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Built around mariners' journals of their pioneering voyages, Yankee India charts the early development of commercial and cultural relations between the United States and India in the Age of Sail. The end of colonial rule in 1783 had given American merchants and ship owners the freedom to trade in Asia. Voyages from ports along the eastern seaboard were the first American links to the distant and exotic culture of India.
Mariners' journals and letters speak of encounters with vastly different ways of life that sometimes challenged and sometimes reinforced ideas about decorum, religion, and morality and that influenced attitudes toward imperialism, legitimate rule, and free trade. Material embodiments of India at the timeprints, paintings, and figurines depicting Indian scenes and peopleaugment and illustrate the story. Previously untapped archives and collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, whose founders were captains and supercargoes in the Asia trade, provide the principal resources.
These first encounters between the US and India laid the foundation for American views of India had an impact on intercultural encounters.
About the Author
Susan S. Bean is Curator of South Asian and Korean Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. Dr. Bean specializes in the visual arts and cultural history of 19th- and 20th-century South Asia.
"... readable, scholarly and visually opulent study of material and cultural exchange. Bean presents a beautifully illustrated story of America's "commerce" with the subcontinent after independence from Britain in 1783."