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MANNERS AND CUSTOMS, ,

&c.

PART I.

THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.

MANNERS OF THE CHINESE.

The manners of the Chinese bear little resemblance to those of any other nation ; and, their historians say, they are the same now that they were 4000 years ago. The women are condemned to almost perpetual imprisonment within the precincts of their own houses. A woman is never seen, not even by her intended husband, before marriage. He knows nothing of her looks or person, but from the account of some female relation or confidant, who in these cases acts the part of match-maker; though when imposed upon, either with regard to her age or figure, he can have recourse to a divorce. The same matrons who negociate the marriage, also determine the sum which the intended husband must pay to the parents of the bride, for in China a father does not give a dowry to his daughter; it is a husband who gives a dowry to the wife.

When the day appointed arrives, the bride is placed in a palanquin, the key of which is committed to the care of a trusty domestic, who must deliver it to none but the busband. The latter, richly dressed, waits at his gates for the arrival of the procession. As soon as it approaches, the key is put into his hands; he eagerly opens the chair, and for the first time perceives his good or bad fortune. If he is contented with his new spouse, the bride descends and enters the house, where the marriage is celebrated by feasting and merriment as in other countries; but if the bridegroom is very much disappointed, he suddenly shuts the chair, and sends the bride home to her relations. To get rid of her in this manner, however, costs a sum equal to what he originally gave in dowry to obtain her. The Chinese women, even of the first rank, seldom quit their apartment, which is situated in the most retired part of the house, and in which they are secluded from all society but that of their domestics.

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The book of ceremonies requires that there should be two apartments in every house; the exterior one for the husband, and the interior for the wife. They must even be separated by a partition, the door of which is carefully guarded ; nor is the husband at liberty to enter the wife's apartment, or she to quit it without good reason.

A widow of superior rank, who has children, seldom enters a second time into the marriage state, though those of the ordinary rank generally do. Poor widows are not at liberty to follow their inclinations, but are sold for the benefit of the parents of the deceased. As soon as the bargain is concluded, a couple of porters bring a chair, which is guarded by a number of trusty people. In this the widow is shut up, and thus conducted to her new husband.

Concubinage is tolerated in China, though not authorized by law, This privilege is granted only to the emperor, the princes of the blood, and mandarins; and none but the emperor is permitted to have more than one. But the people generally avail themselves of the toleration, and have two or three concubines, if they can afford to pay the customary sum to the parents, &c. They, however, excuse themselves as well as they can to their wives in this respect, pretending only a desire of having many children, and a number of women to attend their wives; for the concubines and children must all be subject to the lawful wife. Others, desirous of having a male child, which perhaps their lawful wife cannot have, take a concubine for this reason only, and dismiss her as soon as their wishes are accomplished ; they then permit her to marry whom she pleases, and frequently even provide a husband for her them.selves. These concubines are almost all procured from two cities, named Yang-Tcheou and Sou-Tcheou, where they are educated, and taught singing, dancing, music, and every accomplishment suitable to women of quality, or which can render them agreeable and pleasing. The greater part of them are purchased in other places, to be again disposed of in these cities. Unlawful intrigues arc seldom heard of in China.

CUSTOMS PECULIAR TO THE CHINESE.. ALL authors agree, that an absurd custom prevails throughout China, of contining the feet of female infants in such a mauner, that they are never allowed to grow to near their full size. “Of most of the women we saw," says Sir G. Staunton, “even in the middle and inferior classes, the feet were unnaturally small, or rather truncated. They appear as if the forepart of the foot had been accidentally cut off, leaving the remainder of the usual size, and bandaged like the stump of an amputated limb. They undergo, indeed, much torment, and cripple themselves in a great measure, in imitation of ladies of higher rank, among whom it is the custom to stop by pressure the growth of the ankle as well as foot, from the earliest infancy; and leaving the great toe in its natural position, forcibly to bend the others, and retain them under the foot, till at length they adhere to, as if buried in the sole, and can no more be separated. It is said, indeed, that this practice is now less frequent than formerly, at least among the lower sort in the lower provinces."

CHINESE ENTERTAINMENTS.

11 In China, every father of a family is responsible for his children, and even his domestics; all those faults being imputed to him which it was his duty to have prevented. Every father has the power of of selling his son, “provided,” says the law, " the son has a right of selling himself." This custom, howewer, is barely tolerated among the middling and inferior ranks; and all are forbidden to sell them to comedians, or people of infamous character, or very mean stations. la China a son remains a minor during his father's life, and is even liable for the debts contracted by him, those from gaming only excepted. Adoption is authorized by law, and the adopted child immediately enters into all the rights of a lawful son; only the law gives a right to the father, of inaking a few dispositions in favour of his real children. The children, however, whether real or adopted, cannot succeed to the dignity of their father, though they may to his estate. The emperor alone can confer honours; and even then they must be resigned when the person atains the age of seventy; though this resignation is considered as an advice, rather than a law. The will of a father cannot be set aside in China on account of any informality ; nor can a mother make a will.

CHINESE ENTERTAINMENTS. NOTHING can appear more irksome to an European, than the multitude of ceremonies used on all occasions by the Chinese. An invitation to an entertainment is not supposed to be given with sincerity, until it has been renewed three or four times in writing. A card is sent the evening before the entertainment-a second on the morning of the appointed day--and a third when every thing is pre. pared. The master of the house introduces the guests into the hall, where he salutes them one after another. He then orders wine to be brought him in a small cup, made of silver, porcelain, or precious wood, and placed on a small varnished salver. He lays hold of it with both his hands, makes a bow to all the surrounding guests, and advances towards the fore part of the hall, where he raises his eyes and cup towards heaven; after which, he pours the wine on the ground. He afterwards pours some wine into the cup, makes a bow to the principal person in company, and then goes to place the cup on the table before him ; for in China every guest has a table to himself. The person for whom he intends this honour, however, generally saves him the trouble of placing the cup; calls for wine in his turn, and offers to place the cup on the master's table, who endeavours to prevent him, with a thousand apologies and compliments, according to Chinese politeness. A superior domestic conducts the principal guest to an elbow chair, covered with rich flowered silk, where the stranger again begins his compliments, and begs to be excused from sitting in such an honourable seat, which, however, he accepts of; and all the rest of the guests do the same, otherwise the ceremonial must be gone through with each of them.

The entertainments of the Chinese are begun, not by eating, but by drinking; and the liquor they drink must always be pure wine. The intendant, or maitre de hotel, falling down on one knee, first

invites the guests to take a glass ; on which each of them lays hold, with both hands, of that which is placed before him), raising it as high as his forehead, then bringing it lower down than the table, and at last putting it to his mouth ; they all drink together, and very slowly, taking three or four draughts. While they are drinking, the dishes on each of the tables are removed, and others brought in. Each of the guests has twenty-four set before him in succession; all fat, and in the form of ragouts. They never use knives in their repasts; and two small-pointed sticks, ornamented with ivory or silver, serve them instead of forks. They never begin to eat, however, until they are invited by the maitre de hotel ; and the same ceremony must be gone through every time they are going to take a cup of wine, or begin a new disb.

Some change has been made in the ceremonial of the Chinese by the Tartar conquest, and some new dishes have also been introduced, for the Tartars are much better cooks than the Chinese. All their dishes are highly seasoned ; and by various proportions of spiceries, they form a variety of dishes out of the same materials.

None of their viands, however, are more esteemed than stags' sinews, and the nest of a particular species of birds, which give a most agreeable relish to whatever is mixed with them. Other dishes are introduced at these repasts, which would be accounted very disagreeable with us; such as the flesh of wild horses, the paws of a bear, and the feet of several wild animals. The greater part of these provisions is brought preserved in salt from Siam, Camboya, and Tartary. Towards the middle of the entertainment, the soup is brought in, accompanied with small loaves or pies. These they take up with their small sticks, steep them in the soup, and eat them, without waiting for any signal, or being obliged to keep time with the rest of the guests. The entertainment, however, continues in other respects with the utmost formality, until tea is brought in ; after which, they retire from table, and amuse themselves in another hall, or in the garden, for a short time, until the dessert is brought in. This, like the entertainment itself, consists of twenty-four dishes, made

up of sweetmeats, fruits differently prepared, hams or salted ducks baked or dried in the sun, with shell and other kinds of fish. The same ceremonies which preceded the repast, are now renewed, and every one sits down at the same place he occupied before. Larger cups are then brought, and the master invites the guests to drink more freely. The entertainment is concluded ly some theatrical representations, accompanied with the music of the country. A certain number of spectators are admitted to behold these theatrical representations ; and even the women are allowed to view them through a wicket, so contrived that they may see them without being seen themselves. These entertainments never end till midnight. A small sum of money is given to the domestics; when each of the guests goes home in a chair preceded by several servants, who carry large lanterns of oiled paper, on which are inscribed the quality, and sometimes the name of the master. Without such an attendance, they would be taken up by the guard ; and the day following, they return a card of thanks to the officer.

RELIGIOUS SECTS AMONG THE CHINESE.

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Tea-DRINKING AMONG THE CHinese,

The Chinese method of drinking tea is not like that of other dations. A small quantity of Bohea, sufficient to. tinge the water and reader it palatable, for they drink no green, is taken in the morning, and thrown into a vessel adapted to the number in the family. This s'inds till milk-warm ; in which state it is kept the whole day, and a cup drank now and then without sugar or milk, to exhilarate their spirits when exhausted; and if a stranger call by accident, on a visit, or by appointment, the first thing presented is a small pipe, filed with tobacco of their own growth, and a cup of the tea, with sweatmeats, &c. Tea is the daily beverage in China, and is drank by all ranks of people.

RELIGIOUS Sects AMONG THE CHINESE. The purity of the ancient Chinese religion has been long contaminated by many idolatrous and fanatical sects. That of Tao-Sse was founded by a philosopher called Lao-Kiun. His morality consists principally in banishing all vehement desires and passions. According to him, the care of every wise man ought to be only to endeavour to live free from grief and pain, and to glide gently down the stream of life devoid of care and anxiety. To arrive at this happy state, he al vises his followers to banish all thoughts of the past, and all anxiety for the future, arising from ambition, avarice, &c. His disciples, however, found that all their endeavours to obtain a perfect tranquillity of mind were vain, so long as the thoughts of death intervened; they therefore declared it possible to discover a a composition, from which a drink might be made, that would render mankind immortal. Hence they were led to the study of chemistry; and, like the western alchymists, wearied themselves in search of the philosopher's stone, until at last they gave themselves up to all the extravagancies of magic. The desire of avoiding death, together with the credulity natural to unenlightened minds, quickly produced a number of converts to the sect of Tao-Sse. Magical practices, the invocations of spirits, and the art of foretelling events by divination, were quickly diffused over the empire, and the imbecility of the emperors contribated to propagate the folly. Temples consecrated to spirits were quickly reared, and two of the most celebrated of the sect were authorized to maintain public worship after the form which had been prescribed by their master. At the same time they made, and sold at a high price, images of those ideal spirits with which they had peopled the heavens and the earth. These were worshipped as so many deities independent of the supreme Being; apd, in like manner, several of the ancient emperors are invoked as gods.

Being patronized by the emperors of several dynasties, this sect became more and more powerful. At least they had the impudence to affix during the night to one of the gates of the imperial city, a book filled with mystie characters and magical figures. At daybreak, they informed the emperor of the sudden appearance of this

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