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allowed to be seen with arms except for specific purposes of self-protection, as when carrying off their property from a fire, or as a defence against river pirates, and the like.
The possession of fire-arms is altogether forbidden by the jealous Government, as may be seen from the following extract from a Peking gazette :-“For the people to have fire-arms in their possession is contrary to law, and orders have already been issued to each provincial government to fix a period, within which all match-locks belonging to individuals should be bought up at a valuation. .... With regard to those fire-arms which are in immediate use for the safeguard of the country, the said Governor has already directed the proper officers to carve on every match-lock the name of the person to whom it is delivered, and to preserve a general register of the whole. Let the Governor also give strict charge to make diligent search, and prevent the illicit storing up of fire-arms for the future; and let the workers in iron be rigidly looked after, lest they clandestinely manufacture and sell them; the evil may thus be cut off in its commencement. Those officers who have made full and complete musters within the limited period, the Governor is directed to notice properly as an encouragement to others.” Those Chinese near Canton who employ themselves in shooting wild fowl for sale, are said to belong mostly to the militia of the province.
The extremes of heat and cold which prevail throughout the country at opposite seasons of the year, joined to the general custom of living very much in the open air, are the causes which have probably given rise to the broad and marked distinctions that exist between the summer and the winter dress of the better classes. The difference is principally marked by the cap. The summer cap is
a. cone of finely woven filaments of bamboo, or a substance resembling chip, and surmounted, in persons of any rank, by a red, blue, white, or gilded ball at the apex or point of the cone. From the insertion of this ornamental ball descends all round, over the cap, a fringe or rather bunch of crimson silk or of red horse-hair; in front of the cap is sometimes worn a single large pearl.
The winter cap, instead of being a cone, fits closer to the shape of the head, and has a brim, turned sharply up all round, of black velvet, or fur, and rising a little higher in front and behind than at the sides. The dome-shaped top is surmounted by the same ball as in the other case, denoting the rank of the wearer; and from the point of insertion descends a bunch of fine crimson silk, just covering the dome. On the commencement of the cold or hot weather, the first person in each province, as the Tsoong-tě, or Viceroy, assumes his winter or summer cap; the circumstance is noticed in the official gazette, or court circular, and this is the signal for every man under his government to make the same change. In the embassy of 1816, the imperial legate, who conducted the mission down to Canton, being for the time superior in rank to the Viceroy, in this manner put on his winter cap, and gave the example to the province through which he was passing. Within-doors they usually wear in cold weather a small skull-cap, either plain or ornamented.
The summer garment of the better classes is a long ioose gown of light silk, gauze, or linen, hanging free at ordinary times, but on occasions of dress gathered in round the middle by a girdle of strong wrought silk, which is fastened in front by a clasp of agate, or of the jade, which the Chinese called yu. pressive climate, when the thermometer is at 80° or
In an op
90°, there is much ease and comfort in the loose sleeves, and the freedom from restraint about the neck, by which this dress is distinguished; and the tight sleeves and huge collars of Europeans very naturally make them objects of compassion, if not ridicule. To the girdle are fastened the various articles noticed by Dr. Abel, as the fan-case, tobaccopouch, flint and steel, and sometimes a sheath with a small knife and pair of chop-sticks. They are very proud of displaying a watch, which is inserted in an embroidered silk case or pouch.
The winter dress, being nearly as loose as that of summer, is less calculated to promote warmth and comfort than the European costume, and at the same time more unfavourable to bodily activity and exertion. Over a longer dress of silk or crape, which reaches to the ankles, they wear a large-sleeved spencer, called ma-kwa (or riding-coat), which does not descend below the hips. This is often entirely of fur, but sometimes of silk or broad-cloth, lined with skins. The neck, which in summer is left quite bare, is protected in winter with a narrow collar of silk or fur; their loose dresses always fold over to the right breast, where they are fastened from top to bottom, at intervals of a few inches, by gilt or crystal buttons (the latter in mourning) with loops.
In summer the nether garment is loose, and not unlike ancient Dutch breeches; but in winter an indescribable pair of tight leggings are drawn on separately over all, and fastened up to the sides of the person, leaving the voluminous article of dress above mentioned to hang out behind in a manner that is anything but pleasant. Stockings of cotton or silk, wove and not knit, are worn by all who can afford them, and, in winter, persons of a certain rank wear boots of cloth, satin, or velvet, with the usual thick white sole, which is kept clean by whiting instead of