A collective of scholars seeking to produce a handbook of Asian law in the early years of the twentieth century might have found themselves in much the same position as we do, a century later, asking some of the same questions: amidst the global, cosmopolitan and international, where should one start to seek out ‘Asian law’? At a time when law’s promises seem so reliably to have been followed by its limitations, what continuities and ruptures matter most for understanding a period of rapid transformation in law, its institutions and its politics? How might we balance the work of charting law’s infinite variety with mapping its internal consistencies and prevailing tendencies? This chapter uses questions that arise from charting the movement of law across Asia in the nineteenth century as provocations for contemporary research: first, what does an exploration of law’s movements reveal about Asia’s politics, polities and political economies? Second, how do these politics vary across time and space, and why? Third, what might an exploration of Asian law in movement reveal about law itself and how might it advance a critical agenda for Asian or comparative law?1