By Fa-ti Fan
within the eighteenth and 19th centuries, Western medical curiosity in China targeted totally on traditional historical past. popular students in Europe in addition to Westerners in China, together with missionaries, retailers, consular officials, and traveling plant hunters, eagerly investigated the wildlife of China. but regardless of the significance and volume of this medical job, it's been totally missed via historians of technology.
This e-book is the 1st finished research in this subject. In a chain of brilliant chapters, Fa-ti Fan examines the learn of British naturalists in China on the subject of the background of usual background, of empire, and of Sino-Western family. the writer offers a wide ranging view of the way the British naturalists and the chinese language explored, studied, and represented China's wildlife within the social and cultural surroundings of Qing China.
utilizing the instance of British naturalists in China, the writer argues for reinterpreting the background of normal heritage, via together with overlooked historic actors, highbrow traditions, and cultural practices. His technique strikes past viewing the background of technological know-how and empire inside eu historical past and considers the alternate of principles, aesthetic tastes, fabric tradition, and crops and animals in neighborhood and worldwide contexts. This compelling publication offers an leading edge framework for figuring out the formation of medical perform and data in cultural encounters.
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Additional resources for British Naturalists in Qing China: Science, Empire, and Cultural Encounter
92 To be sure, the Chinese had no idea of Western entomology; they collected and arranged the insects according to their brilliant coloration. Despite the erratic juxtaposition of kinds, these specimens gave Western naturalists some basic ideas concerning China’s insects. 94 If the customer wanted special birds from other parts of China, the Chinese tradesmen could make arrangements to procure them through their networks of inland trade. 95 British visitors to Canton took advantage of this ready supply of domestic animals and zoological curios.
89 The Cantonese even sold insects, living and dead. 90 They were tethered by threads to thin bamboo sticks, so that they could ﬂutter and display their beautiful wings. We do not know if the custom persisted in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; no Western account records it. However, even Westerners with lazy legs had no difﬁculty obtaining specimens of Chinese insects, because boxes of them were sold in the shops about the Factories. 92 To be sure, the Chinese had no idea of Western entomology; they collected and arranged the insects according to their brilliant coloration.
27 As items for exchange, the East Indiamen brought woolens (which proved to be a failure); European gadgets such as watches; spices, ivory, tortoise shell, and other valuables picked up at Madras, Calcutta, and Malacca; and, most importantly, silver currency. 32 Curiosities from Europe, dried goods from Southeast Asia, and tropical fruits such as litchi were taken north to be exchanged for silk and other commodities. Mer- 16 TH E P OR T chants from other parts of China also ﬂocked to Canton to trade—and to enjoy the licentious lifestyle for which the city gained notoriety throughout China.
British Naturalists in Qing China: Science, Empire, and Cultural Encounter by Fa-ti Fan