The Tentmakers of Cairo: Egypt’s Medieval and Modern Appliqué Craft
This book is a model of how to make the fruit of specialized academic research interesting to a wider public. It covers the history of tents and tentmaking, discussing the evolution of tent design and tent-fabrication techniques, treating the social function of tents and the impact of tourism on the industry, and concluding with interviews with present-day craftspeople and merchants. The text is divided into bite-size sections, making it very easy to consult, and well-chosen illustrations achieve a happy compromise between the book’s informativeness and its affordability. Tentmakers is a fascinating read and—besides appealing to textile experts, art historians and those interested in the development of Egyptian crafts—it has much to offer to quilters, embroiderers and interior designers, as well as those researching Egyptian social history, especially that of Cairo. It has notes, references and a good bibliography. Although no glossary is provided, the Arabic for numerous technical terms is given in the text, greatly enhancing the book’s usefulness.