Improvement of Techniques and Crafts:
In this period, there was a spurt in agriculture, as new techniques and seeds were introduced. More importantly, the crafts greatly improved in terms of quality as well as variety. We shall discuss the improvements in agriculture and crafts in this section. We shall also tell you how the growth in trade helped this process. Agriculture Pepper and spices were grown for export as well as domestic consumption. A wide variety of crops like rice, wheat, barley, sesame, pulses, beans and lentils, vegetables such as cucumbers, onions, garlic, pumpkin, and betel were grown. New fruits like pears and peaches were introduced for the first time. All this did not take place at random or as a matter of chance. There were proper manuals which gave information on the type and quality of soil required for each plant, various plant diseases, the distances between plants as well as sowing techniques (e.g., working of the soil before sowing). These manuals also deseribed techniques for processing grain, vegetables and fruits. As a wide variety of soil types had to be cultivated, new varieties of agricultural implements also appeared. Weights and designs of ploughshares for different types of soil were fixed and the use of iron for making agricultural implements became widespread. Crafts Rapid strides were made during this era in metallurgical and weaving crafts. Rust-proof iron and copper alloys were found and worked into intricate articles for civilian as well as military purposes. The quality of the articles was so good that they were widely exported, even as far as Africa. In the design of these articles, there was, to an extent, Greco-Roman and Central Asian influence. However, on the whole, they had a local character.