Page:Inside Canton.djvu/195

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of Bernard de Palissy. Among such specimens, we were particularly pleased with one upon a large jar—a flight of cranes sailing with spread wings over a forest of leafless trees. This scene of aerial pilgrimage forcibly recalled to us the departure of migrating birds at the approach of our winter.

If we had not seen the carven bamboos of Pan-se-Chen, we could never have supposed it possible for this monocotyledonous plant to acquire a development resembling that of our firs and poplars. Our friend the mandarin had in his collection a joint of this gigantic reed, the circumference of which was as great as that of a common-sized pail; and upon this natural cylindric vase were sculptured human beings, trees, flowers, fruits, and rocks; while every separate object was so cleanly projected, that the people might walk at your bidding, and the trees wave to the breath of the wind. Callery is now the possessor of this valuable curiosity.

I have already indicated the strange tastes of the Chinese, their love of the grotesque and the abnormal. This tendency of their minds is manifested very strikingly in their choice of certain stones of whimsical shapes. Their collections of choice pebbles have nothing in common with our mineralogical and geological museums. Here, bits of rock are sought after for the accidental quality of having assumed the form of some fantastic animal, a time-hollowed