Thanks guys! I hope to get the working deck crew on board after sorting out the tiller, awnings, sampan, and various deck details this weekend. For now, there's one last touch to be added to the hull - the eyes.
The kit had originally come with round openings at the bow for Western-style hawse holes, but the Chinese didn’t use hawser openings for anchor cables, opting instead to simply haul the anchors up the flat bows and secure them on deck. What the Pyro kit designers mistook for hawse holes were in fact the “dragon eyes” so characteristic of Chinese and other Asian vessels.
According to Hans K. Van Tilburg’s Chinese Junks on the Pacific - Views from a Different Deck, the eyes were small painted wooden panels attached to the hull which represented an animistic, “portal by which the sailors imagine that the vessel can espy sunken rocks, schoals, and other dangers of the deep.”
Accordingly, I covered the holes over with plastic discs and painted the eyes on them.
These eyes were serious business. Van Tilburg also relates a story of a 19th Century British traveller in China:
“As I was sailing slowly onwards one of my boatmen seized his broad hat, and, rushing past me to the bows of the boat, placed it over one of the eyes. Several other boats in company were also blinded in the same way; some with hats, others with coats, cloaks, or anything that came readiest to hand. I did not understand this proceeding at first, but soon found out the cause. A dead body was floating up the stream with the tide, and if the boat is allowed to see an object of this kind some evil is sure to happen to the passengers or crew before the voyage is over.”