An Amazon listing for a “traditional Chinese fruit bowl” is going viral on Chinese social media. So what’s up? “Hurt feelings,” cultural appropriation, or people calling for repatriation of an important piece of “5,000 years” of history?
Nah. Just a little toilet humor — literally.
First, drink in the listing for this interesting cultural artifact:
我英文太差，肯定是我理解错了? pic.twitter.com/qZkF4YZ5fg— ZZ (@zhuangzhong) February 20, 2021
— ZZ (@zhuangzhong) February 20, 2021
Looks like a pretty cool object to have around the home, right? Well, it’s certainly a useful one, or has been historically. See, this is actually an old chamber pot or spittoon.
Puts sort of a different spin on this serving suggestion…
A friend sent me this image. A powerful warning against cultural appropriation. pic.twitter.com/7htJ2bxxsx— Dr Soon-Tzu Speechley 孫子博士 (@speechleyish) February 22, 2021
A friend sent me this image. A powerful warning against cultural appropriation. pic.twitter.com/7htJ2bxxsx
— Dr Soon-Tzu Speechley 孫子博士 (@speechleyish) February 22, 2021
These were common in houses without en suite toilets in China and can still be found in use today in some places. But as the country’s “toilet revolution” (yes, that’s really a thing) has gathered pace, they’ve mostly been consigned to history. Or Amazon listings, apparently.
The listing appears to have now been removed, but not before screenshots spread far and wide on Chinese social media where users have been happily, ahem, taking the piss. Not just because of the confusion over the item’s use, but also due to what they view as an exorbitant price (the listing seemingly had it for 68.45CDN (54.15USD).
Some users have also been sending around historical photos of similar-looking pots being used as spittoons, including some pretty high profile cameos such as in meetings between Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.
Cover image: TKphotography
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