Silk for Silver

Published 1 January 2007
This book focuses on the political and commercial relations between the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Vietnamese kingdom of Tonkin from 1637 until the beginning of the eighteenth century. The VOC exported silk and silk piece-goods from Tonkin to Japan. The author focuses on various aspects of the mutual relationship between the VOC and Tonkin, and how this fitted into the larger picture of the intra-Asian trade. The book reveals the vicissitudes in political relations, and the varying trends in the VOC's import (silver and copper) and export (silk, ceramics, musk, and gold). While examining a great deal of detailed archival materials, the author evaluates Dutch influence on Tonkin's feudal society and economy. The book also offers a fascinating sketch of how the Vietnamese trading elite maximized their own profits by dealing with various western tradesmen, including the English and French.