Why were Europeans so enthusiastic about anything Asian?

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Each week we will be looking at a set period from our past. Although these are our ancestors, it will seem like we are studying a distant planet, inhabited by people with the strangest of habits. Fortunately, these subjects of our observation give us abundant clues about who they are. Their art, their writing, their technology, the way they do business, the way they govern

themselves all feed into a picture we will attempt to paint for ourselves each week. Understanding who they were will help us understand who we are.

Each week you will be given three or four questions pertaining to important topics covered in the materials provided in the question itself, the textbook, the lectures, the other materials provided, and my comments in my Live Session. You choose the one question you like and post a response of 125 words or more. You also need to respond to another post from one of your fellow students. This second post should be at least 60 or so words long and should not just agree with or repeat what has been said. The ancient artwork traditions of China and Japan began to enter the European world as European trade became a huge business and cultural exchange. Europe fell in love with what came to be known as chinoiserie. The reality is that China was an ancient and quite advanced civilization, scientifically far ahead of the West in many ways. What Europeans saw as exotic artifacts from a mysterious land reflected the many cultural traditions that melded to form Chinese culture in the 18th Century. What are some examples of chinoiserie and other artifacts of Asian culture that became so popular in Western Europe? Why were Europeans so enthusiastic about anything Asian? Why do you think Europeans were so arrogant about their self-conceived superiority?

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