CHINESE SKETCHES
Harper’s Weekly, January 25, 1879, page 77 (Illustrated Article)
Our artist in San Francisco has been taking notes among the Chinese inhabitants of that city, and the first-fruits of his explorations are given above. The upper engraving represents a scene in a Chinese theatre. So far as our artist could make out, by watching the progress of the play without understanding the language, the kneeling figure is a widow, attended by her maid, mourning for her departed husband, and praying for his happiness in whatever other world he may be. A suitor for her hand stands ready to present her with a bouquet of flowers, meanwhile gently fanning himself, and keeping up a low, monotonous chant, above which at intervals the voices of the two women rise in shrill notes or shrieks. There are several Chinese theatres in San Francisco, all of which are filled to overflowing at every representation. Large numbers of "barbarians" frequently attend them, attracted by curiosity.


Scene in a Chinese Theatre
January 25, 1879, page 77


Chinese Sketches In San Francisco
January 25, 1879, page 77

The lower cut represents a scene in the Chinese burying-ground. Hundreds of lighted tapers of sandal-wood, which burns with a strong odor, surround the graves, with here and there candles colored to resemble wax. The Chinaman in the centre of the picture was burning heaps of white paper ornamented with gold-leaf, throwing up his arms occasionally, and then raking the pieces together with an iron wire to make them burn rapidly. Others stood around him, smoking pipes in silence. When the ceremony, whatever it may have been, was over, the Chinese packed up their tea-cups and such provisions as were of any use, and carried them away, leaving the dead only a little rice, a few cakes, etc., which no living person would care to steal. San Francisco boys used to linger about the burying-ground on such occasions, and "convey," after the ceremony, all the roast pig and other delicacies provided for the dead, and the frugal Chinamen now take away every thing of value when they depart. Perhaps they have themselves a shrewd idea that the buried people can get along without them.
Harper’s Weekly, January 25, 1879, page 77 (Illustrated Article)

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