Figure 2.1Chinese Porcelain.This eighteenth-century moon-shaped porcelain flask adorned with a dragon (left) and the glazed porcelain saucer (right) were both made in Jingdezhen, in southeastern China, a center of porcelain manufacturing that created many such beautiful objects for sale in China and elsewhere. (credit left: modification of work “Chinese flask” by Walters Art Museum/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit right: modification of work “Saucer with motifs celebrating prosperity, China” by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)
The sixteenth century was a time of exploration and the beginning of global ocean trade. When European nations such as Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and France were just setting out on voyages of exploration and beginning to forge maritime trade networks, a thriving oceangoing commerce was already being carried on in the Indian Ocean. From the coastal provinces of India to the Straits of Malacca and the ports of Southeast Asia, China, and Japan and back again, raw materials of great value and manufactured products of great beauty traveled (Figure 2.1). Along with them went religious beliefs, philosophies, technological developments, and other cultural influences.
Figure 2.2Timeline: Exchange in East Asia and the Indian Ocean.(credit “1498 CE”: modification of work “Vasco de Gama” by E. Benjamin Andrews, Scribner's Sons/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit “1549 CE”: modification of work “Masjid Menara Kudus” by “PL09Puryono”/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0; credit “1582 CE”: modification of work “Jesuits at Akbar's court” by Chester Beatty/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit “1600 CE”: modification of work “Sekigahara Kassen Byōbu-z” by The City of Gifu Museum of History/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain; credit “1653 CE”: modification of work “Taj Mahal” by David Castor/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
Figure 2.3Locator Map: Exchange in East Asia and the Indian Ocean.(credit: modification of work “World map blank shorelines” by Maciej Jaros/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)