From the Durant

From Our Oriental Heritage, page 736:

In textiles and metalworking the craftsmen of China, during and after the Sung era, reached a degree of perfection never surpassed; in the cutting of jade and hard stones they went beyond all rivals anywhere; and in the carving of wood and ivory they were excelled only by their pupils in Japan. Furniture was designed in a variety of unique and uncomfortable forms; cabinet-makers, living on one bowl of rice per day, sent forth one objet de vertu–one little piece of perfection–after another; and these minor products of a careful art, taking the place of expensive furniture and luxuries in homes, gave to their owners a pleasure which in the Occident only connoisseurs can know.

An interesting perspective, that the best craftsman should only earn a bowl of rice a day. Sometimes, the old Socialist left gets a little dewy-eyed in its idealization of poverty and how men react to it.

One also wonders if much has changed in modern China.

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