Monday, December 14, 2020

The Celestial Empire

This lifestyle channel delivers daily vignettes from China (~5 minutes each), with an occasional episode from Taiwan. They have English subtitles, so offer a unique window into modern Chinese life. 

When I blogged from Beijing in the summer of 2019, some readers were surprised that I found parts of the city as aesthetically interesting as places in Tokyo or other iconic cities. 

Everything is advancing very rapidly in China, as you can tell from the videos. Below are some episodes I recommend. There are many more...

Kindergarten in renovated Beijing courtyard house.


Tibetan lodges.

Boat house in Fujian.


Struggles of an independent film maker.


Photographer documents lives of factory workers in Guangdong.


Buddha collection in Guangzhou.

See also China 1793 -- it looks like the 200 year down cycle may be over... Celestial Empire returns?

Amasa Delano was an American ship captain and distant relative of FDR who circumnavigated the globe several times as a fur trader. Most of the fur went to China in the 18th and early 19th century: Delano brought back porcelain to America. Even then there was a manufacturing trade deficit! He appears in Herman Melville's novella Benito Cereno.

Delano's book A Narrative of Voyages and Travels in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (1817) describes his impressions of China in that era: 

China is ... the first for greatness, riches, and grandeur, of any country ever known.

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