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Textile Crafts in the Gulf of Tongking: The Intersection Between Archaeology and History

Cameron, Judith

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Craft production played an important role in the overall structure of economic life in the Gulf of Tongking region during both the prehistoric and protohistoric periods. This is evidenced by the large number of bronze drums found at archaeological sites in Vietnam, Yunnan, and Guangxi, discussed in the chapters by Li Tana and Michael Churchman. These drums indicate not only that metal production was a major preoccupation during the first millennium B.C.E., but that crafts contributed to the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCameron, Judith
dc.contributor.editorNola Cooke
dc.contributor.editorLi Tana
dc.contributor.editorJames A.Anderson
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T22:12:30Z
dc.identifier.isbn9780812243369
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/49688
dc.description.abstractCraft production played an important role in the overall structure of economic life in the Gulf of Tongking region during both the prehistoric and protohistoric periods. This is evidenced by the large number of bronze drums found at archaeological sites in Vietnam, Yunnan, and Guangxi, discussed in the chapters by Li Tana and Michael Churchman. These drums indicate not only that metal production was a major preoccupation during the first millennium B.C.E., but that crafts contributed to the wealth of emerging elites in the region. There is also unequivocal archaeological evidence that many Bronze Age sites in Southeast Asia were involved in longdistance trade and exchange well before the Han Chinese moved into the regions surrounding the South China Sea.1 Undoubtedly, textiles would have been important commodities in the Nanhai trade of the historical period.2 They are a fundamental part of material culture, as easily transported as bronzes and pottery, and imbued with considerable sociocultural significance. Not only are textiles used for clothing throughout Asia, they are prescribed for rites of passage ceremonies as symbols of ethnic and social identity. Some scholars have suggested that textiles may have initially been more important than pottery in the early trade of the South China Sea but that archaeological textiles do not survive.3 Certainly, the climate of the Tongking Gulf region is not conducive to the preservation of organic materials, so inevitably textiles are underrepresented in the archaeological record. Nevertheless, a few extant remains have recently been unearthed, and archaeological excavations in the region have also produced indirect evidence for cloth production in the form of textile production tools. Just such a little-known assemblage of tools has been recovered from a Western Han tomb in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region near Hepu, the oldest departure point on the ancient maritime route. This chapter considers that assemblage, and earlier archaeological parallels from prehistoric sites in Vietnam and Yunnan, to determine what the data might tell us about the textile crafts and early interactions in the Gulf of Tongking. Copyright
dc.publisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
dc.relation.ispartofThe Tongking Gulf Through History
dc.relation.isversionof1st Edition
dc.titleTextile Crafts in the Gulf of Tongking: The Intersection Between Archaeology and History
dc.typeBook chapter
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
dc.date.issued2011
local.identifier.absfor210103 - Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
local.identifier.absfor210102 - Archaeological Science
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4491231xPUB190
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationCameron, Judith, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage25
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage38
local.identifier.doi/10.9783/9780812205022.25
dc.date.updated2020-12-13T07:27:48Z
local.bibliographicCitation.placeofpublicationPhiladelphia
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84898176371
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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