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The Genesis And Historical Role Of The Masterweavers In South Indian Textile Production

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the historical evidence relating to the process of stratification among the weavers and the genesis of the master-weavers. It evaluates the available evidence on the presence of masterweavers in the process of textile production before the coming of the European companies, and examines their changing role under the companies. The developments leading to economic stratification and the emergence of the master-weaver in South India were the outcome of a combination of factors which took shape in the 15th-16th centuries. The chapter endeavours to gather various types of data in order to bring into sharp focus the emergence and role of the masterweaver in textile production and trade. The significance of the institution of the master-weavers lies in the fact that they remained crucial to textile production organisation until the 20th century and the only effective challenge to them came from the establishment of Weavers' Cooperatives.

Keywords: economic stratification; European companies; masterweavers; South India; textile production



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