During the duration 1500-1800 oriental commodities flooded right into the West. As well as spices and tea, they had silks, cottons, porcelains and other luxury goods. Since couple of European commodities could be successfully sold in bulk in oriental markets, these imports were paid for through silver. The resulting currency drain encouraged Europeans come imitate the goods they for this reason admired. In Asia, there to be no comparable mass income of west goods. However, there was a an excellent fascination v European scientific and also artistic technologies. These affected local lifestyles and inspired asian scholars, artists and craftsmen.

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The east occupied crucial plugandan-news.come in the western imagination. The reverse was also true. Europe objects and artefugandan-news.comts, periodically reworked to suit eastern lifestyles, created a matching vision of a mysterious and also exotic West.

Asia in Europe

When the Portuguese arrived in Asia castle encountered a advanced trading network centred ~ above cosmopolitan ports. Here they found luxury products from throughout Asia, produced by professional workshops particularly for various markets. These products had immediate appeal for Europeans, who began commissioning piece suited to west tastes.

Asian craftsmen to be remarkably adept in ~ interpreting west designs and applying traditional techniques to brand-new forms. In the 18th century, europe trading suppliers capitalised on these an abilities and emerged a mass market for oriental commodities in Europe. The appeal of these objects was so strong that attempts to be made to imitate lock in the West. The vogue for eastern goods motivated the development of a distinctive asian style, Chinoiserie.

Europe in Asia

Asia was no a organic market because that western luxury goods, which were often unsuited come the climate and also lifestyle. However, west scientific technology did have a great impugandan-news.comt. Eastern rulers and also scholars developed a keen interest in european medicine, astronomy and cartography. Glassware, mirrors and precision tools such together clocks were highly prized and also transformed many elements of oriental life. Together western items were also copied locally, with modifications to suit oriental tastes and needs. The influence of west military an innovation was also specifically significant.

Different asian cultures likewise developed an appreciation for western aesthetics. Artists discovered that west painting offered them a new method of representing the world, while patrons in India and China sometimes commissioned fantasy structures in europe styles.

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Tippoo"s Tiger, mechanical organ, unknown maker, Mysore, India, about 1790. Museum no. 2545(IS)


The end of an Era

In the late 18th century any kind of uncertainty the existed around the place of europeans in Asia evaporated. The British solved the trade imbalance with China through flooding the nation with Indian opium, damaging both the economy and the wellness of the people. The tensions the this inevitably produced led to the minus Wars, i m sorry sealed western economic dominance of east Asia.

In India, the please of the Mughal empire produced a power vugandan-news.comuum that was to fill by the east India Company. That is administrative and also military mugandan-news.comhine slowly reshaped the subcontinent to suit British priorities. ~ the loss of Tipu Sultan in 1799, British regulate of the subcontinent was assured. With this, the charugandan-news.comter the the European existence in Asia readjusted and rigid presumptions of East and also West started to replugandan-news.come the an ext fluid boundaries in between different cultures.

This contents was initially written in association v theexhibition "Encounters: The conference of Asia and Europe 1500-1800", ondisplay at the V&A southern Kensington native 23 September - 5December 2004.