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Full text of "Account of Athanasii Kircheri China Illustrata"

was of the Corapafs of a Mans hat about the brims, I then caufed 
a Bucket-full of Water to be poured on the fire, by which it was 
prefently quenched, as well as my companions laughter was {top- 
ped, who then b£gan to think, the Water did not burn. 

I did not perceive the Flame to be difcolour*d 3 like that of ful- 
phureoiisBodie$,nor to have any manifcfk fcetit with it. The Fumes, 
when they broke out of the Earth, and preft againft my hand,, 
were nor, to my beft remembrance^ at all hot. 

Account of Athanafii Kircheri CHINA ILWSTRATA. 

The Author by publishing this Volume, discharges the Promife, 
he had made fome years ago , that he would do lo. He acknow- 
ledges himfelf much obliged to Mattinins, and his Atlas Sinicus $ 
as alfo to Michael Boim^ a Folonian ; Philippo 'Marino, a Jefuit of Ge~ 
noa ; and two other of the fame Socifety, vi\. Henry Roth ofAttf- 
burg, and John Gruber an Anjlrian ; whereof the latter went A. 
1656. over Land from Rome , through Anatolia, Armenia Ferfia^ 
Ormus, Cambaja, and India, to Macao^hc famous Port of China,znd ' 
thence to Pekjn, the Court of that Empire 5 whence two years 
after, he came back to Rome, accompanied for a part of the way* 
by the Jefuit Albert Dorviffes traverfing by Land in a manner the 
whole breadth of Cbim^nd a great part of the confining Tartary, 
and fo further, through the Mogols Dominions 5 to Agra,wherc the 
fa id Dorville dying, the above-mentioned Henry Roth fupplyed his 
place in accomphfhing this Voyage. 

The Book it fclf, a la#ge Folio, is divided into 6> Parts. 

The three firft 5 and the lajl > being befides the defign of thefe 
Trads,we finall but glance at,takina only notice ; FirJ},That they 
pretend to perfwadethe Reader, that Cbrijliamty was fpread over 
all Ada by Sc a Thomas the Apoftle, and his SuccefTors ; and hath 
been there continued, though not without great Eclipfes^ to thefe 
very times. And here the Chhio- Chaldean Tslonument , faid to have 
been erected feveral hundred years fince in China , and found out 
A* 162$. is with great labour afTerted and interpreted. Next, 
ThattheRifeof the Idolatry, in thofe remote parts, and their 
different Ceremonies in Worfhip, is confronted with thofe An- 
cient ones of Egypt. Laftly jh&t a large Account is given of the 
Chinefe Letters, their Figure, Power, &c. 

But we haftcn to the Fourth Book , as belonging to our Sphere, 

Thae 



(4«5) 

That undertakes to defcribe the Curio f ties and Productions of Na- 
ture and Art, in China. Here, the Author having premifed fome- 
thing of the advantagious Scituation of China, and its Political 
Government; Calculated alfo both the Number of its Inhabi- 
tants,(which according to him, amount to 2C0 Millions of Men, 
befides Women , Children, Officers, and Eunuchs 5) and the 
Annual Revenue of the Emperour ("which he makes to be 150 
Millions of Gold-Crowns 5 ) he relateth many confiderable pro- 
ductions and works of Nature in that Country , As 

1 . Mountains very odd for fliape, burning, and raifing of Tem- 
pefts. 

3. IJles, to the number of 99. all turned into one, under the 
fame extent of fpace they had, when they were divided by water. 

l % Lahes^ fome changing Copper into Iron, and caufingftorms, 
when any thing is cait into them; and others, fprung up by 
Earth-quakes. 

4. Rivers, whereof one is fafd to be of a Blew colour in Au- 
tumn, and for the reft of the year Limpid: Another, to be cold 
ac the top, and very hot beneath. 

y. Fiery Wells, ferving to boyl meat over : Perhaps of the fame 
Nature with that here in England, we defcribed above. 

6. Plants^s i.fome Rofes,changing their Colour twice a day: 
Whence the Author takes occafion to fpeakof that Plant, which 
grows at fyme y in the Garden of one Signior Corvino, cali'd Viola 
Noftzirna, changing its colour fenfibly, according to the degrees 
of the rifing and declining of the Sun 5 destitute of all fmell in 
the day-time, but having a very fragrant one in the night, a. 
A Farinaceous or Mealy Tree, ferving to make Bread of it. 3. 
Leaves of certain Trees, (landing on the fide of a Lake, which 
falling into the water, become like black Birds : . which he afcrib- 
eth to the Seminal parts of fome Eggs, broken on thofe Trees, 
filf d with Birds nefts. 4. The, and its wholefomenefs , as to the 
fuppreffing of V apours, and preventing the Stone, y. A kind of 
Wicker-Tree, which, as if it were a Rope twifted by Nature^ a- 
bout an inch thick, creeps along upon the Earth, fometimes the 
length of 120 paces, much embarsffing the way; but ferving for 
Cables to Ships, Scats, HurdIes,Beds,Matts s enduring no Ver- 
min ; and being cool and refrefliing in hot Seafons. 6, The 
Calarnba-Woodi 'that it is efteem'd by fome to be a kind of Len- 

tifcum 



( 4 Z6) 

tifcum, by others, a fort of Terebinth, but of a nobler rank, by 
vertue of that Climat : which makes the Author fuggeft, that 
care ftiould be taken to have it brought into Europe, and carefully 
cultivated there. 7. Rhubarb $ of which he obferves, that, be- 
caufe the vertue of its Roots, if they be expofed to dry haftily, 
foon evaporats j therefore the skilfully lay them upon a Table 
within doors , and turn them feveral times a day, to incorporate 
and fix the Juyce the better, and then firing them and expofe 
them to the Wind, in a (hade, altogether tree from the Sun- 
beams* S. Pine Trees s of which he faith fome are fo big, that 
eight Men can hardly Fathom them. 9. Canes , fo big, that they 
can make as many Barrels of them , as they have internodes or 
Joynts. 10. Trees, fweating a Gum> cail'd Cie, like the drop- 
pings of Turpentine 5 which Gum, as long as tis not dryed, emits 
a very unwholfome and dangerous (team. To pafle by the Polo* 
me Tree, producing fruit without any blofToms, immediately out 
of its Trunk, as big as one man can well carry y and that kind of 
Fig-Tree >that bears Leaves as big as to wrap up a man in, (3c. 

7, Animals^ Here he difcourfeth of the MuthJDear, and the 
feveral Compositions of MusT^i the Sea-Horfe, and Wild Mem 
Of fome Birds, no where feen but in China ( as he thinks) and a- 
inong them a Wool-bearing Hen : Of Fifhes, in Summer flying out 
of the Sea,feeking their food, like Birds>znd in Autumn returning 
to the Sea : particularly of a Fifh of a very exquifite tafle, called 
Hoancio-yU) or the Croceous Fifh : Further, of Sea-Cows, going of- 
ten afhore, and fighting with the Land-Corvs ; Of Bats, of a vaft 
bignefS) eaten by the Cninefe as a delicious meat : Of the Serpent^ 
that breeds the Antidotal (tone ; whereof he relates many experi- 
mentSjto verifie the relations of its vertue: Which may invite the 
Curator of thcRoyalSociety, to make the like tryal, there being fiich 
a ftone in their T{epo/itory, fent them from the Eafi Indies. Again, 
of SilkJVorms, f pinning tivieez year, and yielding a double Crop. 

8, FojJitS) where occurs the Relation, 1. Of an odd Specular 
ftone, reprefenting the figure of the Moon in all her Appearan- 
ces, when expofed to Her* 2, Of an Earth called Quei,vcry Cof- 
metick, and abfterfive of all blemifhes of the face. 3. A Mineral 
cerujje, blended of Lead and Antimony. 4, OiJsbeflus, that can 
be drawn and fpun 5 the way of which he affirms to have defcri- 
bed L. 1 2. Mundi fui fubterranei. $» The Matter that makes TorceU 
lan* which he affirms to be nothing clfc but a tranfpkrent Sand, 

which 



which they ioak in water, and then reduce to a MafTe or Dough, 
and fo bake it. Not a word of the way of giving it the colour, 
which, it feems, they keep as a great fecret. They have Gold and 
Silver Mines s b<ut dig them not, pretending the danger and trou- 
ble in the work, and contenting themfelves with the Filings and 
Duft of Gold , which they gather out of the Mud and Sand of 
Rivers and Fountains. 

The Fifth Book contains an account of their Works oiAreli- 
teUure, and other ingenious Mechanick Arts. Where he fpeaks, 
i. Of their ftupendious Bridges D one of $<$o Perches long, and 
x f Perch broad, without any Arch, Handing upon 3C0 Pillars, 
with acute Angles on both oppofite fides, all the ftones being of 
an equal fize and fhape. Another, built from Mountain to Moun- 
tain by one only Arch, 400 cubits long, joo cubits high (whence 
tis called Pons volans ) from the furface of the Saffrany RJver, 
running under it # This is reprefented, for the fa tis faction of the 
Curious, by Figure!. j,Vj. 

2- Vafi Towns, but whofe Houfes are generally but one Story 
high, and good reafon therefore, the Towns fhould be very big 
They are, for the moft part, built of Timber. 

3. Turrets very artificial!, whereof one is all oEPorceHan. 

4. The China Wall, 500 German Leagues long } 30 Cubits 
high, 12 ( in fome places 1 s ) Cubits broad ,. fo that laHorfes 
can very conveniently go in front op it ; built 2 1 f years before 
Chrift 3 by the Emperour Pius, a brave and moft Warlike Prince, 
anddifpatchtin the fpaceof five years ; commonly it is defen- 
ded by a Million of men. A Pattern of this alfo was thought fit . 
to exhibit here, by Figure 11. *'& 

5. The Channel, that pafleth from one extream of China to the 
other D having fome t^Shces, to retain water, when tis necefTary; 
a work of incredible induftry and extraordinary advantage, 

<S; VafiBellsy one whereof, ztPekin, weighs 11 ocoo pounds/ 
whereas that of Erfurd in Ger many O hkhtvzo efteemed to be one of 
the biggeft in the Worlds weighs but 2/400. pounds. 

As for their ingenious Inventions, this Author mentions chiefly , 

I. Their Vernice^ of which he fets down fome fyceipts both for 
the J{ed and Black, together with the way of their Ufeand Ap- 
plication, as he received them both from an Auguflinian Fryar 3 
affirming, that it differs not at all from that of China. 

2- Their way of Printing, invented long before that in Europe, 
giving a large defcription of the fame. 3. Gun- 



( 4 88) 

g. Gunpowder, which he alfb faith 3 they had before the Euro- 
peans. 

4. Bell -founding. 

Thefe are the principal Subje&s treated of in this Book. We 
paffe by feverall Stories, Which feem much to/equire confirma- 
tion. E. g* That of Sugar-Canes , eaten by an Elephant, and ta- 
kingrootinhis ftomacfi; that of Boys eating Serpents with as 
inuch greedinefs, as others eat Eels, or any good meat, &c. 

Among the Cutis of this Volume., there is a Map oiAfla, not 
un-inftru&ive ; delineating the way,the two Jejmts took in their 
Land-voyage from Pekin to Goa 3 as alfo that 3 which the Mufco- 
vian Ambaffadors , not many years fince , took in travelling 
from their Coun trey, through the vaft Trad: of the Northern 
Tartary, to China, arriving on the North fide of the China Wall at 
Pekin: Item, The Land-paflage^ heretofore made by B.Goes 
( defcribed by T^igaultius ) from Perfia, by Labor in the Mogols 
Empire^ through the Kingdoms of Cabul % ^ancut y &c. to Cataja, 
or(which is all one to this Author,** it is to feveral others)the Pro- 
vince of Pektnm China. Item^ The paflageof Paulas Venetns over 
Land, out of Europe into the fame China: and laftly, That preten- 
ded one of St.Thomas, out of Paleftina^ through Syria, Mejppo* 
tatnia, Per(ia y the Mogols Empire, the Pen-inful between the Bays 
of Camhaya and Bengali to Maliapur, on the Coaft of Co'romandel, 
where the Name of: the Christians of St, Thorn ts is ftill in requeft. 



LONDON^ 

Printed by 7. R. for John Martyn , Printer to the Roy all 
Society, and are to be fold at the Bell a little with- 
out Temple-Barr, i 6 6j: