Skip to main content

Western media's view of Chinese in 19th century

[This article is from Friday's Post, The Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Saturday, January 17, 1801. It's quite interesting to read how Western media's view of Chinese in 19th century, no issues about anti Chinese cheap products, no human rights problems, or air polutions.]

The common people in China, have ballads and songs inculcating chiefly the rules of civility; the relative duties of life, and maxims of morality.

The Chinese novels are amusing and instructive; they enliven the imagination without corrupting the heart, and are replete with axioms which tend to the reformation of manners by a powerful recommendation of the practice of virtue.

Conscious that the political existence of a Government depends on the proper regulation of the impulses of Nature, the severest penalties are denouced by the Chinese code of laws against all publications unfriendly to decency and good order; the purchasers of them are held in detestation by the greater part of the community; and with the publishers are alike obnoxious to the laws, which no rank, or station, however exalted, can violate with impurity.

The greatest encouragement is given by this extraordinary people to the cultivation of letters. The literati rank above the military, are eligible to the highest stations, and receive the most profound homage from all ranks.

Some of the Chinese paper is made of cotton, some of hemp; other sorts are of the bamboo, of the mulberry, or of the arbutus, which last is most in use. The inner rind, being reduced by maceration and pounding to a fluid paste, is then placed in frame moulds, and the sheets are completed by drying in a sort of stove.

The ink, commonly called "Indian ink," is made of lamp-black, beat up in a mortar with musk, and a thin size. When brought to the consistence of paste, it is put into small moulds, stamping upon the ink what characters are wanted; and it is then dried in the sun or air.

The Chinese do not use pens, but pencils made with hair, particularly with that of rabbit. 

When they write, they have upon their table a small piece of polished marble, with an hollow at one end to contain water; into this they dip their stick of ink and rub it upon the smooth part, leaning more or less heavily, to proportion the blackness.

When they write, they hold the pencil perpendicularly. They write in columns, from the top of the paper to the bottom, commencing on the right-hand side of the margin and end their books where Europeans begin theirs, whose last page is with them the first.

The paper, ink, pencil, and marble, are called "pau-tsee," "The four precious things."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE STORY OF MISS LI

Miss Li, ennobled with the title "Lady of Ch‘ien-kuo," was once a prostitute in Ch‘ang-an. The devotion of her conduct was so remarkable that I have thought it worth while to record her story. In the T‘ien-pao era there was a certain nobleman, Governor of Ch‘ang-chou and Lord of Jung-yang, whose name and surname I will omit. He was a man of great wealth and highly esteemed by all. He had passed his fiftieth year and had a son who was close on twenty, a boy who in literary talent outstripped all his companions. His father was proud of him and had great hopes of his future. "This," he would say, "is the "thousand-league colt" of our family." When the time came for the lad to compete at the Provincial Examinations, his father gave him fine clothes and a handsome coach with richly caparisoned horses for the journey; and to provide for his expense at the Capital, he gave him a large sum of money, saying, "I am sure that your talent is such that …

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.'

The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away.

Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.'

Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away.

The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance.

[This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'. 
Osers noted that this story was from oral tradition.…

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry."

"Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The old…