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Golden-Silk SmokeA History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010$
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Carol Benedict

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262775

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262775.001.0001

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The Expansion of Chinese Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Trade, 1600–1750

The Expansion of Chinese Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Trade, 1600–1750

(p.34) 2 The Expansion of Chinese Tobacco Production, Consumption, and Trade, 1600–1750
Golden-Silk Smoke

Carol Benedict

University of California Press

Chinese consumers for the most part smoked tobacco grown in China on countless small family farms spread across the empire. Processed in tiny workshops located near tobacco farms in the mountainous peripheries of China's nine macroregions, premium regional tobaccos were aggressively marketed by the large merchant groups that dominated China's long-distance trade. By the mid-eighteenth century, mainly as a consequence of large-scale migration into the Yangzi River highlands, a two-tiered system of tobacco production and consumption was firmly in place. Peasants smoked affordable tobacco grown locally, while the moneyed elite conspicuously consumed expensive tobaccos transported over great distances through China's integrated market economy. The infinite assortment of domestically grown tobaccos that emerged by 1750 or so allowed for a dramatic expansion in tobacco smoking among both rich and poor in virtually all corners of the empire. This chapter traces the expansion of Chinese tobacco production, consumption, and trade between 1600 and 1750. It also discusses tobacco cultivation and retailing.

Keywords:   China, tobacco, smoking, consumption, trade, retailing, tobacco farms, tobacco cultivation, Yangzi River, tobacco production

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