Why are thermoses so popular in China? Why does your neighbor’s son wear that red necktie to school every day? And what’s the deal with all the red lanterns, anyway? If you ever find yourself asking questions like these, keep reading.
China, like any other nation, has a unique material culture of its own. You can find historical symbols of national significance displayed in museums throughout the country, but everyday items have important cultural meaning, too. Visit any Chinese supermarket, pharmacy or home, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by more than just “stuff.” Things on shelves and tables have stories of their own, and learning their significance is an easy way to connect with Chinese society.
Essentially Chinese: Chinese Stuff, published by Popcorn Idea Factory and translated by Liu Jun, is a collection of short stories behind — you guessed it — Chinese stuff. It is a beautiful photobook that will teach you, page by page, the importance of little things, covering roughly 160 iconic items. Divided into seven sections (office and classroom, food and drink, home, leisure, drugs and cosmetics, attire and decoration), this book takes you on a comprehensive tour of China’s material culture, which lays hidden in train tickets, moon cakes and iron pans. And each item has its own page, where clean photography and succinct writing come together to provide an insightful introduction.
You may already recognize many of these items from your time in China, but you may not know the real reason for their popularity. This book promises to give you a deeper understanding of the Middle Kingdom’s unique commodity culture, and it’s the ideal gift for friends and family who want to learn more about your daily life in China.
This super popular book is available for pre-sale right now on thMart. Orders placed now will be delivered by the end of this month.
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