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A Travelling Smith

A Travelling Smith.jpg A vendor of lanternsThumbnailsA tradesman with his swan-panA vendor of lanternsThumbnailsA tradesman with his swan-pan

It is a peculiar feature in all the Oriental nations, that the most beautiful specimens of workmanship in the various arts are made with the most simple and at the same time most clumsy tools. The artificers moreover are rarely fixed, or settled in a workshop convenient for their purposes, but generally travel about the country carrying their shop and apparatus with them. The annexed figure represents an itinerant smith, who has more tools than almost any other artificer of China, and yet performs his work the worst. Their cast iron is light and good, but their manufactures of wrought iron are very indifferent: they can neither make a hinge, nor a lock, nor even a nail that can be called good. The bellows of the smith is a box with a valvular piston, which, when not in use, serves as a seat, and also to contain his tools. The barber also makes a seat of his basket; the joiner uses his rule as a walking-stick, and the same chest that holds his tools serves him as a bench to work upon: such are the expedients which thousands resort to, both in India and China.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Chinese, by William Alexander Published 1814
China, Occupations