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Artisans and guild life in the later Safavid period

Keyvani, Mehdi (1980) Artisans and guild life in the later Safavid period. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In the social and economic history of Iran, as of other Moslem countries, bazaars and guilds of craftsmen and tradesmen working in them have always played an important part. After a discussion of the historical background, this thesis examines the functions of the guilds in the later Safavid period (c. 1597-1722 A.D.), when Iran was a large and generally stable empire administered on bureaucratic rather than feudal lines. Guild practices and traditions from the period endured into the 19th and 20th centuries. Evidence is adduced to show that the guilds had a dual role as spontaneous associations for defence of their members' interests and as agencies used by the Safavid government for collection of taxes, control of prices, and procurement of goods and labour. Among the subjects which are examined are the functions of responsible officials and headmen, the taxes and the tax collection methods, the apprenticeship system, price supervision, judicial and penal matters, and guild restrictions. Attention is also given to the Safavid government's intervention in economic life through royal industrial establishments and royal monopolies. Although merchants were not organized in guilds, they influenced the life of the bazaars, and so too did the East India Companies which established "factories" in Iran during the period. Attention is therefore given to the activities of Muslim Iranian, Armenian, Jewish, and Hindu merchants and financiers, and of the English and Dutch East India Companies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1980
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:51

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