This paucity of accurate accounts is chiefly due to the obstacles in the way of collecting precise information. The more one studies the fascinating old city, the more one realises the tantalising difficulties of learning, even from the Chinese themselves, anything but the merest outline of its history and monuments. A proper appreciation of Peking is not, I believe, in the power of a Westerner to give - certainly not of one single person - since it pre-supposes a thorough knowledge of China's past, an infinite sympathy with Chinese character and religions, an intimate sympathy with Chinese character and religions, an intimate familiarity with the proverbs and household phrases of the poor, the songs of the streets, the speech of the workshop, no less than the mentality of the literati and the motives of the rulers' p.
Bredon's book has subsequently become a very useful source on life in Beijing during the early twentieth century and especially its architecture , and is widely cited in later literature on the period. This revised and enlarged edition is basically clean, tight, square with good corners upper rear very lightly bumped and unmarked. The front has a large gilt decoration and the orange silk shows even minor surface soil.
The pages are unopened,. A historical and intimate description of its chief places of interest. Including sections describing the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, the Western Hills, and even the Great Wall, Bredon has provided a fascinating contemporary history of the city. Kelly and Walsh, Limited, Shanghai, Kelly and Walsh, , xiv, pages, 23 illustrations in black and white, black and white frontis, 6 maps and plans including one large folding map in rear.
Peking China -- Description and travel. Peking China -- History. Peking China -- Temples. Beijing China -- Description and travel. Beijing China -- History. Beijing China -- Temples. Notes Includes bibliographical footnotes. View online Borrow Buy. Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? These 5 locations in All: Open to the public Open to the public ; University of Western Australia Library. This single location in Australian Capital Territory: Now these lions are very old.
They are undoubtedly the same creatures which Sir George Staunton, who accompanied Lord Macartney's embassy to China, quaintly described as "Figures so unlike what they are meant to represent, that they might almost be mistaken for knights in armour with periwigs such as were worn in the time of King Charles. What was to be done? The problem was finally solved in a truly Chinese way. The lions were removed blindfold while crowds of people watched them being dragged to their new positions with a blue cloth bandage over their eyes — a curious sight to see in the twentieth century.
When the workmen removed the tablet of the Manchu Dynasty preparatory to putting up the new Eepublican name, Chung Hua Men, they found beneath the Manchu characters, and only half obhterated, the title of the Ming Emperors. With the usual Chinese in- difference they put this dynastic tablet in a convenient cupboard near by and one of the first things Chang Hsiin did on attempting to re-establish monarchy July was to hang it up again, thus showing its enormous importance in the eyes of Chinese officialdom. About the same time that the new Eepublican Government opened this Imperial Doorway for thorough- fare, it also admitted the public to much else that had long been closed and forbidden, as a sign that the city, like the country, now belonged to the people.
Those quarters of the Palace Enclosures not actually needed for the residence of the President or the deposed Emperor became accessible by permit. A portion of the former Imperial grounds were turned into what is now known as the Central Park — the first public park in Peking — giving the inhabitants a place other than the streets for fresh air and amusement. Nor are the deeper needs of the community being forgotten.
A model prison beyond the Temple of Agriculture is the first step towards remedying one of the most crying evils of old China — the barbarous and filthy methods of treating and torturing criminals.
An Agricultural Experiment Station will in course of time consider seriously the question of afforestation of the barren hills. A modern system of waterworks has been installed bringing good water to the city. A Municipal fire brigade is controlled by the Metropolitan Police — though many private fire associations still exist. A new Government Industrial Museum with a factory employing apprentices is worth visiting by anyone interested in native crafts.
Glass, rattan, lacquer, hardware, woollen and silk fabrics and embroidery are made and sold there. The factory also does printing and artesian well-boring. But perhaps one of the greatest signs of development in China of late years, and particularly in Peking, are the large number of higher schools which have been opened, notably such establishments as two Universities, a School of Law, a College of Languages and a Police School, besides numbers of elementary educational institutions.
This is destined one day to become the National Library of China and it already contains various important works, such as the Ssu K'u Ch'uan Shu, formerly kept in the archives of the palaces at Jehol, besides editions of the Sung and Yuan dynasties once preserved in the Nei Ko Grand Council and a portion of the famous collection of books saved from the Han Lin Yuan fire in Less picturesque, less suitable to the climate than the old tiled-roofed one-storied Yamens, they are, nevertheless, more practical in many ways and have the advantage of economising ground space.
Besides these, the Bank of China and many similar institutions occupy foreign buildings. Nor must we for- get the Houses of Parliament though these are not so striking as the Ministries.
Peking - A Historical and Intimate Description of Its Chief Places of Interest
When the Houses are sitting permits to be present at public debates are obtainable through the Legations, and 56 PEKING the sessions are both curious and interesting. Democracy in the making, like the course of true love, "never did run smooth," nor has the attempt to graft Western civilization on Chinese civilization been the easy matter unthinking persons might imagine. The Members themselves are an interesting study. The variety of types is extraordinary: The Chinese, however, are imbued with so much native dignity and are such good speakers even when handicapped by the accent of provincial dialects, that the ludicrous mixture of dress is forgotten.
The memorial archway had an inscription in Latin, Chinese and German, the concluding sentences of which read as follows: It gives a good idea of recent Chinese politics — a subject difficult to follow, the truths of yesterday being no longer those of to-day. See also China, Japan and Korea by J.
Let all Our subjects learn lessons from the past occurrence and never forget them. CHAPTER IV The Picture squeness of the Past MODERN Peking is interesting because all develop- ment is interesting, but what gives the city its greatest, its most baffling charm, are the ever- present reminders of a yesterday more strange and fascinating than to-day — a yesterday when there were no factories or railways to disturb the dreamy peace of Asia. Now we find the new mingling with the old in a tangle of past and present. Telegraph wires carry the world's news to papers printed in a mixture of Chinese and Western chaiacters.
Limousines pass camel caravans. Shop signs in gilded hieroglyphics are interspersed with those bearing announcements in quaint attempts at English. Tin-roofed Government offices are the neigh- bours of beautiful temples and the establishment of a modem photographer stands beside the shop of a maker of Buddhist images. What remains of the older civiliza- tion, however, is so picturesque that to look back on the days when its illusions were still unbroken must always be a pleasure to whoever has felt that illusion.
The Mings, as we have seen, were capable of planning a magnificent capital. A central raised highway, forerunner of the pre- sent macadamised road, served for the lighter traffic, and deep guUeys on either side since filled up for the heavier carts. Being of loose earth, unpaved, these roads soon wore into holes where sewage and refuse collected and black pigs and scavenger dogs gathered for a banquet.
Eain turned the lower levels into dangerous, swift-flowing torrents. The Chinese, however, argued "Once a road — always a road," and, persisting in the principle that what was made by their forefathers was good, attempted no improvements. The same misguided spirit of reverence for the past left the excellent system of drains designed by Yung Loh untouched till it fell into disrepair and only broken culverts, traceable to this day, remained. Discomforts were philosophically accepted by a public long ago grown accustomed to them.
Physically even the wealthy were not pampered either at home " Like the torii in Japan the p'ai lou is found all over China. The architectural principle, originating in the torans of the Hindoo stupas, is identical whether the material used be wood, brick or stone. Lofty columns, two, four or six according to the size and importance of the structure, support a rooflet more or less elaborate, the peculiarity of construction consisting in the way the great weight of the roof is balanced on supports comparatively light, and mainly on a single cross beam.
The p'ai lou has no religious significance, as many people imagine. In ancient times any man who did a good or wise action or any virtuous widow who refused to re-marry might have one erected to his or her memory, but the street p'ai lous of Peking appear to have been built simply for decoration. Eooms were seldom heated in winter, except for the brick "k'ang," or bed platform. The climate was extreme. When travellers were not sticking in the mud ruts of the rainy "fu-t'ien" period of greatest heat , they were stumbling through snow in the bitter "ta-han" period of greatest cold , or else groping their way in the sand storms which the spring winds bring down from Mongolian deserts to spread like a dirty hand across the face of the sky and wipe the brightness from the sun.
People whom necessity forced out of doors in the season of "yellow winds" covered their faces with cloths giving them a ghostly appearance as they moved soundlessly in the mustard coloured cloud. Feeble efforts of men with buckets and bamboo scoops to lay the dust by throwing dirty water everywhere only added a sickening odour to other torments. Still, though in old times men were less comfortable than now, they had the consolation of a certain happy-go- lucky personal freedom. No police regulations enforced neatness and order.
The streets were the living rooms of the lower classes who, unaccustomed to privacy, did not want it. What a contrast between the sumptuary regulations of Japanese society where every detail of existence was nxed by law, or the Florentine statutes dictating even the number of a man's garments, and the pleasant toleration of old Chinese life gently guided by custom and convenience! A householder threw his rubbish outside his front door if he felt so minded.
A peddler, driving a hard bargain, might block a small lane for hours with his portable stall, unrebuked. These peddlers, some of whom still remain, were a feature of the life of old Peking — a feature and a necessity. In the days when circulation was more difficult than now and women kept in greater seclusion, housewives did their shopping at their front doors. Only tea, rice and drugs were not peddled. But the purchase of cloth such as was not made at home, of toilet articles and knicknacks, and of meat and vegetables was all done in the street. Most of the hawkers had special musical calls like the fish sellers of London or the Marchands des Quatre Saisons of Paris — calls that may sometimes still be heard in the evening quietness.
Many made known their coming by the clang of some primitive musical instrument. The blast of a shrill brass trumpet announced the knife- grinder. The twang of a rude Jew's harp meant that the barber was strolling down the lane. The pedicure went his rounds clacking wooden castanets. The sound of a gong never failed to attract a crowd of idlers to see the performance of the trained sheep, the little dog and the wizened monkey, and at the beat of a certain drum all the children ran down the street after the toy and sweetmeat seller whose stock in trade, worth only a few cents, was a constant source of delight to them.
Horses were shod outside the blacksmith's door — as they are still — refractory mules given medicine on the sidewalk. The shoemaker set down his portable last wherever a customer appeared. The porcelain mender would rivet a plate together anywhere. The pipe seller squatted in the shadow of a temple gate and, drawing his materials from the boxes that he carried suspended from a bamboo pole over his shoulder, fitted new stems into the metal pipes of the neighbourhood.
Unfortunately among the picturesque, repulsive sights were common. Masseurs, butchers and chiropodists also plied their trades in the open while passers by obligingly made a detour to leave them room. Barbers shaved their customers on any con- venient doorstep. Lepers and lunatics wandered about unchecked displaying their nakedness and their wounds. There was no prohibition against going out after nightfall, but the absence of street lighting discouraged it.
Those obliged to do so carried a lantern. If it was extinguished, as sometimes happened, they risked a fall into a ditch and drowning, or perhaps being robbed. In the Drum Tower we still see one large drum and two smaller ones.
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But the clepsydra, or water clock, that once measured the hour of the Rat, the hour of the Ox and the hour of the Tiger, giving the time to the whole city, disappeared after the Boxer outbreak. In addition private enterprise supplemented government control, for life formerly was lived on the communal system involving collective res- ponsibility — the relic of a still older civilization. Shop- keepers and householders protected themselves and each other by guardians and at night the city was musical with the noise of these men going their rounds while clapping two bamboos together "to let the thieves know they were coming.
As no system of water works had yet been installed, each householder drew his supply from his own bitter alkali well or from his neighbour's by arrangement. Or, if sufficiently rich, he bought "sweet water" from a hawker who brought it from a distance on a wheelbarrow. The water carrier's barrow still makes the rounds of the outer city, squeaking abominably. But the rasping noise seems to tickle the Oriental ear agreeably for the Chinese, like Helen's Babies, "wantsch to hear wheelsh go wound. Even the open space around the Ch'ien Men was neglected, untidy and littered with refuse.
Weeds pushed their way between the uneven flagstones of the pavement. The stone guardian lions looked grimy. Grass grew on the roof of the Dynastic Gate. Gaps in the railings showed where pillars had fallen. Sometimes a rude attempt was made to close them with thorns or by sticking up the broken stones and tying them in place with string. But it was easy enough to push a way through and not a few lazy pedestrians did so in order to avail themselves of a short cut across the square.
This Sacred Enclosure, in theory rigidly forbidden to all, became the resort of idlers and beggars who sprawled there in the sun out of the way of traffic. Thus was typified the old Chinese tradition of splendour beside hunger, sung by the poet Po Chii-yi: On the road outside one who was frozen to death. During the old regime all Manchu " The temperature varies from deg. Many of them had ample means to satisfy extravagant tastes, while some were connected with the Court and enjoyed the prestige of official positions. The old-style Manchu Mandarin was a striking figure.
Tall and dignified in his official hat with jewelled button, his long robes of silk or sable and his richly embroidered under-gown belted in at the waist with a carved jade or gold clasp from which hung his embroidered spectacle- case, his ivory chop-stick holder and his beautiful enamelled watch surrounded by pearls or diamonds, he had the gratifying effect of being an ancestral portrait of himself.
And when he went to or from the Palace in his green sedan chair with extra bearers following behind, or in his closed Peking cart with a handsome mule and red or purple harness surrounded by outriders shrieking to clear the way for their master, no wonder the simple folk looked on him with respectful awe as he passed! How the whole patchwork of idlers — the bent old men and the pretty children with their slanting eyes and miniature pigtails sticking out to the four points of the compass, made haste to press themselves flat against a wall or slip into a sheltering doorway to watch his pro- cession go by!
The sight of his grandeur was an event in their dull lives — a kind of Lord Mayor's Show, pleasantly frequent and arousing not envy but pride. Alas, many of these Manchus, shorn of their fine feathers, are now in actual want. Unable to conceive 5 f 66 PEKING that tLeir allowances would ever be reduced, they had no means of earning a living in a country where competition is bitterly keen when caste privileges were withdrawn. Too long they had been taught to despise work and neglect scholarship ; too long abandoned even their favourite pursuit of arms, their archery and riding which once made them a vigorous race and for centuries sustained their vigour.
As for the higher classes, they made the mistake of forgetting that it was necessary to be men as well as noblemen. Their women, in the days of prosperity, lent a most charming note of colour and vivacity to the grey old capital. Though the Manchu men in unofficial dress were only recognizable from the Chinese by a close and familiar observer, the women-folk have to this day a dis- tinctive costume and coiffure — the long straight gown and waistcoat of bright pink or lavender, the quaint shoes with the heel in the middle of the sole and the hair done in a high knot or mounted on a satin covered board which stands up cross-wise and ends in prominent wings.
This odd and, one imagines, uncomfortable arrangement part of which is often false and detachable is decorated with bands of beadwork, handsome pins and real or artificial flowers — sometimes with fringes of pearls. Its chief charm is the way in which the hair is made to serve as an elaborate frame, well suited to the Manchu type of features, and throwing into relief faces heavily powdered and rouged in remembrance of the supposed white origin which they claim. They were constantly seen in public walking with stately grace, accompanied by their servants.
They gathered in groups, like birds of bright plumage, to gossip at temple fairs. They paid their visits or went to Court in carts or chairs, and a pretty face or a brilliant head dress might frequently be glimpsed through the window of a passing vehicle. The number and variety of conveyances were among the sights of Peking in olden days, and from the outside of chair or cart the rank of the owner could be accurately judged.
A reigning emperor or empress had the right to a yellow chair, an Imperial concubine to one of orange colour. Mandarins of the first and second degrees used the green Sedan, those of the third and fourth the blue — all with four bearers. Humbler people sometimes employed a two-bearer chair, far lighter and less preten- tious. Cunningly designed on a simple framework of bamboo rods not much thicker than a thumb, it was strong with the strength of yielding things. The Quaker colouring of its grey or steel blue cover was relieved by little touches of brilHancy peeping out at unexpected corners — ornamental knobs of wrought brass or arabesques of fine bamboos set in delicate patterns against a narrow frieze of red cloth.
Sedan chairs gradually disappeared from the town with the advent of better roads, but some- times we still meet one of these frail little booths, like a suspended sentry box, swinging in the suburbs on the shoulders of two strong-footed and enduring bearers. Before the days of railways, men from mountainous districts used them on their journeys to the capital. Wheelbarrows were also a familiar feature of the streets, bringing in country produce — rosy loads of radishes or dripping cabbages freshened for market in the filthy water of the moats.
Under the walls strings of camels, far more numerous then than now, carried coal into Peking or bore merchandise away with slow measured step, perhaps to the plaintive lilt of a Mongol song. The rickshaw, at present so ubiquitous, is a comparatively modern conveyance in the city, almost unknown until after Donkeys, with cloth pack-saddles, stood waiting for fares at street corners like the cabs or taxis in the West. Mongols had their own riding camels whose paces were intolerable except to their masters. Manchus and Chinese preferred mules. Indeed the mule in North China is a magnificent animal, much finer than the commonly used Mongol pony — and a hand- some mule was a luxury of the wealthy.
Surrounded by a group of mounted retainers some splendidly attired young prince might often be seen riding one of these fine animals on a high red saddle, studded with brass or silver set on a saddle-cloth of fine silk carpet. These ultra- fashionable young men about town paid as much for their mounts as we would for a well bred hunter. Besides all these methods of locomotion, there were a dozen different kinds of carts.
The wealth and social standing of its occupant were indicated by the quality of the cloth, the trimmings and the trappings of ll the animal in the shafts. But with slight modifications, the general shape of the fringe-bedecked conveyance of a princess did not differ from that of the dilapidated hack for hire ; both showed their descent from the rude "kibitka" of the steppes.
The Chinese long open carts remind one of the antique vehicles that may still be seen in certain parts of Italy. They are drawn by a mixed team of different animals, five in the traces, if it is a "full team," and a sixth following behind to do his share when required. Rope harness passed through iron rings loosely attaches the happy family which may include a cow pulling beside donkeys, ponies and mules. Neither brakes nor reins are used. The driver who lives and sleeps with his beasts scorns such aids.
Walking beside his cart, or sitting on the edge, he seldom has recourse even to his long whip. His voice alone guides and encourages the animals and his Rabelaisian allusions are as picturesque as himself. Needless to say, only a Chinese driver can get any work out of these Noah's Ark teams, as the Allies found to their chagrin in , when the native carters of the Expedi- tionary Force bolted, and all the efforts of white men proved unavailing to move them.
The sensation of the unfortunate passenger forced to journey any distance on a long cart can only be compared 70 PEKING to that of the man travelling across country on a gun carriage.
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Yet no other conveyance could have transported him and his goods over the abominable roads leading to the capital. Many of them were highways made of blocks of stone loosely set together — a form of pavement reminiscent of Eoman roads which the Chinese them- selves say is "good for 10 years and bad for 10, Outside the Hata Men where most of the carters' inns If are situated, it is interesting to watch the loading and unloading of the freight brought by this primitive method of transport.
A more dirty, cheerful and healthy looking lot of men than the followers of the open road with their dusty pig-tails, twisted round their heads, and their long pipes between their teeth, would be difficult to find anywhere. Meanwhile their passengers, who are perhaps the retainers of some official or well-to-do merchants, have dispersed after a liberal gift of wine money for their safe transport to some of the private houses whose extent and elegance is hidden behind non-committal walls. But mention may be made of one typical property in the north city belonging to the late Prince Ch'ing — a house which in the days of his glory sheltered over a thousand persons.
The flower garden presented to his favourite by Ch'ien Lung was one of the marvels of the capital in its day. It contained 64 pavilions, some of them decorated with Imperial yellow tiles, and had high towers at the four corners after the design of the talace precincts which, as one author pertinently remarks, was undoubtedly inviting disaster.
The list of curios in his principal residence reads like the furnishings of a palace in the Arabian Nights. Thousands of sable garments, dozens of pearl necklaces, screens of solid gold, dinner services of jade, soup bowls of topaz, trees of coral, several hundred large rubies, several thousand fine sapphires, lacquer furniture inlaid with gems — these were only a few of his treasures. The family system is the life-principle and every great man bupporta all his relations and connections as a matter of course.
Peking a Historical and Intimate Description Of Its Chief Places Of Interest by Bredon, Juliet
This is a truth learnt at the dear price of living over and over again. Yet the hoarding instinct is usually stronger than the fear of death itself in a race in which the horror of poverty seems, through ages of the fiercest life struggle, to have accumulated the blind force of unreasoning instinct.
He was condemned to death on a trumped up charge after having been repeatedly and severely beaten to make him disclose the total amount and hiding places of his wealth, and all his treasures were scattered. Like the hypocrite he was, Chia Ch'ing issued a memorial explaining his motives in condemning his father's favourite: The actual amount of Ho Shen's treasure is a matter of supreme indifference to Us: We are only concerned to vindicate the principle of official honesty.
Between the lines of this interesting document we read Chia Ch'ing's deter- mination to deprive Ho Shen of his fortune and his power from purely vindictive and avaricious motives. But had the Emperor chosen, he might have impeached his Minister honestly, since he was, in truth, the canker eating into the heart of the great inheritance left by Ch'ien Lung. It is always so in China. The greater the beauty of the buildings and the gardens of a rich man's establishment, the more carefully they are hidden from sight.
Even when the big gate is opened, our view of the house within is impeded by a Spirit Screen which ensures additional privacy — that rare privilege of the rich and powerful in the East — and protects from evil influences. Our idea that a house is simply a lodging and a shelter from weather is quite foreign to them and they value a residence rather for the size of its courtyards and the beauty of its grounds than the height or grandeur of its buildings.
The amount of ground space of a fine Chinese establishment is, therefore, always large, often extending from one street to another and affordiug its owner the sun, silence and verdure so keenly appreciated by the Pekingese who, having few public parks, spend much time in their own gardens. This was doubly true in the old days, before houses were numbered. If he asked his way of a passer by, the directions given would be according to the points of the compass, and to keep the north, south, east and west clearly in mind throughout the turnings and twistings of a Peking lane is not easy.
The poor beggar frozen at the street corner, the furniture movers bent under their loads, the droves of pigs or sheep being herded to the butcheries, the dogs asleep in the middle of the street or too listless to move, all forced him to take a round-about way to his destination. But the long lines of wedding or funeral processions were the most serious impediment. Even when moving a piece of furniture a native servant directs his underlings to go "more to the north" or "further to the west. Not so the Chinese.
Socially the most refined people in the world, they cling to old traditions and customs, and in many a family the expenses for a marriage or a burial are met by heroic economy. Occasionally a returned student from Europe or America breaks away from tradition when he takes a wife. The bride and groom, the little bride in semi-Chinese attire of pink satin coat and tight trousers and a veil, and the groom in ill-fitting frock coat and a top hat of the vintage of , will then drive together through the streets in an open landau wreathed with paper flowers.
They may even go BO far as to be photographed together, the groom seated stiffly, hands on knees and the bride standing rigid beside him — both looking very sheepish and ashamed of them- selves. But as a general rule the old fashioned procession is kept up even if the cost of it reduces a family to beggary for years afterwards. When the Dictator Yuan Shih-k'ai wanted to consolidate his position by marrying his daughter to the Ex-Emperor Hsiian T'ung, the soothsayers found an obstacle to the union in the signs of the zodiac, one of the young couple being born under the Tiger and the other under the Gazelle, animals who can not live in harmony together.
Yuan did not dare push the point in the face of their opposition and the alliance was abandoned. Silken cover- lets embroidered with the figures of "the Hundred Boys," emblems of many sons, are folded on red lacquer tables to show their richness, dishes, baskets, clocks and cooking utensils are borne along with the camphor wood trunks containing her clothing. Yet this procession with all its attendant ceremony and expense is only the last act in a long drama in which the dramatis personce are match- makers and relatives.
And as we watch the red "flowery chair" go by we can but feel a pang of pity for the little bride tightly closed up in it, going blindly to the home of a husband she has never seen. For her none of the blissful infatuation of falling in love. Love as we under- stand the word is rare in the East.
Certainly it is a luxury not permitted to a respectable young girl, as such self-indulgence would work no end of disturbance to the community at large, beside entailing much misery on the individual victim who could not be allowed a gratification of personal desire which might strike at the root of the whole family system. The pomp and circumstance of both wedding and funeral processions are so similar that until the bride's chair or the catafalque comes in sight, one may easily be mistaken for the other.
There are the same beaters upon old gongs, round and yellow as full moons, that whenever the drumsticks touch their thin and quivering surfaces with trembling force, wail out volumes of protests. The more piercing the vibrations, the more awe inspiring the din, the better pleased are the assistants. But here the similarity ends. Half the procession has now passed. Instead of tables of gifts and dowry chests, men are carrying paper effigies to be burned at the grave. There will be models of servants, of carts, of horses, of favourite books or robes or pipes — of everything the dead person has used, to follow him in smoke for the consolation of the spirit in other worlds.
The bier itself is an enormous catafalque covered with gaudy red satin embroideries, draped over a skeleton of poles painted red. Among the things carried for burning were imitation bottles of beer of which the old gentleman had been very fond in his lifetime. Also replicas of certain sick-room appliances which cannot be named here. For an Imperial funeral over may be required. But 12, 24, 40 or 96 are commonly seen. Coffin-carrying in China seems to be the profession of the very lowest class of loafers, but the fact that the pall-bearers are unwashed beggars in torn dirty green robes and battered hats — lent them for the occasion — does not detract in native eyes from the impressiveness of the cortege.
The coolies are in charge of a foreman supplied by the undertaker. He walks in front of them and by striking two sticks together gives the signal to change the heavy poles from one shoulder to another. His two assistants throw into the air the circles of white paper supposed to represent road cash for the spirits who might obstruct the path of the departed.
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Under the Empire the funeral processions of high officials were gorgeous sights costing hundreds of thousands of taels. How a great man lived was important to his moral standing, but how his family buried him could then make or mar the reputation of that family.
With the decline of official prosperity and luxury, the cult of the dead is gradually growing less elaborate than it was. The paper effigies, for example, have taken the place of the clay figurines formerly buried in tombs — figurines now so valuable to collectors. But changes are most noticeable in the preparation of the dead for burial. Men of advanced age formerly ordered such sets, as they would order a coffin, when they felt their strength failing.
Or a filial son might present one to his father without being suspected of hinting that the old man had lived long enough. This custom fell into disuse many years ago, however, even among the higher classes, though it was continued until quite recently in the Imperial family. However good Republicans we may be, however much we may admire modern Peking so full of possibilities of prosperity and fraternity, like Boston or Marseilles we must admit and admit it sadly, that death, and life too, without the stimulus and extravagance of tho Court is becoming drabber.
The sentimentalist goes further. He openly regrets the good old days of Manchu power when the streets were unsafe after nightfall and unclean the whole 24 hours. At least we may say of Peking, as Sardou said of Paris, "I regret the old city yet I am fond of the new. Couling says — see Encyclopaedia Sinica — that an amulet in the form of a cicada was placed on the tongue of a corpse, the cicada being an emblem of resurrection, while those placed over the eyes were in the form of a fish, symbol of watchfulness.
It is the wish of her best friends that she should do so. But can she not find progress without ugliness? May not the necessary metamorphosis take place without giving her century-old grey brick walls for new red brick atrocities, her graceful garments for vulgar semi-foreign clothes, her poetic legends for marketable facts and her quaint harmonies of splintered tones for blaring music she need not understand?
Let her beware lest the winds of progress blow too suddenly and too strongly and dissipate the delicate atmosphere of old manners and traditions — lest the mists of her past, too rudely rent asunder, drive the treasures of her philosophy to the store houses of old men's memories, as the convul- sions of life have already driven her art treasures to the collections of other lands.