Connecting People, Places, and Things: Itineraries of Chinese Porcelain in around the Arabian Peninsula
Professor Nancy Um (SUNY Binghamton)
In the early eighteenth century, the Red Sea served as the maritime crossroads for a number of different commodities that captivated global consumers, such as Arabian coffee, eastern spices, Chinese porcelain, and Indian textiles. But, the Red Sea was not only a transit route, these items were also consumed and used in the port cities around the coasts of this body of water and their adjacent hinterlands. In this talk, I will highlight the circulation of a specific type of coffee cup that was used on the Arabian Peninsula, situated at the intersection of the trade of coffee and porcelain, at a time when the production of both had ceased to be regionally exclusive. Various types of evidence, textual, material, and archaeological (both land-based and underwater), will be mobilized to consider some of the affective factors that motivated and sustained this particular long-distance trade. The goal is to highlight the intangible vectors of demand and the malleable structures of value served as the connective sinews between distant people, places, and things across the Indian Ocean world.
Sponsored by: Yale InterAsia Initiative, MacMillan Center, Yale Council on Middle East Studies