July 2018: New History of Diplomatic Material Culture

Cambridge University Press has published Global Gifts: The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia, a new anthology edited by Zoltán Biedermann, University College London, Anne Gerritsen, University of Warwick, and Giorgio Riello, University of Warwick.


Global Gifts, according to the publisher, “explores the role that art and material goods played in diplomatic relations and political exchanges between Asia, Africa, and Europe in the early modern world.” It offers a “wide panoramic review of imperial encounters between Europeans (including the Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English) and Asian empires (including Ottoman, Persian, Mughal, Sri Lankan, Chinese, and Japanese cases).” In ten chapters plus an introduction by its editors, the book considers “how those exchanges influenced the global production and circulation of art and material culture, and explore the types of gifts exchanged, the chosen materials, and the manner of their presentation.”


A table of contents appears below (with the eighth chapter, by Mary Laven, of particular interest), and more information is available at cambridge.org.


— “Introduction: global gifts and the material culture of diplomacy in early modern Eurasia” by Zoltán Biedermann, Anne Gerritsen and Giorgio Riello

— 1. “Portraits, turbans and cuirasses: material exchange between Mantua and the Ottomans at the end of the fifteenth century” by Antonia Gatward Cevizli

— 2. “A silken diplomacy: Venetian luxury gifts for the Ottoman Empire in the late Renaissance” by Luca Molà

— 3. “Diplomatic viories: Sri Lankan caskets and the Portuguese-Asian exchange in the sixteenth century” by Zoltán Biedermann

— 4. “Objects of prestige and spoils of war: Ottoman objects in the Habsburg networks of gift giving in the sixteenth century” by Barbara Karl

— 5. “The diplomatic agency of art between Goa and Persia: Archbishop Friar Aleixo de Meneses and Shah ‘Abbās I in the early seventeenth century” by Carla Alferes Pinto

— 6. “Dutch diplomacy and trade in Rariteyten: episodes in the history of material culture of the Dutch Republic” by Claudia Swan

— 7. “Gifts for the shogun: the Dutch East India Company, global networks and Tokugawa Japan” by Adam Clulow

— 8. “‘From his Holiness to the King of China’: gifts, diplomacy and Jesuit evangelization” by Mary Laven

— 9. “‘With great pomp and magnificence’: royal gifts and the embassies between Siam and France in the late seventeenth century” by Giorgio Riello

— 10. “Coercion and the gift: art, jewels and the body in British diplomacy in Colonial India” by Natasha Eaton.

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