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Eleventh-Century Commercial Developments in Angkor and Champa

  • Kenneth R. Hall

Recent scholarship has speculated that there were two forms of “classical” Southeast Asian states in pre-modern Southeast Asia, one associated with the inland wet rice states of the Southeast Asian mainland and Java, and the other represented by the thalassocracy of Srivijaya. It is suggested that while the wet-rice states derived their income from the land, the Srivijaya state depended more upon income from its external contacts — income generated from Srivijaya's participation in the East-West international maritime route which passed through the Malacca Straits region. It is held, however, that the classical states, whether landed or maritime in their focus, had a good deal in common. One dominant characteristic of Southeast Asia's classical states was their “centre” orientation; each state's capital acted as the centre of the king's domain, the centre of his administration and royal cult, and the focus of the king's power and authority. The centre drew in the resources of the realm — tribute, talent, men, and goods — which were then used to support the ruler's power. Via various redistributive mechanisms, classical rulers tapped their centre's treasury to share these resources with their supporters: this redistribution sometimes took the form of direct payments, or more generally-this sharing of prosperity was indirect, as for example in the endowment of temples.

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1 Summarized in Hall, Kenneth R., “An Introductory Essay on Southeast Asian Statecraft in the Classical Period”, in The Origins of Southeast Asian Statecraft, ed. Hall, Kenneth R. and Whitmore, John K (Ann Arbor, 1976), pp. 124.

2 Not only do the epigraphic records of temple endowments emphasize the theoretical powers of the state, but each endowment also provides for the economic development of the area surrounding the temple. This development might take the form of the assignment of a labour force to work temple lands, provision for the construction of local irrigation systems which would serve temple and local lands, or the hiring of artisans who would construct a new temple or repair an old one, but who would require the services of a local population to supply their daily needs.

3 Wolters, O.W., Early Indonesian Commerce (Ithaca, 1967), pp. 3436.

4 Ibid., ch. 2.

5 Ibid., pp. 162–68, 175–76, ch. 13.

6 See Kenneth R. Hall, “State and Statecraft in Early Srivijaya”, in Southeast Asian Statecraft, pp. 61–105.

7 The Chinese “tribute” system by which the T'ang regulated their relationship with Srivijaya and other Southeast Asian states was essentially political with economic implications [see Wolters, O.W., The Fall in Srivijaya in Malay History (Ithaca, 1970), pp. 3948]. On the one hand, any political strife could disrupt the flow of trade; on the other, the maintenance of political stability and the establishment of entrepôt like Srivijaya were seen as laying the foundation for and encouraging this flow.

8 Schafer, E.H., The Empire of Min (Rutland, Vermont, 1954), pp. 7578. There was for a period, however, as discussed below, a shift of the foreign merchant community's residence to ports on the Vietnamese coast.

9 See Kenneth R. Hall and John K. Whitmore, “Southeast Asian Trade and the Isthmian Struggle, 1000–1200 A.D.”, in Southeast Asian Statecraft, pp. 307–8. As discussed below, there is current controversy whether Srivijaya was a continuous entity during this era, or if we may better understand Srivijaya's ever-expanding authority as being at best intermittent between the seventh and eleventh centuries [see Bennet Bronson, “Palembang as Srivijaya: The Lateness of Early Cities in Southern Southeast Asia”, Asian Perspectives (forthcoming)]. Thai historians currently view the Ligor area as being the Srivijayan capital for most, if not all, of this era [see, for example, Rajani, M.C. Chand Chirayu, “Background of the Srivijaya Story”, Journal of the Siam Society 62, 1 (1974): 174211; 62, 2 (1974): 285–324].

10 See Wisseman, Jan, “Markets and Trade in Pre-Islamic Java”, in Economic Exchange and Social Interaction in Southeast Asia, ed. Hutterer, Karl L. (Ann Arbor, 1978), pp. 197212.

11 Wolters, Fall of Sri Vijaya, pp. 1, 14.

12 See Hall, Kenneth R., “International Trade and Foreign Diplomacy in Early Medieval South India”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 21, 1 (1978): 7598.

13 Wolters, Fall of Sri Vijaya, pp. 42–48.

14 Hall and Whitmore, “Southeast Asian Trade”, p. 328, fn. 12; and Kenneth R. Hall, “The Coming of Islam to the Archipelago: A Reassessment”, in Economic Exchange, pp. 213–32.

15 Hirth, F.W. and Rockhill, W.W., Chau Ju-kua: His Work on the Chinese and Arab Trade in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Entitled Chu-fan-chi (St. Petersburg, 1911), pp. 3539. See also Wheatley, Paul, “Geographical Notes on Some Commodities involved in Sung Maritime Trade”, Journal of the Malay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 32, 2 (1959): 58, 16–17.

16 Hall and Whitmore, “Southeast Asian Trade”.

17 For a detailed analysis of the evidence for commercial activity in the Khmer domain during Sūryavarman's reign, see Hall, Kenneth R., “Khmer Commercial Development and Foreign Contacts under Sūryavarman I”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 18, 3 (1975): 318–36.

18 Groslier, Bernard P., Angkor et le Cambodge au XVIe siecle (Paris, 1958), pp. 108–12.

19 Sedov, L.A., “On the Problem of the Economic System in Angkor Cambodia in the IX-XII Centuries”, Narody Asii i Afriki, Istoriia, Ekonomika, Kul'tura 6 (ANSSSR, 1963), 7381. I have used a translation from the Russian done by Antonia Glasse for Prof. O. W. Wolters of Cornell University.

20 Epigraphy mentions only 12 place names ending in -pura, a Sanskrit term used to identify urban areas, during the reign of Jayavarman IV (928–942), 24 in the period of Rājendravarman II (944–968), 20 under Jayavarman V (968–1001), but 47 — more than double those of his immediate predecessors — in the reign of Sūryavarman I [see H. de Mestier du Bourg, “La premier moitie de XIe siecle au Cambodge: Suryavarman Ier, sa vie et quelques aspects des institutions a son epoque”, Journal Asiatujue (henceforth JA) 268, 3–4 (1970): 308].

21 Hall, “Khmer Commercial Development”, p. 331–36.

22 Luce, G. H., Old Burma, Early Pagan, I (Locust Valley, New York, 1969), 2123, 26, as discussed in Hall and Whitmore, “Southeast Asian Trade”, p. 330, fh. 20.

23 Hall and Whitmore, p. 308.

24 Coedès, George, The Making of Southeast Asia (Berkeley, 1966), p. 77.

25 Gangwu, Wang, “The Nanhai Trade”, Journal of the Malay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 31, 2 (1958): 9091. In 875 a new Cham dynasty came to power at Indrapura (Quang-nam), and reference in Chinese sources is henceforth made to Chan-ch'eng, ”the Cham city”, or Champapura. See Maspero, Georges, Le Royaume de Champa (Paris and Brussels, 1928), p. 6. That the Chinese incorrectly thought of the Cham domain as principally a maritime state is reflected in Lê Tằc's Annam Chílúóc, written in China in the early 14th century by a Vietnamese, which gives the following brief note on Champa (Chan-ch'eng-kuo): “[They] established [their] state on the shore of the sea. Chinese merchant ships cross the sea. The outer barbarians who come and go all congregate here to take on fuel and water.” Lê Tằc, Annam Chí-lútỏ (Hue, 1961), p. 31 (in Chinese). John K. Whitmore of the University of Michigan's Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies had provided me with this translation.

26 See Maspero, op. cit, passim. The principal Cham epigraphic records utilized in this study are collected in the following: Aymonier, A., “Premiere etude sur les inscriptions Tchames”, JA 17 (1891): 186; Bergaigne, M. Abel, “Inscriptions Sanscrites de Campa” (henceforth ISC), Notices et extraits des Manuscrits de la bibtiotheque nationale et autres bibliotheques … (Paris, 1883), pp. 181292.

27 Champa was in a position to inherit the entrepôt position filled in earlier centuries by Funan to the south [see Pelliot, Paul, “Le Fou-nan”, Bulletin de l'Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient (henceforth BEFEO) 3 (1903): 248303]. However, as discussed above, the Malay state of Srivijaya assumed Funan's former position as Southeast Asia's chief entrepôt on the maritime route in the 7th century and maintained this position until the 11th century. Champa's position on the maritime route, as recognized by the Chinese, was that of a secondary port.

28 ISC, p. 253.

29 Aymonier, op. cit, p. 191, and ISC, p. 217.

30 Woltérs, Early Indonesian Commerce; idem, Fall of Sri Vijaya. Wolters sees Southeast Asian mariners, Malays in particular, supplying the ships and manpower needed to carry the commerce between the South Asian subcontinent and China.

31 The Ligor Inscription from the eastern Malay coast, dated 775, suggests that the Srivijaya monarch held political authority over the Southern Seas during the 8th century [see Sastri, K.A. Nilankanta, The History of Srivijaya (Madras, 1949), p. 120, for a translation of the Ligor inscription]. There is some debate, however, whether Srivijaya's authority during that period was being exercised from Sumatra or from Java. [See deCasparis, J.G., Prasasti Indonesia 2 (Bandung, 1956): 1546, 258–61, 288–300]. Thai historians are now proposing a southern Thailand base, possibly Ligor, for Srivijaya's hegemony. (See M.C. Chand Chirayu Rajani, “Background to the Srivijaya Story”.)

32 The Chinese recognized Srivijaya's dominance over the Southern Seas until at least the 12th century (see Woiters, Fall of Sri Vijaya, p. 38), although Bennet Bronson has proposed that Srivijaya's hegemony was not constant but was intermittent, and probably the centre of Srivijaya's authority shifted several times during the period when the Chinese were recognizing its dominance (see Bennet Bronson, “Palembang as Srivijaya: The Lateness of Early Cities in Southern Southeast Asia”).

33 In the process of these raids, the Cham temples were said to have been desecrated, representing the destruction of the Cham king's legitimacy. As noted in the Po Nagar temple inscription recording these events, the temple's liṅga was carried off by the raiders, but was recovered by the Cham king who followed with his navy. Not only did the Cham king reinstall the liṅga, the symbol of his legitimacy, but he also used the loot he had acquired in defeating these marauding sea-farers to reconstruct the damaged temple (ISC, p. 252).

34 See Bronson, op. cit.

35 Quoted in Wang Gangwu, “The Nanhai Trade”, p. 81. In addition, the foreign merchant community themselves compounded the situation by sacking Canton in 763.

36 Quoted in Ibid., p. 82. The Vietnamese ports were also subjected to similar raids during the 760s, indicative of their commercial importance in that age. See Coedes, Making of Southeast Asia, p. 79.

37 Ibid., pp. 90–91. T'ang records considered Cham ports to be a source of local products-ivory, rhinoceros horns, gharuwoods, tortoise-shells, amber, and manufactured gold and silver objects.

38 The fleet was destroyed by a gale, and only the Cham king's vessel was spared. See Maspero, Henri, “Le protectorat general d'Annam sous les T'ang”, BEFEO 10 (1910): 678.

39 Vijaya, the Cham capital, was taken, and 5,000 prisoners were carried back to the Lý domain, where they were resettled in new villages. See Coedes, Making of Southeast Asia, p. 83.

40 Aymonier, op. cit, p. 29.

41 Ravaisse, Paul, “Deux inscriptions coufiques du Campa”, JA 20, 2 (1922): 247–89.

42 Tasaka, Kodo, “Islam in Champa”, Tohagaku 4 (1952): 52.

43 The dating of this second effort is significant, since it coincides with the investiture of the new Sung emperor. See Schafer, Edward H., The Vermillion Bird (Berkeley, 1967), p. 75, quoting the Sung shih and Wu tai shih.

44 Maspero, op. cit., p. 29.

45 It would be useful if one could turn to the Vietnamese chronicles for insight. John Whitmore and I have explored this possibility, but aside from receiving affirmation of the existence of urban centres, we have found all such references to the commercial centres of the North to be coloured by later Confucian historians and their general scepticism towards trade. While the Confucian overlay projects a negative attitude towards commerce, as yet limited archaeological evidence [see Davidson, Jeremy H.C.S., “Recent Archaeological Activity in Viet-Nam”, Journal of the Hong Kong Archaeological Society 6 (1975): 8099] as well as Chinese and other external references generally evince a positive commercial stance by the Lý rulers. The Vietnamese chronicles also provide little evidence on the Chams other than references to Champa as being a “country inhabited by monkeys” and a source of manpower. Wars with the Chams are reported, but there is little concern for Cham lifestyle. It is hoped that more detailed analysis by Hanoi historians may in the future provide further insight into these questions.

46 Hall, “Khmer Commercial Development”, p. 325. See also Maspero, Henri, “La Frontiere de l'Annam et du Cambodge”, BEFEO 18, 3 (1918): 2936.

47 Coedès, George, Inscription du Cambodge 6 (Hanoi-Paris, 1942–66), pp. 183–86.

48 Although, as I have noted, the Cham ruler used a naval force to recover the liṅga stolen from Po Nagar's temple during the 8th-century hostilities, Chinese records portray the Cham king as the leader of a land force of 5,000 who rode into the battle on elephants (Schafer, op. cit., p. 72, quoting the T'ang shu). It is likely that in the 8th century the Cham ruler was also utilizing the seafaring population of his coastal ports and that the Cham rulers' problems with the seafaring groups, as suggested below, pre-dated the 10th century.

49 Coedès, George, The Indianized States of Southeast Asia (Honolulu, 1968), p. 114. The inscription is reported in ISC, p. 492, fn. 3.

50 See Stern, Philippe, L'art du Champa et son evolution, (Paris, 1942), pp. 6668, 109.

51 Barrett, A.M., “Two Old Japanese Copper-plate Inscriptions of Balitung” (M.A. diss., University of Sydney, 1968), p. 129, as quoted in Jan Wisseman, “Markets and Trade in Pre-Islamic Java”, p. 207. As discussed above, regional trade was shifting away from Sumatra to the Java Sea region in the 11th century, and that henceforth to gain access to the valuable spices of the eastern archipelago one had to deal directly with the Javanese. Thus it is not unreasonable to expect that the Javanese influence upon Cham cultural patterns may have been derived from Champa's participation in the channels of international trade. There are political implications as well, as past historians have attempted to reconstruct the 9th- and 10th-century history of the mainland as being a period of Javanese hegemony. In support of this thesis these historians have pointed to a Khmer inscription in which the Khmer king Jayavarman II (802–850) is said to have come from Java to reign over the Khmer domain and to have established his autonomy from Javanese control symbolically by throwing off his ties to the Javanese (Coedès, Indianized States, pp. 93, 97–98, 100).

52 Coedès, Indianized States, pp. 125, 139–40.

53 Maspero, op. cit., p. 29.

54 In 1050, the Cham monarch was also expanding, or reestablishing, his power over the eastern Khmer border, sacking Sambupura on the Mekong, [See Osborne, Milton, “Notes on Early Cambodian Provincial History: Isanapura and Sambhupura”, France/Asiae 20, 4 (1966): 449]. Thus we may see the Cham king's expedition against Pāṇḍuranga as part of a general expansion of the Cham monarch's authority in 1050. I have speculated above on Pāṇḍuranga's strategic position relative to the route to Sambupura. Pāṇḍuranga, as noted, was located just north of the Mekong delta, where it would have controlled much of the traffic moving into the interior. In this instance, Pāṇḍuranga's conquest was a necessary predecessor to the Cham king's activities on the Mekong. As discussed in the article by Osborne, overland access to Sambupura was difficult. Thus it is reasonable to expect the Cham king to have launched his expedition up the Mekong from Pāṇḍuranga, and he may well have utilized the remnants of Pāṇḍuranga's maritime community, their loyalty newly restored, for this expedition of conquest. I may note my above reference to a similar Cham raid into the Khmer domain during the 9th century, when “thousands of barks with white sails” were repulsed by the Khmer monarch. In 1177, the Chams launched a devastating attack on Angkor, again using a naval force and going up the Mekong (Coedès, Indianized States, p. 164).

55 It was normal Southeast Asian practice to make dependents of one's enemies. I may cite, for example, my earlier reference to the Lý raid upon the Cham capital, when 5,000 war captives were transported back to the Lý capital and resettled. Such war captives were placed on the conquering state's lands where they contributed to the victorious state's economic prosperity. This resettlement pattern was consistent with the agricultural focus of the classical Southeast Asian state. I have hypothesized above that such resettlement of war captives was of great importance to the expansion of the Khmer state's agricultural base in the 10th and 11th centuries.

56 Maspero, op. cit., pp. 138–39.

57 Ibid., pp. 141–42.

58 John K. Whitmore, “The Opening of Southeast Asia, Trading Patterns through the Centuries”, Economic Exchange, pp. 139–53.

59 Schafer, op. cit., p. 76.

60 My research on epigraphy from other areas of Asia has convinced me that this attitude towards merchants was not characteristic of the Chams alone, but was a general attitude of agrarian states which were synthesizing Indic and Sinic cultural values. For example, see Kenneth R. Hall, Local Commerce, Itinerant Trade, and South Indian Statecraft in Cōḻa Times, forthcoming.

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Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
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