Page:Inside Canton.djvu/194

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193
INSIDE CANTON.

The antiquarian treasures amassed in the chamber of Pan-se-Chen consisted chiefly of ancient porcelains, of bronzes, of carven bamboos, of rare jewels, and mounted stones. All these objects, large and small, were supported upon brackets wrought with indescribable elegance and beauty. They represented, according to the character of the object they were destined to bear, knotted and twisted roots, flexile and blossoming boughs, a piece of rock, or the base of a column—the support contributing to unity of effect with the article supported, whether of bronze, stone, or what not. In China there is no object too small to have allotted to it some sort of pedestal, and very frequency the latter is of more intrinsic and artistic value than the thing it sustains. I am very much surprised that our French artists have not imitated, for our ornamental clocks, Sèvres vases and charming statuettes, these admirable little pedestals or brackets, which are really among the happiest inventions of Chinese artistry.

The porcelains of Pan-se-Chen bore little resemblance to those with which we have been inundated for some years past; they were, for the most part, white vases, upon which were displayed green bamboo branches and lovely flowers, clouds flying before the wind, and old-fashioned individuals running before the same. Some of these works of art were executed in relief in the manner of those wondrous inventions