A Traveler in Siam in the Year 1655: Extracts from the journal of Gijsbert Heeck

Artikelnummer: 9789067183277 Categorie:

Gijsbert Heeck (1619-1669) was a medicinal specialist who served the Dutch East India Company (VOC). His journal, written more than three hundred and fifty years ago, is based on the daily notes he made during his third trip to the East. This volume presents the selections from his journal that deal with Siam, accompanied by the original Dutch text. Heeck reveals how Siamese authorities reacted to a violent confrontation between the Dutch and the Portuguese. He gives a detailed description of the Dutch lodge in Ayutthaya, and also bits of information on the relationships of local Dutch men with indigenous women. His record of villages along the Chao Phraya River that specialized in making coffins, preparing and selling firewood, painting, and producting earthenware signals the existence of a complex economy in this part of Siam. Compared with other seventeenth-century descriptions of the landscape, Heeck’s journals provide more information on population, scenery, traffic, trade, and religious establishments than all the others combined. He also provides a unique early perspective on local social arrangements and political intrigue, and on interactions between the Dutch and the locals. This publication is the initiative of a group of Dutch and Thai scholars who intend to provide access to important Dutch texts about Siam from the VOC period by translating them into English along with a transcript of the original Dutch text. Heeck’s journal was chosen for the strength of its observations of mid-seventeenth century Siam. Transcribed from the handwritten Dutch manuscript by Renée Hoogenraad. Published with Silkworm Books

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