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Exhibition on the history of global connection opens at Belk Library - Dec. 2 

Students from a history class at Elon University will be hosting an exhibition titled "Things That Traveled: Material Culture of China in the Early Modern World."

The world map made by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) in China, titled "The Complete Illustration of Ten Thousands Countries."

A student-organized exhibition on the second floor of Elon University’s Belk Library will reveal the material culture of global connections from an early modern Chinese perspective. The public is invited to attend its Dec. 2 opening.

The exhibit is unfolded into four parts: "Dressing for Identity," "Making Tobacco Chinese," "Opium: Trade, War and Environment," and "Taste Taiwan: A History of Sugar and Tea." It uses objects from the collections of Elon University, private collections from class members, and images/maps from diverse sources.

By focusing on how China was woven into the emerging global network from the 16th to the 19th century, the exhibition considers the global world from the perspective of material culture, including the spread of commodities, the formation of fashion, and the interdependence between cultural practice and natural environment. 

The formal opening takes place on the second floor of Belk Library on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 12:15-1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

The exhibition demonstrates that the global world as we see today is not entirely a modern product, and nor is it solely a result of European explorations. During the early-modern period of intensifying interaction and exchange, “things” travelled more than ever before, and in their movement across various boundaries, they acquired and created new meanings. The exhibition brings attention to commodities such as clothes, tobacco, opium, tea, and sugar, all of which generated new relations and expanded the cultural horizon of early modern people.

‚ÄčThis exhibition was organized by Bobby Albers, Xavier Andrada, Avik Bhargave, Briana Brady, Kirsten Deprey, Nick Disa, Kevin Hutchings, Ileigh Kuga, Kaylina McKelvey, Jens Yetter, and Wanghao Ying from the HST 177: “China in the World, 1500-1840” course led by Xiaolin Duan, an assistant professor of history, with assistance from Ethan Moore, the curator of the Elon Art Collection.

For more information, contact exhibition organizer Xiaolin Duan at xduan@elon.edu


Xiaolin Duan,
11/18/2015 9:45 PM