Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Close

  • Grows vegetables
  • Fills classrooms
  • Drills wells
  • Empowers women
  • Fights poverty

Exotic Commodities: Modern Objects and Everyday Life in China

£17.99

Product description



Exotic Commodities is the first book to chart the consumption and spread of foreign goods in China from the mid-nineteenth century to the advent of communism in 1949. Richly illustrated and revealing, this volume 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. 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 malignant spirits.

Frank Dikötter argues that ordinary people were the least inhibited in acquiring these products and therefore the most instrumental in changing the material culture of China. Landscape 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 Dikötter pursues in his conclusion: If the key to surviving in a fast-changing world is the ability to innovate, could China be more in tune with modernity than Europe?

Item details

Author(s):
Frank Dikotter
Condition:
Used: good
Edition:
2006
Format:
Hardback
ISBN-10:
0231141165
ISBN-13:
9780231141161
Number of pages:
382
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Title:
Exotic Commodities: Modern Objects and Everyday Life in China

Standard UK Delivery £3.95 per order

Delivery FAQs

Free returns

within 21 days.
Returns policy

About this item



Exotic Commodities is the first book to chart the consumption and spread of foreign goods in China from the mid-nineteenth century to the advent of communism in 1949. Richly illustrated and revealing, this volume 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. 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 malignant spirits.

Frank Dikötter argues that ordinary people were the least inhibited in acquiring these products and therefore the most instrumental in changing the material culture of China. Landscape 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 Dikötter pursues in his conclusion: If the key to surviving in a fast-changing world is the ability to innovate, could China be more in tune with modernity than Europe?

Author(s):
Frank Dikotter
Condition:
Used: good
Edition:
2006
Format:
Hardback
ISBN-10:
0231141165
ISBN-13:
9780231141161
Number of pages:
382
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Title:
Exotic Commodities: Modern Objects and Everyday Life in China

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section.

We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:

Wedding dresses: 14 days

Overseas returns: 31 days

Everything else: 21 days


This item is also available for international delivery by airmail, carrying a mandatory delivery charge of:

Europe: £8.00

Outside Europe: £15.00

Volunteer listed

Wonder how this unique item ended up online?

Most of the second-hand items you see online have been donated, by supporters like you, to our high street stores. Each item is then priced, photographed and listed on this site by our amazing team of volunteers from across the country.

After you have bought your item, our team of volunteers package and dispatch it from the Shop straight to you or your chosen recipient.

All profits from the sales of our goods go towards funding Oxfam's work around the world. We rely on your donations to sell online so please keep the cycle of goodness going!

To find out more about volunteering with Oxfam, please visit our how to volunteer page.

Oxfam Books & Music Lancaster

Oxfam is the UK's largest second hand bookseller, but it doesn't stop there. We sell a great range of donated music as well as a good selection of stationery. Whether it's vintage LPs or the latest modern fiction you want, we're well worth a look! We also sell on-line.

View Shop