Analyzing Vermeer's The School Of Smoking

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The School of Smoking is not represented by Vermeer’s paintings; instead the reader is presented with a delft-manufactured Chinese plate. “While thinking of the world as Indra’s net (Brook 123),” the big picture behind the plate is how smoking tobacco became a sign of social status and refinement. Tobacco spread quickly around the world. Many cultures interpreted smoking tobacco according to their own symbolic system. For example, the Chinese developed a new set of customs around smoking tobacco. Additionally, once tobacco spread, the demand became high, and plantations needed more labor. The WIC Company bought African slaves to America to work the plantations. Thus, Tobacco became a new culture at the same time it transformed many cultures.
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