With QualifiersBombay stuffs [Danish]
Textiles, Modifiers, and Values
Choose a textile from the dropdown list on the upper left. Select modifier(s) for your selected textile, if any. The bar graph will generate visualizations that reflect your selections. X- and y-axis variables can also be changed.
A note about modifiers: The modifier dropdown list will include only those modifiers that relate to the selected textile. Choose OR to see results that match any of the selected modifiers. Choose AND to see results that match all of the selected modifiers. You can select more than one modifier in each field.
Today’s gingham is a textile in two colors (usually blue-and-white or red-and-white), in an evenly spaced, square check pattern, like Dorothy’s dress from the Wizard of Oz or the cloth that conceals the Great British Bake Off’s technical challenges. Some of the gingham that traveled on early modern ships may have looked like this, but there was a huge range of patterns described, including plain (effen), striped, and checked; a number of other descriptors that we cannot yet define: sestienes, dronggangs, pinasse, taffachelas; and the translatable but still unclear bed tick (beddentijk) and underclothes (onderbroeken). There are few colors mentioned in the dataset, although dronggangs indicates a reddish brown.  We have several samples of gingham, like the red-and-white check featured above (early 19th century, and not the familiar pattern of today), but also two examples below of a majority blue with white or white and yellow stripes.
Further afield is the example at right, labeled as French gingham from Pondicherry, which features blue-and-white stripes plus a stripe of blue-and-white ikat (a technique in which threads are tie dyed in a pattern before weaving). Some gingham is described simply as bleached, plain white cloth.
According to Laarhoven, pieces of gingham are typically between 3.96 and 20 meters long and between 0.74 and 1.65 meters wide. Considering the broad range of types, it is possible that sizes correspond to different types. In our dataset the prices range from less than one guilder per piece to almost 50, with most in the 3–5 guilder range. The cheapest types of gingham are plain (effen), striped, some check, pinasse, dronggangs, and some taffachelas. Mid-range ginghams include different varieties of check, taffachelas, and bed tick. Underclothes seem to fetch the highest prices. As we don’t yet know how size, price, and type relate, this analysis is tentative.
In the dataset for 1700–1724, gingham travels on ships originating from the Indian subcontinent (Bengal and Coromandel), travelling most often to Batavia, and then on to all of the Asian network and to the Dutch Republic. The gingham that is described as plain, striped, or checked all comes from Bengal, while the other currently undefined modifiers are primarily from Coromandel but also Bengal. The plain and striped gingham ships to Japan and the Dutch Republic, while checked gingham goes to Timor and the Dutch Republic. Shipment patterns suggest that Japan was the only market for gingham sestienes (an unknown type), the Spice Islands the only market for bed tick, and the Dutch Republic the only market for underclothes. Gingham dronggangs, pinasse, and taffachelas shipped across the entire network. Stanley Alpern includes gingham among the cloths traded in Africa, yet only one piece of 600,000+ in our dataset went to Africa (to Arguin).  We will likely find more examples as the dataset expands, but it is also possible that the gingham traded in Africa was traded more frequently by other networks than the Dutch West India Company.
The specific types of gingham described in the shipping documentation were meaningful to merchants and consumers, and tastes varied regionally, but we cannot say with certainty how all of these gingham types looked or felt. The terms in the dataset do not correspond with the historic labels on extant textile examples, nor with the colors and patterns of these examples. In modern and historic glossaries, gingham is sometimes described as having a texture, either from mixed fibers (cotton and wild silk—tussur or muga—or other plant-based and less common fibers, like herba grass or bark), or from doubled threads in the warp and weft. Irwin identified a sample in the Victoria & Albert collection as gingham (the museum now calls this seersucker), which has an alternating stripe of white cotton and tussur silk, producing a puckered fabric, and serving as an example of what gingham in multiple fibers may have been like. 
With such a wide range of types of gingham, it is challenging to identify gingham in historic images. The dataset indicates some “bed tick” gingham: does this mean that it was used to make bed ticks, as in the Esaias Boursse painting included in the image gallery below; or did the gingham merely look like a bed tick, meaning it had blue-and-white stripes? The dataset also indicates gingham as underclothing, which is much less likely to appear in formal portraits. Some underclothing, of course, is meant to be seen, but we have yet to find an example of an exposed petticoat or shift in stripes or check. However, there are examples in visual culture of textiles that follow the range of potential appearances of gingham, like the image by Jan Brandes above, with red-and-white check pattern. Here, the woman, enslaved in a European household in Batavia/Jakarta, wears a white upper garment and a loosely wrapped red-and-white checked skirt. At left, a seated enslaved woman is dressed similarly with blue-and-white checks. Jan Brandes’s late eighteenth-century watercolors of Batavia describe fashions in the city in varying levels of detail, and it is difficult to connect these patterns directly with specific textiles, but they provide some hint of what these may have looked like in use. Miki Sugiura’s work on clothing for the enslaved in the Dutch empire draws on records of textiles provided for clothing (generally not describing specific garments, but instead lengths of cloth which would be worn wrapped or fashioned into garments). These records mention gingham, guinea cloth, and chintz (among others), and she specifically notes gingham camisoles (upper garments, inner/outer wear) sold at auction in Capetown in 1735. 
Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, VOC-Glossarium. Verklaringen van termen, verzameld uit de Rijks geschiedkundige publicatiën die betrekking hebben op the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (The Hague: Institute voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 2000), 37. Also available as interactive here: http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/vocglossarium/zoekvoc.
Ruurdje Laarhoven, “The Power of Cloth: The Textile Trade of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) 1600–1780,” (Australian National University, 1994), appendix: 28–30.
In the app, some higher-priced anomalies are caused by some gingham being shipped in packs of multiple pieces, and checking the dataset for unit resolves this.
Stanley B. Alpern. “What Africans Got for Their Slaves: A Master List of European Goods,” History in Africa, 22 (1995): 7.
John Irwin and P. R. Schwartz, Studies in Indo-European Textile History (Ahmedabad India: Calico Museum of Textile, 1966), 64–65.
Miki Sugiura, “The Economies of Slave Clothing in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Cape Colony.” 104–129 in Dressing Global Bodies: The Political Power of Dress in World History, ed. Beverly Lemire and Giorgio Riello (London: Routledge, 2019), 122–23.