By S.A.M. Adshead
This ebook reinterprets the increase of consumerism by way of interplay among Europe and China 1400-1800. particularly, it examines the highbrow foundations of consumerism in foodstuff, gown, safeguard, utilities, info and symbolism. It highlights consumerism as an expression of either rationality and freedom and shows the optimistic function it has performed within the formation of the trendy global. specific use is made up of comparisons among advancements in Europe and China to tell apart both.
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Extra resources for Material Culture in Europe and China, 1400–1800: The Rise of Consumerism
Enquiry is followed by investigation, the preliminary assemblage of relevant material. Here the culinary parallel might be hors d'oeuvres, with its variety of gustatory experience, or pasta and sauce, to remove the immediate hunger which inhibits gourmet enjoyment. Investigation is succeeded by conceptualization: the discrimination of evidence, as in an entree, provided, say, by the subtle flavour of fish. Finally, there is judgement: the eureka of the scientist, the certainty of the historian that, on the evidence, such and such must have been the case.
American food plants, tobacco and specie went to China. Chinese silk, tea, porcelain and rhubarb went to Europe. Indian raw cotton went to China, Indian finished cottons went to Europe. Sugar for Europe and China was multiplied in the Caribbean and Java, in Brazil and Thailand. The search for fur for Europe and China was extended from Siberia to the Pacific, both north and south. It remains, however, to ask: where were these commodities received and by whom consumed? Beyond the structure of discovery and transportation, the familiar ports, routes, traffics of the French series, there was also a structure and conjuncture of consumption.
St Carlo Borromeo caught this when he said that to be a success in Rome, one must love God and have a carriage. In China, the wa-tzu or pleasure quarters of Hang-chou had continued the pursuit of the ephemeral begun by Ch'ang-an, but in more bourgeois mode. After the austerities of the early Ming, fashion reappeared in the sixteenth century in the raffinate kulturstadt of the Lower Yangtze. Thence it passed to Japan where it became the ukiyoe or floating world of Tokugawa Edo and Osaka. Protocol might rule in Kyoto, the city of the emperor, but fashion led in the cities of the shogun.