Distributive Networks, Sub-Regional Tastes and Ethnicity: The Trade in Chinese Textiles in Southeast Asia from the Tenth to Fourteenth Centuries CE

  • Derek Heng
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


In contrast to the tributary exchange in luxury textiles between China and Southeast Asia—documented by the beginning of the second millennium CE—the trade and consumption patterns of textiles at the lower levels of society in Southeast Asia have been little studied. A re-reading of textual information from Southeast Asia, China and the Indian Ocean reveals variations in textiles imported by the various sub-regions of Southeast Asia, and their links to local differences in tastes in dyeing techniques, colour palettes and weave techniques, often between markets that were located in relatively close proximity to each other. These findings, in turn, help to reconstruct the distributive patterns of products, and to suggest a possible means of highlighting ethnic distinctiveness of certain sub-regions of Southeast Asia.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Heng
    • 1
  1. 1.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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