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    Very Rare Circa 1803 Textile Depicting the Barbary Pirates and the First Barbary War, 1801 - 1805. The Barbary Pirates, a loose confederation of Muslim states in North Africa nominally governed by the Ottoman Empire, had preyed on shipping throughout the Mediterranean for centuries. Upon achieving independence in 1783, America lost the protection of the British navy, and was compelled to pay tribute and ransoms to the Pirates for the next 15 years. Upon his inauguration in 1801 Jefferson, who along with Adams had failed in earlier negotiations to reach an accommodation with the Pirates, initiated the First Barbary War, which lasted for four years and culminated in the defeat of the Pirates and the establishment of American naval strength in an international arena.

    The large purple and white textile offered here apparently depicts the famous Battle of Tripoli in 1803. In the distance American warships are shelling both the fortress city and three Saracen vessels in the foreground, which are being blown apart by cannon fire. Exotic vignettes of the Pirates surround the scene, including one of a Saracen captor forcing a western woman to kneel before him as he points at a cross-shaped monument, perhaps mocking the inability of the woman's Christian faith to protect her.

    This is an extremely important historical textile, and the only example we have ever seen. Not listed in Collins' Threads of History. Excellent condition, with just a little age browning along a vertical center fold line. From the legendary Kenton Broyles Collection. 30" x 23", with unfinished borders. Several trivial small edge tears noted for accuracy.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2010
    17th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 605

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