The history of slavery is by no means untouched, and there are now even ambitious global histories of the phenomenon in print. On the other hand, it is clear that much of the literature on this sombre side of human society has concentrated on the Transatlantic slave trade and non-free labour in the Americas. The relative wealth of documents in Western languages has presumably contributed to give the historiography of slavery a Western centre of gravity, coupled with the fact that the early modern Americas were restructured into settlement colonies. This made slavery a motor of socio-economic change in a more pronounced way than in Asian societies. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that the handling of slaves in an Asiatic context has been less thoroughly treated in the extant academic literature. It seems that aspects of Asian slavery have not fit well into the preconceptions of Asianists, or have at least been relegated to the margins of social history.