; but the camphor thus produced, is not equal to that which is found in the trunk of the tree. I have been informed, that the Borneo camphor is much purer and far superior to the Chinese. There are whole forests of the camphor.
tree there, which are cut down by the natives, solely for the sake of the camphor, and the timber is left to rot. Had we possession of this island, this might be made a valuable article of trade. Cotton grows in great luxuri. ance in many parts of China. From the rind of a species of sycamore, the Chinese manufacture some of their finest paper. There is a tree, also, from the pith of which, when dried, they produce a flour, used in culinary pur. poses. It is unnecessary to dilate upon the culture of the tea-plant, so much has been already written upon the subject. It grows wild in China, to the height of two or three feet, and bears a white fragrant flower ; when cultivated, it attains the height of four or five feet. It is planted in rows, and weeded with the greatest care; the greater the care bestowed upon the plant, the finer is the flavour of the tea. There are many varieties; and the Chinese say, they have more than one hundred descriptions of the tea.plant. It is a most mistaken idea to suppose, that the green tea is made by the process of drying upon copper ; as copper is never used in drying it. But black teas are often made green by colouring matter, which is very easily discovered by chewing a few leaves, or breathing upon a handful, when the green hue will soon disappear ; this tea is known as “ Canton Green." The green teas are a different species from the black altogether. The finest sorts of tea, which are used by the emperor and the wealthy mandarins, are cultivated with the same care which we bestow upon exotics. The younger the leaves are, when gathered, the finer is the flavour of the tea. The coarser kinds of tea, which are used by the poor, are
the old leaves, which have been gathered, without any preparation. In the mountainous parts of China, unsuitable to the cultivation of other crops, a species of tea-plant is grown, called, by the Chinese, “flower of tea." The flower of this plant, they sometimes mis with their finest teas, to impart a more fragrant flavour. The Arabian jessamine is said to be sometimes substituted for this purpose. A very superior oil is extracted from the nut of the “flower-of-tea” plant.
The vegetable productions of China are not only those peculiar to a tropical climate, such as brimjals, yams, occus, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins, but also potatoes (though of an inferior description), peas, Windsor - beans, French-beans, turnips, and carrots, equal to our own. I have frequently had at my own table, an excellent white-cabbage, which is unknown in England, very good salad, radishes, a species of cucumber, equal in flavour to ours, but of a different appearance altogether; I must not forget the truffles, which are not inferior to those of the continent, nor the capers, which are very good. The tobaccoplant is cultivated in China to some extent; but it is of an inferior description. The plant from which castoroil is extracted, grows wild; but it is also cultivated with great care.
China is thus blessed in the fertility of her soil, and the produce of her silk-worms; but such prosperity is often arrested by one of the curses with which the Almighty formerly scourged the land of Egypt: whole provinces are sometimes entirely devastated by locusts. These voracious insects are peculiarly beautiful, of great variety, and some of a very large size, in China.
CHAPTER XI.-ARTS AND MANUFACTURES OF CHINA COLD AND SILVER TINSEL
PORCELAIN-SILKS_DESCRIPTION OF THE CARVED IVORY BALLS-COLOURS AND BEAUTY OF DYES — VISIT TO THE ATELIER OF LUM-QUA, THE SIR T. LAWRENCE OF CHINA-MANUFACTORY OF PAPER AND PRINTING OF BOOKS-LITERATURE OF THE COUNTRY.
Among the manufactures of China, the gold and silver tinsels of Pekin stand in the highest estimation. Their chief value arises from their possessing the property of never tarnishing in any climate. In appearance, they resemble cloth of gold or silver. Various and
frequent attempts have been made to discover the secret, which have all proved abortive, much to the detriment of our own manufactures, whose value would be considerably enhanced by the discovery. Tinsels are wrought of various patterns, which have all the
appearance of being woven into the cloth, and not stamped upon its sur face. They are constantly used in trimming their silken robes.
The beauty of the Chinese porcelain is well known, and could we introduce their colours into our manufactures, we might rival those of France. The finest specimens come from the manufactory near Pekin. The beautiful transparency and brilliancy of the white ground is supposed to be produced by an incombustible stone or earth, em ployed in its manufacture. If this be true, and the locality (which is said to be in the vicinity of the Yellow River) were discovered, this stone, or earth, might be brought, at a comparatively trifling cost, to England, as ballast in tea-ships, as all vessels laden with tea are obliged to have a certain quantity of ballast. The beauty of the porcelain-enamelling, in natural colours, upon metals, is too well known to require description ; and the Chinese might here, again, become our instructors. The silks, satins, and crapes of China, are most beautiful; but I have learned from merchants that they are too costly, and too much prized in China, to form articles of any consi. derable trade with Great Britain. It is curious, that though the silks and satins surpass the looms of Great Britain and France, both for beauty of colour and durability of texture, yet the silk velvets are far inferior to those produced in England. The Chinese silk velvets, although possessing much substance, have the peculiarly dead hue of an English cotton velvet, and are totally void of the silky lustre of those manufactured at Genoa and Lyons.
The embroidery of the Chinese is peculiar to themselves, and is not only unequalled, but is far superior to that of any other nation. The exquisite contrivance by which the figures are made to correspond on both sides of the cloth continues a profound secret. The tinest specimens of embroidery are manufactured in the interior, from which we are still excluded.
The filagree work of the Chinese equals any ever produced by ancient Venice, and their chasing in silver is certainly unrivalled. The beautiful fidelity with which they represent figures, houses, &c., within a less space than a quarter of an inch, is truly as.
tonishing. I have seen in China spe. cimens of enamelling, which surpass any I have ever seen produced at Geneva; and their excellence is particularly exemplified in their mode of using ultra-marine, which is rendered everlasting. It is said that this manufactory is chiefly confined to Nankin.
France might well be proud, could she improve any of her manufactures, by ascertaining and adopting those processes by means of which the Chinese excel in any of the above arts; and it is very possible that some object of this sort has led her to incur the expense of an embassy to China, and to maintain a squadron in those seas. It behoves Great Britain to be on the alert, and watch the movements of her neighbour in China.
The beauty, pecularity, and depth of the carvings in ivory and tortoise-shell, are well known. I took some trouble and pains to obtain a view of the instruments with which the artists worked, but regret to say I was unsuccessful. The ivory balls so elaborately carved, and the ingenuity with which they are constructed, have long excited admiration, and surprise at the artistic skill and means by which so many concentric balls can be carved one within the other. I know not whether any one else has made the discovery, but the truth is, that each ball is constructed of two pieces, the edges of which are so finely scraped down, that the edge of one hemisphere is made to overlap its counterpart with the greatest nicety. Thus one ball is easily enclosed within an other. The joinings are then united by a peculiarly strong cement, aided by the employment of steam and pressure. Any one who wishes to make the expensive trial will soon ascertain the fact by applying a very powerful heat to one of these balls, which will open at the joints in due time. The most curious variety, one of which I possess, is a ball, which bas all the appearance of being cut out of the solid mass, with perforated holes, through which, in whatever way it is turned, spikes of ivory protrude.
Though the surface is perfectly smooth, and the weight such as to imply solidity, without any carving to conceal a joining, yet I doubt not that it is executed in a manner similar to the others.
The dyes of the Chinese have been before alluded to, the knowledge of which would prove a source of improvement to our manufactures; but the colours prepared and used by their artists equal, if they do not surpass, those used formerly in the Venetian, Italian, or Flemish schools. When in Canton, I went to visit the atelier of Lum-qua-the Sir Thomas Lawrence of China-and my attention was par ticularly attracted by what I consider ed a very pretty female face, of round, plump, contour, the eyes rather too small; the figure was habited in Chinese costume. On asking the artist who the lady was, he replied " That fancy portrait for Englishman. That not China beauty. That China beauty," pointing to the portrait of a boatwoman, which most certainly ill-accorded with our ideas of feminine loveliness. The colouring of this artist's oil-paint ings was very beautiful. He showed me many portraits, several of which I instantly recognized, both of Europeans and Chinese. Though deficient in light and shade, they were executed in a most masterly manner. There is, however, a want of life and expres. sion, which no doubt these ingenious people might soon rectify. I possess the interior of a Chinese dwelling, painted in oil by this master, which for chasteness of composition, accuracy of perspective, truthfulness of design, and subdued toue of colouring, has never been surpassed by any master of the ancient schools. What renders this painting so remarkable, is the diversity of subject. The figures and costumes are perfect; and the objects of still. life, animals and flowers, are delineated with Chinese accuracy. I was not previously aware of their proficiency in oil-painting, nor do I believe it is ge. nerally known. Their water-colour drawings have often been imported to Europe. The late Doctor Adam Clarke possessed a series of great beauty, representing all the legends of their mythology. There is some. thing very peculiar in the preparation of their oil-paints. On one occasion I watched with an artist, who was in company with me, the operations of a pupil who was mixing some paints. When Lum-qua observed us, he instantly stopped his progress, nor did he allow him to resume his occupation during our stay. I purchased some colours from him, and mixed them in
our manner, and although they ap. peared the same as those which he was using, the tints were totally different. I tried to induce him to give or sell me some prepared colours ; but neither fair words nor money could per. suade him to accede to my request. Here I saw some highly-finished water-colour drawings upon rice-paper, representing human beings, animals, flowers, and birds. But the most remarkable of these drawings were a series which, corresponding with Shakspeare's Seven Ages of Man, represented the life and death of a mandarin. The first in order exhibited an infant just born, whom the female attendants immerse in his first bath. Next his father leads him by the hand, and conducts him to school. Then he appears in the house of a mandarin, to whom he presents certain writings. Next, having been just married, he attends to welcome and receive his bride at his own house. Now, habited as a soldier, he knocks his head before the emperor, who confers upon him the button of a mandarin, as a reward for military services. Arrayed in mandarin robes, and surrounded by numerous attendants, he proceeds to pay a visit to his schoolmaster, to thank him for the successful education he received under his charge. « The last stage (of life) in this eventful history," represents the mandarin on his death-bed, surrounded by a numerous family of weeping wives, sons, daughters, grand-children, and other relatives, while near him is placed a coffin exquisitely decorated. The last drawing exhibits the deceased mandarin borne to the grave, preceded by innumerable banners, on which are in. scribed his manifold titles, and various good qualities, followed by a train of sedan.chairs, occupied by mourners and attendants. The beauty of colouring in this series of drawings is inimitable, and an extraordinary likeness is preserved in the face from the infant to the dying mandarin. The whole of the accessories appertaining to each epoch are faithfully delineated, and the backgrounds are most delicately stippled in. The accuracy and fidelity of the Chinese artist contrasts amusingly with the attempts made by our own artists to represent Chinese customs and manners. In represent ing a criminal receiving the bastinado,
English draftsmen represent the feet held by two Chinese, dressed in boots and wearing mandarins' caps and feu. thers. Executioners were never graced with such appendages. This cap and boots never are, and dare never be worn except by mandarins. The pea. cock's feather is rarely conferred by the emperor, and then only as a mark of distinction for some public service. On some rare occasions, an individual of merit may receive the distinction of three feathers. It is considered nearly as great an honour to receive this feather, as to obtain from the emperor the gift of some of his personal appen dages-such as a fan and fan-case, or his purse, which is the highest distinction known.
The manufactory of paper is said to have been discovered in China many centuries earlier than in Europe. Tra dition affirms that the invention is due to a mandarin, who mixed silk and pulp of trees together, which he spread in the sun. The very inferior des cription of paper which is produced in China, seems a tacit contradiction to this claim of priority, as it is almost incredible that a nation, which has brought other arts to so great perfection, and where literature is so highly prized, should so long stand station. ary in an art so useful. Their best and finest paper is made of the pulp of the sycamore tree, and their coarser paper from paddy-straw, the fibre of hemp, and the barks of various trees; that which we erroneously call rice. paper is made from a very fine des. cription of bark; but the best paper comes from Nankin.
The Chinese also lay claim to the invention of printing, at an equally early period. From the nature of the language, however, this art does not appear capable of much improvement, since the Chinese language consists of between seventy thousand and eighty thousand characters, each character representing a distinct word. It seems almost impracticable to use moveable types; and therefore they adopt the plan of cutting in relief all the characters of the work to be printed, on slabs of a very hard wood. The printer daubs these over with a preparation of Indian-ink, and the paper, being pressed upon them, receives the impression. One coating of the printing fluid is sufficient for two or three impressions,
but the paper being of too porous a nature to receive impressions on both sides, it becomes necessary to fold the paper. These doubled sheets are then stitched together, the fold is at the outer edge, with two coarser sheets of paper to form a cover. But the wealthier classes are as particular as we are, in their bindings, which are of beautifully figured silks and satins, sometimes of gold or silver tinsels. The Chinese being a very reading nation, never destroy the slabs on which the characters of a work are cut, which are laid by with great care, and the place of their deposit is referred to in the preface of the work.
Books are sold at so cheap a rate that they are within the reach of all. But it is deplorable to witness the depravity of taste so publicly exhibited in China, by the circulation of an enormous number of obscene publi. cations and indecent engravings, which are eagerly sought after. The taste for reading may very cheaply be gratified in China, by means of itinerant circulating libraries, which are carried about by their proprietors, in boxes slung over their shoulders. In no part of the world is education so universal as it is in China. In such estimation is literature held, that literary attainments form the only passport to the highest offices in the state. Each province is furnished with officers appointed to examine claimants or aspirants to state preferment, who go their circuits twice in each year. Each candidate must submit to repeated examinations previous to the distinction of being placed upon the books for preferment. When a man has reached the highest class of literary attainment, he is examined by the Emperor in person, and if approved of hy him, he attains the highest honours. It would appear that genius or originality is not so much admired in China as memory. The power of reciting the greatest number of the sayings of their ancient sages. is considered the acmé of learning. Every literary honour confers the rank of a mandarin on its possessor; and each grade is distinguished by its peculiar dress. Although honours are not hereditary (even the emperor se. lects whom he pleases, as his successor, from the royal blood), yet the descend. ants of men of learning are treated