Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/318

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Some Chinese Folklore.

(Ante, p. 114.)

The folklore of China is as yet so incompletely known, and, in particular, the charms and amulets commonly worn on the person and hung in buildings are treated so briefly in the more familiar books on China, that a few notes on the objects exhibited at the Society's meeting on the 25th of March last may not be without interest. A full list of the objects will be found on pp. 11 4-5 of this volume, and eight of the charms are shown in the accompanying plate (VIII.). The size of the charms illustrated may be estimated from that of No. 7, which is 2⅛ inches in diameter.

Many members will remember the "Anchor" puzzles, "made in Germany," which were very popular a few years ago, and the first and simplest of which consists of a square cut up into five triangles of various sizes, a small square, and a rhomboid. By arranging these seven blocks in various ways, figures resembling the ten numerals, the letters of the alphabet, and a number of geometrical shapes can be made up, using for each figure the whole of the seven blocks. The Chinese use the same seven blocks to make up a much larger number of figures of a different character, not geometrical like the German designs, but rough pictures of birds, beasts, fishes, and Chinese men and women. They have also in common use a very much more elaborate and ingenious set of fifteen blocks, cut out from a square, for use for kindergarten purposes, and known as " the Fifteen Magic Blocks." These fifteen blocks are used both to amuse children and to make pictures illustrating history and morality, and passages of poetry to be learnt by heart, and also to teach some of the more famous mythical stories. The fifteen blocks, made of cardboard or lead,