Organized Panel Session
The last decade of research has completely up-ended our understanding of trade between China and Japan. Officially the two countries had suspended their formal relations after the last Japanese embassy in 838. But in reality the economies of the two countries became increasingly intertwined, so much so that by the late 1100s the Japanese were using coins minted in China as their primary currency. How did living in an interconnected world affect daily life?
In both China and Japan, people at all social levels consumed large quantities of aromatics from the Islamic world and Southeast Asia (Valerie Hansen). Chinese consumers had a love-hate relationship with Japanese folding fans (Yiwen Li). Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, Japanese pirates developed practices of adopting the dress of other lands and their actions inspired rebellious denizens of other lands to dress as Japanese pirates (Peter D. Shapinsky).
The exposure to objects and practices from other cultures provided many opportunities: people enjoyed consuming foreign luxuries, delivered their political agendas via commenting on imported objects, and learned from the foreigners they came across. By investigating miscellaneous notes, poems, literature works, paintings, and transmitted and excavated objects, this panel examines how the objects and people that crossed borders played a role in people’s daily lives in pre-modern East Asia and shaped their understandings of each other.