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Amanda Phillips

June 25 - July 13, 2012

Project Title: Ottoman Velvets circa 1730: Demand, Creativity, and Improvement

Project Abstract: My research at Shangri La will combine two themes: the place of later Islamic art in the general narrative of the field and its domestic, sociological and architectural contexts. To wit, I will direct my attention toward the study of an exceptional phenomenon of the earlier eighteenth century by exploring how a category of Ottoman silks actually improved (rather than declined) in quality and appearance. The Foundation owns one of the earlier examples (83.5): a seventeenth-century sitting cushion made in a specific voided and brocaded velvet structure, with an equally specific and somewhat formulaic palette and pattern. This type would be improved upon, perhaps, around 1730, when a new burst of creativity seems to have manifested itself in the weaving ateliers of Bursa. By using evidence amassed during my dissertation research, I intend to show that the shift in aesthetic is tied to a larger aesthetic phenomenon and that a related shift in demand for textiles may have influenced production by giving a spur to greater artistry.

Amanda Phillips received her doctorate in Islamic Art & Archeology from Oxford in 2011. Her dissertation looked at Ottoman silk and gold velvets as objects of fashion, with a focus on the relationship between consumption and production. She is now a Kunsthistorisches Institut/Max Planck fellow at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, where she continues to research how popular consumption of luxury goods shaped the material and visual culture of the early modern Ottoman Empire.

See Amanda Phillips’s Lecture and Scholar Favorites video clip.

See Amanda Phillips's Working Paper

Each of the four scholars selected by a juried review process in 2012 pursued research projects on the following theme: "Beyond "Decline" and Before "Modern": Later Islamic Art, c. 1722-1940."

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