Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/213

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153
THE PROVINCE OF HONAN


North of the Yellow River an apparent range of mountains extends for 400 miles (1200 li), which is known as the Hang-shan. In reality it is not a range of mountains at all, but is the descent of the uplands of Shansi to the plain of Honan. A belt of low hills intervenes between the foot of these uplands and the plain. These hills form the site of important coal mines, and produce "excellent anthracite, clean, lustrous, and solid." The Chinese mines are cylinders of five feet diameter running down to depths varying from 120 feet to 400 feet.

The Sung Shan, one of the "Five Sacred Mountains" of China, is situated to the north of Kuchow in the west. It is about 7000 feet in height. The region of Ruchow, Honan Fu, and Hwaiking Fu is rich in agricultural and mineral produce. South of Honan Fu is the famous Long-Men or Dragon Gate. Here the Yi-ho flows northward to join the Lo river. The mountains, which form the sides of the Gateway, contain numerous caves which have been hewn out of the solid rock. Thousands of Buddhas, large and small, line the interior of these caves, and a gigantic figure is cut into the mountain side without. Temples abound amidst beautiful scenery. Hot springs also add to the interest of this neighbourhood.

The Fu-niu-shan is another important range of mountains, being the eastern termination of the great Kwen-luen range of Central Asia.

In the south-east of the province there are numerous ranges of hills and mountains extending from west to east. Amongst them the Shwang-ho Shan is of interest. The inhabitants of this district—the Kwangchow district—believe that the souls of the departed dwell there. Hence they have built hundreds of rooms at considerable cost to provide a suitable dwelling for the souls of departed friends.

Though situated in the same latitude as North Africa and the Southern States of North America, Honan has a cold and bracing winter, the thermometer at times registering 7° below zero. December and January are the coldest