[HNW] Re: Re: cotton fleece

Allison263@aol.com Allison263 at aol.com
Mon Jan 16 06:19:29 PST 2006

In a message dated 1/16/06 1:30:54 AM, ianruadh at zonnet.nl writes:

> If
> >   cotton was avialable in the thirteenth century,
> >   than it most certainly was a luxery product. It had to travel a
> >   long distance before it reached europe (and even
You might want to pick up a copy of Mazzaoui's book "The Italian Cotton 
Industry in the Later Middle Ages 1100-1600." She is, by profession, a historian 
who specializes in industrial history---and this book is her research into the 
medieval industry of cotton manufacture, distribution, import/export, etc. She 
concludes that cotton was probably a low-class fabric, used for ready-made 
garments, household items, and sailcloth, based on her study of extant documents, 
merchant records, letters, inventory lists, etc. Cotton was widely available 
in the 13th century, I believe that it was being cultivated in many parts of 
Italy and exported throughout Europe by then. 

My theory, based in large part on her work, is that the reason cotton is so 
rarely seen/mentioned in extant records is not because it was a luxury item but 
because it was a common, low-class item. Cotton is sometimes, but not often, 
used as a ground in embroidery. It's uncommon enough that when it is found it 
is somewhat of a surprise. The magnificent altar frontal of Pope Sixtus IV, 
housed in Assisi, was discovered to have a ground of evenweave cotton. The 
conservators were shocked when they discovered this, and made mention of it in the 
book that was published of the conservation. 

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