Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Download Worcester's Crooked Junks, Free

B&W photo of crooked stern junk
A crooked-stern salt junk of Fowchow, from Worcester, G. (1941) Notes on the Crooked-bow and Crooked-stern Junks of Szechwan, following p.36.

Among the most unusual Chinese watercraft are those described by G.R.G. Worcester in Notes on the Crooked-bow and Crooked-stern Junks of Szechwan (1941, Inspector General of Customs [Shanghai]), now available for free download here

Sketch of two crooked stern types
Different configurations of crooked sterns, from Worcester, 1941, plate 13.

Both types were used as transporters for the salt industry, with the crooiked-bow type being specially adapted to running a tortuous and twisting whitewater river, as shown in the image below. The junks were controlled by a huge sweep aft when running downriver, and were hauled by lines when travelling upstream

Sketch map showing route of salt junks through twisting section of river
The salt junk's path through a risky section of river, from Worcester, 1941, plate 8.

Worcester devotes much attention to the salt industry itself, describing its technology and economics, before turning to the vessels. As in his other works on Chinese junks and sampans (see more free downloads), he scrupulously documents the boats' structures, as in the next image. But he also describes in detail the boats' handling and the "domestic" lives on the crew when aboard.

Sketch showing staple that passes through boat to fasten inside of wale to outside of adjacent plank.
Method of fastening plank to wale on a salt junk, from Worcester, 1941, following p.42.

In addition to the two larger junks named in the book's title are plans and descriptions of two smaller vessels: the Tzeliutsing salt sampan and ferry sampan.

Many thanks to the contributor who provided this document so that we could make it available as a free resource.

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