IN former times it was generally believed that there existed in the East a mysterious “plant-animal,” variously called “the vegetable lamb of Tartary,” “the Scythian lamb,” and “the Barometz,” or “Borametz.” The usual explanation of this notion is that it originated from certain little lamblike toy figures constructed by the Chinese from the rhizome and frond-stems of a tree-fern. Mr. Lee, however, holds that the idea came into Europe from Western Asia, and that it referred in the first instance to the cotton-pod. This theory he works out thoroughly in the present little work, and in the course of his argument he has brought together many curious and interesting facts, the significance of which is made more plain by a number of good illustrations. In a separate chapter Mr. Lee treats of the history of cotton, its uses by ancient races in Asia, Africa, and America, and its gradual introduction among the nations of Europe.
The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.
By Henry Lee. (London: Sampson Low, 1887.)