Sunday, August 4, 2013
318. Did They Drink Out of China Cups?
The enlightenment of a society could be measured by the spread of material possession. Readers of Dr. Dave Wang’s papers on the Chinese cultural influence on the colonies in North America have realized the significance of Chinese products for the colonists. I am not going to talk about how the fight to win the right of drinking Chinese tea without inappropriate taxes triggered the War of Independence. Instead I will discuss the importance of Chinese porcelain.
It is indeed beyond your imagination about the importance of the product. To own a Chinese porcelain bowl or not was regarded as the standard to judge if a colonist is civilized or not. Did they drink out of china cups instead of wooden vessels? It was a sign of civilization.
According to Thomas Jefferson, to judge a society’s enlightenment, we must look into “their kettles, eat their bread.” Now you should understand better why Benjamin Franklin was so happy when his wife bought him a Chinese bowl. In his widely read autobiography, Franklin told his first experience of drinking out of a Chinese porcelain bowl vividly. (See Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography)