Appliques From The Street Of The Tentmakers Cairo Egypt

Appliqué panel from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt, 2013. Appliqué panel from the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt, 2013. TRC 2013.0618.

1. Introduction

Appliqué is a textile technique whereby one or more textiles are sewn onto a ground material, usually of cloth, in a decorative manner. The earliest surviving examples of Egyptian appliqués can be dated to over three thousand years ago and come from the tomb of the famous Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun (died c. 1322 BC). Given the quality of the work found in the tomb, it is likely that this technique is much older, but alas, nothing has survived.

Traditionally, this technique in Egypt is mainly used for the production of large decorative items such as awnings, flags, tents (suradeq) and tent panels, paired curtains for doorways, as well as wall hangings. Similarly, very large wall hangings were made in the Maghreb, especially Morocco, as wall hangings (called hiti), as well as in Palestine.

During the twentieth century the uses for Egyptian appliqués included wall hangings, cushion covers, table runners, and so forth. By the early 21st century these items are popular with the national and international tourist markets. The latter not only includes Westerners, but also buyers from other parts of the Arab world, as well as tourists from Asia, notably China, India, Japan and Korea.

Browse through the exhibition: 2. Appliqué »