Page:Inside Canton.djvu/187

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telligent proprietor: the bamboo pencil of marten's hair, the writing paper, and the inkstand cut out of agate in the shape of a lotus-leaf, upon which rests a stick of Indian ink, gilt in strange characters. Paper-clips of marble and precious stone, representing gods, animals, or fantastic flowers, serve to keep together pencil sketches and scattered notes. Pan-se-Chen told us that there was not one of these beautifully done articles which was of a less antiquity than a hundred years. The capacious easy chair of the studious man is made of a black, shining wood, and no soft cushion covers the elegantly-shaped seat. This cabinet is oblong in form; on one side are the bookshelves; on the other, the walls are covered with magnificent drawings and gigantic hieroglyphics.

We did not find in this sanctuary of Chinese art any of those vulgar paintings which we pointed out in the dwellings of the tradespeople; here, they were executed in silk, and were of a very remote antiquity. We now admired, for the first time, those grand embroidered tableaux which are with us a modern invention, but which have been wrought in China for many centuries. One of the hieroglyphic characters startled us by its gigantic proportions, and Pan-se-Chen told me it was an autograph of the viceroy Ki-in, and meant "Long life"—the expression of a wish of affection from friend to friend.