Women’s garb in the Maqâmât of al-Ḥarîrî

All images taken from one manuscript of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s copy of the Les Maqâmât d’Aboû Moḥammad al-Qâsim ibn ʿAlî al-Ḥarîrî, known as manuscript Arabe 3929. The Maqâmât (or “Assemblies”) are 50 stories, written in the mid 13th century C.E. in northern Syria. The prose is written in the style known as saj’, meant to be learnt by rote and recited to others by heart.

This image of of the hero of the story Abu Zayd (on the right of the image) and his wife. This is Image f40 in the manuscript.

This image is Abu Zayd and his wife being arrested. Taken from Image f49 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing as an old woman. Taken from Image f85 in the manuscript.

Another picture of Abu Zayd as an old woman. Taken from Image f88 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing before the Kadi. The picture is taken from Image f279 in the manuscript.

The Kadi dispensing justice to Abu Zayd and his wife. Taken from Image f285 in the manuscript.

This is the slave of Abu Zayd. Taken from Image f313 from the manuscript.

Recommended Reading

Medieval Sourcebook: Al Hariri of Basrah by Paul Halsall. The first 12 Assemblies.

LibriVox- Excerpts from the Makamat. Public domain audiobook.

Orality, writing and the image in the Maqamat: Arabic illustrated books in context by Alain F. George. Via Academia.edu.

In Pursuit of Shadows: Al-Hariri’s Maqāmāt by David J. Roxburgh. First printed in Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World 30 (2013): 171-212. Via Archnet.

Arab Dress: From the dawn of Islam to modern times by Yedida Stillman. Via the Internet Archive.

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An early period child’s tunic from Egypt

This tunic was found in Akhmim, Egypt, and was dated to 500-700 C.E. The height is 48 cm shoulder to hem and the width is 59.5 cm wrist to wrist. The size alone means that it is more than likely a child’s tunic.

The fabric is either plain woven linen or cotton, resist dyed with indigo. The tunic itself is more tailored than other tunics worn at the same time in Egypt. There are side gores attached to the hem, as well as separate attached sleeves including an underarm gore-
which points to an influence from Syria. The neck opening is like other children’s tunics of the time- round neckline with a slit along one shoulder.

The tunic is currently in the V&A Museum, Accession number 1522-1899.

Many birds!

ashmoleanbirdsalternating This textile is plain tabby woven linen, 11.5 cm by 7.8cm and embroidered in red silk. The textile was thought to have been made between the 10th-15th century C.E and found in Egypt. Currently the textile can be found in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.193. I have charted up the design & is available for download in pdf format.
ashmoleanbirdsalternating PDF

ashmoleanbirdsleftfacing This textile is also plain woven linen embroidered with red silk, 10th-15th century C.E. found in Egypt. The size is 43 cm by 47 cm. However, there is a selvedge on the left hand side of the textile. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.195. I have charted up the embroidery design. It is available for download as a pdf.
ashmoleanleftfacingbirds PDF

ashmoleanbirdsrightfacing This textile is also plain woven linen embroidered with silk (blue), 10th-15th century C.E. from Egypt. It is 21 cm by 17 cm with a crude seam on the right side of the textile, sewn with flax. The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.185. I have charted up the design and it is available for download in pdf format.
ashmoleanrightfacingbirds

ashmoleandoublebirds This textile is like the previous- plain woven linen embroidered with red silk, made between the 10th-15th century C.E in Egypt. The size is 18 cm by 11.7 cm with a rolled hem in flax on the left side of the textile. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1993.194. The chart is available as pdf to download.
ashmoleandoublebirds PDF

Please let me know how the charts go! For more information on bird symbolism please read Birds in Islamic Culture (blog), The Conference of the Birds, and The Simurgh.

A new pattern darning chart

ashmoleancontinuouss This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries in Egypt. It is a kerchief or square cover that is linen embroidered in blue and brown silk. The textile is 28.5 by 26 cm, embroidered in eight pattern darning bands with a width of 1 cm. The kerchief is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design. It is in pdf format-
ashmoleancontinuouss PDF

I also used the design in an embroidery competition in my Kingdom. I will edit the post later to add a picture, as I currently don’t have one. I will also upload a pdf of my documentation-
WCob3 PDF

Let me know how you find the chart!

Some children’s wool tunics from early Medieval Egypt

copticegypt10thcenttunic This tunic is made from check pattern wool with linen. It is 75.5 cm high and 77 cm wide. The neckline is decorated with rolled wool fabric, which is gathered into a button at the end. The tunic was thought to have been made between 880-990 C.E. It is currently in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Accession number T.9885.

Copticwooltunic10thcent This tunic is made from wool that has been decorated with pattern darning (in brown wool) and appliqued linen bands of geometric design. Thought to have been cut down from an adult tunic, the manufacture dates fall between 800-999 C.E. The tunic is 45.5 cm high and 51 cm wide. It is currently in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Accession number T.8549.

coptic8thcenttunic This woolen tunic has been made from one single piece of wool, folded over with goes inserted on the sides. It is 46 cm high and 48 cm wide. Also thought to have been cut down from an adult’s tunic, the seams have been sewn in blue and red thread with the front and back of the tunic heavily darned with threads of many different colours. The neckline and sleeves have also been decorated with appliqued wool and linen bands. The tunic is currently in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Accession number T.8505.

coptictunic7thcent This red woolen tunic is also made from one single piece of fabric, folded over. There is decorative stitching in orange, yellow, turquoise, and dark blue thread. The neckline and sleeves are also decorated with appliqued wool and linen bands with geometric patterns. The tunic is 76.5 cm high and 61 cm wide. The tunic is currently in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Accession number T.8377.

Recommended reading
Weaving in Coptic Egypt. Via the California Academy of Sciences.

Coptic dress in Egypt: the social life of Medieval cloth by Bazinet, M. In the Textile Society of America Proceedings 1992. PDF document.

Coptic Tunics in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Dimand, M.S. JStor article.

Late Coptic Embroideries by Shepherd, Dorothy G. JStor article.

The Evolution of Two Traditional Coptic Tape Patterns: Further Observations on the Classification of Coptic Textiles by Thompson, Deborah. JStor article.

My own Persian Cloud Collar research

I have been conducting my own research into Persian cloud collars. My work is very much based on other Scadian’s work.

This is just the beginning- I have found over 100 illuminations of cloud collars but have only included two in the article. Very much a work in progress!

Let me know what you think!

cloudcollararticle PDF

A possible sleeve embroidery

ashmoleanchevron This textile was made in Egypt between the 10th and 15th century. It is linen embroidered in dark blue silk. On the left of the textile is a rolled hem sewn in flax. The size of the textile is 11cm by 5 cm. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design and it is available for download in pdf format.

ashmoleanchevron (PDF)

I would love to see pictures!