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  • Salt in Chinese history

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    Lake salt from Jilantai (Inner Mongolia, China)Salt, salt production, and salt taxes played key roles in Chinese history, economic development, and relations between state and society. The lure of salt profits led to technological innovation and new ways to organize capital. Debate over government salt policies brought forth conflicting attitudes toward the nature of government, private wealth, the relation between the rich and the poor, while the administration of these salt policies was a practical test of a government's competence. Because salt is a necessity of life, the tax on it (often called the salt gabelle) had a broad base and could be set at a low rate and still be one of the most important sources of government revenue. In early times, governments gathered salt revenues by managing production and sales directly. After innovations in the mid-8th century, imperial bureaucracies reaped these revenues safely and indirectly by selling salt rights to merchants who then sold the salt in retail markets. Private salt trafficking persisted because monopoly salt was more expensive and of lower quality, while local bandits and rebel leaders thrived on salt smuggling.

  • Walters Art Museum

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    The Walters Art Museum, located in Mount Vernon-Belvedere, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, is a public art museum founded and opened in 1934. It holds collections established during the mid-19th century. The Museum's collection was amassed substantially by major American art and sculpture collectors, a father and son: William Thompson Walters, (1819–1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris as a nominal Southern/Confederate sympathizer at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861; and Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and made arrangements for the construction of a later landmark building to rehouse it. After allowing the Baltimore public to occasionally view his father's and his growing added collections at his West Mount Vernon Place townhouse/mansion during the late 1800s, he arranged for an elaborate stone palazzo-styled structure built for that purpose in 1905–1909. Located across the back alley, a block south of the Walters mansion on West Monument Street/Mount Vernon Place, on the northwest corner of North Charles Street at West Centre Street.

  • The School of Athens

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    Bramante as Euclid or Archimedes.The School of Athens () is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the , in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The was the first of the rooms to be decorated, and The School of Athens, representing Philosophy, was probably the third painting to be finished there, after (Theology) on the opposite wall, and the Parnassus (Literature). The picture has long been seen as "Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance".

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