السبت، 8 أكتوبر، 2011

Islamic Government Control of Textiles

The attention that different Islamic governments paid to the textile industry had the greatest effect on its growth during the Middle Ages, especially at the time of Al-Hakim, the Fatimid Caliph.

Private factories also helped spread the textile arts, which were used for political purposes by rulers. The rulers wore these fabrics and gave them as gifts to princes and friends. The rulers bestowed on a select few of their subjects robes, called Khola, or pieces of cloth.

Considering the importance of such an industry, the government established public factories called "Dar A-Tiraz," or Textile Factory. These factories had two sections, one to produce fabric for the masses and another to make garments for the elite. Just like state workshops, private workshops were also closely monitored by the government, which supervised the factories' production and supplied them with raw materials. The government also tested the products and gave them quality stamps, ensuring there was no cheating with the proportions of raw materials used. The government enjoyed a monopoly over the sales of raw materials, set their prices, and allowed only a small number of merchants to trade in these materials, requiring them to keep official sales books. The weavers were also required to transport and store their products in special warehouses, where they were properly folded and wrapped.

The workshop was managed by a senior official called "Sahib A-Tiraz," or Textile Master. He was one of the highest ranking, best paid, and most powerful officials. Papyrus documents tell that during the early days of Islam, the textile master was assisted in each district by a Textile Master Deputy. He had assistants working in each of the workshops of Egypt, as well as official offices in the capital.

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