Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art

By Evelyn Payne Hatcher | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Globalization: The 20th Century
Figure 10.1. Zheng He's Chinese treasure ship, 400 ft long, early 15th century; Columbus' ship Santa Maria, 85 ft long, late 15th century. (after Levathes).

At the end of the 1400s the areas of conquest became larger as the maritime technology of Europe started the global age. This might have been a Chinese expansion as the maritime trade of China was extensive, extending to India and Africa. There are early Ming blue and white porcelain shards in East Africa, and the textile trade with Indonesia was established. But China decided against colonialism.

The idea that it was superior European technology that made Europe so dominant must be tempered by the knowledge that some of the most important basic ideas -- the compass, firearms, printing and paper came to Europe from the Chinese sphere. And knowledge of astronomy, geography and navigation from the East via the Muslims.

The political dimension known as the Colonial period is very much like previous political expansions but just on a wider, worldwide scale, and across the seas as well as over land. If we look at the changes that took place after 1500 without putting the emphasis on the political dimension, we can think of what happened in terms of all

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