Determining the Value of Textiles in the Tang Dynasty In Memory of Professor Denis Twitchett (1925–2006)1 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • How did people in Tang dynasty China view textiles and how did they conceive of their value? Those involved in production could calculate the value in terms of the costs of raw materials, labour and the loom used to weave a particular textile. They might add to this the costs of workshop supervision and maintenance, distribution and marketing, and they might expect to see some benefit – a profit – in the process. However, most people would be end users, and would reckon the value of textiles by eye, if not also by hand, and what they considered to be the market value. Some might have expert knowledge, but many would not. The non-expert evaluation by eye and hand would likely include aspects such as colour, pattern, level of workmanship and intricacy but would probably also reflect some awareness of status and fashion.

publication date

  • April 2013