Play and Other Recreational Activities

Play and other recreational group activities are very important factors in the child's social development. In them he has so many first-hand vital contacts with other children that he learns much of living with others. The companionships in play activities are important factors in the child's life, a fact well established by numerous studies of delinquents and non-delinquents. The community and the child's parents have the responsibility of insuring to each child adequate play facilities under such wholesome conditions as will further his suitable development.

School Activities

A number of studies have been made of the effect of schooling on the social development of the child. Children in nursery schools develop more rapidly than those not in nursery school in such social traits as cheerfulness when toys are taken away or withheld, talkativeness, starting activities on their own initiative, and showing sympathy for a stranger who feigned weeping. The environment of a good nursery school provides such a wide variety of powerful stimuli to social and intellectual development that advantageous results are to be expected. On the other hand, a highly formalized, narrow routine in an institution should not be expected to produce very satisfactory social or intellectual development. The types of situations in which children live have more significance, it would seem, than the mere fact of living in an institution, attending some kind of nursery school, or living at home.

Not only do the activities of the child in a nursery school have distinct value for his social development, but also the good modern elementary school makes its contribution. Many of the social virtues were badly neglected, except as they may have been fostered in play and games and in some of the occasional entertainments or school programs. A good modern school helps children learn to live together happily and effectively while engaged upon socially and individually useful activities. By its alertness to adaptive difficulties it helps the child learn at an early age some of the give and take of getting along with others. The timid child has many opportunities to do for or in a group the things which he can do best. With practice he begins to lose his timidity. If he reads well, he may read some little story to his own class or to some other. He distributes supplies, carries a note to the principal or to another teacher, or reports on something he has read or observed. A wide variety of specific things are utilized by the good teacher to help the pupil overcome some undesirable trait or to develop a desirable one. In the kindergarten, nursery school, and primary grades of the elementary school may be found innumerable opportunities for furthering the child's social development. The school's influence upon the social and emotional development of many children probably is of greater value than its contribution to their fund of academic information.

The Family, the Institution - effect does the child's position

What effect does the child's position in the family have upon his social development? Some investigators hold that the conditions surrounding the oldest child in a family are most favorable to his social development so long as he is the only child, but that after a brother or sister is born his position is more difficult. The youngest one is supposed always to be the spoiled child, whereas the conditions surrounding the middle child (or children) are described as least favorable to social development. The accumulating mass of evidence, however, seems to show that this problem is very complex and not to be settled by an invariable formula. The oldest, youngest, and middle children undoubtedly have problems of social adjustment caused by their position in the family circle. Each one meets stimuli varying according to his age, sex, order of birth, and the changed attitudes of parents caused by changes in their financial status, as well as by changes in their age, physical condition, and interests. Changes in the conditions surrounding parents may alter their ways of disciplining and training their offspring.

In the poorest social surroundings, the only child did better school work than did children who had brothers or sisters, but children from homes of average socialeconomic status did better school work if they had one or two brothers or sisters. Some studies seem to show that only children do better school work, but that they may be more prone to nervousness, timidity, talkativeness, and dictatorial and anti-social behavior, and that they are not so popular with other children. Those with brothers and sisters are sometimes believed to be happier and gayer than only children. We cannot take all of these results at face value, however, because studies of American children show that the only child probably is superior to those having brothers or sisters and is not more inclined to sadness, nervousness, and the like. On the whole, we are inclined to believe that the child's position among brothers and sisters is of far less significance for his social development than many other family conditions, such, for example, as having but one parent or being a foster child, a step-child, or an illegitimate child. The character of the parents and the kind of training they provide are powerful forces shaping the child's social development, especially those features which usually are characterized as morality.

Factors affecting the child's social development

What is the influence upon the child's social development of such factors as health, physique, the family, play and other recreational activities, school activities, clubs, gangs, boys' and girls' camps, and the social order?

The most important factors affecting the child's social development are environmental. Of course, the most fundamental fact in social development is that the child, through his experiences, learns to get along with other people. The factors which influence social development are therefore those which guide his learning processes or which determine the nature of his experiences.

Health and Physique

Good health is favorable to social development. The child who is well and feels well has an advantage over the one who is sick, undernourished, and lacking in vitality. Sickness during infancy as well as during the years of childhood tends to interfere with the development of suitable social behavior patterns. The child who receives an excess of attention, care, and solicitude during periods of sickness maybecome selfish, self-assertive, and domineering. The one who is undernourished and not strong may depend unduly upon others and become shy and submissive. He may develop a timid, fearful attitude in his relations to others. If a child departs greatly from the normal in physique, being much undersized or oversized, or if he has some noticeable physical defect, he is likely to be persecuted or tormented by other children. This may result in an exceptionally strong feeling of inferiority which interferes with his social development. Many cases are observed in which the sensitive child seems to shun normal social contacts with his fellows because of poor health, lack of vitality, or a consciousness of inferior physical status. Sometimes overaggressive compensatory activities add to the difficulty. We have observed many troublesome children whose poor social adjustments seemed to be the result of their poor physical condition. We, have also observed a few cases in which physical defects seemed to interfere with the child's having suitable social relations with his fellows. Many of these cases, however, are complicated and made much worse by other conditions surrounding him, such as ineffective home training, bad companions, and other similar conditions.

Individual play and group play in childhood years

The earliest play observed among children is individual play, as when the child rattles some toys or beats them together. Some of his very early play activities are with adults, as in playing peek-a-boo, and the like. By the age of two years or a little later, we many observe many a child plying with another child. At this early age he often plays merely beside the other child or near him, rather than with him. Often two children are together, but engaged in individual play. Some children retain the preference for individual play longer than do others. In many cases, this is caused by lack of social stimulation, or by a feeling of inferiority. Some handicaps, such as those of habits, physique, dress, intelligence. and the like, may overwhelm the child with such a feeling of inferiority that he may prefer playing alone. Normally, he gives less time to playing alone as he gets older and has more experiences and more contacts with other children.

Group Play

Children of three and four years often are found playing some little game together. In fact, it is quite common for a child at these ages to plan some play activity and to get another child to engage in it with him. A later stage in his social development is seen when he devises or selects some game and gets a number of others to play it with him. Interesting and suggestive differences have been observed in the kinds of games preferred by children of different ages. Apparently, games in which children copy others, but not according to a definite sequence, are the most popular with pre-school children. Those which involve copying others and following definite orders are quite popular with children from four to six years of age. As children approach and enter the teens there seems to be a definite shift in popularity from games involving following definite orders to those in which they have more freedom in organization and in determining details. These changes in the kinds of games preferred indicate an important differentiation between younger and older children in the nature of the cohesive force needed to keep them cooperating as groups.

Conflicts Between Individual Children

The social relations of children are not always harmonious as our discussion up to this point might lead one to believe. Anyone who has observed children, even superficially, is fully aware of the great amount of conflict between individuals. Disagreements and unpleasant relations are found in infancy. An activity which one enjoys may be distasteful or painful to the other. A toy may be desired by both. One may seek to secure the property of another, or both may try to secure possession of something. A child may find pleasure in doing something that hurts another, and may enjoy doing the thing for its own sake, not because it hurts the other infant. Thus, the mother of healthy, welldeveloped twin boys aged nine months was awakened one morning by loud crying. One twin had the other's great toe in his mouth and was contentedly chewing it as he held on to the foot with both hands, much to the discomfiture of the other twin who. was wriggling and thrashing about as best he could and making a lusty outcry.

After infancy we often find disputes arising over toys, or when one child gets in another's way, or attempts to control or manage his activities. Some children are more aggressive than others. Often we may see a little fellow of two or three hit, pinch, or push another, apparently without any reason. Sometimes jealousy is a cause of young children's quarreling, as when a child of three or four resents another's advances to a child whom he likes. On the whole, then, pre-school children seem to have disagreements, disputes, or quarrels over many matters. We see little reason, however, for believing that any large proportion of very young children's disputes is caused by their love of fighting. In fact, we doubt if a large percentage of children really do desire conflicts or seek them. The impulses seem to be set off by events outside the organism rather than from within. Sometimes, however, a child may be observed whose domineering manner seems to be all, set for a fight. We have seen such children who provoked a dispute and entered with keen enjoyment into poking, biting, hitting, shoving, and pinching their opponents and pulling their hair. Such cases are undoubtedly a result of training and previous experiences. They are found more rarely among girls than among boys.

Early conflicts are of short duration, many times lasting only a minute or two. Sometimes they last a few minutes, but long continued ones are relatively rare. Pre-school children seldom hold resentment for any long time following a conflict. Children in a nursery school between two and five years of age are socially indifferent at first; then they show self-assertiveness and interfere with the liberties of others; and finally many of them come to show considerable consideration, sympathy, and kindness to the other children. One very striking value of the nursery school lies in the opportunity it gives young children to learn wholesome, effective group living.

Conflicts continue to occur between children as they grow older and are much in evidence during their years in the primary grades of the elementary school. They are caused by much the same sort of factors as induce them at the earlier ages -- activities in games, jealousies, overbearing, self-assertive and bullying behavior which disregards the rights of others, as well as misunderstandings and affronts of various sorts. We have observed a few in which the precipitating cause was some disparaging remark or other slighting behavior directed toward a chum of the child. Thus, two boys of seven years in the second grade were fighting after school one, day. The fight lasted for some time and apparently the matter was settled. The next day the teacher questioned the contestants. John was a quiet, well-poised, vigorous lad who seldom had serious difficulties with other children. He had a very good friend, an inseparable chum named Philip, an only child, who was not aggressive, and whose mild, refined speech, mincing walk, and other manners gave one the first impression that he was a "sissy." John said frankly that he began the fight. The other boy had called Philip a sissy. "Philip is my friend. He walks like a sissy, and talks like a sissy, but he ain't no sissy." So John, for love of a friend, made the other boy retract his statement.

Conflicts occur less frequently as children approach puberty, but not because of any magic in the approach of sexual maturation. Children are learning to get along together with less friction and are finding such living socially approved and satisfying. Where home or other conditions place value and social approval upon the child's having conflicts, we are likely to find him developing accordingly. When conflicts among older children occur, they last longer than among pre-school children. Some children may develop a hatred of others that provides a fruitful source of other conflicts.

The behavior of the child in conflict with another varies according to his age and developmental status. Hitting, pushing, tugging to secure possession of a coveted toy or other object, biting, scratching, angry crying, verbal retort, verbal appeal to adults, throwing sand, rocks, or other objects, and the like are common responses of younger children. These are found also among children from six to twelve. Fighting and verbal retort are common among older children. They also use most of the more specific activities listed at the earlier years.

The First Manifestations of Leadership

Convincing evidence of leadership sometimes appears during the first year of life. Some infants from the age of six months show assurance in social situations. When placed with other infants of their age they show superiority or dominance. Children also differ in the amount of initiative shown in their activities. By the end of the second year two kinds of leadership can be distinguished in many instances.

There is leadership (1) in which the child dominates by intimidating or attacking his associates, and (2) that in which his domination is secured by inspiring or encouraging them. In these early leaders are found two characteristics or qualities -- the leader preserves his balance in the presence of the other children and leads in initiating and demonstrating any gestures or activities involved in their play. Leaders at these ages are likely to initiate more contacts than other children.

Leaders among pre-school children are likely to be leaders of small groups, usually of two or three children, more rarely of four or more. In fact, one differentiating characteristic of leadership during pre-school and school years is the smaller size of the groups in which the pre-school child manifests this trait. Sometimes a child in kindergarten shows remarkable leadership. He is the center of various groupings of children for various activities. The little fellow of two to five years may initiate a new game, such as a tea-party, playing house, and the like. He may be the domineering type who likes to boss other children, especially the younger ones, telling them what to do and what not to do. Such leadership has little value and the child often learns from his companions to give it up. If leadership is to be a social asset, it must be exercised for the benefit of all and not for the selfish desires of the individual exercising it. This principle is true during the pre-school period and throughout life as well.

British History An International Credit System

One of the reasons why Britain was so interested in free trade and the growth of world commerce was that she had become a creditor nation. When Alexander Hamilton sought a loan abroad for the United States, he turned to the Netherlands, the only nation at that time from which loans could be obtained. By 1815, the financial capital of the world was London, not Amsterdam. Since the days of the Commonwealth, the British had been steadily accumulating capital from trade. Increased agricultural production, trafficking in loans with the home government, and marine insurance added to British capital. Because capital chooses to operate from a safe place, such enterprising and international financiers as Alexander Baring and Nathan Rothschild had been attracted to London during the wars. These immigrants were of considerable value in mobilizing Britain's increasing capital resources. The Barings floated loans to pay French reparations and occupation costs at the close of the wars, and the Rothschilds financed the acquisition of the Suez Canal for Britain.

To purchase increasing amounts of equipment and larger and varied amounts of supplies of raw materials and to pay for the services of foreign experts and technicians, newly settled and developing areas needed foreign loans and ownership investments by foreign capitalists. During the century 1815 to 1914, millions of British pounds were loaned abroad to promote land settlement; to develop mining; and to build railroads, factories, public utilities, roads, canals, and docks. Sooner or later, these credit transactions were translated into movements of goods between countries, and, as the principal source of supply for manufactured goods and the world's carrier, Britain benefited.

Hence, a large share of international business was transacted in sterling, to the further benefit of London. As the world's leading money market, the city early developed facilities for short-term international loans for clearing payments on international transactions -- both functions necessary to the system of multilateral trade. At London, the money of every nation of the world could be made the basis of credit, and the foundations were laid for the discount market where bills of exchange from the whole trading world were dealt with so as to provide a revolving fund that enabled world trade to be financed on an expanding basis.

Rise of British Commercial Supremacy

Although Britain had been recognized as the world's sea power since about 1715, her trade at the close of the Napoleonic Wars was still confined primarily to a limited number of shipping lanes over which commodities moved in limited quantities, mainly to the British Isles or British possessions. Between 1815 and 1850, the British took steps to furnish the commercial leadership that was to make the empire supreme in overseas trade for approximately a century.

Freedom to Trade

British shipowners, who were anxious to keep their ships moving and earning, had become convinced that the protection afforded them under the Navigation Acts made it difficult to man the ships. They were also convinced that protection raised freight rates, thereby restricting trade. They were joined by industrialists who pointed out that free trade was absolutely necessary for an island kingdom that imported a large share of its foodstuffs and raw materials from overseas. Consequently, in 1849, the British opened their ports to the ships of all nations that granted British ships similar rights.

The next step was to revise tariffs downward. In 1823, England had in effect over 1,500 customs laws. During the 1820's, duties were lowered on a number of manufactured articles and raw materials, among them metals, wool, silk, and timber. But when the British tried to export their manufactured goods, European countries countered by saying that as long as the corn laws were in force, prohibiting the flow of wheat from the Continent to the British Isles, they had no means of paying for larger British exports. The real break occurred in 1846, when the tariff on wheat was revised downward on a sliding scale. After 1869, it entered the British Isles duty free, and the British adhered to their policy of free wheat until 1932, when the Wheat Act implemented empire preference. So fundamental to the British customs system and trade policy was free wheat that duties on other basic commodities were also removed. Other countries followed the British lead, and, though no European country felt that it could adopt a free-trade policy during the process of industrial development, international trade was more nearly free from 1850 World War I than ever before or since.

Trading during the period from 1789 to the Civil War

During the period from 1789 to the Civil War, American trade did not develop evenly, but nevertheless it expanded rapidly enough to furnish employment to a fleet second in size only to that of Great Britain. European countries relaxed their navigation laws in favor of American-flag ships (usually in reciprocal arrangements for similar privileges in American ports); peculiarities in those navigation laws made certain commerce available for American bottoms; and on many routes, international competition was not an important factor. Because American shipping enjoyed low construction costs and reasonable operating costs, shipowners could offer superior service at lower rates. Moreover, they prosecuted their business with vigor and energy, and maintained wellestablished trading connections. Although it should be remembered that foreign trade was then triangular, American ships traded in six broad groupings: Europe, South America, the West Indies, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Far East.

From 1817 on, the direct carrying trade between England and the United States was on the same level of competition as far as the laws of the two countries were concerned, and, as will be shown later, the cotton trade gave American-flag ships a most decided advantage. Brazilian ports were opened to foreign ships in 1808, and the revolutions that started in 1810 made the carrying trade of South America available to fast American ships. The West Indies trade, extremely important as the third point on the triangular European-American trade, was opened gradually. By 1830, United States ships had entry to all European possessions there. New England merchantmen used southern cotton, rice, and tobacco; sugar and molasses from the West Indies; coffee from Brazil; and wool, hair, hides, sheepskins, and tallow from the River Plate area as the cornerstones of a flourishing three-cornered trade between Boston, South America, and Continental Europe and the British Isles.

The China trade had been opened in 1784 with the Empress of China, a "commodious and elegant ship" of 360 tons. The heyday of the East Indiamen was from 1792 to 1800. By the latter date, those ships had made Salem, Massachusetts, one of the wealthiest towns in the world for its size. In the Oriental trade, American ships were second only to the British, and a large share of the cargoes were for reexport. Because American shipowners could supply the Baltic cities with Indian shawls and Chinese silks, and because they could supply Russian and Swedish merchants with sugar and other West Indian products, American shipping occupied a dominant position in the Baltic. Around 1809, when Napoleon had closed the ports of western Europe to all neutral vessels, 200 American ships were trading with Russia. In 1840, 64 New England vessels visited St. Petersburg, which imported much of its Far Eastern goods via Boston. During that era of tramping, trading, and reexporting, American tradershipowners were important in world commerce. American shipping declined when those trading techniques became anachronisms and when the steamship replaced the sailing vessel.

American-built Ships

In 1791, Tench Coxe wrote that the best doubledecked American ships could be produced for about $34 per ton, while such a vessel could not be purchased in Great Britain, France, or Holland for under $55 to dollarl60 per ton. The only vessels that could compete on a cost basis with American ships were those constructed in such places as Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, and Danzig, which had easy access to Baltic lumber. As late as the 1840's, when shipbuilding costs in the United States had risen far above their earlier levels, British shipowners testified at Parliamentary hearings that, because of the capital charges on high-cost British-built vessels, they could not compete in the North Atlantic with the flash packets of the American Black Ball, Swallow Tail, and Red Star lines. Costs, however, were not the only factor, for American shipbuilders had built ships that could "go" with such speed that they could cross the Atlantic in little more than half the time taken by British vessels. To speed was added prestige. At the Liverpool docks, an Englishman named W. N. Blane wrote in 1824, a man "will see the American ships, long, sharp built, beautifully painted and rigged, and remarkable for their appearance and white canvas. He will see the English vessels, short, round and dirty, resembling great black tubs."

The packets were not the only superior American ships. During the first half of the nineteenth century, American shipbuilders contributed as much to the development of the sailing ship as other countries had in three centuries. Noteworthy changes in rig, design, carrying capacity, and handling of vessels occurred between 1815 and 1850. American builders took the fore-and-aft rig, for which the Dutch were probably responsible, and built a vessel of sharp hull lines called the schooner.

This rig, which has been the favored one for cruising yachts, was particularly adaptable for their coasting trade.

The greatest improvements, however, were in square-riggers. Morison tells of a shipmaster, retired in 1819, who took passage in 1834 on a Boston-built vessel. He was astonished at her ability to carry sail, to beat to windward, and to "tack in a pint o'water." Medford builders had evolved a ship of 450 tons, which, handled by 18 officers and men, could carry half as much freight as a 1,500-ton British East Indiaman with a crew of 125, and could sail half again as fast. Elsewhere we tell of the cotton freighters that doubled the carrying capacity of earlier carriers ton for ton. The sailing ship reached a peak of perfection in the American clipper.

This new type of sailing vessel -- characterized by great length in proportion to breadth of beam, an enormous sail area, and long concave bows ending in a gracefully curved cutwater -- had been devised for the China-New York tea trade. The voyage of the Sea Witch [to San Francisco in 1850 ] showed its possibilities. Her record was broken by the Surprise within a year, and in 1851 Flying Cloud made 'Frisco in eighty-nine days from New York, a record never surpassed. As California then afforded no return cargo save gold dust (the export of wheat began only in 1855), the Yankee clippers proceeded in ballast to the China treaty ports, where they came into competition with the British marine; and the result was more impressive than the victory of the yacht America. Crack East-Indiamen humbly waited for a cargo weeks on end, while one American clipper after another sailed off with a cargo of tea at double the ordinary freights. When the Oriental of New York appeared at London, ninety-seven days from Hong-Kong, crowds thronged the West India docks to admire her beautiful hull, lofty rig, and patent fittings; the Admiralty took off her lines in dry dock, and the Times came out with a leader challenging British shipbuilders to set their "long practised skill, steady industry and dogged determination" against the "youth, ingenuity and ardour" of the United States.

The British answer was the British-built clippers Stornoway and Chrysolite, but, by the time they were built, Donald McKay had launched his Sovereign of the Seas, the largest merchant ship yet built. After gold was discovered in Australia in 1853, McKay built four clippers for the Australian Black Ball Line. One of the reasons for repeal of the British Navigation Acts was that British shipowners wished to employ superior American ships.

American Trade to the Civil War

Although the Revolutionary War had virtually eliminated the merchant fleet of the 13 colonies, the new country started life with a very important maritime asset -- a shipbuilding industry that consisted of hundreds of small yards dotting the coast from Maine to Georgia, manned by skilled craftsmen and backed up by the most abundant and easily accessible supplies of shipbuilding timber in the world. Colonial shipbuilders had been furnishing not only colonial-owned tonnage but also English tonnage. Out of a total of 600,000 gross tons of British-owned tonnage in the 1770's, 210,000 tons had been constructed in the colonies, most of it in North America.

Soon after the war was over, an American merchant fleet was again at sea. The years from 1800 to 1840 have been called the "most glorious period in American maritime history." Throughout these four decades, American ships carried 90 percent or more of the country's imports and exports. During the next two decades, American-owned bottoms carried a decreasing proportion of the nation's trade, but in 1860, only two countries, Great Britain and the United States, owned large merchant marines. Britain's fleet of 5.7 million gross tons was slightly larger than the American fleet of 5.3 million tons, but the greater speed and carrying capacity of American ships more than compensated for the difference in tonnage.

Buddhism: Carrying of Buddhism to Central Asia

Chinese commerce and inventions, especially the silk trade and the invention of paper, played a great part in the development of the West, just before and after the beginning of our era, but China was also at this time exposed to many new influences from without which were destined to play an important rôle in her artistic and religious development and the greatest and most far-reaching of these was the coming of Buddhism. The ancient ritual on the altar and the traditional customs of the grave were not given up, but new inspiration came from Buddhism which brought in the present comforts and consolations of the compassionate mediation and help of the Boddhisatvas and the forward-looking hope of a paradise for the blessed.

The story of the conquests of Alexander the Great in Syria, Babylonia and Persia is well known. The far-reaching effect of his advance farther east is a chapter in the history of the world which, up to quite recently, has received less attention. His conquests in Bactria and Ferghana and in North India were epoch-making in the cultural history and especially in the art history of Asia. What carried this influence of Hellenistic art across Asia was religion. Just as it was Hellenistic forms in Christian dress that penetrated Europe, so it was Hellenistic forms in Buddhist dress that penetrated Asia. And right here we must say that the impulse from Greece became even more attenuated under Buddhist guise than under that of Christianity.

Buddhism had been founded some two hundred years before Alexander. But it did not penetrate into northwestern India, the Greek sphere, until Asoka's reign a century or so after Alexander's death. It was here that Buddhism and Hellenism first met. It was here that Buddhism received from Hellenism the inspiration which through centuries to come made Buddhist art find its chief artistic expression in the human body. Although Buddhism had not shown the absolute prejudice against all forms of images that characterized the Hebrew spirit, Buddha himself is not prominent in early sculpture. There are representations of the nativity but no babe. There are representations of Buddha riding forth from his royal domain but it is a riderless horse that goes forth. It is only when Buddhism touches the Greek domain that it becomes natural and inevitable for the divine always to be represented in the human form.

Gradually in northwestern India the Buddha form takes on its permanent conventional representations and a new type known as Ghandara art is created. From here Buddhist art with the Hellenistic type more and more attenuated spread back over the rest of India and Ceylon and north and west to China and Japan, during just the same centuries that Christianity with its Hellenistic influence was spreading across Europe.

One of the greatest factors in the carrying of Buddhism to Central Asia was the Indo-Scythian Empire in northwest India. The IndoScythians, or Yüe-chis as they are called in the Chinese annals, are first known in Chinese history as a people living in the northwest corner of China in the territory of the present province of Kansu. In the second century B.C., while still living on the Chinese border, the Yüe-chis were defeated by the Hsiung-nus whose chieftain made a drinking cup of the skull of the Yüe-chi king. Terrified by such barbarism, two hundred thousand Yüe-chi warriors, with their women and children, left Kansu and migrated westward, one of the greatest migrations in the ancient world which has remained singularly unrecognized in the history of the West. Increasing like a snowball as they went, they overwhelmed the Greek states of Central Asia, bringing restlessness and change to the countries with whom they came in contact. Though starting as rude barbarians, they absorbed gradually both the remnants of Greek culture and the Buddhist religion which they found in the regions conquered, and finally, after many years' wanderings, reached northwestern India where they settled and founded the Indo-Scythian Empire.

History of Chinese porcelains

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the European demand for Chinese porcelains brought about extraordinary developments in this art. Porcelain which lends itself to light and delicate gradations of color, became the typical material of Rococo art. In this subtlety of feeling lies the secret of the affinity in style of Rococo and Chinese culture. Sublimated in the delicate tints of fragile porcelain, in the vaporous hues of shimmering Chinese silks there revealed itself to the minds of that gracious eighteenth century in Europe a vision of happy living.

K'ang Hsi and Ch'ien Lung both took an intelligent and wholehearted interest in the development of this branch of Chinese art. K'ang Hsi made an early move to transfer some of the Ching Tê factories to Peking, but for some reason or other the attempt died at birth and Ching Tê, stronger than ever, remained for centuries the metropolis of porcelain manufacture.

When Tsang Yuan-hsuan, Secretary of the Imperial Board of Works in 1683, was put in charge of the imperial kilns, a period of unprecedented development was inaugurated. Chinese books which tell about this unusual man say that when he was at work "God laid a finger to the drawing and at the same time prevented the porcelain in the kilns from mishaps." He was an artist himself but must also have been a man of exceptional humane and administrative gifts. It is generally believed that the great success of his administration was partly due to the improvements which he made in the living and working conditions of the workmen, who were given more freedom and comfort, and who consequently gave better workmanship and showed an increased artistic initiative.

The bulk of K'ang Hsi and Ch'ien Lung porcelains are decorated with painted or enamelled designs, although some of the earlier monochromes were reproduced. A great deal of white ware was made for mourning, and Celadons continued to be made. But the glaze of these later pieces is like shining satin compared to the soft velvety touch of the Sung potteries which remained unsurpassed.

This, however, was not only a period of reproductions; new types of great beauty were also created. Most famous of these is the red sang-debœuf, sometimes called oxblood, a material infrequently used in its manufacture. It is a luminous, ruby-like red with a mottled effect sometimes showing through the glaze. The red of the sang-de-bœuf was usually obtained from copper, and so was the exquisite rare peach-bloom which, in the best pieces, was made over a Celadon foundation. The Ch'ing Dynasty monochromes come in many colors. There is a cheerful apple-green with a heavy crackle drawn in and a powder-blue decorated with white medallions. Some of these new creations are best known under their European names--such as the delicate clair de lune, an evanescent pale blue, which usually comes in small artistic pieces.

Images of Kuanyins, Lohans and Buddhist divinities, formerly made in bronze, stone and marble, were now made in porcelain. These images often show beautiful workmanship and sometimes an individual idea is expressed; but the bulk of this type, and there is a great deal of it, adheres to standardized models and becomes monotonous and uninteresting in its unending repetition of the same motives.

A great deal of Ch'ing porcelain comes in blue and white. This type seems to have made a special appeal to the mariners from the West. The fresh, clean-looking blue and white so-called ginger jars--their decoration nearly always a prunous white plum blossom on a crackled, intensely blue ground which means to the Chinese the end of winter, the coming of spring and the new year of feasting and joy--can be found all over the world, even in New England skippers' homes where they seem to have been made to harmonize with the rag carpets and muslin curtains.

The elegant vivid black and green Hawthorne vases and the whole resplendent famille verte, famille rose, famille noire, and famille jaune, with their stylish French names, fitted equally well into Europe's drawing rooms during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These tall slender vases, sometimes rounded, sometimes with square sides and in many other shapes besides, show in their designs a brilliant array of the flowers of the garden and field in all the colors of the rainbow, with scenes from history and everyday life sometimes depicted.

Connoisseurs of Ch'ing porcelains make a distinction between the earlier K'ang Hsi and the later Yung Ch'eng and Ch'ien Lung ware. The bright greens of the earlier period became subdued during the later reigns. The polychrome famille rose takes the place of the brilliant famille verie. Ch'ing porcelain can easily be studied, as this branch of Chinese art has been more fully covered in books and collections than any other. These later porcelains drew the attention of the West long before any other forms of Chinese art were known. Until the last few decades the West was unaware that this artisans' art was but the brilliant autumn coloring of an art that had existed for thousands of years.

In the decorative art of this period, lacquer became a much used material. The lac tree was cultivated in China even before the Christian era. Colonel Kozloff in excavating Chinese tombs in Mongolia found a well-preserved, exquisitely made and decorated lacquer bowl from before the Christian era. Tables and other objects made of lacquer have also been excavated from Chinese tombs from about the same time, and several lacquer paintings have been found in Korean tombs from a few centuries later and utensils were made of lacquer for the imperial household during the Sung Dynasty, gold and silver lacquer with a plain undecorated surface. During the Mongol régime elaborately carved pieces came into vogue, and pieces inlaid with mother-of-pearl. A great deal of lacquer from the Ming Dynasty has been preserved and shows, as a rule, finer workmanship than later objects. The designs from this period are usually painted in traditional motifs, willowy ladies, pompous officials and romantic garden scenes.