《欧洲中心的历史》书评--手工业和商业(2)

作者:Jerry 来源:未知 2020-07-23

Despite its winding economic narrative (and piles of manufacturing statistics), “Porcelain” is rarely a grind. Ms Marchand writes wittily about subjects from bourgeois views on tableware to Weimar advertising, veering away from tea sets and vases when she spies an interesting vignette. “Fox tossing”, she relates, was a popular pastime for 18th-century courtiers (the animals were hurled into the air until they died). King Frederick the Great of Prussia recruited hundreds of invalids from a state hospital literally to sniff out illegal coffeeroasters in Berlin and Potsdam.

尽管文中有曲折的经济叙述(和成堆的制造业统计数据),“瓷器”很少会变成苦难。马尔汉德女士风趣地写了一些题材,从资产阶级对餐具的看法到魏玛的广告,当她发现一个有趣的小短文时,她就会偏离描绘茶具和花瓶。她在文中讲述,“扔狐狸”是18世纪朝臣们的一种流行的消遣方式(动物们被抛向空中直至死亡)。普鲁士国王腓特烈大帝在柏林和波茨坦从一家国立医院招募了数百名伤残人士来找出非法的咖啡烘焙者。

The porcelain-makers themselves were often as fascinating as Bottger. After running away from home to become a cowboy, for instance, Philipp Rosenthal made a fortune in porcelain—before being ruined by the Nazis. Ordinary workers led colourful lives too. One report of 1796 describes how employees at a firm in Furstenberg drank schnapps at work or skived off to go hunting. Their successors in the 1940s spent their time dodging Allied bombs and repairing shattered windows.

瓷器制造者自己也通常会像博特格一样具有魅力。例如,菲利普·罗森塔尔离家出走并成为一名牛仔后,他靠瓷器发了财——在被纳粹摧毁之前。普通工人也过上了丰富多彩的生活。1796年的一份报告描述了弗斯滕贝格一家公司的员工是如何在工作时喝烈酒,或是驾车去打猎。在20世纪40年代,他们的继任者躲避同盟国的炸弹和修补破碎的窗户。

Today German porcelain-makers face different threats. Chinese imports are undercutting them. Tastes have evolved: polystyrene cups have long replaced elegant coffee sets in many situations. Between 2006 and 2014 alone 190 German porcelain firms closed. Soon, writes Ms Marchand, production may return entirely to East Asia, where porcelain was first invented. The story that began with Bottger could become just another fairy-tale.

如今,德国瓷器制造商面临着不同的威胁。中国的瓷器进口正在削弱它们。品味已经发生了演变:聚苯乙烯杯子在许多情况下早已取代了优雅的咖啡具。仅在2006年至2014年间,就有190家德国瓷器公司倒闭。马尔汉德女士写道,瓷器的生产也可能很快就会完全回归东亚,那里是瓷器最早的发明地。这个从博特格开始的故事可能会变成另一个童话。

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