Precious Stones

THERE is a Stone called Hung boang, which, is said to be an Antidote against all sorts of Poison : But this may be justly suspected, because in some Places there are large Quarries of it. It is a soft Stone, of which Cups, and such like. Things are easily made. It is naturally of a yellowish Colour, and sometimes spotted with Black. 

Lapis Lazuli is not very near in Yun Nan, where it is found in several Places, differing in nothing from that which is imported into Europe. Yu che, of the finest Sort, is generated in the district of Tai tonn fou, of the Province of Chan si : It is a kind of Jasper, of the Colour , the white Part of Agate. It appears transparent, and sometimes spotted when it is polish'd. 

The Rubies which are sold at Yun nan fou, are of the right Sort, but very little. There are also other Precious Stones to be had there; hut they are to be Imported from other Countries, and especially from the Kingdom of Aca. 

The finest Rock Crystal is found in the Province of Fo kien in the Latitude of 24° 10' The Artificers who live near the Mountains where it is got, are very skilful in working it; and they make of it. Seals, Buttons, Figures of Animals, etc. 

There are also, in this Province, Quarries of fine Marble, which would equal the best in Europe, if it were well polish'd ; but they make but little Use of it in their publick Buildings. There is neither Palace, nor Temple, nor any other Edifice, at Peking or elsewhere, intirely of Marble. Tho' Pillars are frequently used, in their Building, they have hitherto employed nothing but Wood for that Purpose. , It is uncommon to see any thing built even of Stone, beside Bridges and Triumphal Arches, which adorn the Streets of the principal Cities in each Province. 

The Triumphal Arches are mostly adorn'd with the Figures of Men, Birds, and Flowers, very artificially done, which seem to be held together with Cords, which are engaged one in another without Confusion. Those which have been done lately, fall infinitely short of the old ones; which demonstrates the superior Skill of their ancient Architects. However, the Order of the modern is the same of the other ; but this Order has little in it that resembles ours. They have neither Chapiters nor Cornices ; and that which has some Likeness to our Frizes, is of a Height which is shocking to an Eye accustom'd to the European Architecture.