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Yankee India: American Commercial and Cultural Encounters with India in the Age of Sail 1784-1860

Susan S Bean

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ISBN 10: 8185822832 / ISBN 13: 9788185822839
Published by Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., 2001
New Condition: New Hardcover
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In this splendid work, Bean, curator of South Asian and Korean art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, provides insights into the experiences of New England traders who sailed the world in search of trade just after America won its independence. Initially, this trade consisted of buying goods in one Asian port and selling them at another until there was enough profit to finance a return trip to America. Then in 1833, ice from New England became a major commodity; traders flush with funds could then imitate the British by buying cotton, shipping it to New England to be made into textiles, and selling the manufactured goods in India. A particularly noteworthy aspect of this narrative of cultural exchange are the extensive extracts from diaries of New Englanders, dating from 1789 to 1854, which describe their encounters with Asia and especially India. Bean also provides a visual dimension, illustrating the text with artifacts from the Peabody Essex Museum, which was founded in 1799 as the East India Marine Society. A worthwhile addition for public and academic libraries concerned with art, anthropology, economic history, religion, India, or New England history. Donald Clay Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis Printed Pages: 288. Bookseller Inventory # 4352

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Yankee India: American Commercial and ...

Publisher: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Edition: First edition.

About this title


Built around mariners' journals of their pioneering voyages, "Yankee India" charts the early development of commercial and cultural relations between the United States and India in the Age of Sail. The end of colonial rule in 1783 had given American merchants and ship owners the freedom to trade in Asia. Voyages from ports along the eastern seaboard were the first American links to the distant and exotic culture of India. Mariners' journals and letters speak of encounters with vastly different ways of life that sometimes challenged and sometimes reinforced ideas about decorum, religion, and morality and that influenced attitudes toward imperialism, legitimate rule, and free trade. Material embodiments of India at the time - prints, paintings, and figurines depicting Indian scenes and people; "hubble-bubbles", "idols", fans and other souvenirs; as well as goods like bandannas, palampores (bed covers), and shawls - augment and illustrate the story. Previously untapped archives and collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, whose founders were captains and supercargoes in the Asia trade, provide the principal resources. These first encounters between the United States and India in the Age of Sail laid the foundation for American views of India and contributed to the development of American and Indian national and cultural sensibilities. "Yankee India" brings this important but little known episode to a wide range of readers interested in the histories of the United States and India, and in the impacts of intercultural encounters.

About the Author:

Susan S Bean is Curator of South Asian and Korean Art and Culture at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. Dr Bean specialises in the visual arts and cultural history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century South Asia. Dr Bean received her doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, and has taught at Yale, Columbia, and Brown Universities, and Wellesley College.

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