Angkor Thom. The Bayon. Chinese Merchant Family.
12th c Cambodian Khmer Architectural Sculpture
KHMER (ANGKOREAN) Anonymous
(active c. 802 - c. 1450)
Angkor Thom. Cambodia.
Another scene from the village reliefs shows a group of Chinese merchants, identified by their embroidered jackets, visiting the Khmer village. One of them kneels before the ladies of the house. The Chinese Emperor Gao Zong (1127-1162) had encouraged trade saying: "Profits from maritime commerce are very great. If properly managed, they can amount to millions (of strings of coins). Is this not better than taxing the people?" The emperor improved the harbors and the merchants built the ships and fanned out looking for trade objects.
One of the visiting Chinese wrote a journal which gives a marvelous description of Cambodia at this time. The women were in charge of the trade, as many still are, and the Chinese appreciated their grace and easy charm as well as their business acumen.
As a matter of fact, the Chinese merchants liked the Cambodians and the Indonesians so much that more and more of them settled there. The emperor was quite distressed when three envoys on an official mission to Cambodia in 1403 jumped ship and could not be found. During the 15th century the number of Chinese moving to South East Asia became a veritable flood. The prosperous Chinese merchants in South East Asia were, unfortunately, the victims of riots during the economic troubles of 1998.
KHMER | Angkor Thom. The Bayon. Chinese Merchant Family. | c. 1181-1200 | Cambodian | Khmer
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