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Oceanscapes: Tamil Textiles in the Early Modern World

Oceanscapes: Tamil Textiles in the Early Modern World
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Item Code: NAL599
Author: S. Jeyaseela Stephen
Publisher: Primus Books, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9789380607573
Pages: 708
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch x 6.5 inch
weight of the book: 1.4 kg
About the Book

This book explores how Tamil textiles became a globally traded commodity, and circulated across the seas and oceans during the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, eventually being consumed by a wide variety of societies in Asia, Europe, Africa, and America. The author traces how the global diffusion of woven, Painted, printed, and dyed cotton textiles occurred not only because of the skills of Tamil weavers and dyers, but also because of the political and the economic compulsions in the various regions it travelled. The offcers of the East India Companies and the missionaries investigated the techniques of the printing and dyeing of Tamil textiles and found them to be considerably more sophisticated than those used in Europe. This resulted in an exchange of technical and technological knowledge of textile production between the Tamil coast and Europe.

This volume examines the long-term economic history of the Tamil region through the lens of textiles and provides not only extensive and quantitative analysis of the types of textiles traded, but also examines the movement of precious metals, the process of monetization, and the struggle between the Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, Armenian, Tamil, and Telugu traders.

Adopting Braudel’s approach, this study breaks new ground by looking at changes and continuities in the Tamil textile economy, society, and technology as an integral phenomenon, thus rescuing history from becoming region or nation-centric and elevating its status to the global.

About the Author

S. Jeyaseela Stephen is Directeur, Institut Pour etudes Indo-Europeennes, and was Professor of Maritime History from 2001 to 2013 at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. Professor Stephen is the author of the Coromandel Coast and its Hinterland: Economy,

Society and Political System 1500-1600 (1997); Portuguese in the Tamil Coast: Historical Explorations in Commerce and Culture, 1507-1749 (1998); The Diary of Rangappa Thiruvengadam Pillai, 1761-1768, Translated from Original Tamil (2000); Caste, Catholic Christianity and the Language of Conversion: Social Change and Cultural Translation in Tamil Country 1511- 1779 (2007); Portuguese, the Armenians and the World of Art and Architecture in the Tamil Coast, 16th-18th Centuries (2008); Expanding Portuguese Empire and the Tamil Economy, 16th-18th Centuries (2009) and The Sky of Indian History: Themes and Thought of Rabindranath Tagore (2010).


List of Tables vii
List of Maps xi
Acknowledgements xiii
Abbreviations xv
1 Setting the Scene 1
2 Portuguese Trade in Textiles from the Tamil Coast to Malay Paninsula and Indonesian Archipelago, 1502- 1641 26
3 The Commercial Topography and the Textile Trade of the Chettiyars, Mudaliars, Pillais and Marakkayars in Asia, Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries 51
4 The Economic Environment of the Komati Chettis and Beri Chettis in the Tamil Coast and Textile Trade, Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries 116
5 Textile Trade of the Dutch from the Tamil Coast to Asia and Africa, Seventeenth-Eighteenth Centuries 190
6 Textile Trade of the French from the Tamil Coast to Asia and Africa, Seventeenth-Eighteenth Centuries 235
7 Private Fortunes and Profits in the Textile Trade of the Armenians and the Europeans 247
8 Textile Trade of the Dutch East India Company from Pulicat, Nagapattinam and Tuticorin to the Netherlande, 1610- 1795 293
9 Madras to London: Textile Trade under the English East India Company, 1640-1809 321
10 Pondicherry to France: Textile Trade under the French East India Company, 1682-1793 387
11 The Flow of Precious Metals and the Textile Trade in the Tamil Coast, Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries 425
12 Continuities, Discontinuities and Changes in the Textile Economy and Society of the Tamil Coast, Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries 483
13 Scientific Experiments of the French Catholic Missionaries and Professionals: Knowledge Transfer of Textile Painting and Cloth Dyeing from Pondicherry to France 532
14 Information Networking on Textile Painting, Dyeing and Bleaching by the Officials of the East India Companies and the Circulation of Scientific Knowledge from the Tamil Coast to Europe 558
15 Final Thoughts 596
Glossary 613
Select Bibliography 625
Index 655

Sample Pages

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