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Research Article

Corallium rubrum’s Itineraries and Sources

Trades between the Mediterranean, India, China and Japan from Antiquity to Early Modern Times

Tiziana Iannello    Independent scholar    



Since ancient times, red coral has been one of the most appreciated original items exported from the Mediterranean to India and East Asia, along the circuits of the silk and spice trade routes. Nevertheless, due to its rarity, as well as to a paucity or a lack of records, studies seem often to neglect this product on the move from the West to the East. Focusing mostly on some accounts from antiquity to early modern times, this paper gathers information and mentions from several sort of archival, artistic, and literary sources, in order to explain why coral was appreciated, how it was acknowledged, traded and employed by different civilizations, especially in East Asia.

Keywords: Red coral. Mediterranean Sea. Eurasian trade. China. Japan.

Language: it

Submitted: March 6, 2017   Accepted: March 29, 2017   Published: Sept. 28, 2017  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.14277/2499-1562/AnnOc-51-17-8

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