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Monday, 11 January 2016

Imported from China, past and present...

            

It is 21:12 here and as I am preparing this post I glance around the room to count all the stuff that is made / imported / finished ( assembled ) in India with components from China. The very laptop that I am using, my smart phone, the Samsung TV, home theatre system, the beautiful flower vases, the wind chime, LED lamps, the ceiling fan, the aircon, the vitrified floor tiles...hmm...! Probably the teakwood furniture minus the upholstery, windows and doors made of teakwood, the ? curtain cloth...are pure Indian products.

There is a Chinese touch now-a-days to everything, everywhere !

Well, not really, in the past too we have embraced many things wholeheartedly from China. Nothing is mentioned concretely in literary history about the things that probably were brought here by Chinese traders and travellers, but these items bear the connection with China in its' names.

You might have identified the Chinese fishing net ( Cheena vala in Malayalam, our local language ) from the picture at the top of this post about which I have already blogged about. A lot of debate is going on about the introduction of these nets and why they are found in plenty around Kochi and not in Kozhikode ( Calicut ) in North Kerala where many Chinese traders frequented in the past. However, there is a connection with China as the name in Malayalam suggests. Similar nets to catch fish can be seen in Manipur in India, Thailand and many parts of South East Asia. I have also seen Cheenavala at Kumarakom and Thanneermukkom in Kerala.

             

The picture on the left is Cheena Bharani, small and large sizes. This is a ceramic vessel traditionally used for preparing pickles in Kerala. I have fond memories of yummy 'Kadumanga' ( pickled tender mangoes ) at my ancestral house. Sadly that exquisite taste and flavour are missing in present day pickles.

The picture on the right-hand side shows a small saucepan made of iron. This is called 'Cheenachatti', in Malayalam. Traditional vessels were made of clay and this metal utensil found its way to our kitchens bearing a Chinese touch to its name. The clay vessels are called 'manchatti', 'mankalam' etc.

             

You might probably remember my blog post about Koorkka or Chinese potatoes, a very popular tuber in Kerala. Please check the links below.

             

This small, fierce green chilli is called 'Cheenimulaku or Kantharimulaku' ( Bird's eye chilli ). 'Mulaku' is the Malayalam word for Chilli.

I need not elaborate upon this dish that you see on the right-hand side. Tapioca ( prepared with a little turmeric and salt ) and red chilli pickle. Tapioca ( Maracheeni ) has another name here, 'Cheenikkizhangu'.

Recently a Chinese delegation has shown keen interest in the revival of Chinese fishnets at Kochi. Hope with their help this tourist attraction will become much more popular. The other day I read in the paper about some historians from China visiting Calicut to research about traders who visited six centuries ago, particularly the great Zheng He. He, as you may be knowing, was a great mariner, explorer and admiral of the early Ming dynasty.

http://magicalpresent.blogspot.in/2014/04/chinese-fishing-nets-at-fort-kochi.html
http://magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.in/2015/03/chinese-potato-koorkka.html

  • It is hypnotic to dwell deeper into the historical aspects of things that fascinate us because this exercise helps in augmenting our understanding about it by adding color and glitter. 


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26 comments:

Sherry Ellis said...

There are certainly a lot of things from China. You've introduced a few here that I was not aware of.

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Excelente trabalho, gostei do blog.
http://andarilharar.blogspot.pt/
Um abraço e boa semana.

Stephanie Faris said...

It's funny you say that--I was about to buy my dog's rawhide chews and I was reading the reviews and people were flipping out because they were made in China. So I read up on all the dog treats that were killing dogs and then tried to find some that WEREN'T made in China. Not an easy thing to find, believe me! I finally found some that are made in the USA, but I have to buy them on Amazon.

Truedessa said...

Interesting post. Historians want to know more about this mariner and the fishnets? Is there something unique about the way they make these nets?

Anonymous said...

I see "made in China" on so many things around my house. Some products have Chinese components and are made elsewhere.

jonathan said...

Good post as I am introduced to many things unknown to me especially the ones with Indian names. I do see those kind of nets in here but have not given any thoughts as to the origin of it or of other things. I do remember a student of mine asking though as to what kind of dinosaur was he holding. We can't find the printed name to that one particular dinosaur toy and he said, I know, it's made in china!"

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Yes, it was interesting...

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks a lot:)
Will visit your blog asap...

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

China is the sole manufacturer of many things like batteries in the world. Like everywhere there are different quality grades for the products. The fact is even if it is written as made in so and so, some component will be from China. Abundant natural resources, hard working people, congenial social structure, favorable authorities, political stability all account for their success.
There are excellent quality products coming out from that great country.
Thanks, Stephanie.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Kindly check the link given below. It will take to my old post about Chinese fish nets.
Zheng He might be having lot if interest in China.
Thank you.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Yes, Medeia :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Lol, the story is the same all over the world. India also has comparable infrastructure like China but the market here too is flooded with Chinese products !

Traveling Bells said...

Yes, it does seem that most everything we have has at least some component from China!

Birgitta said...

Great post!

Shirley Tay said...

So true, Rajiv! Almost everything are made in China these days. Can't expect much from quality. Sigh.

stardust said...

Interesting post! What you introduced here have some touch of China, but I see “made in China” label even on the things of European or Japanese brands. Not only Chinese things but also Chinese people enter Japan. I see more Chinese tourists than any other countries’.

Regarding your question, the easiest way is searching “matcha green tea powder” at Amazon. If you’d like to drink “usucha” at the Tea Ceremony, it’d be better for you to buy at least “chasen” (bamboo tea whisk) and if you feel inclined to, “chashaku” (bamboo tea scoop), too. Ippodo and Fukujyuen is a big tea maker.
https://shop.ippodo-tea.co.jp/kyoto/shopf/goods/matcha.html
http://www.fukujuen-kyotohonten.com/english/floor.html
http://www.maiko.ne.jp/english/shopping/maccha.htm

Last but not least, Happy 2016!

Yoko

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Yes, Chinese are great people !

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Oh, my phone, TV, Laptop are all excellent...Chinese and people of Chinese ethnicity are all wonderful...
Thanks Shirley for your comment :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Wow, thanks a lots.....! You are awesome !
I will surely follow links and keep in touch with you, Yoko :)
I will be writing something about things made in Japan asap. I watch NHK TV regularly, actually I am a fan ! What a great country, what beautiful people, great culture !
Thanks again...

Beate said...

Thank you for introducing us to so many things I have never heard of :)
It's incredible how many things of our daily life actually come from China!
Have a fabulous day, Rajiv.
Beate

Beate said...

And thank you SO much for your kind and uplifting comment! Reading it made my day! :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks Beate :)
Very nice comment.
Have a beautiful week ahead...

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thank you so much, Beate :)
You radiate positive energy and like charges do not repel, lol, instead like attracts like...
Very good comment.

George said...

I don't think most of us realize how many of the things around us are from China. Thanks for providing this interesting overview.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Yes, George :)
We depend on them for almost everything !
No wonder there are so many millionaires and billionaires among Chinese. Great Country, great people !

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