Digital Issue of the College of Transcultural Studies

The Initial Issue:NO.1


Program:Key project of “ Research for Language,Character of Chinese and Folk Culture from the Perspective of Transcultural Studies”, hosted by the Center of Folklore, Ancient Writing and Chinese Characters, Key Social Science Research Base under the Ministry of Education of P.R.China
Craft and Technology: Handloom Weaving in China and India Compared
Francesca Bray

This is an essay of Craft and Ttechnology focus on the handloom weaving in China and India from transcultural analysis, for retrospection of the historical experience and lesson about it .China and India, the two nations shared important characteristics: both had huge and largely rural populations, heavily dependent for their livelihood on smallholder farming and small-scale handicrafts or manufactures. They also had large modern cities, nascent industrial sectors and large cohorts of well-trained, patriotic engineers and scientists. China and India were equally determined to modernise their countries as quickly as possible, through sustained policies of industrialisation. China’s early policies emphasised mobilising the local knowledge and skills of workers and peasants; India strove to suppress Ghandian ideals of village, craft-based democracy to impose large-scale industrialisation. What was the long-term outcome for crafts in the two cases?In China today crafts survive only as niche activities, the “traditional” products of ethnic minorities, or the revival of “ancient” artisanal skills among Han populations. The current demand for and interest in crafts responds to greater national prosperity, nostalgia and a burgeoning tourist and heritage industry. In sharp contrast, in India tens of millions of families still depend on craft-work for their livelihood. Support for the craft sector and the values it represents serves as a powerful political rallying-call for social justice and environmental progress. This paper traces the framing of craft-technology relations, and the transitions towards an industrial technological culture, in both countries. ((Source:Journal of Beijing Normal University,Vol.5,2017)