chapter  5
27 Pages

Living in a material world: Cosmopolitan elites

In this chapter I will argue that the Ladakhi Arghun community formed a cosmopolitan elite through interactions with commercial goods in the trading networks of Ladakh. The presence and use of trade goods shaped social relations through material connections to other commercial and cultural systems that were only available to a limited section of trade participants. This is particularly evident when we consider the role of material culture in the shape of three specific trading commodities – cotton piece goods, synthetic dyes, and charas.