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MEMBERS OF A WEDDING PARTY IN WANG YE FU
The bride's mother, a fine old Mongol lady, was caught smoking her pipe. Her daughter is trying to conceal it from the photographer.
the establishment, run by donkey power,
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS BECOME
Our activities almost crowded Mr. Mung out of his courtyard. The taxidermy shop was always busy and often crowded with visitors. Several of my men were out every day, shooting birds in the fields near the town, and once I sent a party of them into the Ho Lan Shan for
more protracted hunting. Mr. R. C. Ching, the able botanist of the expedition, was constantly in the mountains.
Our scientific collections grew rapidly. We posted big red placards in Chinese all over the city, offering to buy any wild animals brought to us. Soon a steady stream of people invaded the courtyard, from old men with a few eagle feathers to small boys with very active mice held by the tail, all coming in answer to our advertisement.
Others wanted to be photographed.
Soldiers of the king's guard are sounding retreat on long trumpets inside the south gates at Wang Ye Fu.
They had been shy at first, but after we had persuaded a few social leaders to have their pictures taken, it became very much the fashion and fresh sitters appeared at all hours.
Our house was situated on a quiet, shady street-"East Wall Street,' we called it- which ran along outside of the city wall and led to the main gates. Inside the walls we used to meet lamas in red robes, soldiers off duty, officials who still wore the colored cap buttons of old Manchu times, and rich Mongol and Manchu ladies in fine silks who strolled in dignified leisure.
The government offices occupied a row of plain brick buildings behind an ornamental arch. Here writing brush and seal still serve instead of typewriter and signature. Near by was the king's palace-an
attractive two-story, semi foreign house, set back in a garden-and the lama temple, the real heart of the city.
THE VARIED LIFE OF WANG YE FU
Most of Wang Ye Fu lies outside the walls, and consists of flat-roofed houses, often with big gardens. Three small streams cut straight across the city. A long street of blacksmiths, coppersmiths, and carpenters winds west from the gate along the city wall.
Logs are transported on donkeys from the neighboring mountains, and two carpenters, using a big saw in the age-old Chinese fashion, turn them into boards, the logs being propped up vertically between the workers.
Most of the wood is pine and spruce, too soft to be of value for export.
A NEARER VIEW OF THE BUGLERS SHOWN ON PAGE 214
Though Wang Ye Fu was founded nearly 250 years ago, most of its inhabitants are still nomad herdsmen. It has something approaching a court and is one of the few border towns affording the nomads a glimpse of settled city life (see text, page 233).
Most of the blacksmiths use the street for a workshop, setting their anvils and forges near a house wall, under an awning. Nobody protests, for is not the street public property?
The dyers work their vats on the streets or in the courtyards, and hang up long strips of dripping blue cotton cloth to dry in sequestered nooks. Down in the stony stream beds half-naked young men set sheepskins and goatskins to soak; then beat and scrape them for market.
The main shopping street runs south from the gate. A few big trading firms have imposing Chinese gateways which lead to great inner courtyards, large enough for a whole caravan to unload its wares, and quiet side rooms where tea is drunk during discussions about business. Most of the retail trade, however, is done in shady little shops which open wide on the street.
is made up here into furniture for the Mongol market. Frameworks and low doorways for the felt tents, small portable cupboards, chests and boxes, watering troughs and ready-made linings for the wells in the sand, are among the products manufactured.
The coppersmiths hammer out great, flat, circular water-bottles, nearly two feet in diameter and four or five inches thick. These hang from the camels' packsaddles on a journey. Tall, round pots with handles, for tea, and lower, broader pots, for cooking over a dung fire, are also made.
There are three silversmiths in the town, who, working with fine files and tiny hammers, make the gorgeous earrings which the Mongol women wear.
The merchant stands behind his black counter with his wares piled on shelves behind him, an apprentice or two in long blue gowns dodging back and forth to tend the stove or bring goods that are called for from the inner room. Poorer merchants set up an awning in the street and spread out their wares on the ground.
MONGOL MIGRATIONS HAVE WRITTEN
Merchandise comes in by caravan. One day the town will be deluged with stamped tin wash-basins, and a week later not one can be had. The Mongols come in for a few days to shop, leading camels from booth to booth as they bargain; then,
Millions of people live on the river junks of China and many of them never leave their boats to go ashore. The craft are mostly from 20 to 50 or 60 feet in length, having one or two square sails. The river women carry their youngest children strapped to their backs, while to the larger ones are fastened dried bottle-gourds to keep them afloat when they fall overboard, which is not an uncommon occurrence.