Category: Substances of Wellbeing and Intoxication

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Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year? – Celebrating in Harmony

Chinese New Year' or 'Lunar New Year' are two intertwined terms. Although indicative of positive cultural change, their overlapping nature has sparked controversies within museum spaces.

Zilan Wang

14 February 2023

The Tea Horse Road: An Ancient Trade Route

Michael Freeman, photographer and author of the ‘Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet’, explores the pressed tea bricks in MAA’s care and the longest trade route in the ancient world.

Michael Freeman

7 February 2023

May you always have alcohol and meat

Alcoholic beverages made from fermented rice and sorghum grains were considered ritually important in ancient China. This post looks at some vessels involved in the use of alcohol in the Han Dynasty.

James Lin

18 January 2023

Brick Tea as a Form of Currency

In a previous blog post on this object, I pursued one of the clues found on its label to show that it was a product of the Russian brick tea trade in China. In this one, we look at how it functioned as currency.

Aayushi Gupta

20 December 2022

‘Square Face’: Gin, Currency, and Colonialism in Africa

Discover stories of trade in West Africa, colonial exploitation, Christianity, traditional African religious practices, alcohol consumption and prohibition through a bottle of European gin.

Mark Elliott

13 December 2022

Fancy a drink? Chicha: An Ancient Maize-Based Fermented Brew

In the pre-Columbian world, chicha (a maize brew) was a prominent alcoholic beverage. I search the collections at MAA for maize-related objects and speculate their relationship to this ancient brew.

Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas

6 December 2022

A Tea Brick Destined for Tibet

Ever tried to guess the flavour of tea just from looking at leaves or bricks, and without brewing them? Or even just from photographs of them? Come explore one example from the collections at MAA with me.

Shuzhen Kong (Ellen)

6 December 2022

Russian Brick Tea Trade in Hankou, China

An encounter with a Russian monogram on a tea brick from China leads to a wider exploration of the industrial production of tea bricks by Russian factories in Hankou, and their transnational trade.

Aayushi Gupta

6 December 2022

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