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therefore stamped on the cakes of the material. The best pě-tun-tse is obtained near Hoey-chow, in the adjoining province of Keang-nân. It is pounded with pestles, which are worked by means of cogged wheels, turned by a mountain stream. After pounding the stone, they reduce it to a nearly impalpable powder by suspension, and subsequent settlement, in water ; after which they mould it into bricks and sell it to the people at the potteries. The government of China, for more than a thousand years past, has paid much attention to the manufacture of porcelain, and especially to that at King-tě-chin, which pertains to the chief city Jaou-chow-foo. The emperor Kien-loong sent a person from Peking to make drawings of the whole process in its details.
In a voluminous Chinese work, the subjects of these drawings, which were twenty in number, are described at length. They commence with the process of procuring the materials and making the paste. Then is represented the business of preparing the ashes for the glazing, and mixing them with the silica, so as to form a thickish liquid. Earthen cases are provided in which to bake the ware, the round portions of which are turned on a lathe, and the others made in a mould. The subject of another picture is the selection of the “ blue material,” which is supposed to be cobalt. After being turned on a lathe, or formed by a mould, the unburnt biscuit (as workmen call it) is finished by smoothing and paring off all inequalities by the hand, the bits taken off being pounded and worked to a milky consistence, to be used by the painters. In painting the ware, one set of people design the outline, and another fill in the colours; and the Chinese say that this division of labour is to “concentrate the workman's hand, and not divide his mind.” It is said that, previous to baking, the same specimen of ware passes through twenty hands, and that, before being sold, it has gone through more than double that number. The pictures proceed to represent the baking of the ware in open and in close furnaces, and, when it is completed, the process of binding it with straw, and packing it in tubs for sale.
The whole series of drawings concludes with the ceremony of sacrificing and giving thanks to the god of the furnaces; and this god, according to Dentrecolles, owed his origin to the difficulties encountered by the workmen in executing some orders from Peking, on account of the emperor. Several models were sent from thence, of a shape and size which defied all the efforts of the people to imitate them; and, though representations were made to that effect, these served only to increase his majesty's desire to possess the specimens required. With a view to meet the emperor's inclination, much money and labour were spent, and both rewards and punishments held out to the people employed, but all in vain ; when one of the workmen, reduced to despair by the result of his unavailing efforts, threw himself into the red-hot furnace, and was instantly consumed. The story says that the specimens then baking came out perfectly fine and conformable to the model, and from that time hence the unfortunate victim passed for a divinity, becoming the god of the furnaces.
In connexion with the subject of their porcelain it remains to mention a curious discovery lately made in Egypt. In a note to an article of the Quarterly Review' on Egypt and Thebes, * it is remarked,—“Signor Rosellini showed the other day to a friend of ours at Florence a sort of smelling-bottle, evidently of Chinese porceluin, and with characters to all appearance Chinese! This was found by Rosellini himself in a tomb which, as far as could be ascertained, had not been opened since the days
* No. CV., February, 1835.
of the Pharaohs.” Three of the same little bottles, which were also discovered in Egypt, and brought home by Lord Prudhoe and by Sir G. Wilkinson, have been examined by the writer of these pages, who can vouch for their being identical in shape and appearance (though not in the fineness of the porcelain) with the best smelling and snuff-bottles manufactured at this day by the Chinese. It so happened that he had in his possession a real Chinese bottle of recent manufacture, and it corresponded so closely in size and shape with the bottles found in the Egyptian tombs, that he presented it to the owner of two of them, that it might be associated with its supposed ancient likenesses. The following is the substance of the information relating to the puzzling bottles from Egypt.
In journeying up the Nile, looking out for antiquities, the travellers stopped at Coptos. A Fellah offered for sale two bottles nearly alike in inscription, and of the same form. They were both purchased, and with them a fragment of a statue without an inscription, but which in workmanship was of the later dynasties. At Coptos are temples of the earlier dynasties (Thothmes III., who probably reigned about Joseph's time), down as late as the Roman Cæsars; but all the antiquities of smaller dimensions there purchased appear to have been of the later Egyptian dynasties - say about the time of Psammeticus. Sir G. Wilkinson gave one of these bottles to the British Museum ; another, in the possession of Mr. Pettigrew, was kindly furnished to the author, that a fac-simile might be prepared for this work. .
The size is identical with the original. The whole, with the exception of the two white sides, is of a lightgreen colour, similar to that with which the Chinese frequently paint the ground of their porcelain vessels ; often the insides of them. The sketch of some vegetable production is slightly executed on one side of the bottle; the stalk and leaves have the appearance of a drawing in Indian ink, being of a pale watery black, and the flower is
of light red. The style of this slight sketch is precisely Chinese. On the reverse side are five characters—ming, yue, soong, choong, chaou, being a line of five words taken from a poem, and having this meaning: “the bright moon shines amidst the firs.” The interior of the bottle contained a small quantity of a black and nearly impalpable powder, which had a carbonized appearance, stated by Sir G. Wilkinson to be the collyrium with which the Egyptian women stained their eyelids. This strange relic, had it been met with in China, would have excited little notice, being so like other bottles of the same shape and size actually in use; but its ascertained discovery in an Egyptian tomb is a matter for speculation.
The statement of Signor Rosellini, that he himself opened the tomb in which he found one of the bottles, is very circumstantial; but the tomb may have been opened before. The characters on the bottles are not only of a modern shape, but the scraps of poetry have been recognized by the Chinese themselves as the productions of a person who lived at a comparatively late period. · The lackered or varnished ware of the Chinese, though by their own admission inferior to that of Japan, is occasionally, in the hands of the best workmen, a beautiful manufacture. It varies, however, from the polished jetty surface of the magnificent folding-screens, sometimes brought home to this country, down to the articles of daily use made for the Chinese themselves, in the shape of tubs, trays, and wash-hand basins, with the ornamental parts of their buildings. These coarser varieties are derived from the nuts or seeds of the Dryandra cordata, while the finer kind is obtained from the gum of a species of Rhus. The chief expense of the manufacture arises from the care with which the consistence of the varnish must be regulated in laying it on, and the number of repetitions required in the finer kinds of ware, of which each successive coat must be allowed a considerable time to dry before it is again touched. When first introduced to Europe, this manufacture was highly appreciated, and the export from Canton considerable ; but the improvements in our own productions have reduced the quantity. now in demand to something very small.
The native ingenuity of the Chinese, to which themselves and the rest of the world have apparently been indebted for so many important and useful inventions, has been recorded by the late Sir George Staunton, on occasions when their efforts were required by the embassy. “ Two of them (says he) took down the two magnificent glass lustres sent as presents to the emperor, in order to