Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/151

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95
THE PROVINCE OE SHANTUNG

management, and the quality of the food-stuffs is deficient in nutritive power. Wheat, millet, maize, sorghum, sweet potatoes, pea-nuts, hemp, indigo, and a variety of bean and pea crops are regularly grown. Maize and sweet potatoes are not indigenous, and though of recent introduction, are already among the principal food products of the province. Rice, of a variety not requiring water in great abundance, is occasionally found, but the quantity is inconsiderable, though the quality is esteemed by the natives. Fruit is abundant, but from lack of cultivation—even the crudest form of pruning is not practised—the quality is usually poor. Apples, pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, grapes, and persimmons are plentiful.

Wood is not a feature of the landscape, though the villages that nestle in the valleys or stud the plains are usually surrounded by trees, spared for their shade. Willow, dwarf oak, stunted pine, ash, mulberry, walnut, catalpa are all to be found in one part or another of the province, but wood for building purposes and for coffin-making are, for the most part, imported from Manchuria.

Sericulture is an important allied industry. The worms are fed in the west on the leaf of the mulberry, in the east on that of the dwarf oak, the material made from the product of the latter finding its way into the market as pongee or Chefoo silk. The worm itself, after the cocoon has been used, is esteemed as a delicacy. There is an export trade in wheat straw braid also, but this, like all export trade in China involving anything except raw material, is apparently declining.

The mineral resources of Shantung are reputed to be extensive. The Germans, who obtained mining rights consequent upon their seizure of Kiaochow, have pushed their railway westward from that port to Tsinan Fu, the provincial capital, thus making accessible the coalfields of the central section.

The imports of Shantung are inconsiderable, and the produce of the soil not being sufficient for the support of its inhabitants, the balance is on the wrong side. The