The Scottish photographer John Thompson first travelled to Asia in 1862 and reached Siam, present day Thailand, in 1865. This was only some 100 years after the fall of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in Siam, which rose to power in 1350 bringing with it ‘the age of commerce’, otherwise known as ‘The Golden Age’.
From the 14th to the 18th centuries, the Ayutthaya kings maintained diplomatic and commercial relations with most polities throughout East and South Asia, and the resulting two-way trade reached across this Maritime region from the islands of Japan to the Arabian peninsula.
This lunchtime talk is richly illustrated with period maps, ports and ships, and the luxury goods which were the objects of exchange in this ‘Golden Age’.
Dr Lesley S Pullen, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS University of London