Art and Architecture
English edition  
August  2018
256 pp.
30 b/w integrated; 25-30 color in 16pp section 
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774168024
For sale worldwide

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The Tentmakers of Cairo

Egypt's Medieval and Modern Appliqué Craft Seif El Rashidi
Sam Bowker

Stories from Cairo's historic Street of the Tentmakers, its craft and its people

In the crowded center of Historic Cairo lies a covered market lined with wonderful textiles sewn by hand in brilliant colors and intricate patterns. This is the Street of the Tentmakers, the home of the Egyptian appliqué art known as 'khayamiya.' The Tentmakers of Cairo brings together the stories of the tentmakers and their extraordinary tents—from the huge tent pavilions, or suradiq, of the streets of Egypt, to the souvenirs of the First World War and textile artworks celebrated by quilters around the world. It traces the origins and aesthetics of the khayamiya textiles that enlivened the ceremonial tents of the Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman dynasties, exploring the ways in which they challenged conventions under new patrons and technologies, inspired the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse, and continue to preserve a legacy of skilled handcraft in an age of relentless mass production.

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Seif El Rashidi is an art historian who graduated from the American University in Cairo’s Islamic art program. He specializes in the management of heritage projects involving community engagement, and has worked for ten years in cultural preservation in Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar, the tentmakers’ neighborhood.

Sam Bowker is a lecturer in art history and visual culture at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Australia. He has published on aspects of khayamiya since 2012, and curated Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary for the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in 2015–16.

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