Page:Inside Canton.djvu/120

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

in this their merit lies: they cause the impossible to be appreciable to the senses, and this realisation of the Chinese ideal is not without its charms. There are human figures with faces carved in yellow nephritis, clothed in turquoises or pieces of jet, there are women without feet, cut in transparent amber, who resemble the bulbs at the ends of bulrushes. These fantastical creatures live in jasper houses built upon mountains of granite; the parks of these châteaux are shaded by trees with lapis-lazuli trunks and branches, and crystal leaves and fruit. The sky, earth, and sea correspond with these strange compositions; the clouds are of jade, and cast green reflections; heavy silver junks sail upon the sea, the waves of which are golden, and the ground is strewed with mineral spangles, which reflect the solar rays in brilliant sparks. Since my return from China, every time I have looked at the moon through a telescope, I have fancied that the stone landscapes of the Celestial Empire were a faithful representation of the inhabited parts of that planet.

Articles in bronze abound in Talkee-True's shop: they are in general sacred vases, incense burners, and idols, which Chinese indifference has abstracted from the hereditary chapels of their homes, or which some bonzes—they are quite capable of it—have removed from some renowned pagoda. Although there are many places in China where antiquities are manufactured,