Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Historical China was as Filthy as Today

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 2, 2013

Here is the observations of a traveler to China over 200 years ago. In a world it was filthy. In that respect China has not changed at all. My question is, if China was so great, then where is the proof of its greatness?


“They wear but little linen or calico, and what they do wear is extremely coarse and ill washed, soap being never employed by them. They seldom have recourse to pocket handkerchiefs, but spit about the rooms without mercy, blow their noses in their fingers, and wipe them with their sleeves, or upon anything near them. This practice is universal, and what is still more abominable, I one day observed a Tartar of distinction call his servant to hunt in his neck for a louse that was troublesome to him.
At their meals they use no towel; napkins, table-cloths, fiat plates, glasses, knives nor forks, but help themselves with their fingers, or with their chopsticks, which are made of wood or ivory, about six inches long, round and smooth, and not very cleanly.

They are all foul feeders and eaters of garlic and strong-scented vegetables, and drink mutually out of the same cup which, tough sometimes rinsed, is never washed or wiped clean.”

This lady is holding her kid as it shits on the grass. Was this place ever civilized?

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