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Additional info for Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010
By the mid-eighteenth century, mainly as a consequence of large-scale migration into the Yangzi River highlands, a two-tiered system of tobacco production and consumption was firmly in place. 1 The wide variety of tobacco products on offer at different levels of the marketing hierarchy meant that tobacco was readily available to both urban and rural consumers at all 34 Chinese Tobacco Production, 1600–1750 35 income levels. To be sure, wide gaps existed between the quality and price of tobacco sold locally and those of the heavily processed leaf carried along mountain tracks and shipped downriver to wealthy consumers in China’s urbanized cores.
There was none in our region, however. During the Chongzhen era [1628–44], someone named Peng got some seeds, from where I do not know, and planted them in this soil. 15 Another resident of Songjiang Prefecture, Zeng Yuwang (ca. ” After the Qing conquest, however, “there is not an official or soldier who does not smoke. ”16 The many long-distance traders who traveled between the Jiangnan region and Tianjin and Beijing along the Grand Canal further served to carry tobacco from Zhejiang and Jiangsu to the northern provinces of Shandong and Zhili.
90 Tobacco remained technically illegal in Russian territory until Peter the Great reversed the bans against it in 1697, but for decades official Russian embassies had routinely used tobacco as diplomatic gifts in Siberia and Mongolia. 91 Ultimately, the origins of Gansu’s “yellow-flower tobacco” remain a mystery. Fragmentary evidence suggests, however, that by the early to mid-seventeenth century, tobacco—whether grown in Anatolia, Ukraine, Moldova, India, or Persia, or smuggled across Russia from Ottoman or European ports—was already circulating in the Central Eurasian territories that had direct commercial and cultural ties to China’s far west.