Sivut kuvina

slightly reddish tinge; the terms prince's eyebrows, carnation hair, lotus kernel, sparrow's tongue, fir-leaf pattern, dragon's pellet, and dragon's whiskers, are all translations of the native names of different kinds of Souchong or Pecco. Souchong, or siau chung, means little plant or sort, as Pouchong, or folded sort, refers to the mode of packing it; Campoi is corrupted from kan pei, i.e. carefully fired; Chulan is the tea scented with the chulan flower, and applied to some kinds of scented green tea. The names of green teas are less numerous: Gunpowder, or ma chu, i.e. hemp pearl, derives its name from the form into which the leaves are rolled; ta chu, or “great pearl,” and chu lan, or “pearl flower,” denote two kinds of Imperial ; Hyson, or yu tsien, i. e. before the rains, originally denoted the tenderest leaves of the plant, and is now applied to Young Hyson ; as is also another name, mei pien, or “plum petals;” while hi chun, “flourishing spring,” describes Hyson ; Twankay is the name of a stream in Chehkiang, where this sort is produced ; and Hyson skin, or pi cha, i.e. skin tea, is the poorest kind, the siftings of the other varieties; Oolung, “black dragon,” is a kind of black tea with green flavor. Ankoi teas are produced in the district of Nganki, not far from Tsiuenchau fu, possessing a peculiar taste, supposed to be owing to the ferruginous nature of the soil. De Guignes speaks of the Pu-'rh tea, from the place in Kiangsu where it grows, and says it is cured from wild plants found there; the infusion is unpleasant, and used for medical purposes. The Mongols and others in the west of China prepare tea by pressing it when fresh into cakes like bricks, and thoroughly drying it in that shape to carry in their wanderings. Considering the enormous labor of preparing tea, it is surprising that even the poorest kind can be afforded to the foreign purchaser at Canton, more than a thousand miles from the place of its growth, for eighteen cents and less a pound; and in their ability to furnish it at this rate, the Chinese have a security of retaining the trade in their hands, notwithstanding the efforts to grow the plant elsewhere. Comparatively little adulteration is practised, if the amount used at home and abroad be considered, though the temptation is great, as the infusion of other plants is drunk instead of the true tea. The poorer natives substitute the leaves of a species of Rhamnus or Fallopia, which they dry; Camellia leaves are perhaps mixed with it, but probably to no


great extent. The refuse of packing-houses is sold to the poor at a low rate, under the names of tea endings and tea bones; and if a few of the rarest sorts do not go abroad, neither do the poorest. It is a necessary of life to all classes of Chinese, and that its use is not injurious is abundantly evident from its general acceptance and extending adoption ; and the prejudice against it among some out of China may be attributed chiefly to the use of strong green tea, which is no doubt prejudicial. If those who have given it up on this account will adopt a weaker infusion of black tea, general experience is proof that it will do them no great harm, and they may be sure that they will not be so likely to be deceived by a colored article. Neither the Chinese nor Japanese use milk or sugar in their tea, and the peculiar taste and aroma of the infusion is much better perceived without those additions, nor can it be drunk so strong without tasting an unpleasant bitterness, which the milk partly hides. The Japanese sometimes reduce the leaves to a powder, and pour boiling water through them in a cullender, in the same way that coffee is often made. Among other vegetable productions of the country, whose preparation for the arts affords employment, are cassia and camphor. The cassia tree (Laurus cassia) grows chiefly in Kwangs and Kweichau, and its dried bark affords the principal part of that spice used at the west. The bark is stripped from the twigs by running a knife along the branch and gradually loosening it; after it is taken off, it lies awhile until decay commences, when the epidermis is easily scraped off, and it is dried into the quilled shape in which it comes to market. The fleshy receptacles of the seeds of this tree, or the pulpy substance which is found in the pods, are also collected, and brought to market under the name of cassia buds, being applied to the same purposes as the bark; they require little or no other preparation than simple drying. The leaves and bark of the tree are also distilled, and furnish cassia oil, a powerful and pleasant oil employed by perfumers and cooks. The manufacture of it has of late years been interfered with by the officers from an apprehension, as has been alleged, that a want of fuel would ensue if the distillation was not restricted. The camphor tree is another species of Laurus, found in Kwangsi, Fuhkien, and Formosa, and affords both timber and gum for exportation and domestic use. The tree itself is large, and furnishes excellent planks, beams, and boards, for building vessels and making trunks and other articles. The gum is procured from the branches, leaves, and chips, by first soaking them in water until the liquid becomes saturated with it; when it is turned out into an earthen basin to coagulate. It is then placed in an iron vessel in alternate layers with fine earth, and over which, when filled, another basin is luted, after placing some mint upon the top to hinder the clayey particles from ascending; on applying a slow heat, the camphor sublimes into the upper vessel. It comes to market in a crude state, and is usually refined again after reaching Europe. The preparation of the gum and sawing of the timber, and the construction of trunks, arti. cles of furniture, and vessels in whole or in part, occupies great numbers of carpenters, shipwrights, and boat-builders. Many of the common manipulations of Chinese workmen afford good examples of their ingenious modes of attaining the same end which is elsewhere reached by other machinery. For instance, the baker places his fire on a large iron plate worked by a crane, and swings it over a shallow pan embedded in masonry, in which the cakes and pastry are laid, and soon baked. The price of fuel compels its economical use wherever it is employed, of which the mode of burning shells to lime af. fords a good example. A low wall is built around a space ten or twelve feet across, in the middle of which is a hole communicating underneath the wall by a passage with an opening, where the fire is urged by means of a fan turned by the feet. The wood is loosely laid over the bottom of the area, and the fire kindled at the orifice in the centre, and fanned into a blaze as the shells are rapidly thrown in until the wall is filled up ; in twelve hours the shells are calcined. Towards evening, the villagers collect around the burning pile, bringing their kettles of rice or vegetables to cook in the burning pile, thereby saving themselves the expense of fuel. The good humor manifested by these groups of old and young is a pleasing instance of the sociability and equality witnessed among the lower classes of Chinese. The lime is taken out next morning, and after sisting is ready for the mason. Handicraftsmen of every name are content with coarse-looking tools, compared with those turned out at Sheffield, but the


work some of them produce is far from contemptible. The bench of a carpenter is a low, narrow, inclined form, like a drawingknife frame, upon which he sits to plane, groove, and work his boards, using his feet and toes to steady them. His augurs, bits, and gimlets, are worked with a bow, but most of the edge-tools employed by him and the blacksmith, though similar in shape, are less convenient than our own. They are sharpened with hones or grindstones, and also with a cold steel tool resembling a spoke-shave, with which the edge is scraped thin. The economy of Chinese workmen has often been noticed by voyagers, and among them all the travelling blacksmith takes the palm for his

Travelling Blacksmith and his Shop.

compendious establishment. “I saw a blacksmith,” writes one observer, “a few days since mending a pan, the arrangement of whose tools was singularly compact. His fire was held in an iron basin, not unlike a coal-scuttle in shape, in the back corner of which the mouthpiece of the bellows entered. The anvil was a small square mass of iron not very unlike our own, placed on a block, and a partition basket close by held the charcoal and tools, with the old iron and other rubbish he carried. The water to temper his iron was in an earthen pot, which just at this time was most usefully employed in boiling his dinner over the forge fire. After he had done the job, he took off his dinner, threw the water on the fire, picked out the coals and put them back into the basket, threw away the ashes, set the anvil astride of the bellows, and laying the fire-pan on the basket, slung the bellows on one end of his pole, and the basket on the other, and walked off.” The mode of mending holes in cast-iron pans here noticed is a peculiar operation. The smith first files the lips of the hole clean, and after heating the dish firmly places it on a tile covered with wet felt. He then pours the liquid iron, fused in a crucible by the assistance of a flux, upon the hole, and immediately patters it down with a dossil of felt, until it covers the edges of the pan above and below, and is then, while cooling, hammered until firmly fixed in its place. The great number of craftsmen who ply their vocation in the streets has already been mentioned, each of whom has a peculiar call. The barber twangs a sort of long tuning-fork, the peddler twirls a hand-drum with clappers strung on each side, the refuse-buyer strikes a little gong, the fruiterer claps two bamboo sticks, and the fortuneteller tinkles a gong-bell; these, with the vociferous cries of beggars, hucksters, &c., fill the streets with a concert of strange and discordant sounds. The delicate carving of Chinese workmen is well known, and has often becn described ; many specimens of it are annually sent abroad. Few products of their skill are more remarkable than the balls, containing ten or twelve spheres cut out one within another. The manner of cutting them is simple. A piece of ivory or wood is first made perfectly globular, and then several conical holes are bored into it in such a manner that their apices all meet at the centre, which is usually hollowed out an inch or less after the holes are bored. A long crooked tool is then inserted in one of the conical holes, so bent at the end and stoppered on the shaft that it cuts into the ivory at the same distance from the surface when its edge is applied to the insides of the cone. By successively cutting a little on the insides of each conical hole, their incisures meet, and a sphericle is at last detached, which is now turned over and its faces one after another brought opposite the largest hole, and firmly secured by wedges in the other holes, while its surfaces are smoothed and carved. When the central sphere is done, a similar knife somewhat larger is again introduced into the holes, and another sphere detached


- * Chinese Repository, Vol. X., page 473.

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