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Shipped but Not SoldMaterial Culture and the Social Protocols of Trade during Yemen's Age of Coffee$
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Nancy Um

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824866402

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824866402.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 January 2019

European Merchant Tribute in Yemen

European Merchant Tribute in Yemen

(p.59) Two European Merchant Tribute in Yemen
Shipped but Not Sold

Nancy Um

University of Hawai'i Press

Drawing on the gift registers of the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company, this chapter shows that the gifts bestowed by European merchants in Yemen may not be collapsed indistinguishably with other types of offerings, such as diplomatic bestowals, imperial gifts, and acts of pious charity. By contrast, European merchants’ gifts were comprised of relatively routine trade items and were remarkably formulaic in nature, thus overlapping with Indian Ocean commodities in uneven and unexpected ways and drawing their power and meaning from their association with extended commercial geographies. A close perusal of European commercial gifting practices also reveals that foreign merchants became quite adept at the local grammar of giving, even if they decried its legitimacy in their letters back to home offices.

Keywords:   merchants, tribute, gifts, diplomacy, textiles, English East India Company, Dutch East India Company

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