The Tentmakers of Cairo: Egypt's Medieval and Modern Appliqué Craft (Paperback)
An expansive and captivating history of an often overlooked traditional art--Egyptian Streets 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 appliqu 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 suradeq, 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. Drawing on historical literature, interviews with tentmakers, and analysis of khayamiya from around the world, the authors reveal the stories of this unique and spectacular Egyptian textile art.
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. Much of his research and writing is about the Islamic world and its visual heritage. Sam Bowker is a lecturer in art history and visual culture at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Australia. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 2011 and has published on aspects of khayamiya since 2012. He curated Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary for the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in 2015-2016.