Page:Inside Canton.djvu/128

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127
INSIDE CANTON.

least keep my cup as a proof of the simple belief of these poor tawny people, who sell their children for a bottle of arrack, and in remembrance of me place the earthen cup of faith opposite the golden cup of incredulity."

Thus I possess two cups of rhinoceros' tusks, without, however, considering myself safe from the mortal attacks of badly tinned saucepans. Speaking of saucepans, I ought to mention an industrial process which the Chinese employ in art, and which I think will only be usefully applied when it is exclusively consecrated to kitchen utensils—I mean enamelled copper. They thus make thousands of fancy objects which are very ugly, and are intended to rival the same things made in China. The corners of Talkee-True's shop were crowded with immense vases, bowls, water jugs, and boxes tolerably well-shaped; but it was necessary to see them at a distance in order to attribute to them any artistic merit. These were the large enamelled copper things which a few frantic admirers of every thing which comes from the Celestial Empire have praised so highly. As a rule, these things are badly painted; the colours are false, and the surface indented and irregular. The two first faults result from the artists in enamel being much less expert than the workers in porcelain, owing to the difficulty of pouring the enamel smoothly on to the copper vase. It is well