Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - The Agency of Pu’er: Tea Trade and Intra-Ethnic Interactions in the Frontier Regions of Yunnan(1662-1786)

Saturday, July 7
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

Yunnan’s frontier region has had a long history of cultivating and marketing cash crops. Pu’er tea, cultivated in Sipsongpanna (西双版纳) for several centuries, is one such example. During the reigns of emperors Kangxi (康熙) and Qianlong(乾隆) of the Qing Dynasty, several groups of Han Chinese migrated to and settled in the trading nodes of Pu’er tea. The boom in Pu’er tea trade transformed this remote indigenous area into a dynamic zone of commercial exchanges and cross-cultural interactions. By focusing on Pu’er tea trade in Sipsongpanna, this presentation analyzes the different roles the local administrators of the imperial government, local ruling people known as the Tai-Lue (傣泐), mountain peoples, and Han immigrants played in fostering such interactions along the trading networks. It is argued that activities associated with the trade in Pu’er tea helped mitigate the distinctions among the above-mentioned ethnic groups with regard to environmental adoptions, social structures, languages, religions, and so forth. The trade in Pu’er tea contributed to the shaping Sipsongpanna as a trans-ethnic and cross-cultural commercial frontier, which, in turn, led to unprecedented economic prosperity in the region.

Kunbing Xiao

NYU Shanghai, China

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Kunbing Xiao


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1 - The Agency of Pu’er: Tea Trade and Intra-Ethnic Interactions in the Frontier Regions of Yunnan(1662-1786)



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