Karina H. Corrigan. Book Reviews Silk, Porcelain and Lacquer: China and Japan and their Trade with Western Europe and the New World, 1500–1644 By Teresa Canepa
As the title of this voluminous and beautifully illustrated book states, Teresa Canepa strives to create a comprehensive overview of the global trade in three key luxury goods during the first century and a half of European expansion into Asia. She structures her topic—breathtakingly expansive for a PhD dissertation—in a straightforward and easily accessible format. This study of the three most important exported Asian luxury goods—Chinese silk and porcelain and Japanese lacquer—also contains almost none of the academic jargon that often makes dissertations challenging for the general public to read.
Portuguese and Spanish trade plays the greatest role in this work, but Canepa tackles the early years of the Dutch and English trade as well. Originally intending to begin her research in the 1550s, she quickly acknowledged the need to include the Portuguese trade in the first years of the 16th century in this comparative review.