By Fa-ti Fan
within the eighteenth and 19th centuries, Western medical curiosity in China concentrated totally on ordinary heritage. in demand 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 clinical job, it's been completely ignored via historians of technology.
This ebook is the 1st entire learn in this subject. In a sequence of vibrant chapters, Fa-ti Fan examines the study of British naturalists in China when it comes to the background of ordinary heritage, of empire, and of Sino-Western relatives. the writer supplies a wide ranging view of ways the British naturalists and the chinese language explored, studied, and represented China's wildlife within the social and cultural atmosphere of Qing China.
utilizing the instance of British naturalists in China, the writer argues for reinterpreting the historical past of common heritage, by means of together with missed old actors, highbrow traditions, and cultural practices. His strategy strikes past viewing the heritage of technological know-how and empire inside ecu heritage and considers the alternate of rules, aesthetic tastes, fabric tradition, and crops and animals in neighborhood and worldwide contexts. This compelling booklet offers an cutting edge framework for realizing 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
It was part of the international commerce that also circulated tea, silk, porcelain, and export art. In addition to visiting the local markets, the naturalists also secured a supply of specimens through broadening the already-established friendships, commercial relationships, and similar modes of exchange with the Chinese. Horticulture and natural history actually formed part of the gift relations in the commercial world in Old Canton. The artisans, shopkeepers, and gardeners in Canton were not the only Chinese from whose knowledge and resources the British naturalists beneﬁted.
Many of the dozens of living Chinese animals donated to the Zoological Society of London in the 1830s must also have been picked up in the markets of Canton. 98 However, the most important ﬁeldwork site for the naturalists was the Fa-tee nurseries, three miles upstream from the foreign Factories. Fa-tee was one of the several ﬂower markets of Canton; the other ones, however, were out of Westerners’ reach. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the Chinese developed a widespread culture of ﬂowers and gardening.
151 In seconds, the fruits of many months of labor could be crushed or swept into the sea. Living plants required a lot of fresh water, a precious item for the crew, next only to liquor and beer. Because the quota was barely enough for the crew’s needs, the person in charge of the plants had to be frugal with every drop of the water set aside for them. When it rained, he would expose the plants for a soaking and collect rainwater for future use. Salt spray was a fearsome killer of the plants; salt quickly crystallized on the leaves and had to be wiped off with a sponge, sometimes several times a day.