Ms Ruopu Zhai
|Member of the Department of Archaeology|
SCHOOL OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND MUSEOLOGY, PEKING UNIVERSITY, CHINA
MA Degree obtained in Culture Relics and Museology . Thesis entitled
“Tracing the growth of the Shalu Temple: A preliminary survey of the murals and structure of the first floor cloisters”
SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND CULTURE, SICHUAN UNIVERSITY, CHINA
BA Degree obtained in Archaeology. Thesis entitled “Tracing the change in the depiction of Budai Maitreya from the Song to the Ming Dynasties”.
The 11th to 15th centuries witnessed profound changes in the structure and nature of commercial exchange across Eurasia. These changes affected all parts of this vast landmass: Europe, China, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world and South Asia. As Eurasia became more closely linked by land after the Mongol invasions, and maritime connections also increased, an economy that was truly an early global economy began to form. These developments are profoundly important to our understanding of the pre-modern world. Chinese ceramics were exchanged for organic products, gemstones and other commodities from the late 8th century onwards. They have the archaeological advantages of commonality, durability, identity and being unearthed in large quantities. They provide the archaeologist with precious evidence with which to recreate the low-level mercantile activity that underpinned the great commercial revolution that was changing the face of the globe. For example, the large amount of Longquan celadon discovered both at kiln sites and trading stations are an effective indication of cross-regional trade between China and other places in the world. It is thereby the archaeologist and historian’s saviour in understanding the development of the medieval global economy. As a passage linking east and west, Southeast Asia has always been a key participant in global trade, especially the maritime exchange between the East and the West Indian Ocean. Different kinds of Chinese ceramics were widely transported in this region during the time when the production and trade of Chinese ceramic flourished from late Song to early Ming dynasties.
The current project aims to examine the patterns of transportation and consumption of Chinese trade ceramics in the East Indian Ocean, especially in the region of Southeast Asia, during the Song (960-1279 AD), Yuan (1271-1368 AD) and early Ming (1368-1644 AD) dynasties. It is hoped to use these ceramics as the archaeological indicator of examining the economics and social background to long-distance production and exchange in and across the East Indian Ocean during this key period of global economic integration.