Exotic Commodities PDF ePub eBook

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Exotic Commodities free pdf China was an avid importer of material goods from modernizing countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Foreign imports were enthusiastically embraced by both the upper and lower classes and rapidly woven into the fabric of everyday life, often in inventive ways. Scarves, skirts, blouses, and corsets were combined with traditional garments to create strikingly original fashions. Industrially produced rice, sugar, wheat, and canned food revolutionized local cuisine, and mass-produced mirrors were hung on doorframes to ward off maligning spirits. In this richly illustrated and fascinating book, Frank Dikotter recounts how exotic commodities were acquired and adapted in a country commonly believed to have remained "hostile toward alien things" during the industrial era. China was not immune to global trends that prized the modern goods of "civilized" nations. Dikotter argues that ordinary people were the least inhibited in acquiring these products and therefore the most instrumental in changing the material culture of China. Land-scape paintings, door leaves, and calligraphy scrolls were happily mixed with kitschy oil paintings and modern advertisements. Old and new interacted in ways that might have seemed incongruous to outsiders but were perfectly harmonious to local people. This pragmatic attitude would eventually lead to China's own mass production and export of cheap, modern goods, which today can be found all over the world. The nature of this history raises the question, which Dikotter pursues in his conclusion: If the key to surviving a fast-changing world is the ability to innovate, could China have been more in tune with modernity than Europe?

About Frank Dikotter

Frank Dik tter is professor of the modern history of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and chair professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong. His books include Imperfect Conceptions: Medical Knowledge, Birth Defects, and Eugenics in China and Crime, Punishment, and the Prison in Modern China, 1895-1949, both published by Columbia, and The Discourse of Race in Modern China.

Details Book

Author : Frank Dikotter
Publisher : Columbia University Press
Data Published : 01 March 2007
ISBN : 0231141165
EAN : 9780231141161
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 382 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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