Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/399

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is situated above the confluence of the two great rivers Dza and Ngom, which together form the upper waters of the Mekong river. Derge is ruled by a "King," and is under the jurisdiction of China. Its chief town, Derge Dongkhyer, is famous for the manufacture of all kinds of metal work, and some of the rifles used by the Tibetans during the recent Britsh campaign were manufactured in Derge. Monasteries, large and small, abound in this principality. The "Khamba," as the men of Kham are called, may be divided into pastoral tribes or nomads and town or village dwellers. All are strong and brave, though wild and lawless. In all the towns and villages, Chinese officials exercise a certain authority, and are a help to civilisation. The part of Kham extending from the town of Batang eastward to Tachienlu is included in the Chinese province of Szechwan. In a few of the fertile valleys, especially near Lhasa, along the Tsangpo, plentiful crops of wheat and peas are produced, though the main product of the country is barley, from which tsamba is made.

The country may be divided under four classes:

(1) The vast northern plateaux, which are barren and desolate, with only a few scrubby bushes here and there.

(2) The upland pasture grounds, chiefly in Southern Tibet, like the moors in the homeland, wild and weird. Here there are not only to be found nomad tents, but small towns built of stone.

(3) In other parts the country is cut up into deep ravines and rocky gorges, through which rush river torrents. On the side of these rocky gorges are perched villages and monasteries.

(4) The downs are especially found in the eastern province of Kham, often with rich pasturage and varied vegetation.

The cold of these regions is, of course, intense; from October to April frost rules everywhere, and snow lies thick upon the ground. In many places the variations of temperature in a few hours are wonderful, 60° between

morning and mid-day being no uncommon thing. On the