UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The artisans of Ching-tê-chên in late imperial China Lee, Robert


This thesis deals with the artisans of Ching-te-chen, with emphasis on their vocational lives and on their relations with the government during the Ming and the Ch'ing dynasties. The thesis is divided into three chapters. The first chapter traces the development of the artisan regulations of the Ming and the Ch'ing periods. The second chapter, which constitutes the main body of the thesis, surveys the town of Ching-te-chen, the porcelain industry of Ching-te-chen, and the artisans of the town's porcelain industry. The third chapter attempts to answer two questions in the context of Ching-te-chen: What was the effect of the artisan regulations on the artisans and on artisanry? Were the artisans socially homogeneous? Drawing heavily from institutional works, gazetteers, and travelogues, the general conclusion derived is that the artisan regulations, though an obvious infringement on the artisans' freedom and livelihood, did contribute to the artisans' craftsmanship. This was quite evident in Ching-te-chen's porcelain production. As for social homogeneity, the artisans of Ching-te-chen were apparently "trade-conscious" rather than "class-conscious". Moreover, artisans of the same trade tended to fraternize among themselves only in times of adversity, but not in times of prosperity.

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