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tion by their superior orders ;) the cross position of the arms of the figure, by affecting the shape of the letter T, seems intended to recal the recollection of the very name of the plant; and the position of the shoots in respect of the stalk, as well as that of the bird (as Sonnini calls it, though, as engraved for him, and copied in pl. 3, it has but little likeness to a bird,) which is perched upon one of the shoots, would seem to be intended to affect the shape of the letter T likewise, and with the same view.
But though Homer has devoted several entire books of the Odyssey to the Chinese, it is not necessary to resort to that poem to prove that he was perfectly well acquainted with that people : for all their leading characteristics are marked with a stroke of the pen, as it were, in the Iliad itself. It may be remembered, that when Thetis is in want of a new suit of armour for her son Achilles, she applies to HQUOTOS, Vulcan, to make it for her. Now this god HDOLOTOS, (for it is here necessary to give an explanation of another of the ancient deities,) I have no doubt, was
the country of China personified. The name of Ηφαιστος serves no less than that of Φανικες, to put one in mind of the Chinese god Fohi : the well known skill of the Chinese in the mechanic arts is denoted by the epithet κλυτοτεχνης, commonly given to HPOLOTOS: the fertility of their invention, by frequent expressions similar to that in 7 Od. 92,
and their very singular custom of crushing the feet of their females in infancy so as to cause an artificial lameness for life, is noticed by the word κυλλοποδειων, another common epithet of HφαιOTOS, who indeed makes mention of his own lameness, in 8 Od. 309, WS EMɛ Xw2ov Evrd, and that was in fact the circumstance that caused Anuvos, (lameness,) to be fabled as the place of his residence, KOTTESOV EV Amuww, 1 II. 593. And as it has a bearing upon the subject just now mentioned, this may be no improper occasion to notice that the following lines from the 1st II. 397, seem to have a particular reference to the practice so universal among the Chinese, (Ηφαιστος,) of drinking tea as their common beverage, a practice which excited laughter among the other gods, who, as the poet would seem thereby to insinuate, liked wine better than tea.
Αυταρ ο τοις αλλοισι θεοις ενδεξια πασιν .
But in addition to the circumstances just now stated (from the Iliad,) it may be seen, on examination, that a considerable portion of the description of the shield which Ηφαιστος makes for Achilles there, is, in truth, a description of China itself; and it is impossible to imagine a more beautiful or ingenious mode of introducing such a description: 18 Π. 369,