Tab from a banner with circles containing a diamond-shape

Details

  • Catalogue text

    A tab with white appliqué on a white ground, showing two complete and four partial circles, each containing a diamond.

    The top of the tab has eight pairs of open string worked with needle weaving, to connect to an additional narrow band of plain fabric. The open work was probably made to allow for a band to be laced through, possibly for tieing up the tab. See also EA1984.35.

    In: Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum

    The type of appliqué or applied work on this tab is sometimes called ‘onlay’ patchwork. The technique has been practiced in Cairo for hundreds of years, especially for tents and hangings, and work continues to this day in the street of the tentmakers near Bab al-Zuwayla. The top layer of fabric is like a frame, with half and quarter circle shapes cut from one piece of fabric and stitched to the backing. Two circles enclosing diamond shapes were then applied individually to the background fabric and small Z shapes and central diamonds added to complete the design. The diamond shapes are emblems representing the napkin of the master of the robes, signifying that the tab once decorated an amir’s accoutrements.

    The construction of openwork bars along the top of the tab is different from those forming a lattice above the pair of tabs, No. 51 [EA1984.35]. Instead of inserting a strip of linen and withdrawing the weft threads, here the worker fastened long threads between a band of fabric and the top of the tab and then needlewove them into pairs of bars. This would have allowed cords to be slotted through the holes.

    In: Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001)

Further reading

Ellis, Marianne, Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, in association with Greenville: Curious Works Press, 2001), no. 52 on p. 76, illus. p. 77

Barnes, Ruth and Marianne Ellis, ‘The Newberry Collection of Islamic Embroideries’, 4 vols, 2001, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, vol. ii, vol. i p. 16 n. 3, vol. i

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