Natural products from India, spices, botanical medicines, dyes and mordents, and manufactured goods like textiles, dyed cottons and artificially colored stones were high value commodities of India Trade, the dominant commercial activity of the premodern world. These highly sought commodities were developed with complex understanding of properties of natural products. Ways of learning through experience and observation accrued over centuries and transferring such deductions to broader applications were highly developed in ancient cultures, especially in India. A prime example of such knowledge development is in the botanical-medical traditions of India; the underpinning of the primary commodities of India trade, medicines and spices.

This exhibition is divided into six parts that spotlight the pivotal role Indian botanical medical knowledge systems had in shaping the history, geography, and study of natural sciences, and provides fascinating glimpses into a little-known chapter of East-West interactions.

1. India: The Nexus of International Trade in the First Millennium

2. In Search of Knowledge and Riches: Communities in Indian Spice Trade

3. Europeans Enter Indian Spice Trade

4. Portuguese and Dutch Records of Indian Medicine

5. British and the Botanical Wealth of India

6. Visions of India in Early Modern Europe


  • Title: The Indian Spice Trade (Exhibit Chapterisation)
  • Subject Keywords: Dr. Anna Spudich, India Spice Trade
  • Author: curated by Annamma Spudich, PhD.

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