Date of this Version
In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000
An Ottoman era system of cloth production and marketing identified in Gaziantep is a rare survival of traditional production patterns once central to the Ottoman Turkish economy.
This system is descended from the much older Ottoman production system that once organized textile manufacturing throughout the Ottoman Empire. Textile manufacturing had been an important part of the economy of Asia Minor since the dawn of history. It was noteworthy throughout this region in both the Roman and Byzantine eras, and during the early Muslim rule of the Selcuk Turks beginning in the eleventh century. The legendary silk road linking east and west was really a network of trade routes connecting various northern and southern routes between the cities of Asia and the entrepots of the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore it should not be surprising that during and after the Ottoman conquest in the thirteen to fifteenth centuries, textiles were being produced commercially in every part of Anatolia. The silk textiles of Bursa and the court manufactories of Constantinople are well known, as is Aleppo as a center of the silk trade. However, these centers were in fact the mercantile hubs of a much larger network of production. Gaziantep cloth production had strong connections to Aleppo, about 60 miles to the south, Prior to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire these towns were part of one economic and political region, and international textile trade network that also included Urfa, Maras and Kilis to the north (See Map).