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Global Gifts
The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia

$41.99 (C)

Part of Studies in Comparative World History

Zoltán Biedermann, Anne Gerritsen, Giorgio Riello, Antonia Gatward Cevizli, Luca Molà, Barbara Karl, Carla Alferes Pinto, Claudia Swan, Adam Clulow, Mary Laven, Natasha Eaton
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  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108401500

$ 41.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This anthology explores the role that art and material goods played in diplomatic relations and political exchanges between Asia, Africa, and Europe in the early modern world. The authors challenge the idea that there was a European primacy in the practice of gift giving through a wide panoramic review of imperial encounters between Europeans (including the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English) and Asian empires (including Ottoman, Persian, Mughal, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Japanese cases). They examine how those exchanges influenced the global production and circulation of art and material culture, and explore the types of gifts exchanged, the chosen materials, and the manner of their presentation. Global Gifts establishes new parameters for the study of the material and aesthetic culture of Eurasian relations before 1800, exploring the meaning of artistic objects in global diplomacy and the existence of economic and aesthetic values mutually intelligible across cultural boundaries.

    • Explores the history of Eurasian diplomacy before 1800
    • Reconsiders the culture of diplomacy through the study of gift exchange
    • Investigates cases from a range of European and Asian political exchanges
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Combining the thriving field of material culture with the intriguing paths of new diplomatic history, this book explores in novel ways the gift-exchange processes between individuals, courts and empires in the early modern era. Global Gifts is an unusually cohesive collective endeavor that truly enriches our understanding of the diverse nexus between Europe and Asia in the period.' Jorge Flores, European University Institute, Florence

    ‘This rich collection demonstrates the power of ‘things' to shape cross-cultural relations in formal diplomacy. Gifts of art and material culture were fulcrums around which negotiations were staged in early modern Eurasia. Pushing interpretive boundaries, these trans-cultural histories illuminate the thorny mechanics of gifting, the meanings of gifts and the diplomatic aims these served.' Beverly Lemire, University of Alberta

    ‘Asking what made a good gift in the early modern past, Global Gifts explores the intersection of diplomatic history and material culture studies. Textured and deeply researched, this volume traces the itineraries of exotica across a tangle of cultural and geographic boundaries. Whether one is Thailand or Portugal, India, or Italy, this book will prompt new thinking about issues that were crucial in the past yet have resonance in our own time – labor and luxury, politics and trade, generosity and thwarted desire.' Dana Leibsohn, Smith College, Massachusetts

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108401500
    • length: 317 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 42 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: global gifts and the material culture of diplomacy in early modern Eurasia Zoltán Biedermann, Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello
    1. Portraits, turbans and cuirasses: material exchange between Mantua and the Ottomans at the end of the fifteenth century Antonia Gatward Cevizli
    2. A silken diplomacy: Venetian luxury gifts for the Ottoman Empire in the late Renaissance Luca Molà
    3. Diplomatic viories: Sri Lankan caskets and the Portuguese-Asian exchange in the sixteenth century Zoltán Biedermann
    4. Objects of prestige and spoils of war: Ottoman objects in the Habsburg networks of gift giving in the sixteenth century Barbara Karl
    5. The diplomatic agency of art between Goa and Persia: Archbishop Friar Aleixo de Meneses and Shah 'Abbās I in the early seventeenth century Carla Alferes Pinto
    6. Dutch diplomacy and trade in Rariteyten: episodes in the history of material culture of the Dutch Republic Claudia Swan
    7. Gifts for the shogun: the Dutch East India Company, global networks and Tokugawa Japan Adam Clulow
    8. 'From his Holiness to the King of China': gifts, diplomacy and Jesuit evangelization Mary Laven
    9. 'With great pomp and magnificence': royal gifts and the embassies between Siam and France in the late seventeenth century Giorgio Riello
    10. Coercion and the gift: art, jewels and the body in British diplomacy in Colonial India Natasha Eaton.

  • Editors

    Zoltán Biedermann, University College London
    Zoltán Biedermann is Associate Professor and Head of Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies at University College London.

    Anne Gerritsen, University of Warwick
    Anne Gerritsen is Professor of History and directs the Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick.

    Giorgio Riello, University of Warwick
    Giorgio Riello is Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick.


    Zoltán Biedermann, Anne Gerritsen, Giorgio Riello, Antonia Gatward Cevizli, Luca Molà, Barbara Karl, Carla Alferes Pinto, Claudia Swan, Adam Clulow, Mary Laven, Natasha Eaton

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