Beyond Price: Pearls and Pearl-fishing : Origins to the Age of Discoveries, Volume 224

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American Philosophical Society, 1998 - Philosophy - 448 pages
1 Review
Man has been intrigued by the origin of pearls, sensitive to their beauty, & convinced of their medicinal value for at least five millennia. A mixture of folklore & observation preceded the earliest scientific inquiries. Fishing & trade commenced in southern Asia, between India & Sri Lanka & around the Persian Gulf. In Western & Central Europe, Inner Asia & China, & North America, freshwater pearls were probably known & treasured before those of marine origin. R.A. Donkin combines written sources with the results of archaeological & philological research. A refined nomenclature lends support to other evidence pointing to long familiarity, & etymologically related words for 'pearl'- reflecting former trading connections or colonization. Pearls were prominent among the luxury products which, for many centuries, the West associated with the legendary East & South; conversely, the Chinese looked to the West & South. From the opening of the Age of Discoveries & for the next two & a half centuries marine pearls were high among the objectives of expeditions to the eastern & western Tropics. The often remote centers of demand were affluent & culturally advanced societies where dealers & purchasers exercised fine judgment in matters of shape & color & iridescence, as they continue to do today. Beyond Price: Pearls & Pearl-Fishing, organized both chronologically & by region is called by reviewer, James Parsons, "the crowning achievement of a world-class scholar....The folklore regarding pearls has created an endlessly imaginative literature, here analyzed meticulously." The book is enhanced with over 100 maps & illustrations.
  

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The nucleus of the Achaemenid empire (538331 BC), the kingdom of Persia (principalities of Anshan and Persia), lay to the north and east of the head of the Persian Gulf (Map 12). Three-quarters ot a century ot extraordinary expansion commenced under Cyrus who annexed, first, western Elam (556 BC), then the Median empire (549 BC), Assyria (548-547 BC), Lydia (546 BC) and, finally, the Neo-Babylonian empire (539-8358 BC). Cambyses II added Egypt, Cyrene and Cyprus (525 BC). Darius I (521-486 BC) advanced the eastern frontier from the Oxus and Jaxartes to the Indus (ca. 520 BC), and his son, Xerxes I (486-465 BC), occupied Macedonia and Thessaly. Athens fell in 480 BC. For the first time, all the most ancient centers of civilization in the Old World (except China) were brought under the nominal control of a single power. P.50 ************ Alexander and Porus meet each other near the river Hydaspes. P.52*****************map of iran achaemenid P.45************* 

Contents

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Page 91 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls : who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Page 277 - HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind ; Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand, Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold...
Page 171 - The plunder was so great that every private man in the allied army became rich in gold, jewels, effects, tents, arms, horses, and slaves, as the sultans left every person in possession of what he had acquired, only taking elephants for their own use.
Page 400 - A Collection of Inventories and other Records of the Royal Wardrobe and Jewel House, and of the Artillery and Munition in some of the Royal Castles, AD 1488-1606...
Page 86 - Tzinista and other trading places, it receives silk, aloes, cloves, sandalwood and other products, and these again are passed on to marts on this side, such as Male...
Page 405 - Vols. XI. and XII. Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus. Translated from the original Sanskrit. By the late HH Wilson, MA, FRS Third corrected Edition.
Page 159 - Abraiaman ; and their charm holds good for that day only, for at night they dissolve the charm so that the fishes can work mischief at their will. These Abraiaman know also how to charm beasts and birds and every living thing.
Page 14 - ... breed in sweet waters; their shells are like mussels, but larger ; the fish is like an oyster, it produces clusters of eggs ; these, when ripe, are cast out, and become like those that cast them ; but sometimes it appears that one or two of these eggs stick fast to the side of the matrix, and are not voided with the rest. These are fed by the oyster against her will, and they do grow, according to the length of time, into pearls of different bigness, and do imprint a mark both on fish and shell...
Page 399 - Patricia de Fuentes ed. and trans. The Conquistadors: First-person accounts of the Conquest of Mexico.
Page 208 - ... the outer fibres of the bamboo are woven into cloth. The weather is always hot. " There is a pond with pearls in it, and at night their light is seen on the surface of the water ; the natives sell pearls to the Chinese, and on the large ones enormous profits are made. When the (Chinese) merchant vessels leave, a few of their men are detained as hostages for their coming back again.

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