The walls of Alumni hall now feature a new piece of art! A Khayamiya-work from Professor Khan’s Collection is now up on the walls of the third floor. The installation features the following blurb by Professor Khan about the piece: Khayamiya, or tent-work, is the traditional appliqué decorating the interiors of tents used for weddings, festivals, and special occasions throughout the Middle East. As homes are often small, it is still common to set up such tents in open squares (or even narrow streets) when many people needed be hosted, although nowadays they are often mass-produced textiles. Brightly colored and valued for intricacy, real khayamiya-work is always done by hand. The themes of the work are often Islamic calligraphy, or geometric and floral patterns, or scenes from rural life. Thousands of years old, the craft of khayamiya is still practiced by an ever-shrinking number of (mostly) men. This piece is designed to be a floor pillow and was made for the Tentmakers Bazaar in the covered market of medieval Cairo. The lotus design is distinctive to Egyptian tents, and the dark colors make it suitable for an ‘azza or “calling hours” for a funeral.
For more information, see the documentary The Tentmakers of Cairo by Kim Beamish or the YouTube videos by the Arkan Gallery.