“Silk, Stones, Slaves”

Fricke, Beate (13 June 2019). “Silk, Stones, Slaves” (Unpublished)

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The preceding structure of the Lonja de la seda at Valencia, the former souq built during the muslim reign in Valencia, which lasted until September 28th in 1238, is practically undiscussed by research though determinant, in my opinion, for the shaping of such a centrally located functional ensemble. Despite on focusing on the novelty of vault building and attributing that to the genius of the leading architect Pedro Compte, I would like to shed attention on the importance of the following aspects: the souq/lonja as trading floor, the structure of financial services, the cultivation of mulberry trees in the adjacent regions, the impact of slaves and their work for the booming silk industry and their labor in the nearby stone quarry). I would like to argue, that the realities neglected so far (slavery, materiality of the traded goods, environment, climate) are key to understanding the contexts relevant for the construction of this building. Understanding their ecologies can help us to rewrite the history of this building, but also to destabilize dominant narratives, such as the innovation was enabled by the German gothic architects contributing to Spanish innovations in Renaissance architecture or that after the reconquista muslims converted to Christianity or the convivenza of religions existed, but other elements of Islamic cultures were abandonded and did not contribute to the rise of Aragonese empire.

Item Type:

Working Paper


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History > Ancient and Medieval Art History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Fricke, Beate


700 Arts
700 Arts > 720 Architecture
700 Arts > 730 Sculpture, ceramics & metalwork
900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe




Beate Fricke

Date Deposited:

14 Jan 2020 08:40

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:34

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Market halls, silk trade, lonja de la seda, Valencia, Pedro de Compte, climate change, economy, souq.



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