Wednesday, August 16, 2006


A Chinese junk in Japan, at the beginning of the Sakoku period (1644-1648 Japanese woodblock print)
Don't leave your junk
sitting around the house

Junk means... well, a lot of things. Perhaps my favorite definition, though, is "a Chinese flatbottom ship with a high poop and battened sails".

Some of the more distinctive features include the square sails containing material flattened by bamboo strips. The strong bamboo makes little rigging necessary for these ships.

Another interesting definition of junk is a "hard salt beef for consumption on board a ship". Although the two meanings are both ship-related, I believe this to be a coincidence. Whereas the ship name is derived from the Malay word dgong or jong, I get the distinct impression that the beef was called "salt junk" simply because it tasted terrible.

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