2004
Volume 54, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2589-4617
  • E-ISSN: 2667-2081

Abstract

Abstract

When Chinese tea was first introduced in Europe in the seventeenth century, it quickly became popular both as a hot drink and as medicine. In the Netherlands, the interest in Chinese goods and tea in particular reached its apogee in the last decades of the century. Such products were avidly consumed, but they were also discussed in numerous book publications. These publications largely focused on how tea could have a beneficial effect on health and wellbeing. However, tea consumption was also mocked in satirical culture. Even before tea truly became a mass-consumer good, the anonymous publishers of the (1687) and the (1687) took up the growing tea mania for their satirical genre parody. They confirmed tea’s continued association with health and medicine, but also testified to the first stirrings of debates on the participation of women and the ‘lower classes’ in the tea ritual. This article looks at the complex ways in which tea was represented in Dutch culture at the turn of the eighteenth century.

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