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Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic…

Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic (Culture, Place, and Nature) (edition 2013)

by Jinghong Zhang (Author)

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Title:Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic (Culture, Place, and Nature)
Authors:Jinghong Zhang (Author)
Info:University of Washington Press (2013), 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:tea, China, Yunnan, pu'er, history, culture

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Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic by Jinghong Zhang



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If one were to imagine an ethnography of a commodity, one could do no better than to imagine Jinghong Zhang’s Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic. . . . Zhang’s book offers stories about the people who infuse Puer tea with identity, with history, with cachet (or “urban chic”). Zhang demonstrates that humans create the contexts and conditions for categorization, for custom, for commercialization. Something as commonplace—or as culturally foundational, depending on your perspective—as tea does not escape the layering-on of meaning (Zhang uses the term “packaging”) that makes it a worthy object of careful and deliberative study.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0295993235, Paperback)

Puer tea has been grown for centuries in the "Six Great Tea Mountains" of Yunnan Province. In imperial China it was a prized commodity, traded to Tibet by horse or mule caravan via the so-called Tea Horse Road and presented as tribute to the emperor in Beijing. In the 1990s, as the tea's noble lineage and unique process of aging and fermentation were rediscovered, it achieved cult status both in China and internationally. The tea became a favorite among urban connoisseurs who analyzed it in language comparable to that used in wine appreciation and paid skyrocketing prices for it. In 2007, however, local events and the international economic crisis caused the Puer market to collapse.

Puer Tea traces the rise, climax, and crash of this cultural phenomenon. With ethnographic attention to the spaces in which Puer tea is harvested, processed, traded, and consumed, anthropologist Jinghong Zhang constructs a vivid account of the transformation of a cottage handicraft into a major industry--with predictable risks and unexpected consequences.

Jinghong Zhang is a lecturer at Yunnan University.

"This is an engrossing study of the Puer tea industry and the many cultural spheres that surround it. It will be of keen interest to the Western tea trade as well as historians, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts. Tea publications rarely, if ever, discuss the complex relationships that quite literally bring tea to the table. Never has the anatomy of tea been dissected in such a wide ranging, thorough, and engaging way."--Steven D. Owyoung, co-translator of Korean Tea Classics

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:03 -0400)

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