‘The Dearest Thing on the East African Coast’: The Forgotten Nineteenth-Century Trade in ‘Muscat Cloth’

  • Sarah Fee
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


This chapter aims to reconstruct the forgotten nineteenth-century western Indian Ocean trade in hand-woven textiles made in the southern Arabian nation of Oman. Combining a study of texts, images, objects and interviews with contemporary Omani weavers, it reveals the past importance of the export trade in Omani striped cotton and silk cloth. It further shows that the active demand in eastern Africa for specific varieties of handwoven cloth from both Oman and India was a driving force in the region’s commercial boom of the nineteenth century, with global consequences. Finally, this chapter brings to the fore luxury textiles and men’s dress, topics that have perhaps received inadequate attention in studies of nineteenth-century western Indian Ocean textile trades and dress.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Fee
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada

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