May. 9th, 2012

kaigou: this is what I do, darling (5 bookstack)
[personal profile] kaigou
Really! I'm seeking any non-fiction/history works that include baseline monetary data for chinese trading ships. Preferably in the mid-Ming dynasty, but I'll settle for Yuan if there's nothing on the early to middle Ming. (Cut-off is about 1600 CE, though Ming ended a little later than that.) So far, I've found plenty about the trade itself, and the politics, but what I can't find is data that would answer questions like:

-- how much would the average sailor make, in whatever length of time (per trip, month, annual)?
-- what were the wholesale costs for various goods (silk, umbrellas, rice, lumber, etc) versus the retail prices at market?
-- what was an average cost to trim out a junk, employ the sailors, and make a trip?

If I could find one set of answers, I could possibly extrapolate from there. I've dug through google books for the really esoteric university press books, like Cushman's Fields from the Sea: Chinese Junk Trade With Siam During the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries which is two hundred years too late, but is a great example of the gap. Cushman actually calculates the wholesale cost, portage taxes, brokerage taxes, and retail profit to determine a ship's per-trip profit... but doesn't say a thing about operating costs. So while 7,000 baht might sound impressive, maybe it's not, if staffing and operational costs came to 6,999 baht! (For a list of the various other titles, see the post that resulted in me being sent here.)

Anyway, I know it's a long shot, but I'm hoping someone here might have an idea of where to look. Also, if book-suggestions aren't available in English, I can handle Mandarin or French, too. TIA!


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