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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Another "paisley" example and the printed cotton trade

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  • Susanne Hibbert
    This was a very informative article. It helped to get a few things straight in my head. I know how sometimes we are tempted to just go along with first
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 24, 2011
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      This was a very informative article. It helped to get a few things straight in my head. I know how sometimes we are tempted to just go along with first impressions and the lovely look of a fabric and how good we would look in it. Research is indeed helpful, it keeps us looking for "period correctness". Not everyone wants to present  authentic clothing. I appreciate all the effort a person has gone through to get the research done, bring copies of colors pictures along when shopping, taking the time to thoughtfully decide on a fabric and design, and getting a correct period silhouette. All this makes up into a true work of art and a delight to wear.

      From: gianottadallafiora <christianetrue@...>
      To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 2:15 PM
      Subject: [Authentic_SCA] Another "paisley" example and the printed cotton trade

      Completely forgot about this one, it's not printed, but silk twill from the 6th-7th century, and Persian; look at the wing of the senmury:


      It seems to me if we're looking for stamped botteh patterns on cotton, we're going to be looking at Indian stuff, imported from Gujarat. There is a possibility that an Italian lady might have had access to Indian printed cottons, to this fascinating paper from the Global Economic History Network:


      Snippets below:

      Europe and Printed Indian Cottons
      Cotton textiles were virtually unknown in most of Europe in the late fifteenth century.35 The exception was in the Mediterranean regions, most particularly the eastern Mediterranean, where the trade in Indian printed and painted cottons was centuries old. Surviving examples of painted and printed cottons from Old Cairo, carbon dated to the fourteenth century, contain a range of common and medium quality goods that passed
      through the region.36 Unlike silk, these fabrics were produced in the broadest array of qualities and from the outset were directed at a far wider range of consumers. Venetian merchants eyed this trade hungrily and worked to become significant intermediaries in a lucrative traffic with Levant and Mediterranean markets.37 But with the arrival of the Portuguese in India, in the early sixteenth century, cottons began being shipped by sea to western Europe with gradual, but profound, results.

      The citations:

      33 Vincent, Costume and Conduct, pp. 114-116. See also N. Rothstein, `Silk in the Early Modern Period, c. 1500-1780', in Jenkins, (ed.), Cambridge History of Western Textiles, vol. i, p. 529.
      34 Vincent, Costume and Conduct, p. 48.
      35 Europe had developed since the twelfth century a dynamic fustian (mix linen and cotton) industry in Central and North Italy and parts of Spain, and later in the thirteenth century in Southern Germany and Switzerland. However, this production was confined to coarse bleached fabrics. M. Fennell Mazzaoui, `The Cotton Industry of Northern Italy in the Late Middle Ages: 1150-1450', Journal of Economic History, 32 – 1 (1972), pp. 262-286; M. Fennell Mazzaoui, The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages 1100-1600 (Cambridge, 1981). See also H. Wescher, `The Beginning of the Cotton Industry in Europe', Ciba Review, 64 (1948), pp. 2328-33; H. Wescher, `Fustian Weaving in South Germany from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century', Ciba Review, 64 (1948), pp. 2339-50.
      36 R. Barnes, `Indian Trade Cloth in Egypt: the Newberry Collection', in Textiles in Trade (Washington, 1990), pp. 178-91; R. Barnes, Indian Block-Printed Textiles in Egypt. The Newberry Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Oxford, 1997).
      37 Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony, pp. 239-41; E. Ashtor, `The Venetian Cotton Trade in the Later Middle Ages', Studi Medievali, 17 – 3 (1976), pp. 675-715; E. Ashtor, Studies on the Levantine Trade in the Middle Ages, (London, 1978).
      38 A.K. Longfield, `History of the Irish linen and cotton printing industry in the 18th century', Journal of Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 58 (1937), p. 26. The earliest reference to textile block printing is the Italian Trattato della Pittura written 1437 by Cennino Cennini and published only in 1821. See D. King, `Textiles and the origin of printing in Europe', Pantheon, 20 (1962), p. 29. Tax records and artefacts show how block printing was practiced in Augsburg in around 1475. Ibid., pp. 23-30. King observes how artefacts are of limited use in understanding the relevance of textile printing in Europe in the middle ages. A large part of medieval printed textiles are fakes an were acquired by nineteenth-century collectors who ignored their dubious provenance.

      Reading further into the paper, I have no doubt there were imported printed cottons being circulated in Italy and elsewhere before 1600.

      Read this bit here:

      "Within several years of Portugal's first voyages to the East, printed Indian cottons were being incorporated into clerical garb in Lisbon, while less high quality goods were directed to Atlantic and Levantine markets.42 Moreover, they then rapidly moved north along well-established commercial routes, through Antwerp's markets, appearing in southern England in the first half of the sixteenth century, valued for reasons of aesthetics and practicality.43

      42 J.C. Boyajian, Portuguese Trade in Asia under the Hapsburgs, 1580-1640 (Baltimore, 1993) p. 141; J. Guy, Woven Cargos: Indian Textiles in the East (London, 1998), p. 9. 13
      I hope this helps a little.
      43 See, for example, T. Beaumont James, The Port Book of Southampton 1509-10 (Southampton, 1990), vol. ii, pp. 279-81, for commentaries on cargoes. E. Roberts and K. Parker, (eds.), Southampton Probate Inventories, 1497-1575 (Southampton, 1992), vol. i., pp 65-70; 150-2; 159-62; 165-7; vol. ii, pp 244-52; 346-7; 358-9; B. Lemire, `Domesticating the Exotic: Floral Culture and the East India Calico Trade with England, c. 1600-1800', Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 1 - 1 (2003), pp. 67-8.

      However, did these earlier printed cottons have botteh designs on them? And if they did, what did they look like? I am suspecting that they were not as elaborate as the modern printed fabric we've all been debating. This paper also quotes the Ruth Barnes book (Indian Block-Printed Textiles in Egypt. The Newberry Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), and I am now seriously interested in at least looking at a copy to see if there are any pictures or descriptions of botteh-printed fabric from the 15th century or before. Even more likely for our purposes is E. Ashtor's `The Venetian Cotton Trade in the Later Middle Ages', Studi Medievali, 17 – 3 (1976), pp. 675-715.

      Hoping you found this useful!

      Adelisa Salernitana

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