This small display features objects showing the long and complex history of Indian Ocean trade and exchange, from ancient times to the present.
For thousands of years, the Indian Ocean has been a space through which people, objects and ideas have circulated. The navigable monsoon winds enabled merchants to travel between Africa, the Middle East and Asia, exchanging valuable commodities such as textiles, spices and ceramics. From early coastal trade between the great ancient civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia through to the heyday of European East India Companies and to the present, the Indian Ocean has remained a dynamic economic maritime zone.
This display presents objects from across different sections of the British Museum’s collection, including a 19th-century boat from Indonesia, created entirely from cloves and a Roman necklace made from sapphires and garnets, to tell this long and fascinating history of global interaction.