Vermeer's Hat Summary

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In his book Vermeer’s Hat: the seventeenth century and dawn of the global world, historian Timothy Brook explores the roots of world trade in the seventeenth century by analyzing six paintings by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The book has its primary focus on ties between Europe and the rest of the world and the growing Chinese impact on the world during the age of innovation and improvisation.
Brook argues that globalization, which is believed to have begun in the twentieth and twenty-first century had its roots in the seventeenth century. This is evident in one of the portraits painted by Johannes Vermeer of the landscape view of Delft. On this painting, there is evidence of socio-economic activities such as the existence of the port
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He draws the tales from the six different paintings which seem to show the cultural, economic and political interaction between Europe, France, China, North and South America during that time. He considers the seventeenth century “the dawn of the global world” because the paintings show the interconnectedness of all factors that contribute to globalization. The paintings show the interconnectedness of the economic aspect by having the Dutch East India Company on the Delft harbor, the lady wearing the felt hat and even the Chinese porcelain and Turkish rag. The very same items also show the spread of culture among the said nations. He also shows how two different cultures used the same commodity; cigarettes were smoked in a commonplace among the Europeans yet in China they were preserved for the elite.
Timothy Brook uses China to show the success of global integration. The fact that the Dutch East Indie Company had socio-economic relationships with China helps him prove that globalization did have its roots in the seventeenth century. This, of course, is in consideration to the fact that China was seen to have adequate resource base, advanced technology and therefore did not need to look outside for things that they may need. He uses the fact that the Chinese did, however, trade during long periods when they were not prohibited and that they simply wanted to control the terms of their
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Both are characterized by the interaction of people, states, and flow of ideas and cultures. In the seventeenth century, the interaction of states was evident with the multi-corporation company Dutch East Indies Company which ended up having strong economic ties with China. There was also the flow of products such as the felt hat, Chinese porcelain, and the Turkish rug. In the twentieth century, the flow of products is evident in the oil industry, agricultural sector, and even labor. This is made easy due to improved infrastructure. Both centuries are also seen to rely on infrastructure to spread and expand trade. In the seventeenth century, the French were commissioned to find a route to China. In the twentieth century, the routes are well defined, and this allows for easy trade. Both centuries are different in that in the seventeenth century China wanted to trade on its terms while now most nations cannot trade on their terms as they have to incorporate other nation’s

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