Foreign Luxuries and Chinese Taste

This seminar explores the intercultural dimensions of China’s material culture. Starting from the premise that cultural change is driven in part by intercultural exchange, the class looks at the reconfigurations of Chinese material culture. How were the local craft industries affected by international trade and international politics? How did China’s design traditions respond to the import of exotic luxuries, the foreign demand for export goods, and the presence of foreign craftsmen, merchants, missionaries, and diplomats? Our focus will be on the Yuan, Ming, and Qing eras (thirteenth to early twentieth centuries).

3 credits. Satisfies either the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.