Exotic animal products and chinese trade with Borneo


en Anthropozoologica 16 - Pages 181-188

Published on 01 October 1992

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animals and their products in trade and exchange. Proceedings of the 3rd international meeting of HASRI, Oxford, 8-11 November 1990

The paper will describe trade contacts between China and Borneo and then examine three consequences for the indigenous societies of Borneo, The first is the manner in which the trade items became incorporated into some of the indigenous societies as prestige property, and the second the means by which a symbiotic relationship was established in the northern part of Sarawak between the hunter-gatherer collectors of jungle produce and the farming societies which traded with the Chinese. The hunter-gatherer s rarely met the Chinese themselves, they exchanged their jungle products with the settled societies for salt, tobacco and cloth. The two types of society maintained a long term association, in which each accepted the autonomy of the other, but where there was no marked tendency for the hunter-gatherer s to adopt farming. The third aspect to be considered is the part played by this trade in the process whereby another group, the Iban did adopt farming.


China, Borneo, Trade, Iban, Exotics.

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