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Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World1500-1800$
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Nelly Hanna

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166648

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166648.001.0001

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Artisans, Spies, and Manufacturers: Eighteenth-century Transfers of Technology from the Ottoman Empire to France

Artisans, Spies, and Manufacturers: Eighteenth-century Transfers of Technology from the Ottoman Empire to France

Chapter:
(p.95) 4 Artisans, Spies, and Manufacturers: Eighteenth-century Transfers of Technology from the Ottoman Empire to France
Source:
Ottoman Egypt and the Emergence of the Modern World
Author(s):

Nelly Hanna

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166648.003.0004

The dominant historical view is that technology in the modern and early modern period was a European domain, while the world outside Europe was the passive recipient of this know-how. Historians can now show that the transfer of knowledge was not a one-way process and that the modern world did not originate in one single region. In India, Asia, and America, local knowledge was integrated into modern science. This chapter looks at transfers of knowledge to France from Egypt and the rest of the Ottoman Empire. One of the areas attracting the attention of French entrepreneurs was textile dyes. In the eighteenth century, the variety and quality of dyes in Egypt, Syria, and Anatolia were far superior to those in use in Europe. At a time when printed cloth was becoming fashionable everywhere, colors and dyes gained special importance. Academics, missionaries, diplomats, and spies were sent from France to learn the secrets of these dyeing techniques. The chapter traces some of the ways through which these transfers of know-how took place, showing the difficulties that were met on the way. It concludes with the evidence that some of the techniques learned in the Ottoman Empire were integrated into European industry.

Keywords:   dyes, know-how, technology, cotton prints

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