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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - 17th century Indian textiles in Portuguese...?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:58 am 
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I would be very grateful if any forum members - or wider community if you are lurking out there - can help a friend of mine, a historian, not a textile expert, who is editing a translation of an historic text of the 17th century which is originally written in Portuguese. In the text there are references to several traded textiles from India to south-east Asia. As an example he has sent me a contextual sentence for reference:

"And from Bengal fifteen or twenty carracks could then go to Melaka laden with rice and wax, and an infinite range of textiles as well: cassas, saranpuras and balachas, and other textiles, and many colchas de montaria, and tents, and almoada, a very expensive product, and semianas and fabrics made from plants that look like silk."

I am afraid that I have not been able to identify any Indian textiles with which I am familiar amongst the Portuguese words. Any help would be gratefully received!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:53 am 
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Here are a couple of references to "semianas", but no help with a definition:



http://www.sjsu.edu/foreignlanguages/do ... _Dance.pdf

If the first link doesn't work, the book is about exports to the Philippines, the passage just including semianas among textiles imported.

[I edited the first link as, although it worked, it distorted the page when viewing. Thanks very much Larry, for getting us going on this! Pamela]


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:18 am 
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James Boyajian's book, "Portuguese Trade in Asia under the Habsburgs, 1580-1640", provides a fascinating insight into trade between Asia, the Cape and Europe for anyone interested in trade route development as well as historical insights into the machinations of imperial power struggles. In the glossary are to be found the following:
semiana also spelt samiana was a type of fine plain cotton or muslin cloth produced in Samana and Girhind in Northern India.

colcha was also a type of fine cotton or more specifically a cotton and silk embroidered cloth produced in Bengal and imported by the Portugese for use as wall hangings and bedspreads.

As an aside, could the word almoada be similar to the Spanish almohada - a type of pillow/cushion?


Last edited by iain on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Cassa = cossae?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:35 am 
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I wonder if the word cassa could be the same as cossae alternatively spelt khassa which was a very fine type of muslin produced in great quantities in India. P.J. Thomas' book, "Mercantilism and the East India Trade", provides incredible detail on quantities of trade exported literally to the different gingham types exported and an excellent resource.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:12 am 
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Iain

Thank you so very much for your contributions! You have suppassed my expectations for a response on this one!

Best

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 10:39 am 
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My historian friend, Peter, has been in touch with me again as he is back at editing the Flemish merchant's text from around 1635. He apparently spoke Portuguese but is writing in Spanish so Peter thinks that the names may well be garbled but hopefully recognisable. Peter is an expert of European history and of the voyages of discovery into south east Asia. However, he is no textile expert!

The list of words which keep appearing in the text but are not in his vocabulary are, in alphabetical order:

Balacha
Caladaris
Cassa
Panos de gran
Sabane
Saranpura (Peter suspects this is the name of a city that produces a particular textile)
Sarassa and tapisarassa

You will find from the posts above that, amongst the help that Iain came up with last time was the suggestion that:

"cassa could be the same as cossae alternatively spelt khassa which was a very fine type of muslin produced in great quantities in India."

I had a stroke of luck when putting Indian textiles and V&A (London museum which has a leading collection of Indian textiles) into Google and came up with a super ID for Sarassa (and probably tapisarassa with 'tapi' or 'tapis' meaning textile and which I tend to think of in connection with textiles in Indonesia) with a reference to: 'Sarrasa: a group of nine Indian textiles made for export to Indonesia' and two images of very striking block printed textiles: http://www.artfund.org.uk/artwork/5304/ ... -indonesia I hope that the V&A won't mind but I am going to attach one of the images below. A further hunt with this info took me to a blog
http://stylecourt.blogspot.com/2010/06/ ... dy_16.html – this has some Sarasa (not Sarassa or Sarrasa) wood block prints and also refers to the John Guy Book ‘Woven Cargoes’ Maa ceremonial banner, 14th-century, Gujarat for Indonesian market, cotton, block-printed mordant-dyed and block-printed painted resist-dyed from Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles in the East. I was thinking when I saw the V&A photos that fine block printing from India could well come from Gujarat. The blog also refers to sarasa sent to Japan but in the 19th century and known as wasarasa. Also talks about sarasa made for Japan on the Coromandel coast. A nice definition on the blog: Sarasa is cotton cloth decorated with hand-painting or printing.

So, do join in the hunt!!! Peter and I would be very grateful for any further contributions for his list above.


Attachments:
File comment: One of nine Indian trade textiles in V&A museum - Sarrasa made for export to India representing the luxury end of the vast textile trade that flourished between India and Indonesia from medieval times onwards. Their designs can be linked to Indian man
sarrasa2-VA.jpg
sarrasa2-VA.jpg [ 31.36 KiB | Viewed 21403 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 2:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:32 pm 
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File comment: The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre: Security, Trade and Society in 16th and 17th-century Southeast Asia
Jacques-de-Coutre-Front-Cover.jpg
Jacques-de-Coutre-Front-Cover.jpg [ 44.66 KiB | Viewed 18657 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:37 pm 
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A short video of Peter Borschberg being interviewed at the Bangkok launch of the book about it and Jacques De Coutre has been posted on YouTube and I thought that I would share it here:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Pamela!

By the way, the work of Ruurdje Laarhoven on the VOC textile trade may be of additional interest to some people.
I believe this was her dissertation: The Power of cloth: the textile trade of the Dutch East Indiea Company (VOC) 1600 - 1780.
I once found it in the KITLV library in Leiden. The dissertation was submitted to ANU.
I believe that Ruurdje now teaches in an anthropology department in Hawaii.

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/T ... edir_esc=y

Of course she also struggled with the problem of trying to ascertain the appearance of some of the textiles whose names she came across in the archives.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:24 pm 
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