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A World Trimmed with FurWild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule$
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Jonathan Schlesinger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799966

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799966.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use (for details see http://www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 11 December 2017

The Mushroom Crisis

The Mushroom Crisis

Chapter:
(p.93) Three The Mushroom Crisis
Source:
A World Trimmed with Fur
Author(s):

Jonathan Schlesinger

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804799966.003.0004

As the pearl crisis raged, a rush for wild steppe mushroom moved to the center of the imperial agenda in Mongolia. Unheralded and forgotten, steppe mushrooms were big business in the Qing; by the 1820s, thousands of undocumented workers crossed the internal boundary from China to Mongolia each year in search of mushrooms. The chapter opens with the case of a passport forger whose arrest triggered a court edict against mushroom picking in 1829; we have little else of the affair in Chinese. The archives in Ulaanbaatar, however, contain hundreds of documents that detail the long, violent conflict that culminated in his arrest. By analyzing the confessions of mushroom pickers and the depositions of local officials, the chapter reconstructs the history of the mushroom rush and explores how a recreating a “pure” and pristine environment in Mongolia became the top concern of the court.

Keywords:   Mushrooms, Mongolia, purity, steppe, archives, Qing, China

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