Robinson Crusoe's Earthenware Pot

Liu, Lydia H.

How was the value of porcelain differentiated from soft-paste ceramics in 18th century Europe? Why was the difference important to the merchants, scientists, collectors, and novelists of the time? This essay explores the economic and technological rivalries between European and China by reexamining Daniel Defoe's novel "Robinson Crusoe" and its silences or colonial disavowals.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

Critical Inquiry

More About This Work

Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Published Here
January 4, 2021


Keywords: Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe; The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; 18th century science fiction; J. J. Rousseau; laboratory experiments on true porcelain; industrial espionage in China conducted by Jesuit missionary Père d’Entrecolles; Meissen factory; Graf Von Tschirnhaus; Friedrich Böttger; Lin Shu and Zeng Zonggong.