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"Anything that is Strange"

Rarities as Luxury Goods

Intense curiosity, appetite for news, interest in the new and the extraordinary permeated early seventeenth-century culture. Not only were "French wares," Venetian glass, and Flemish tapestry in demand, but also rarities and wonders from around the world. Such goods marked their purchasers as fashionable and cosmopolitan. Importers such as the Levant Company, the Merchant Adventurers, and the East India Company brought back spices from Asia, textiles from India and Persia, sugar, chocolate, and tobacco from the West Indies, and porcelain from China. English men and women enthusiastically acquired goods and manners from abroad, and many formed important collections of objects on their own travels or supplied by eager merchants.

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