The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port by Nancy UmThe Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port by Nancy Um

The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port

byNancy Um

Paperback | September 17, 2009

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Gaining prominence as a seaport under the Ottomans in the mid-1500s, the city of Mocha on the Red Sea coast of Yemen pulsed with maritime commerce. Its very name became synonymous with Yemen's most important revenue-producing crop -- coffee. After the imams of the Qasimi dynasty ousted the Ottomans in 1635, Mocha's trade turned eastward toward the Indian Ocean and coastal India. Merchants and shipowners from Asian, African, and European shores flocked to the city to trade in Arabian coffee and aromatics, Indian textiles, Asian spices, and silver from the New World.

Nancy Um tells how and why Mocha's urban shape and architecture took the forms they did. Mocha was a hub in a great trade network encompassing overseas cities, agricultural hinterlands, and inland market centers. All these connected places, together with the functional demands of commerce in the city, the social stratification of its residents, and the imam's desire for wealth, contributed to Mocha's architectural and urban form.

Eventually, in the mid-1800s, the Ottomans regained control over Yemen and abandoned Mocha as their coastal base. Its trade and its population diminished and its magnificent buildings began to crumble, until few traces are left of them today. This book helps bring Mocha to life once again.

Nancy Um is associate professor of art history at Binghamton University in New York.
Title:The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean PortFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.75 inPublished:September 17, 2009Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295989114

ISBN - 13:9780295989112

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsNote on Transliteration, Dates, and Abbreviations Introduction

1. The Mocha Trade Network 2. The Yemeni Coffee Network3. A Littoral Society in Yemen 4. Merchants and Nakhudhas 5. The Urban Form and Orientation of Mocha 6. Trading Spaces 7. On the Politics of Inside and Out

Conclusion: The End of the Mocha Era

Appendix A. The Imams of Qasimi Yemen and the Governors of Mocha Appendix B. Archival and Museum Sources Consulted

Notes GlossaryReferences Cited Illustration Credits Index

Editorial Reviews

Gaining prominence as a seaport under the Ottomans in the mid-1500s, the city of Mocha on the Red Sea coast of Yemen pulsed with maritime commerce. Its very name became synonymous with Yemen's most important revenue-producing crop -- coffee. After the imams of the Qasimi dynasty ousted the Ottomans in 1635, Mocha's trade turned eastward toward the Indian Ocean and coastal India. Merchants and shipowners from Asian, African, and European shores flocked to the city to trade in Arabian coffee and aromatics, Indian textiles, Asian spices, and silver from the New World.Nancy Um tells how and why Mocha's urban shape and architecture took the forms they did. Mocha was a hub in a great trade network encompassing overseas cities, agricultural hinterlands, and inland market centers. All these connected places, together with the functional demands of commerce in the city, the social stratification of its residents, and the imam's desire for wealth, contributed to Mocha's architectural and urban form.Eventually, in the mid-1800s, the Ottomans regained control over Yemen and abandoned Mocha as their coastal base. Its trade and its population diminished and its magnificent buildings began to crumble, until few traces are left of them today. This book helps bring Mocha to life once again.There is no book on a Middle Eastern city that I know of that has so many conclusions that are new . . . Um's contribution is a rare achievement where politics, economics, religious affiliation, ethnic identification, patronage, architecture, and concepts of urban space are effectively combined. - Jere Bacharach, University of Washington