Page:Inside Canton.djvu/196

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195
INSIDE CANTON.

ravine, or a beetling cliff. I have called these mounted stones for lack of a better name, and because they are generally distinguished by a magnificent sculptured pedestal. Pan-se-Chen had a series of these bits of rock, of very curious configuration. If he was asked what he found to admire in them, what made them valuable, he used to reply,—"Their shape first; and secondly, their antiquity." However, when Callery explained to him that in Europe we made collections of a similar character, with the view of studying the uses of the objects and determining their respective ages and the epochs in the earth's history to which they belonged, the mandarin was astounded. He would have gone into ecstacies if we could have handed him the register of birth of every stone in his museum.

Every one has heard something of the famous Chinese mirrors—those magic mirrors which have exercised so much the sagacity of men of science. They are metallic disks, exquisitely polished, and reflecting objects with entire distinctness. Those of Pan-se-Ghen were borne up by pedestals in the form of a crescent, whose limbs supported the reflector. Generally, Chinese mirrors have drawings or hieroglyphics graven on the side which is not polished; and the curious part of the story is, that when the sun's rays fall on the polished side, the reflected light, thrown upon the wall or the ceiling, projects the figures drawn upon the graven side! This phe-