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Volume 5  Number 1
January 1987

The Englishman David Porter offers first-hand observation of both the working conditions and the visual appearance of Broussa silk:

"We visited the silk manufactories for which Broussa is so celebrated. They are spread all over the city, but there is nothing that can be called a silk factory. The weaving is all done by job-work at so much the peake of three-quarters of a yard or thereabouts; and these stuffs, so remarkable for their beauty, are wove in miserable little rooms, only large enough to contain the loom and the weaver, or two weavers, as the case may be.

"When the figure is plain or striped, a man or a boy alone, is sufficient for the purpose; but when flowered, it requires a man and a boy; one to weave and the other to work with certain bobbins in a manner to me incomprehensible, but which he could manage with his eyes shut as well as open. These beautiful silks (and none can be more beautiful) , which are destined to grace the form of beauty, are woven by miserable, half-starved wretches, in these solitary dungeons, at a gain of not more than three and sometimes of only one piasta per day." (1)


  1. Porter, David, Constantinople, New York, 1835, Vol. I, p. 264.
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