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Title: Weaving as livelihood, style as status : Ottoman velvet in a social and economic context, 1600-1750
Author: Phillips, Amanda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 8947
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Ottoman gold-brocaded silk velvet (çatma) cushion covers from the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire, about 500 of which survive, are often treated as an undifferentiated aggregate because of their apparent uniformity of structure, materials, dimensions, format and motifs. However, close technical analysis of the çatma cushions reveals myriad differences. The differences-between objects that fall into the range of acceptable quality and those that do not-reveal nuances that are not reflected in the documents but that are nonetheless critical to understanding the large-scale production of luxury goods in the pre-industrial period. This dissertation investigates the range of like and unalike cushion covers from a social and economic perspective, focusing on the interaction between the production and consumption of the textiles. The first chapter contextualises the object's distinctive format, tracing its origins from the medieval Red Sea trade to the late sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire. The second shows how the small differences in material and structure indicate economisation on the part of the weavers, as they sought to husband their resources and perhaps to reach a larger number of consumers by producing a diversity of goods at different prices and qualities. The third chapter uses formal and technical analysis to periodise the objects. Records from the kadi courts in Bursa, the main centre for çatma production, illustrate how the weavers established, violated, and re-established standards for quality; the fourth chapter considers the standards in light of extant objects and establishes the frequency with which they were transgressed. The fifth chapter focuses on the consumers of the çatma cushions, using probate to understand how Ottoman men and women in the city of Edirne purchased, accumulated and displayed çatma cushions, other luxury textiles and signifying goods. The last chapter contextualises this consumption, using contemporary commentators to discuss ideas of luxury, decorum and signification among Ottoman subjects; it also looks at the imitations of the çatma cushions and speculates that the enthusiasm for the type may have helped drive production. The dissertation draws on diverse sources, from Ottoman manuscript painting to probate to hundreds of extant objects; supporting material is found in a series of figures, a catalogue and three appendices. Above all, this work rehabilitates objects which are often neglected and uses a new paradigm to suggest the importance, and relevance, of non-imperial production for the study of Islamic Art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available