CHINESE JUNKS (中國帆船) AND OTHER NATIVE CRAFT BY IVON.A DONNELLY, KELLY & WALSH, LTD., 1924(民國13年)《Black Water Museum Collections | 黑水博物館館藏》
Mrs. Helen W. Bromfield
41 Cloud View Road
"Ships..they go", said Murphy, like s spent pa y roll.. They're sunk in the deep water or they're wrecked on the shoal;
Burnt or scrapped in the long run, the big ships an 1 small,-- An' the ships a man remembers, they're the best ships of all.
"Friends..they go", said Murphy, "the false and the true,
They all go at the finish, the same ad ships do; They go like a spree that's ended year's song, or a last
Put the friends a man remembers.. their his own his life long.
"Times..they pass", said Murphy, the fair and foul weather,
The good times an' the bad times, they all pass togethe: Like a steersman's trick that's ended or a blown out squall..
An' the times a man remembers..they're the best times of all."
AND OTHER NATIVE CRAFT
OWING to the success of a small book of sketches of Chinese Junks published some four years ago, and in response to numerous requests for a larger and improved edition, I put this book before the public with the hope that it may prove to stimulate Western interest in the seacraft of the most ancient of civilizations.
In the descriptions of the various craft, which must needs be short, I have tried to avoid technicalities, and have only mentioned the more salient and interesting points connected with the craft under review. To the average Westerner the term "junk" conjures up visions of a strange unseaworthy vessel with big eyes, totally unfit to carry man and his com- merce across the high seas, but I hope that the introduction and the brief descriptions of the various types, together with the illustrations given, will dispel this idea which is entirely erroneous.
To those friends who have so kindly lent me their assist- ance, and through whose encouragement and help this edition of "CHINESE JUNKS" has been made possible, my sincerest thanks are due. If the readers of this book have been converted to a new view of Chinese water craft and have derived half the pleasure that I have had in writing it, then I am amply repaid for the time spent.
I. A. DONNELLY
Tientsin(天津), North China, September, 1924(民國13年).
ALTHOUGH much has been written on China and her people, very little has been said about one of her most important industries - shipping. And this, notwithstanding the fact that China has been from the earliest times one of the foremost amongst sea-faring nations. This omission is surprising when one remembers that there are more vessels in China than in all the rest of the world put together.
Brief reference to Chinese craft has been made in all the standard works, i.e., "Torr's Ancient Ships," "Sailing Ships and their Story," etc., etc., but particulars in regard to the number, variety and style have been insignificant; also in the majority of cases such pictures and models as are available have been grossly exaggerated.
WARRINGTON SMITH has dealt with Chinese junks in his "Mast and Sail," and his sketches of Southern China Fishers and some of the Coasters are delightful, but he has only written of those met with in the regular steamer tracks. MAJOR LORING'S book of Hongkong types also shows something of the South China variety.
It must be borne in mind that every port, every inlet and lake has its own peculiar vessel best suited to its particular waters, currents and needs. Literally their name is legion. It would, therefore, be a brave man who would venture to des- cribe in detail all the junks in use by the Chinese. Week ends
spent on the Whangpoo, journeys on the great Yangtsze and elsewhere, up and down the coast, and in the interior give the writer confidence that of the thousands of junks offered to the observant eye, at least a representative number of types are shown.
Several writers in the past have adversely criticised the Chinese junk. It has been said to be slow and unwieldy, and absolutely unfit as a sea boat. Because John Chinaman is essentially industrious, a money-seeker, and always content with a "bird in the hand" it has been put down to his natural vanity that he has not learnt to copy the fine ships of the west which visit his coasts. The writer emphatically disagrees with these opinions. No nation has shewn greater independence in arts and craft than the Chinese. The originality that pervades their architecture, painting and whole life ashore and afloat has no comparison in the world. That their manners, modes and methods appear upside down, and contrary to all Western ideas and thoughts does not prove that there is no good in them and even so with their ships.
Actually in this respect they have little to learn from the Western hemisphere. Western Nations on the other hand have learnt and copied a great deal from the Chinese. A case in point is the system of watertight compartments. Although we have no historical records of the date when the Chinese first originated this idea, we know that it was many centuries before Father le Comte, writing on Chinese craft in 1687 (Ref. "Collections of Voyages and Travels," Vol. 2, page 510), stated:-
"Their barks are made of a very fine light timber, which makes them more apt to take all impressions one has a mind to give them. They divide into five or six compartments, so that if they touch upon a point of rock which makes a break in their vessel, only one part of the boat is filled, and the others are dry, and defend them until they can mend the hole in the other."
Many decades before the turret principle for the saving of tonnage dues was evolved in Europe the great Pechili traders from North China, big five-masted, three to four hundred ton vessels, sailed the high seas.
The leeboards now so common in the shallow type of boats on the English and Dutch coasts were in use in China many centuries before the seafarers of Europe became aware of their value.
Although considerable controversy has raged over the origin of the compass we have it from Chinese records that Chow-kung-taoche-man-chay (The Duke of Chow) first made the compass about A.D. 1112. There are no records in Europe to disprove this fact and it is merely conjecture on which the historians of the West pin their faith.
The writers who treat the Chinese junk with scorn and contempt are invariably "landlubbers." They have not studied the junk at sea, in harbour, and at work; nor the sailorman himself and his prowess as a seafarer and navigator. One can see it in the illustrations given us from time to time in glowing caricature.
In comparatively recent years the Chinese junk has proved its capability for undertaking long sea voyages (see "Foochow Pole Junks," and "Amoy Fishing Junk," pages 97 and 107).
It is not surprising that the Chinese with such a large population directly interested in water transport by sea, canal,
creek and river, should prove to be wonderful sailors. A big proportion of China's teeming millions have their home on the water. They are born on junks, grow up, live and die on junks. During this process from birth to old age there is nothing they have not learnt about the vessel to which they are rooted, neither, being an observant people, does much escape them in the study of the winds and waves which are life or death to their floating homes. In this connection it may be of interest to note here that in and around Hongkong there are no less than 69,000 "tan-ka" or sampan folk having their homes on the innumerable craft plying in and out of the harbour.
The Chinese sailorman has been called the Dutchman of the East owing to his similar habit of making his boat his home. Also there is a great similarity in his tastes as regards ships. He has the same love of bluff lines, bright colours and varnish, long pole masts with vanes and the same brown coloured sails, while both countries are countries of rivers and canals.
On the larger Chinese vessels the family living on board have what they would consider quite comfortable quarters in the lofty poop, although no doubt a European would expire from the foetid atmosphere and general "smelliness." To a Chinaman these details are not noticeable. Invariably the vessel is overcrowded, old men, young men, women and children, all jumbled up together, eating, drinking, playing, smoking, and of course gambling, in its nooks on deck, or its depths below. For months and years, at sea, in port, in typhoon and calm, they live quite happily in this way. In the present day, however, women are not often seen on ocean-going junks.
Perhaps one of the greatest characteristics of the Chinese sailorman is his adaptability. His training is such that literally
he can handle the most unlikely vessel in a masterly manner under almost any conditions. It is no surprise, therefore, to find that given à really fine specimen of his native junk he is an artist in his manipulations of her.
Like all seafarers the Chinese junkman is a superstitious soul. Everything in connection with his expeditions is governed by the gods, therefore it is necessary that much propitiation is made to them, or in the words of the laodah "must wanchee pay plenty chin chin joss." The date of departure is always governed by "Feng-shui," a curious Chinese custom which is supposed to be the influence of the wind and water spirits for good or ill.
The first act of homage at the outset of a voyage belongs to the joss of the compass, which in China is a primitive affair of 24 points. The idea is that the "Powers that be" send fine weather and favourable winds. Should the reverse happen, there is undoubtedly a "Jonah" on board who must be removed at the next port.
At night when a fleet of fishing boats "go about" they light flares and beat gongs to frighten away the devils of the sea. Doubtless this habit also tends towards avoiding collision, for there is always a certain amount of practical sense in the Chinaman's ideas, even in his "joss" pidgin. This beating of gongs is also a ceremony that takes place on the departure on a voyage of one junk from its fellows at a crowded anchorage.
Every junk carries its own particular little "joss" idol on the poop. Much burning of silver joss paper representing "sycee" (money in the form of a silver shoe) takes place before him. Certainly the Chinaman's faith is childlike and great-if
bad weather is met with an extra supply of joss paper is burnt, and on safe arrival at the journey's end thanksgiving is made, accompanied by the beating of gongs.
The "eye" painted on the bows of so many junks is a superstition generally attributed to the Chinese, the theory being that to a Chinaman a junk is a fish, which without any eye could not see how to go on its way. The writer is inclined to believe that this is one of those customs that the Chinese copied from the Arabs who followed the old Egyptian habit of placing the eye of Osiris on the prow of a vessel. This idea is confirmed by the fact that the "eye" is never made use of by inland craft nor is it found on the older type of Chinese seagoing craft-such as the Pechili Trader and the Antung Trader- but only on the junks hailing from ports which from the earliest days have been Arab centres of trade. A case in point is the junk hailing from Ta-pu-to the port for Kiaochow which was an important Arab settlement in the fourth century. The hull generally is exactly the same as the Pechili Trader but the vessel makes use of the eye, whereas the similar vessels from the more Northern ports do not.
Having described the sailorman and his habits let us now take the hull generally. These can be divided into two classes. Those with bluff bows and lines, and those finely moulded and sharp ended. In the Northern types-practically the oldest Chinese type in existence-we see a swim-headed vessel with flat bottom. They are built in this manner on account of the ports to which they trade being invariably up a river full of shallows and sand banks. South of the Yangtsze Cape we find a rock bound coast with deep harbours accessible to vessels of any draft. Here are finely moulded deep sea craft with lines which compare favourably with any of our finest racing yachts. The bow of a junk is one of its distinctive features. In the northern and river types this is usually box shaped, but in the Southern types of sea going craft it is open with two wings or cheeks on either side between which a transverse beam is fitted on which the anchor windlass is fitted. Here too, may be seen the great single fluke wooden anchors with shanks twelve or more feet in length, and weighted very often with stones. Four fluke iron anchors are also used. Of course the arrangement differs in each type of boat, but the general idea is the same. The Swatow and Hongkong types, however, do not affect the wings as they are flush decked vessels with no bulwarks.
Every junk is divided into watertight compartments. This subdivision of the hull besides being for the safety of the ship has also other advantages inasmuch as it is carried out to such an extent that ribs are not used at all. In common with most things Chinese which appear to the Westerner as "topsy turvy" it is interesting to note that in a large number of cases the beams and knees forming the framework of a junk are placed on top, thus giving the acme of comfort inside with no nasty projecting beams on which to knock one's head below. Inciden- tally there is more stowage room for the cargo.
The wetted surface of a junk is reduced almost to the theoretical minimum in comparison with its displacement. The sheer line of the bottom illustrates a peculiarity-the run is carried out quite full, almost to the stern, and then comes up with a sharp turn. This, however, does not seem to affect its speed in any way. There is always a marked flat portion on the bottom of the hull, so that the vessel can go aground and
rest at low tide without heeling over. Even the sharp ended Southern types are built in this manner, and time and time again, one will see a junk high and dry on the banks of a river or on the coast being painted, caulked or repaired. There is no need for a dock for overhaul, anywhere will do.
The masts are invariably stepped between partners which extend about half the width of the mast again. These partners are not parallel but narrow down towards the bottom while the heel of the mast is cut down slightly so as to form a wedge and the mast is jambed between them into the step. Occasionally, however, toggle pins are made use of in the smaller craft so that the mast can be lowered when required. On either side of the tabernable in which the mast is stepped a windlass is fitted which is used for hauling up the heavy battened sails. In the big Foochow pole junks, lorchas, and some of the Northern traders, the modern type of hand capstan is used.
Aft of the foremast, and just for'ard of the mainmast, a "horse" is stepped on which the heavy sails fall when lowered. In the case of the larger junks where the mainsail does not rest on the deck of the house aft another is fitted at the break of the poop.
The stern is always higher than the bow as it was in all our ships of bygone days. Modern practice in the West has changed all this, but here again, John Chinaman feels he knows best, and in this the writer thinks he is correct, especially for the work he has to do around the coast. The vessel will more easily lie head to wind in a gale, and moreover stands a better chance against being "pooped" by an overtaking wave in a heavy sea. Also from his point of vantage on the high poop where he works the unwieldy tiller, the steersman commands a good view over the bow of the boat. In the smaller type of fishing craft there is no planking at the stern of the boat above- the level of the deck. The reason for this would appear to be that in a following sea, when a wave hits the vessel, a planked up stern would tend, with the open stern, to make her bury her head, whereas a large quantity of water is taken aboard temporarily in the well and acts as ballast; this not only keeps her head up but prevents the stern from lifting unduly. The moment the sea has passed the water runs out again through the scuppers or over the side amidships.
In all Chinese vessels the crew's quarters will be found aft. In the larger vessels in the deck house on the poop, and in the smaller types under deck aft.
The frequent absence of a keel in a junk is against good work to windward, but the deep rudder, which at sea is lowered down the trunk and extends well below the ship, helps consider- ably to hold the vessel up to the wind. The forefoot and gripe (which only appear in the Hongkong and Swatow types) which is often extended under the bows is also of considerable assis- tance in this respect. It may be of interest to mention here that some of the smaller sampans resort to a dagger board for windward work.
The Chinese sail is a balanced lug, extended and stiffened by battens, and usually made of cotton cloth or matting. In the sudden squalls and typhoons which are numerous about the coasts at certain seasons of the year this is the type most easily handled. In case of emergency no reefing is needed, the halyard is let go, and the weight of the sails and battens bring the sails down into the topping lifts. It is therefore made snug quite speedily. Invariably the Chinese junk, especially the seagoing
type, has three masts or more, a fore, main and mizzen, with perhaps a jigger or two and in common with other blue water sailors the Chinaman appreciates the advantage of splitting up his sail area into component parts for greater facility in handling. This system of course is much more convenient for bringing a vessel into stays or paying her off when tacking. The five masted Pechili traders are a case in point.
The luff of the sail is cut in various ways. In the North like the leech it is straight up and down the mast. In the middle types there is not much difference but in the Hongkong cargo boats and the West River craft it stands out well before the mast bringing the centre of effort well forward. The Chinaman uses no jib, but steps his foremast well up in the eyes raking over the bows and sets a large foresail on it in the shape of another lug.
The sail is hoisted on a pole mast-often a very fine spar. The halyard passes through a large double block on the yard, and a treble block on the mast head. On the Antung and Northern types there is no block and the halyards are run through sheaves at the top of the mast. A hauling parrel to the yard keeps it to the mast and helps to peak the sail when reefed. Each batten has its own parrel and its own single part leading to the main sheet.
Sometimes on the bigger craft in lighter winds a main staysail is set between the fore and main mast and a flying topmast staysail aloft; the smaller vessels make use of innu- merable types of spinnakers. In the river craft plying up and down the small creeks and rivers the mainsail is a very high affair, and from outward appearances these craft would appear to be very much over canvassed. These high sails, however, are absolutely necessary to catch the breezes over the tops of the banks.
In the opinion of some yachtsmen the high square leeched sail of the river craft plying on the Whangpoo river is one of the most mathematically correct rigs, being very similar, when filled, to the wing of an aeroplane. It is said that these vessels sail about as close to the wind as it is possible for any boat to. This is probably due to the multiple sheets which enable the peak to be hauled in and lie fair with the heel of the sail, unlike the Western type in which the peak when sailing close hauled is inclined to fall away and flap.
In these heavy sails there is a tendency for the whole sail to swing forward so the fore end of each batten of the sail is brought aft to the mast by a lacing which can be hauled on or slackened up as may be required from the deck. By this means the battens can be towsed aft and the required peak given to the sail while the friction and strain are distributed evenly over the whole mast. The moment the halyard is slacked off everything else slackens automatically and is never likely to jam in a squall.
A feature that strikes one about the rigging of a Chinese junk is that the heavy masts carry no stays whatsoever. Gybing is thus simplicity itself. When this manoeuvre is seen performed the first time the yachtsman from the West fully expects to see the masts lifted right out of the boat as the heavy yard swings across with a rattle and crash. It is very seldom, however, one sees a junk dismasted in this manner and it would seem that the secret lies entirely in the even distribu- tion of the weight all up and down the mast. A spritsail is very often used on the smaller type of fishing craft working off
the Yangtsze Cape, and on some of the river craft near and around Shanghai.
It is a noticeable feature in the pole junks that the mast, a very heavy spar made of iron wood, is built up with heavy stiffeners bound round with iron bands. The bamboo hawser which is one of the most important parts of a junk's equipment is also one of those entirely Chinese products that cannot fail to interest the stranger, and convince him of the ingenuity of the Chinese for making use of this useful tree.
Having written of the junk herself, the crew sails, rigging etc., we will now turn to that part of her-the picturesque- that so appeals to the artist. We have said that John China- man, like the Dutchman, likes bright varnish and colours. This is very true, but no Dutchman goes to quite the length that the Chinaman does in the brilliancy of his hues and the daring of his conceptions. It is here that we notice his originality. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason for his designs, and there is no precise rule that he follows. The result is always quaint, often grotesque, but invariably artistic. Gorgeous reds, yellows, blues and greens predominate, but somehow their flamboyant hues are never incongruous, but rather form a wonderful blaze of colour that charms the eye. It is purely Chinese, crude in a way but original and fascinating.
The Northern junks are not so fond of gay colours as are those of the South but even in Chefoo and other more Northern ports one will sometimes come across brilliantly decorated ships. Chiefly, however, the man of the North goes in for a plain coloured stern, possibly a bright blue or red, but in one colour only. The river type prefer the plain wood oil stain, well polished, and bright colours are eschewed. In some of the coasting types it is possible to tell from the colouring of a junk from which ports she hails, for each particular little village or port has its own special colour.
In the foregoing it has been the aim to convey to the reader the more interesting and important points in connection with native craft generally and it is to be hoped, therefore, that this introduction, together with the brief descriptions and sketches that follow, will enable those whose knowledge of Chinese vessels would willingly be enlarged to appreciate the beauty and efficiency of the Junk.
THE HOANGHO CH'UAN OR YELLOW RIVER JUNK.(黃河帆船)
THIS extraordinary type of craft is to be found on the only navigable section of the upper regions of the Hoangho China's second greatest river. They can hardly be described as boats or junks-floating packing cases would appear to be a more apt nomenclature.
They are built in a little village called Nan Haitze, four miles south of Paotowchen(包頭鎮) - a very important town fifteen miles from the borders of Shansi(山西). A rather remarkable fact about these craft is that they seldom, if ever, make more than one trip. This is probably accounted for by their very fragile construction.
They trade between Paotow (包頭) and Shetsuishan(石嘴山), (55 miles North-east of Ningsia(寧夏)), occasionally carrying imports on the upward journey, but more often going up empty and returning with wool and skins. They are usually tracked up on the voyage to Shetsuishan(石嘴山), taking nearly a month for the trip on account of the strong current met with there, while the return voyage takes only five days with the stream.
As mentioned above, these craft are so lightly built that one round trip is as much as they can stand, and on return to their home port they are invariably found useless for further service. They are then broken up and the remaining sound timbers are used in building a new boat.
the main sweep. This is worked from the deck of the boat and is used in still water.
There are several theories put forward as to the reason for the design of these junks, the riverside boatmen arguing that as they always turn in one direction it was very necessary to build them in this manner so that they are enabled to pass by certain protruding rocks along the river in safety. Others state that it is on account of the superstition of the people who believe that these crooked sterns frustrate the powers of the evil spirits. In view of the high pivot required on which to work the big stern sweep I think that the builders were forced to construct the stern in this manner in order to get the necessary fulcrum for efficiency.
KAN CH'UAN, KIANGSI. (江西，贛江)
THE Kan Ch'uan, of from 30 to 40 tons capacity, 40 to 60 feet in length, by 6 or 7 feet beam, and of very shallow draft, is an interesring junk. She has practically no freeboard amidships when loaded, and her deck sheer rises sharply at the bow and stern. The hull is flat bottomed and built on the turret system, sub-divided into compartments, while the stem piece of heavy planking fitted athwartships, quadrant in form, curves up from the water line and forms an enclosed forecastle on top of which a couple of heavy "cat heads" are fitted for working the anchors. In the Kan Kiang or Kan river, there exist a number of bad rapids, and it is to prevent taking too much water aboard that the bows have been built up in this manner. The stern is similar in shape to the bow but rises somewhat higher.
A large balanced rudder is fitted under the stern, the rudder post being passed through a hole cut in the counter while the top of the blades is cut to fit the curved shape of the stern.
Just for'ard of the deck house, which is made of arched bamboo and covered with matting which extends from about 10 feet from the bow to the poop, is fitted the mainmast, while a mizzen is stepped right aft of the steering platform rising high in the stern.
The sail is of the usual balanced lug type with straight luff, the leech having a distinct rounded shoulder. It is in-
teresting to note here that although the shape of the sail in these large river and lake types is similar to that of the sea- going craft, the sail is made in strips, the innumerable battens being laced in and out. What the reason for it is I am unable to ascertain.
The Kan Ch'uan trades from Kanchow-fu on the Kan Kiang to Kiukiang bringing down tea, camphor, grass cloth, beans, and taking back foreign imports from the important river ports.
THERE is a long oily swell. The sea is shimmering in the sunlight, while the little round copper coloured clouds, precursors of a typhoon, seem to hurry across the green sky as if bent upon some nefarious work. The Lammocks, where many a good ship has piled herself up in a typhoon, seem to wink at one. The brown rocks and bright green slopes topped by the black lighthouse on the southernmost islet indicate to the passenger that the journey is near its end, for Hongkong is the southern limit of our voyage in search of "Junk" types. We have travelled up the far reaches of the Hoang-ho; we have tapped the upper tributaries of the Yangtsze, and traversed the entire coast of China, but have only seen a very small fraction of the millions of craft that ply on the coast, rivers and lakes of China. We have, however, seen a variety of vessels that for beauty of line, decoration and gen- eral utility, have no counterpart in the world. The coloured illustrations will have shewn the reader the bright colours a Chinese sailor affects, but it must not be forgotten that only when newly-painted, can the colours be seen as shewn on the plates. It would probably take the uninitiated some time to recognise the types; time and the elements have helped to put a drab wash over the picture, and at their anchorage Chinese Junks appear sorry looking craft-nevertheless the beauty is there.
It is, however, for the reader himself to look for them at sea, on the rivers, and in the interior on the lakes when he will understand how Chinese craft can exercise such fascina- tion on the Western mind.