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BÜHL, Gudrun, Sumru Belger Krody and Elizabeth Dospel Williams (2019). Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt, Washington: The Textile Museum, ISBN 978-87405-040-0. Soft back, fully illustrated in colour and b/w. 124 pp., bibliography, no index.

A catalogue to a travelling exhibition initially held at The Textile Museum, Washington D.C., between August 2019 and January 2020. The exhibition included a range of public space and household objects made from various types of material, including curtains, wall hangings, cushions and floor coverings. Most of the items are woven, but there are also some less well-known resist-dyed pieces that include religious scenes and figures (pp. 67-68). The range of objects on display include some very famous items from the Dumbarton Oaks collection, such as the Hestia Pikyolbus (no. 29) and the Nereids and Dolphin hanging (no. 13), as well as many lesser known items. The text is supported by relevant, contemporary objects such as stone tiles, spoons, containers, etc. The objects come from various North American museum collections, including The Textile Museum, Washington DC; Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

There are six essays included in the catalogue that cover various subjects, including architecture, public buildings and the use of space; private buildings and their spaces; Christian sacred imagery, as well as comfort in the home, an appraisal of textile aesthetics in the early medieval period in Egypt, and finally continuity and change in textile production, trade and use. There are some technical details, but not very much.

Recommendation: Well worth having if you are interested in early medieval Egyptian textiles, the use of religious textiles, textiles used for interiors of public and private spaces. It is also a must for any library dealing with early medieval archaeological material from the Middle East.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020.

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