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new and grotesque, are the figures carved out of the gnarled roots of trees. This is a kind of ornament highly esteemed by the natives. The more distorted the roots, and the more hideous the figures wrought upon them, the greater is the pleasure they afford.
“Gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire,”
the wildest forms that nature has revealed or imagination invented, please best the superstitious fancy of this marvel-loving people. Besides the figures just noticed, there are in this case many images of idols, of wood, stone, and porcelain. There are several elegantly shaped vessels for jhos. sticks,(a) usually placed in temples and pagodas. The central portion, which swells out most gracefully, is generally of fine porcelain, while the lower part and the covering are of odoriferous wood. There are two gentlemen’s toilet-glasses, of different patterns,(b) and two circular metallic mirrors,(c) of which latter we see only the ornamented backs. There are two common lamps,(d) which are nothing more than shallow metallic bowls, fixed upon a stand of the same material. The oil is poured into its uncovered receptacle, and a small wick immersed in it, and the apparatus is then complete for use. This case contains also a handsome pair of scales, with weights of a novel form; (e) a queer-shaped night-rattle,(f) which the watchman strikes with a bamboo stick to sound an alarm ; a Chinese compass and dial, ingeniously combined; (g) two pen-holders; (h) specimens of
bamboo pillows; (a) a model of a pagoda; (b) earthern pots
tion. It was these latter particularly, we suppose, that caused De Guignes to characterize the Chinese music as a “frightful racket”—bruit epouvantable. Some of their instruments, the harmonicon especially, are said to produce very sweet tones; and they have one (which is also in Mr. D.'s Collection) consisting of a great number of pipes varying in length, and arranged circularly. The tones emitted by this instrument are very similar to the music of the Scotch bagpipe. They do not employ catgut in stringing their instruments, but substitute silk and wire. Sounding-boards are not used. According to Mr. Huttner, one of the attachés of Lord Macartney’s embassy, the gamut of the Chinese is very imperfect. They have no knowledge of semitones, counterpoint, or parts in music. Harmonies are never attempted. Whatever the number of performers, there is always one melody.
XXII. Second Wall Case on the south side, with the two opposite Cases.
The second case is chiefly filled with specimens of lackered ware. There are some very elegant gilt boxes, of square, circular, and nondescript patterns. But the most interesting articles are what may be termed a complete travelling apparatus for a mandarin or private gentleman, including boxes of all shapes and sizes, and a table service consisting of teapot, cups, bowls, spoons, &c. The largest of the boxes is round, and consists of a succession of compartments. It answers the purpose of a wardrobe. In travelling on land, the whole are slung on bamboo poles, and carried on the shoulders of coolies, who are more or less numerous, according to the wealth and state of the owner. Most of the articles in this set are red, with a very little gilding. The lackered, or japanned, ware of China is well known. All substances that are dry and rigid, as woods, metals, and prepared paper, admit of being japanned. The fine varnish used for this purpose is obtained from a shrub, called atsie-shoo, a species of rhus, from which it distils like gum. It is poisonous in a liquid state, and hence great caution is used both by those who gather and those who work in it, to shield themselves from its noxious qualities. It is capable of receiving all colours, though black is the most common. More than fifty coats of varnish are sometimes put on. We have also in this case, specimens of Chinese tiles and shop-signs; two cameos; a paint box, with paints; two very beautiful bamboo pillows, on a kind of stand or frame; a small compass; two handsome bamboo penholders; spittoons of divers patterns, &c. &c. An object of peculiar interest is a model of a Chinese coffin, perfectly original. Every man in China provides his own coffin, which is sometimes kept many years. This is considered as necessary there, as making a will is among us. They are often made of rare and costly kinds of wood, and are finished with great elegance, being, in such case, of course, a very expensive article. The two cases opposite, contain some specimens of the coarser kinds of porcelain ware.
XXIII. The Cases containing Porcelain Articles. Of these there are five or six. We group them toge
ther in our notice, because it would occupy too much space to specify even the principal objects contained in them, and it is not necessary to do so, if space were abundant. The specimens in this department are exceedingly numerous, and include vases, jars, pipe-stands, summer-seats, bowls of enormous size, landmarks, pagodas, screens, and various services. No pains have been spared to collect whatever the country afforded of rare and beautiful in the porcelain manufacture. The vases will attract attention not only by their number, size, and variety, but by the beauty of their forms and the richness of their colouring. Several of them are ornamented with raised figures of dragons, serpents, insects, &c. These are much prized by the natives. Others have acquired a high value from their antiquity, a quality which sanctifies every thing in China. Mr. Wood states, that an idea prevails that antique vases have the property of preserving flowers which are placed in them fresh and blooming for a long time. The specimens of ware, cracked on the surface in burning, are singularly elegant. The art of producing these lines is now lost. Two lettered landmarks, such as are used to designate the corners of adjoining possessions, merit the visiter's notice; as also two octagonal pipe-stands, several feet in height. Landmarks are sacred in the eyes of a Chinaman, and to deface or destroy them is a high crime. The pagoda is intended as a model of the famous porcelain pagoda at Nanking. The original is merely roofed with porcelain, and not, as might be imagined from the name, constructed of that material. This stately structure is nearly two hundred feet in height. The pagodas