Imported from India, China, the Levant, and Persia and appreciated
for their diversity, designs, fast bright colours and fine weave,
Asian textiles became so popular in France that in 1686 the state
banned their import, consumption and imitation. A fateful decision.
This book tells the story of smuggling on a vast scale, savvy
retailers and rebellious consumers. It also reveals how reformers
in the French administration itself sponsored a global effort to
acquire the technological know-how necessary to produce such
textiles and how the vitriolic debates surrounding the eventual
abolition of the ban were one of the decisive moments in the
development of Enlightenment economic liberalism.
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