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  • Scientific Name: Aquilaria agallocha

Aloeswood, also known as agarwood, eaglewood, or calambac, is perhaps the most expensive variety of wood in the world today. An aromatic wood native to tropical regions, an oil extracted from the wood was valued for its use in producing incense and perfumes. Aloeswood was among the goods Tokugawa Ieyasu requested in trade in diplomatic communications with Southeast Asian courts in the early 1600s.[1]

Though a rarity, and surely a luxury item, eaglewood was traded across the region as early as the 14th century, if not earlier. The Korean kingdom of Goryeo (918-1392) is known to have imported eaglewood from Southeast Asia, along with sappanwood and other tropical products.[2]


  1. Cesare Polenghi, Samurai of Ayutthaya: Yamada Nagamasa, Japanese warrior and merchant in early seventeenth-century Siam. Bangkok: White Lotus Press (2009), 70n9.; including, in particular, in a 1606 letter from Ieyasu to the king of Ayutthaya (Siam). Nagazumi Yoko, "Ayutthaya and Japan: Embassies and Trade in the Seventeenth Century," in Kennon Breazeale (ed.), From Japan to Arabia: Ayutthaya's Maritime Relations with Asia, Bangkok: The Foundation for the Promotion of Social Sciences and Humanities Textbooks Project (1999), 103n1.
  2. Geoffrey Gunn, History Without Borders: The Making of an Asian World Region, 1000-1800, Hong Kong University Press (2011), 217.
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