kaigou: Happy typing on mac. (1 Hyperbole and a half)
[personal profile] kaigou
Times like this, I'm reminded of one of the earliest non-fiction books my parents gave me. The Weaker Vessel was authored by Antonia Fraser, better known (at the time, at least, from what I gathered) as a romance writer. One with intense research skills, though, who in the course of doing some historical digging on a new novel, ended up with enough data to write a serious doorstop tome about women's roles before, during, and after the English Civil War.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a similar track, myself. Except my instinct is: I should take all this info and put it into a searchable database.


from Fukien's Private Sea Trade in the 16th and 17th centuries
permalink: https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/2599/169_002.pdf?sequence=1
The rich and powerful families of the coastal region of Fukien had large seagoing vessels built illegally and provided venture capital, but sent their adopted sons out to sea to carry out the dangerous actual trading. ...The Lung-hsi hsien-chih also notes: "Some (people) adopt others as their sons. They do not feel ashamed to let them enter their own clans. When they are in merchant families they are sent all over the world with commercial capital. They travel through many kinds of dangers, some will disappear in enormous storms or fight for one fleeting moment of life with the wind and waves. Their real sons, however, can enjoy its profits without physical danger." Or as the Hsia-men-chih says: "Fukienese often adopt sons; even people who do have sons of their own still forcibly adopt several sons. When these have grown up they are sent to sea. Those who bring in profits are provided with wives and concubines to keep them under control."
[...]
The social position of adopted sons was very low and did not differ at all from that of household bondservants. According to the relevant Ming laws: "When people have bought adopted sons, raised them for many years and have even given them a wife, these adopted sons are to be treated like one's own kin. (On the contrary), when they have not yet been raised very long and not yet been given a wife, they are to be treated the same as hired labourers among the common people and as slaves among the gentry-families." This shows that the adopted sons that went out to sea for trade had the same Status as slaves. Their lords did not only possess extra-economical physical control over them, but even wielded the right to kill them at mercy.
[...]
[Another style for overseas trade was borrowed capital, in which] merchants rented ships from rich and powerful families, hired sailors and also ferried other merchants. This type was fairly common at the time.
For instance, the merchant brothers Fang Min, Fang Hsiang and Fang Hung put 600 tael of silver together and bought 2800 and more items of blue and white patterned cups, small dishes, bowls and other porcelain articles. They rented one seagoing junk with two masts from the ship-owner Liang Ta-ying and went to sea for trade.95 Here Liang Ta-ying, the owner of the ship, received the rent and Fang Min and his brothers provided money to rent the boat and go trading overseas. Between the two parties there was no physical Subordination whatsoever.
[...]
Sea merchants also borrowed capital from the rich and powerful families, such as the Cheng-family. To promote overseas trade, Cheng Ch'eng-kung instituted an "Enrich the Nation-treasury" (yü-kuo-k'u) and a "Benefit the People-treasury" (li-min-k'u) under the Board of Revenue to provide capital to overseas merchants against a certain interest. For instance, on March 4th and 5th 1654 the overseas merchant Tseng Ting-lao drew out 250,000 tael of silver from the Board of Revenue official Cheng T'ai, to go to Su-chou and Hang-chou to purchase damask silk, silk fabric, Huchou silk and other articles to be sold overseas. On June 6th and 7th, 1655 he again drew out 50,000 tael of silver from the treasurer Wu Yü-she for trade in Japan. On December 8th and 9th he once more drew 100,000 tael of silver from Wu Yü-she. Each month he paid 1.3 percent as interest. After his entire cargo had been sold in 1656 he paid back the original capital with interest to a total of 60,000 tael and still kept 40,000 tael as further trade-capital.
[...]
[Quoting retired official Chu Wan:] (The merchants) who go to sea and trade with foreign countries borrow their capital, men and ships: in everything they declare to represent a certain lord and they move about without inhibitions. When a cargo is brought back the original loan is subtracted first; interest is as high as the original loan and the remainder of the spoils is split evenly. The interest rate on this type of loan is much higher than either the simple renting of a boat or the simple borrowing of capital. When Tseng Ting-lao, for instance, borrowed capital from Coxinga's treasure-keeper Wu Yü-she and had to pay an interest of 1.3 percent on each tael on a monthly basis, this meant an annual interest of 15.6% (actually far more! Translator.). In the case of the above type of loan, however, after the local retired official who furnished the capital and borrowed the ship had first subtracted the original capital, the interest was just as much as the original loan and the rest of the "spoils" also had to be split evenly between him and the overseas merchants. Obviously the interest rate was extremely usurious.
[...]
[Third method of trade:] A large sea-going junk was built by Lin Ch'ing from Fu-ch'ing and captain Wang Hou from Gh'ang-lo, Cheng Sung and Wang I were recruited as helmsmen, Cheng Ch'i, Lin Ch'eng and others as sailors, Chin Shih-shan and Huang Ch'eng-hsien as silversmiths. Li Ming, who was well acquainted with the sea routes, would be their pilot, and Ch'en Hua, who knew Japanese, would act as their Interpreter. They invited many merchants to board the ship with their füll cargoes. Some sold thin gauze, silk or cotton cloth; others sold white sugar, porcelain or fruits; again others sold fans made of banana leaves, coarse and fine combs, rugs and kerchiefs and silver needles. The Japanese silver they earned was melted down on board, for which purpose an oven, a bellows and other tools were provided. They set sail on July 2nd, and went to Itsushima. They surrendered (their goods) to the Japanese intermediate merchants Gokkan and Rokkan (Wu-kuan and Liu-kuan) and had them sell it." After the articles had been sold, the captains Lin Ch'ing and
Wang Hou received payments in silver as a transport fee (shang-yin or "trade-silver") from all the merchants on their ship and after subtracting the expenses for the crew they had "earned a total of over 297 taels of silver.
[...]
In 1660, for instance, captain Wang Tzu- ch'eng ferried [8 Fukienese] merchants with a full cargo of Ssuch'uan medicine, raw silk, light silk, silk rugs etc. from Su-chou and Hang-chou to be sold in Nagasaki in Japan, Captain Wang Tzu-ch'eng made very explicit that 20 tael would have to be paid on each 100 tael that was sold, i.e. a transport fee of 20% on the total traded amount.
[...]
Large sums of money were needed [to build/maintain ships]: over one thousand tael to build ships and then at least 5 to 600 tael for the necessary annual repairs. Furthermore, all kinds of maritime equipment needed to be purchased and an entire crew consisting of sailors, helmsmen, clerks, Interpreters, doctors, craftsmen etc. needed to be hired.
Prices early 1600s. Which country's taels? Significantly lower prices than other texts have quoted.

Formation of Chinese Maritime Networks 1200-1450
permalink: https://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/.../Sen_Jesho_49.4_1_.pdf
The activities of the Ming emissaries in the Indian subcontinent suggest that the region was considered an integral part of the “Great Unified [Empire]” doc- trine. It was the furthest region on the Indian Ocean to which the Ming court sent emissaries to enfeoff local mountains and rivers and resolve local disputes. Unlike the previous Song and Yuan dynasties, the early Ming court was not interested in profiting from the commercial exchanges that took place between the coastal regions of China and India. Nor did the Indian kingdoms form part of any expansionist policies of the Ming court. Rather, the Ming court used its naval power to advance its rhetoric of civilizing and transforming Indian king- doms under the patronage of the Chinese emperor. Indeed, resolving local dis- putes, bestowing of titles and solicitation of tributary missions were the main goals of the Ming emissaries visiting the Indian coasts.


Chinese, Tartars and "Thea" or a Tale of Two Companies~ the English East India Company and Taiwan in the Late Seventeenth Century
permalink: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25182765
The voyage was a useful reconnaissance (the English were permitted to visit the Pescadores and chart the road at Taiwan) and the factors obtained a good measure of life on Taiwan under the Cheng and the possibilities for trade. Firstly, while the English may "have been received with pomp, trade was not easy. Only the King's merchants", as Crisp styles them, were allowed to approach the English; for everyone else the English and their ships were off limits. Even after these restrictions had been relaxed and other individuals allowed to approach the newcomers, offers for the goods were low and there was no breaking of ranks over prices. No wonder, foreign trade was controlled by the Cheng; there were no large-scale independent merchants waiting in the wings. ... Secondly, the major exports of Taiwan, deer hides and sugar, were a trade monopoly of the Cheng and made excellent profits in Japan, as did raw silk (over 100 per cent profit). Access to the island's major import, Japanese copper, was similarly controlled by the Cheng. Thirdly, as a consequence of the wars and the policy of coastal depopulation, trade with the mainland had been severely disrupted and was a shadow of what it had been under the Dutch. ... Raw silk, fabrics, China root were sent to Taiwan in exchange for Japanese koban. Fourthly, the chances of conducting any meaningful trade were considerably reduced by the fact that the English had not brought the most suitable cargo to satisfy local demand; the market for English broadcloth was very limited; prices were at about the same level as the English had been getting in Japan some sixty years earlier. Pepper, some of which had been damaged on the voyage, faced competition from other Chinese junks, including one sent by the sultan of Bantam.

Crisp [returned with] a contract he had drawn up outlining the terms under which he believed the English would be allowed to trade at Taiwan. This emphasised free trade at market prices, access to deer hides and sugar for sale in Japan or at Manila where the English also intended to trade, liberty for English ships to come and go unmolested, protection from abuse, and easy access to the "king" to arbitrate disputes. In return the Cheng would allow the English to use the old Dutch Stadthuis from which the English could unfurl their colours ... and a godown for a rent of 500 reals per annum, and would require them to pay a 3 per cent custom on all goods sold. The English were to remove their ships' guns and powder while they were in port and were to provide two gunners and a gunsmith for service with the Cheng. All English ships coming to Taiwan were to bring gunpowder and guns, pepper and other goods (including small amounts of cloth, amber, and sandalwood). As a gesture of good faith and a token of encouragement, the Cheng promised to buy all the cargo brought by the two vessels, almost all of which the English had been unable to sell, and waived customs dues and rent for the premises they had been occupying since their arrival. They also gave a present to the Company - sugar, candied ginger and oranges, tea, and silk fabrics.

In other words, from the Cheng point of view, the English were welcome because they fulfilled a need, in much the same way as the Portuguese had done in Japan in the sixteenth century. The English could be accommodated perfectly within the Cheng strategy of expanding trade with Southeast Asia. The Cheng viewed them not as exotic people from a remote part of the world, but as traders from Bantam. Using the English as carriers, the Cheng could enjoy trade with Bantam without risking the seizure of their own vessels by the hostile Dutch.
It sounds like the English were a) in over their head, b) overestimated what Taiwan would/could produce and would/could sell, and c) didn't really have a clue about their potential markets. The only thing the English really got out of it was a pass from the Cheng to trade at Amoy. This didn't get them far.
The Amoy factory, closer to the war zone, did not result in a change of fortune for the Company on the China coast. The Cheng's tight control over trade remained as great as on Taiwan. The free trade that the English had expected was not forthcoming. English were permitted to trade only with client merchants of the Cheng who had an appetite for credit as voracious as the Cheng themselves on Taiwan. Other merchants were warned off by a sign posted before the English house. There was no improvement in the supply of goods. Copper and koban were difficult to procure and there was competition from junks from Siam and Batavia for what commodities were available so that the Amoy factors felt it would be better to purchase copper at Taiwan. There copper was available for between 14-16 reals per chest but 16 reals became the norm, cheaper than 1675, about the limit the Cheng must have concluded the English would pay. But copper was to be paid for in cash, not in goods, and a hard bargain was driven; not only was there reluctance to accept payment in Pillar (Peruvian) dollars, suspect throughout Asia for their inferior quality, but Seville dollars were also subject to a 2-5 per cent loss on face value.
[...]
In October 1682, the Carolina was sent from England with orders to attempt to settle a factory at Canton. As bait, the factors were authorised to offer between four and six warships to help the Ch'ing battle against any foe, except Europeans (i.e. against the Cheng, but not against the Portuguese or Dutch). English mercenary services were to be charged at a rate of 15 per ton per day for twelve months, at 15 6d for six months, half of the fee to be paid in advance although no contract was to be drawn up and the details were to be referred back to England for approval. The factors were to stress the Company's ill treatment at Amoy and mention the letter that had been sent to the king of Taiwan threatening reprisals. As part of their salesmanship they were also to impress upon the Ch'ing authorities at Canton that the Company possessed "great and powerfull ships of war". If permission to open a factory was refused the ship was to proceed to Foochow, Amoy (so long as this was in possession of the Manchu, from whom permission was to be sought to reestablish the factory, for the directors had heard rumours that the Cheng were poised to recapture it), or, expecting to have their cake and eat it, Taiwan, should the orders for its closure not yet have been carried out. Under no circumstances were they to mention their additional instructions to deal with the Cheng while they were at Canton.
[...]
[By the late 1600's,] pepper and spices were the prizes of yesterday's battles. The future belonged to other commodities which were changing the pattern of European consumption: Indian textiles, coffee, silk and, above all, tea, which in 1760 accounted for 40 per cent of the company's imports. All were available in areas where the Dutch did not (India) and could not (China) bully their way to domination of local markets as they had done in the Spice Islands and on Java, although at some considerable financial cost to the institutional soundness of the VOC.


Engaging the South~ Ming China and Southeast Asia in the Fifteenth Century
permalink: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25165269
Slightly earlier but sets up precedent:
The year 1407 also saw a new Maritime Trade Supervisorate (市舶提舉司) being established at Yun-tun City in Jiao-zhi, while two further such offices were established at Xin-ping and Shun-hua in 1408. Thus, within two years, three maritime trade supervisorates had been created in this new province, the same number as existed in the rest of China. This was a clear indication of the desire of the Ming to control maritime trade to the south and exploit the economic advantage of such control.49 Other instances of economic exploitation of the new province involved grain taxes, annual levies of lacquer, sapan wood, kingfisher feathers, fans, and aromatics, and the imposition of monopolies on trade in gold, silver, salt, iron, and fish. In addition, eunuchs were sent to Jiao-zhi with the task of treasure-collect- ing for the emperor, but an equal amount of treasure collection appears to have been done for themselves. The rapaciousness of the eunuchs, at least as depicted in Ming accounts, was such that even the emperors intervened on some appointments. The Hong-xi emperor, for example, objected to the re-sending of eunuch Ma Qi to Jiao-zhi, when he attempted to get himself reappointed to control the gold, silver, aromatics, and pearls of the region in 1424.
[...]
The gold, silver, and horse demands which the Ming state imposed on the Tai polities of Yun-nan and beyond not only depleted the polities, but also left them open to imposition of other demands by the Ming. In the 1440s for example, Mu-bang (Hsenwi, Theinni) deployed its forces to assist the Chinese troops arrayed against Si Ren-fa in exchange for cancelling an outstanding debt to the Chinese state (which had been unilaterally imposed by the Ming) of 14,000 liang of silver. In 1448, the gold, silver, rice, paper money, cowries, and horses owed in lieu of labor by eight prefectures in Yun-nan, plus Jin-chi, Teng-chong, Gan-yai, Nan Dian, Long-chuan, Che-li, Meng-yang, Mu-bang, Meng-ding, Meng-gen, Wei-yuan, Wan Dian, Zhen-kang, and Da-Hou—being mainly Tai poli- ties stretching right across Indochina—were all cancelled in reward for their military assistance in destroying the power of the Möng Mao polity of Lu-chuan.
[...]
The policies pursued by the Ming in Đaị Viêṭ and some areas of Yun- nan over the fifteenth century suggest that the process by which the Ming state expanded into new areas can be summarized as follows: 1) Validation of a military action was sought out or created; 2) A military expedition was launched if resistance was apparent; 3) Assistance of some local leaders was gained; 4) Intimidation by slaughter was sometimes conducted; 5) The existing leaders were killed or removed elsewhere; 6) Orders were issued locally noting the moral rectitude of the military action and emphasizing that it was conducted to free the people from their evil rulers or other predicaments; 7) Chinese bureaucrats were appointed as either registry man- agers or in a more broader sense in the larger polities; 8) Military guards and civil administrative offices were established; 9) Grain and labor levies were instituted, and monopolies over salt, gold, and silver were instituted, or else it was demanded that such goods had to be provided to the state in lieu of labor; 10) Useful human resources were stripped; 11) Further opportunities for territorial gain were sought out.
[...]
Is there any evidence of changes in Southeast Asian metrological standards during the fifteenth century? This is difficult to assess, but by at least the middle of the sixteenth century, in a Portuguese text of 1554, we read that “In Malacca the weight used for gold, musk, &c., the cate, contains 20 taels, each tael 16 mazes, each maz 20 cumduryns; also 1 paual 4 mazes, each maz 4 cupongs; each cupong 5 cumduryns.” The “cate” and “tael” are the Malay terms for the Chinese jin and liang respectively.

The Mechanics of the Macao-Nagasaki Silk Trade
permalink: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2383821 .
For so great was the demand for foreign silk that the Japanese authorities were willingto put up with their presence in order not to jeopardize [the silk] trade with Macao. ...It is remarkable that the Japanese never seemed to have realized that the termination of this trade, while perhaps causing inconvenience in Japan,would produce little short of economic disaster in Macao. Nor did they realize that the Portuguese would have been willing (as later events showed) to continue the trade regardless of whether missionaries were allowed to work in Japan or not. ... It would, of course, have been far more economical forthe Chinese and Japanese to conduct this trade directly among themselves,for the Chinese were just as eager to obtain Japanese silver as the Japanese were to buy Chinese silk. But on account of the depredations of the wako pirates in the coastal areas of China, the Ming government had prohibited trade with Japan and strong anti-Japanese feeling existed in China.


Ports-of-Trade, Maritime Diasporas, and Networks of Trade and Cultural Integration in the Bay of Bengal Region of the Indian Ocean: c. 1300-1500
permalink: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233631888_Ports-of-Trade_Maritime_Diasporas_and_Networks_of_Trade_and_Cultural_Integration_in_the_Bay_of_Bengal_Region_of_the_Indian_Ocean_c._1300-1500
Ibn Battuta (1325-54) sailed to Bengal (Chittagong) from the Maldive Islands via west coast India, avoiding a Sri Lanka stopover, because of regional piracy and the unfavorable trade policies of Sri Lanka’s rulers (they laid claim to, or taxed, the remains of any shipwreck in Sri Lankan waters).
[...]
A heterarchy is defined as including horizontally linked equitable urban centers that shared common goals, acknowledged the political independence of its “members,” and included multiple networked power centers that had different levels of connectivity, and were based upon some degree of acknowledged cultural homogeneity. Heterarchies distributed privilege and decision making, in contrast to hierarchies in which power and privilege were concentrated in its higher members. Arguably, the heterarchy network was ideal in a period of rapid change, as its fluid and normally equitable (“horizontal”) linkages allowed for a good deal of flexibility and encouraged cooperation among its members rather than leading to submission to a single dominant port in a networked hierarchy. Heterarchies could be characterized by multiple organizational patterns, types of knowledge, and means of acknowledgment. They were thus ideal in encouraging linkage of extended communities across some substantial space, in this case maritime space, as defined by movements of goods and religious (Hindu-Buddhist and Islamic) and cultural (Indic, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Malay, or Javanese) ideas. The conceptual early maritime heterarchy was a religious, ideological, and commercial world that spanned space and overcame isolation by linking communities with common interests—communities that were commonly initially tied by their participation in the international maritime trade.
[...]
When Ibn Battuta visited Sri Lanka in 1344, he found it divided among rival Kotte, Kandy, and Jaffna polities. A Muslim network of agents connected the hinterland and ports, with notable initial connections to the Malabar coast and beyond. This would change substantially by the late fifteenth century, as the first Portuguese sixteenth-century account distinguishes between the initial “Ceylon Moors” of Arabic and west coast Indian ethnic heritage (early traders who intermarried and acculturated), as opposed to fifteenth-century Muslim migrants from the Tamil regions of southeast India, whom the Portuguese called “Coastal Moors.”
[...]
In line with the heterarchy and cosmopolis models, none of the named fifteenth and sixteenth-century Bay of Bengal regional port-polities developed into elaborate institutionalized “states.” In each case, regional secondary centers held their prominence because they were linked to a number of parallel or subordinate ports-of-trade across substantial maritime space. Consistent with the heterarchy and cosmopolis models, these fifteenth and sixteenth-century Bay of Bengal port-polity networks may be thought of as extended communities that commonly shared in a linked series of regional ports-of-trade and human and cultural networks that connected to the interna- tional Indian Ocean East-West mainstream. While fifteenth-century Sri Lanka under Parakramabahu VI assumed significance as the acknowledged center of a conceptual Bay of Bengal Theravada Buddhist cultural cos- mopolis network, Kotte’s Colombo port-of-trade was not equally significant as a focal commercial emporium, but was one among other Bay of Bengal regional secondary ports ultimately networked with the Melaka emporium, which fulfilled the essence of the networked cosmopolis model.


Seals of Red and Letters of Gold: Japanese Relations with Southeast Asia in the 17th Century
permalink: http://www.academia.edu/186907/Seals_of_Red_Letters_of_Gold_Japanese_Relations_with_Southeast_Asia_in_the_17th_Century
Japanese merchant shipping was controlled by Japanese authorities under Toyotomi Hideyoshi,
and later under the Tokugawa shogunate, both of which issued formal documents to officially designate authorized merchants in a system aimed at combating the piracy prevalent at the time. These ships were called shuinsen, or “red seal ships” after the vermillion seals on the formal documents (shuinjō) which they carried, and agreements were reached between the shogunate and the authorities in various Southeast Asian countries regarding the recognition and enforcement of the system. In this period of over 30 years, more than 350 officially licensed Japanese ships traveled abroad, calling at 19 ports across the region8. More than half of the shuinjō were issued for trade with ports in mainland Southeast Asia, with roughly half of those being issued for central Vietnam, also known as Quang Nam or Cochinchina.
[...]
In order to repair and resume formal relations with China, Japan had to show that it had a centralized authority with which the Chinese court could communicate and interact, and which could put an end to the problem of the [sino-japanese pirates].
[...]
The kings of Ayutthaya were quite open to foreign trade and relations, engaged in relations with the shogunate, and welcomed these Japanese adventurers, making use of them from time to time in quelling rebellions and intimidating neighboring states. Some Japanese gained considerable influence in the royal court, and were bestowed titles or official positions. By the 1620s, Japan was Ayutthaya's most major trading partner, the ships of over twenty Japanese trading houses, along with those of many maritime adventurers, making regular journeys between Nagasaki and Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya was invaded by Burma at this time [late 1580s] and besieged; the city fell but was soon recovered. In the wake of this, relations between the kingdom and Japan, which could supply it with firearms and swords, became increasingly important. The Japanese role in supplying Ayutthaya's armies is evidenced by the cargo of a ship known to have been captured by the Spanish en route to Ayutthaya in 1589. Stopped at Manila, five hundred arquebuses and five hundred swords and other blades destined for King Naresuan were confiscated by the Spanish.
...six Siamese embassies visited Japan from 1616-162927, bringing a variety of goods both for trade and as gifts to the shogunate, along with formal letters from the royal court, inscribed on sheets of gold and presented in exquisite ceremonial containers. The Siamese royal court, or its diplomatic officials, were perhaps aware of the importance the shogunate placed on the proper dating of formal documents, and of the diplomatic difficulties created by Korean missives to Japan dated with the Chinese, not Japanese, imperial era name. As a result, an invented era name, “Tenun”, was applied to some, if not all, of its communications with the shogunate over the course of many years, avoiding the potential difficulties that might have resulted from the use of the Sanskritic calendar.
[...]
The Nguyen family gained closer ties to Japanese traders through adoptions and marriage, and many of the shuinsen to trade at Hoi An in this period were captained by Japanese relations of the Nguyen family. In addition, Nguyen Hoang and his successors frequently treated Japanese traders well when they were brought to Quang Nam by storms or other conditions while en route to a different destination. Finally, the Nguyen lords frequently engaged directly in commerce themselves, communicating with individual Japanese traders and asking that they carry certain goods abroad for sale, or buy and bring back certain goods, on behalf of the kingdom.


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kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

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