Customs Traditions

Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010 by Carol Benedict

By Carol Benedict

From the long-stemmed pipe to snuff, the water pipe, hand-rolled cigarettes, and at last, synthetic cigarettes, the background of tobacco in China is the attention-grabbing tale of a commodity that grew to become an indicator of recent mass consumerism. Carol Benedict follows the unfold of chinese language tobacco use from the 16th century, while it used to be brought to China from the recent global, throughout the improvement of commercialized tobacco cultivation, and to the current day. alongside the way in which, she analyzes the criteria that experience formed China's hugely gendered tobacco cultures, and exhibits how they've got developed inside a huge, comparative world-historical framework. Drawing from a wealth of old sources--gazetteers, literati jottings (biji), chinese language materia medica, Qing poetry, glossy brief tales, past due Qing and early Republican newspapers, commute memoirs, social surveys, ads, and more--Golden-Silk Smoke not just uncovers the lengthy and dynamic background of tobacco in China but additionally sheds new gentle on worldwide histories of style and consumption.

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Extra resources for Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010

Example text

From there they moved on to Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan, or Yunnan (see map 2). Whichever direction they went, merchants and migrants moving outward from southern Fujian to other areas of China dispersed knowledge of tobacco and techniques for its cultivation. In some cases, sojourners who had traveled to the Southeast Coast brought tobacco seeds back with them when they returned home.

A highly mobile society, Minnan had been both a target of and a source for extensive migration since at least the 1550s. 3 Sojourners from other areas of China arrived in southern Fujian to take advantage of new economic opportunities even as Zhang-Quan merchants set sail for Manila, Batavia, and other foreign ports. When Minnan’s explosive economic growth slowed in the seventeenth century, the flow reversed course. 4 Movement away from the densely populated southeastern littoral into the mountainous interior was further stimulated by the “coastal removal” policies of the early Qing government in the 1660s.

1723–35) and Qianlong (r. 1736–95) emperors decided that cultivation of this non-edible crop wasted good land and should be “torn out by its roots,” tobacco had already become a mainstay of many local economies. The only thing left for Qing rulers to do was to capture in the form of customs duties some small percentage of the revenues tobacco was already generating across the empire. DI F F U SION OF TOBAC C O A S A C OM M E RC IA L C ROP T H ROU G H T H E YA NG Z I R I V E R H IG H L A N D S Although many coastal residents and some in the interior were well acquainted with tobacco in the late Ming, dissemination both of the plant and the practice of smoking throughout the entire Chinese empire took some time.

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