1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ning-po

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NING-PO (Ning-Po-Fu, i.e. City of the Peaceful Waves), a great city of China, the principal emporium of trade in the province of Chehkiang, standing in a fine plain bounded by mountains towards the west, on the left bank of the Ning-po river, about 16 m. from its mouth, in 29° 49′ N., 121° 35′ E. It was visited by Portuguese traders as early as 1522, and is one of the five seaports which were thrown open to foreign trade in 1842 by the treaty of Nanking. The population of the city and suburbs is estimated from 400,000 to 500,000. Ning-po is surrounded by a fine old wall, 25 ft. high and 16 ft. broad, pierced by six gates and two passages for ships in its circuit of 4 to 5 m. Just within the walls there is a considerable belt of open ground, and in many places the ramparts are thickly covered with jasmine and honeysuckle. In ascending the river a stranger’s eye is first caught by the numerous huge ice-houses with high thatched roofs and by a tall white tower—the T’ien-fēng-t’a or Ning-po pagoda or obelisk—which rises to a height of 160 ft. and has fourteen stories and seven tiers of windows, but has unfortunately been stripped of its galleries and otherwise damaged. Another striking structure in the heart of the city is the Drum Tower, dating from before the 15th century. As is natural in a place long celebrated for its religious and educational pre-eminence, there is no lack of temples, monasteries and colleges, but few of these are of any architectural significance. Brick is the ordinary building material, and the dwelling-houses are mostly of one storey. Silks, cottons, carpets, furniture, white-wood carvings and straw hats are the chief products of the local industry. Large salt-works are carried on in the vicinity, and thousands of fishermen are engaged, mainly between April and July, in catching cuttle-fish. In spite of the powerful competition of Shanghai, Ning-po has a valuable foreign trade. It is regularly visited by the vessels of the China Navigation Company and the Chinese Merchants’ Steam Navigation Company. From 216,191 register tons in 1873 the tonnage of the port had increased to 303,109 in 1880, and in 1904 the figures rose to 532,869 tons. The value of the trade passing through the custom house in 1904 was £3,052,629, as compared with £2,312,000 in 1900 and £3,405,000 in 1880. Straw or grass hats, straw mats, samshu (from the Shao-sing district), Chinese drugs, vegetable tallow and fish are among the chief exports; in 1904 the hats numbered 2,125,566, though in 1863 they had only amounted to 40,000, and the mats, mainly dispatched to south China, average from 1,000,000, to 2,000,000. Missions are maintained in Ning-po by the Roman Catholic church, by the Church Missionary Society (1848), the American Presbyterians, the Reformed Wesleyans, the China Inland Mission (1857), &c. A mission hospital was instituted in 1843. After the storming of Chennai—the fortified town at the mouth of the river—on the 10th of October 1841, the British forces quietly took possession of Ning-po on the 12th. In 1864 the Tʽaipʽings held the town for six months.