Authenticity of Re-construction: the Terroir of Yunnan Pu'er Tea across Time and Space

Jinghong Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper provides case study from Yiwu Town, one of the most important production areas of Pu'er tea in Xishuangbannan of Yunnan Province, as social changes in this place epitomize how value standards and local cultural image on Pu'er tea's authenticity have been transformed and reconstructed in the past two decades, space and situation. The unique geographical concept "terroir" embedded in French red wine and relevant scholarly discussion surrounding the construction of commodity's authenticity in Europe serves as the important comparative framework. The paper displays the shared elements between factors of Pu'er tea and red wine in terroir constructing and interpreting, responds to those classical elaborations on "authenticity" in production and consumption made by western scholars, and discusses the particularity of the recent popularity of drinking and collecting aged Pu'er tea in China. It also argues that the case of Pu'er tea provides insights into understanding the specific Chinese social and cultural contexts that result from various drives such as economic benefits, cultural construction, local interaction, government orientation, and shape the ongoing commodity fetishism in China.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-33
    JournalGuangxi Minzu Daxue Xuebao (Ziran Kexue Ban) (Journal of Guangxi University for Nationalities)
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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