National Geographic : 1920 Nov
347 PEKING, THE CITY OF THE UNEXPECTED) Photograph by J. A. Muller A MARVEL OF PICTORIAL ART, A SECTION OF PEKING'S DRAGON SCREEN These horrendous creatures in bas-relief tile-work of various colors-yellow, purple, buff, maroon, and orange-dance gaily above emerald billows against a pale-blue sky. The screen is 20 feet high and o0ofeet long (see text, page 344). directed not only against foreign aggres sion, but against Chinese governmental peculation as well. To find Peking the source and center of this forward-looking movement for reform is not the least of the surprises which await the visitor to the capital. Indeed, to most Western visitors the most unexpected thing of all is to find that the real China, the China which holds, potentially, the future of the Ori ent in her hands, is to be found in these colleges and in the technical schools and hospitals and churches, which look so like churches and hospitals and technical schools at home that the tourist ofttimes fails utterly to see them or their signifi cance in his search for the romance and glamor of antiquity. LAMA TEMPLE ADJOINS THAT OF CONFUCIUS The tourist is not to be blamed for his blindness, however. He can see colleges, churches, and hospitals a plenty in the West; but a Lama temple, or a Confu cian hall of classics, or a Taoist shrine is not to be come upon in Boston or Mil- waukee. In the abundance of these relics of a passing age Peking, above all Chi nese cities, is the queen. In the great Lama temple in the north west corner of the city, with its seven sun-lit courtyards and its hundred dei ties, one may see on any forenoon three score yellow-coated novices droning the morning lesson, cross-legged, before the many-handed God of Mercy, or half a dozen monks in purple palliums celebrat ing a Lamist mass with rice out of a sil ver bowl and wine from a gold-mounted chalice fashioned from a human skull. The smoke of incense fills the nostrils of the placid Buddhas who sit above the high altar; countless little cup-shaped butter lamps are lighted, and to the ac companiment of drum, gong, and cymbal the monotone of the celebrant rises to a wild, weird chant. Just across the street from these idol atrous lamas, who represent the debased Buddhism of Tibet and who minister chiefly to the Mongols of the North, is the quiet, shady close of the temple of Confucius, wherein are neither monks nor idols.