Part 32

Opaque Glass

Liuli comes from several Arab countries.

The method followed in melting it is the same as that of China – by burning:

  • oxide of lead
  • nitrate of potash
  • gypsum

To these materials the Arabs add southern borax which causes the glass to be elastic without being brittle and indifferent to temperature.

In this way, one can put in water for a long time without spoiling it. This makes it more valuable than the Chinese product.

33. CAT’S-EYES

Mauirtsing are of the size of the end of the thumb, that they are but small stones. They are brilliant, smooth, and transparent like the eyes of cat, for which reason they are called «cat’s-eyes».

They come from Western India which has a river Tanshuikiang where several streams unite into one.

There, in the depths of the hills, pebbles are washed down by the heavy rains collect there.

The officials go there in small boats and dredge them out of the water. Round and brilliant specimens are called cat’s-eyes.

Some people say that they are the reflection of stars shining on the surface of the earth and hardened there by magic influence.

34. PEARLS

The chonchu or real pearls that come from Arabian islands are the best. They also come from the two countries of Sinan and Kien-pi.

Pearls are even found in Kuang-si and Hu-pei, but less brilliant than those of the Arabs and Kien-pi.

30-40 boats are used to fish pearls, with each both with seveeral dozens of men in each boat.

30 their bodies, their ears the water about 200 When a man makes is or fit with ropes fastened around and noses stopped with yellow wax, are 300 let feet or more, the ropes being fastened a sign by shaking the rope, he is order to throw over the diver with a use ofthirty or forty boats, with (to each). Pearl-fishers, done, however, a soft quilt 35 seized make is They may fall on board. pulled up. Before this made as hot as possible in the moment he comes out, of ague and die. down into boiling water, in lest in with he should be huge fishes, stomachs ripped open or a dragons, and other sea monsters and have their When the people on board limb broken by collision with their dorsal fins". on the surface of the water, this is a notice even as much as a drop of blood230 11,34 PEAKLS. sign to them that the diver has been swallowed by a which the pearl-fisher makes a on board Cases occur in and the man holding signal with his rope not able to pull him up; then the whole crew pull with is him up with strength, and bring What fish. who keep foreign officials, their his feet bitten off by a monster. the pearl-fishers call «pearl’s-mother» trol of the all it (^ ^)Ms under the con- 5 a register in which the finds of shells are entered under the names of the fishermen, in the order in which they occur. The are then placed in a pit. After rather more than a shells when the the shell will be found to have decayed, pearls month may be removed, lo cleaned, and divided between (the government and) the pearl-fishers. As a general the test for rule a pearl is considered valuable absolute roundness its day when put on a is, that it will if it is perfectly round; not cease rolling about all Foreign traders (coming into China) are in the plate. habit of concealing pearls in the lining of their clothes and in the handles of their umbrellas, thus evading the duties leviable upon them. 15

35. Choku

The Choku comes from Kianchi. It looks like a large cockle shell. The people grind the shell. Due to its scolloped surface, the cups they make are called lotus-leaf cups

Its surface of the coast grind the shell and,

smooth and is The lower part of the calyx

clean, like that of a cowrie shell of the largest specimens is worked making and other rings, trinkets

into cups of up to three inches in thickness, and the remnants and chips are for owing to still useful trifles. According to the Buddhist books this substance was considered as a very

valuable jewel; nowadays sea delicacy (’/^ with the ancient it (i. e., ^). We what know do not c¥6-¥u) is called for certain is only an ordinary whether it is identical ch’S-lc^u.