Learning to Smoke Chinese-Style, 1644–1750

Carol Benedict

in Golden-Silk Smoke

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262775
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948563 | DOI:
Learning to Smoke Chinese-Style, 1644–1750

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From its earliest introduction in the late Ming period to its wide dispersal in the Qing period, New World tobacco traveled in multiple directions and along myriad paths to become “Chinese.” This process of transculturation was not unique to China, but occurred at roughly the same pace in other parts of Eurasia where other people were first learning to use Amerindian tobacco. As in other contexts, tobacco became indigenized in China in culturally specific ways even as it became a globalized phenomenon. Moreover, in China as elsewhere, a critical number of reasonably well-off smoking aficionados had to emerge before an integrated market for premium tobacco products could exist. This was achieved only after the practice of smoking was appropriated from below by the Han Chinese elite in the mid- to late seventeenth century. This chapter examines pipe smoking among commoners, tobacco smoking among Qing women (courtesans, prostitutes, and female entertainers), and Confucian anti-smoking moralism directed at women.

Keywords: China; tobacco; smoking; elite; commoners; Qing period; women; transculturation; moralism; prostitutes

Chapter.  12355 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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