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Luxurious NetworksSalt Merchants, Status, and Statecraft in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Yulian Wu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798112

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798112.001.0001

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Furnishing the Court

Furnishing the Court

Chapter:
(p.63) Two Furnishing the Court
Source:
Luxurious Networks
Author(s):

Yulian Wu

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804798112.003.0003

Chapter 2 examines the Huizhou head merchants’ interaction with the most precious and expensive goods in eighteenth-century Jiangnan. It explores how these businessmen produced and procured objects for imperial use through the tribute system, manufacturing, and the Qianlong emperor’s empire-wide book collecting project. This chapter shows in detail how the Huizhou salt merchants procured objects from local workshops, markets, and private collections and how their personal networks and managerial ability enabled them to “run errands” for the court. While the salt merchants supplemented formal state bureaucratic systems and served as the emperor’s informal agents in Jiangnan, they also facilitated an exchange of style and taste between the capital and Jiangnan.

Keywords:   head merchant, Lower Yangzi valley (Jiangnan), Qianlong emperor, capital style, tribute, Siku quanshu, bondservants, Huizhou, Yangzhou

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