A High Price for Chinese Porcelain

Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province is a well-known Chinese porcelain city and has been an important production center in China since the early Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Chinese porcelain originated in the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC). Source: China Paper Online

Frances Miller writes about collecting antique Canton china at Suite 101.com. He says, “Since the 18th century, blue and white porcelain china originating from the port of Canton has been filling cabinets in America… and was a staple on the dining tables of such prominent Americans as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.”  

“The demand for Chinese products—tea, porcelain, silk, and nankeen (a coarse, strong cotton cloth)—continued after the Revolution. Having seen the British make great profits from the trade when the colonies were prevented from direct trade with China, Americans were eager to secure these profits for themselves.” Source: Early American Trade With China

This hunger for Chinese products, while the Chinese found little in the West to buy, led to the Opium Wars, which Britain and France started and won to force China to even the trade imbalance. Then China sold the West silk, porcelain and tea while the West sold China opium.

Today, we still hear angry voices complain about the unfair trade imbalance between China and the US. Can anyone blame China for maintaining a powerful military?

See The Accidental Discovery of Gunpowder


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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