السبت، 8 أكتوبر، 2011

Decoration Methods for Islamic Textiles

Decorating fabrics with dyes and printing in Islamic Egypt has roots from the times of ancient, Greco-Roman, and Coptic Egypt.

Decorations were first carved on wood, which was covered with color, and then pressed onto the fabric. The carving that stuck out would produce printing with the color, while the sunken part would make a negative imprint. Wax was used to cover areas that were later dyed with a different color.


Dyers used a number of natural dyes. Some of these, like indigo, the yellow-greenish Jahra, saffron, safflower, turmeric, turnip, and the dark red Shaljam, were extracted from plants. A turmeric is a tropical plant whose underground stem when powdered provides a yellow dye.


Other dyes came from insects, like the red Laali that was taken from an insect that grows on a gum tree and a purple dye that was taken from a purple worm. A number of dyers' names were recorded, such as Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim As-Sabbagh, who died in AH 351 (AD 1132); Abdolghani ibn Gaafar As-Sabbagh; and many others. The title "As-Sabbagh" means "the Dyer."


Fabrics were also decorated with needlework, called embroidery, after the fabrication process, using threads that were more expensive than the fabric, mostly different kinds of silk. This method continued in Egypt until the end of the Ottoman era.


Another method of decoration was done by addition. Smaller pieces of fabric were placed on a larger fabric of a different color and often of a different fabric. The smaller pieces were secured by different stitches using a needle. This method is known in Egypt as "Khiyameia," a name that was later given to the region where workers who used this technique concentrated. The needle was also used in decoration, addition, and other phases of making fabrics
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