China’s Seaborne Trade with South and Southeast Asia (1200–1750): 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

China’s Seaborne Trade with South and Southeast Asia (1200–1750)

1st Edition

By Roderich Ptak


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787761
pub: 1999-02-26
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This second selection of studies by Professor Ptak focuses on Chinese maritime trade in the medieval and early modern periods. The first section deals with contacts between China and individual places, in particular Timor, the Sulu Islands, southern India and the islands of the Indian Ocean. Chinese geographical and other accounts of these areas and the trade routes leading to them are examined and where possible, compared with Arabic and Western works from the colonial period. The second part looks at trade in specific commodities such as sandalwood, coral, horses, tortoise-shell, ebony, cloves and tea. Relevant Chinese terms, the uses of each commodity, and the production and distribution are analysed. Both qualitative and quantitative information is drawn from the sources and it is demonstrated that many trade items were much more significant in international business than has been thought. At the same time, these studies highlight the importance of Chinese consumption in driving world commodity flows.


'This volume reprints fourteen pieces of meticulous scholarship… Reviewers are duty-bound to try to catch the author in a lapse of bibliographic coverage. I found none.' Itinerario '… testif(ies) to the tremendous productivity of Ptak and confirm(s) his standing as the leading western expert on China's maritime enterprise and overseas relations between 1200 and 1750… this collection of essays is of the highest quality and should be of great interest to all maritime historians of China and many others… a milestone of scholarly endeavour.' International Journal of Maritime History '… wealth of detailed information, Roderich Ptak has performed a service to the profession.' The American Neptune 'We are all indebted to scholars like Roderich Ptak for the care and quality of their work, and this volume will be gratefully used by all serious students of Asian maritime history.' Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania '… this is a superb collection of articles…' International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Geography, Routes and Regions: Some references to Timor in old Chinese records; Kurze Zusammenfassung der wichtigsten chinesischen Nachrichten zu den Sulu-Inseln während der Ming-Zeit; The northern trade route to the Spice Islands: South China Sea - Sulu Zone - North Moluccas, (14th to early 16th century); Die Andamanen und Nikobaren nach chinesischen Quellen (Ende Sung bis Ming); Yuan and Early Ming notices on the Kayal area in South India; The Maldive and Laccadive Islands (Lin Shan) in Ming records; Commodities: Terminology, Production, Uses, Trade: The transportation of sandalwood from Timor to China and Macao, c.1350-1600; Notes on the word ’Shanhu’ and Chinese coral imports from maritime Asia, c.1250-1600; Pferde auf See: Ein vergessener Aspekt des maritimen chinesischen Handels im frühen 15. Jahrhundert; China and the trade in tortoise shell (Sung to Ming periods); Ebenholz in China: Termini, Verwendung, Einfuhr (ca. 1200-1600); China and the trade in Cloves, circa 960-1435; Asian trade in cloves circa 1500: Quantities and trade routes - a synopsis of Portuguese and other sources; Die Rolle der Chinesen, Portugiesen und Holländer im Teehandel zwischen China und Südostasien (ca. 1600-1750); Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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