A History of Sugar
Ji Xianlin/Jeff Crosby (translated)
New Star Press
446 pag. hardcover 16 x 24 cm
The writer of A History of Sugar is Ji Xianlin,who is an important Chinese writer, linguist, historian, translator, master of 12 languages. Then, why would a humanistic intellectual like Ji write about sugar, an everyday substance in our lives? If we take a look at the word for sugar in the most spoken languages of the West, we can see that the Western terms for sugar and candy share the same source, a foreign one. These foreign terms originated in the Vedic and ancient Sanskrit terms arkar and khaaka, as well as the Pali term sakkhar. This demonstrates that the sugar and candy of Europe came from India. The spread of these two things from India to Europe was not direct. Instead, it passed through intermediaries in Persia and Arabia. Then what about China? Ji bilieves the source materials he have found in ancient Chinese literature could help solving this problem.In the book, he use strict textual research techniques with the meterials to present the history of cultural evolution and exchange behind sugar in China from Zhou Danasty to Qing Daynasty. As Ji said, my small hope is that this book can present people with historical facts they have not seen before, allowing them to understand that there is a vivid history of human cultural exchange behind such a seemingly insignificant product. With this knowledge, I hope that people can gain a greater sense of their shared fate.