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creased, if necessary, at the particular spot where each wheel is erected, by damming the stream, and even raising the level of the water where it turns the wheel. The circumstance occasioned some obstacles to our progress up the stream towards the Meiling pass, as the water near such places rolled with the rápidity of a sluice. When the supply of water is not required over the adjoining fields, the trough is merely turned aside or removed, and the wheel continues its stately motion, the water from the tubes pouring back again down its sides. These wheels extend on the river Kân-keang, from the neighbourhood of the pass to a considerable distance down its stream towards the lake, and they were so numerous that we never saw less than thirty in a day. It is calculated that one of them will raise upwards of three hundred tons of water in the four-and-twenty hours. Viewed merely in regard to their object, the Persian wreel, and the machines used for raising water in the Tyrol, bear some resemblance to the one just described, but, as observed by Staunton, “they are vastly more expensive, less simple in construction, as well as less ingenious in contrivance.”
It remains, under the head of this chapter, to say a word regarding the rules and principles which guide the Chinese in their architecture. Mr. Barrow has, with every appearance of probability, derived the shape of their roofs from the original use of the tent in their primitive pastoral state. Whatever the purpose to which a Chinese building may be destined, its roof invariably represents something of the catenary curve which a rope assumes when suspended between two points, and which therefore enters into the general contour of a tent, or a tent-like edifice. Owing to the same derivation, there is in the appearance of Chinese edifices a want of durable solidity, while the use of wooden columns in lieu of stone adds to the defect. These columns are commonly thin in proportion to their height. As we refer the origin of the stone pillars in European architecture to the trunks of large trees, tapering in proportion as they rise from the ground, so the Chinese pillars may be traced to the original use of the bamboo, which in its slender proportions, and nearly uniform diameter throughout the whole length, assimilates to their columns at present.
The ornamental and honorary gateways (sometimes improperly termed triuinphal arches) in the middle of Chinese streets, are of a similar construction. Their beauty arises wholly from the painting and gilding, and not from the proportions, which are weak and flimsy. The roof or summit, and what may be called the entablature, overweigh altogether the long and slender pillars beneath.* Every considerable house, as well as every temple, has a gateway before it constructed on the same general principles, and there is a high and broad passage through the centre, with a smaller one on either side. The same circumstances that may be ranked as drawbacks in general to Chinese architecture, fit it, at the same time, peculiarly to uses where only lightness is required. The ornamental pavilions in their gardens, often situated in the midst of sheets of water, and approached by bridges, are not alto
* In Alexander's prints to our first embassy there is a sketch of one of these. The emperor occasionally orders a pae-low to be erected at the public expense, to transmit to posterity the meritorious name of some just magistrate, some officer who has been killed in fight, or even of some individual among the people who may have been distinguished by his own virtues or talents, or those of his progeny. These monumental gateways are generally constructed of stone or marble, but sometimes of wood. The height is often thirty feet or more. Under a projecting roof highly ornamented, and on a species of frieze above the four pillars, is always an inscription, setting forth the occasion of the edifice being erected, and the name and titles of the individual whom it commemorates.
gether inelegant structures, affording at the same time a cool retreat in summer evenings, but occasionally much infested by mosquitos bred in the water.
Of the more solid architecture of the Chinese something has already been said in describing their city walls, and the great national barrier towards Tartary. They occasionally build detached towers or castles, to command important points, as that described in Lord Macartney's embassy, at the confluence of the canal with the Peking river. These partake exactly of the structure of the Great Wall, being built of brick on a foundation of stone, with a height of from thirty-five to forty feet. The entrance is an archway in the side of the tower, at some height from the ground, so as to be accessible only by a'adder or steps. Of their more considerable forts, by far the best specimens in the whole empire are those four or five, built at an enormous expense, at the entrance of the Canton river. In forcing the passage by these batteries in September, 1834, we found that a few rounds of thirty-two pound shot from his Majesty's ships •Imogene' and `Andro
mache' beat in a large portion of the castellated summit of the stone wall upon the garrison, and likewise knocked several of the lower ports or embrasures into one; but the lowest portion, or foundation, of the walls was of such immense solidity, that some hours of battering would be required to demolish them, and the only effect we could perceive through our glasses was the scaling off of large masses from the face of the stone-work wherever the shot had struck. Great difficulty was found in demolishing these defences in 1856, on account of their vast solidity.
Of Chinese bridges, some have been very much exaggerated in the accounts of Du Halde and the missionaries, as appears from the later reports concerning the bridge at Foo-chow-foo, visited during the unsuccessful commercial voyage of the ship' Amherst’ in 1832, and since the war become familiar to our countrymen. This same bridge, which proved a very poor structure after all, had been extolled by the Jesuits as something quite extraordinary. A bridge of ninety-one arches, being in fact a very long causeway, was passed by Lord Macartney between Soo-chow and Hâng-chow, and near the lake called Tae-hoo. The highest arch, however, was supposed to be between twenty and thirty feet in height, and the whole length of the causeway half a mile. It was thrown across an arm of the lake, on the eastern side of the canal. The late Sir George Staunton observed a bridge between Peking and Tartary, built across a river which was subject to being swelled by mountain floods. This was erected upon caissons of wattles filled with stones. It appeared to have been built with expedition, and at small cost, where the most solid bridge would be endangered by inundations. The caissons were fixed by large perpendicular spars, and over the whole were laid planks, hurdles, and gravel. It was only in Keâng-nan that solid bridges were observed to be thrown over the canal, being constructed of coarse grey marble, or a reddish granite. Some of the arches were semicircular, others the transverse section of an ellipse, and others again approached the shape of a horseshoe, or Greek 1, the space being widest at top.* In the ornamental bridges that adorn gardens and pleasure-grounds, the arch is often of height sufficient to admit a boat under sail, and the bridge is ascended hy steps.
All the stones of a Chinese arch are commonly wedgeshaped, their sides forming radii which converge towards the centre of the curve. It is observable that, according to the opinion of Captain Parish, who surveyed and made plans of a portion of the Great Wall, no masonry could be superior to it. The arched and vaulted work was considered by him as exceedingly well turned. The Chinese, therefore, must have understood the construction and properties of the arch long before the Greeks and Romans, whose original and most ancient edifices consisted of columns, connected by straight architraves, of bulk sufficient to support the incumbent pressure of solid masonry.
* The construction of a singular arch is described by Barrow,' Travels in China,' p. 338.