A Fashionable Century
Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing
In the late Qing, the expansion of production systems and market economies transformed the Chinese fashion system, widening access to fashionable techniques, materials, and imagery. Challenging the conventional production model, in which women embroidered items at home, Silberstein sets fashion within a process of commercialization that created networks of urban guilds, commercial workshops, and subcontracted female workers. These networks gave rise to new trends influenced by performance and prints, and they offered women opportunities to participate in fashion and contribute to local economies and cultures.
Rachel Silberstein draws on vernacular and commercial sources, rather than on the official and imperial texts prevalent in Chinese dress history, to demonstrate that in these fascinating objects—regulated by market desires, rather than imperial edict—fashion formed at the intersection of commerce and culture.
About the Author
"[R]eaders with passion about China and women's fashions in the late Qing dynasty will get a lot out of this book. The book's contribution to the discussions about the changes in China's society, economy, and culture during the nineteenth century is vital and goes far beyond classic scholar literature."—Journal of Dress History
"[M]eticulously researched, carefully argued, and beautifully illustrated."—Journal of Chinese History
"Bravo! This magnificent book is bold in conception, meticulous in research, and elegant in writing and visual analysis. Fashion and nineteenth-century Chinese society will never look the same again."—Dorothy Ko, author of
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