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For nearly two centuries an icon of male headgear in the Middle East has been a red, flowerpot shaped cap. It also became one of the ‘signatures’ of the late British comedian, Tommy Cooper, who was rarely seen on-stage without one on his head. But what exactly was he wearing? This type of headgear is normally called either a fez or a tarbush, as if the two terms are synonymous. But in the Middle East there is a significant difference between a fez and a tarbush, and how they are worn. Basically this form of headgear can be seen as reflecting the massive social, cultural, economic and political changes that took place in the Middle East and the West in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Contents: The exhibition includes the various elements required to make a fez/tarbush, and ten examples of this garment, as well as Western military and Shriner examples.
  • Availability: The exhibition is currently available.



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Hogewoerd 164
2311 HW Leiden.
Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 /
+31 (0)6 28830428  

The TRC is open again from Tuesday, 2nd June, but by appointment only.

Bank account number:
NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59,
Stichting Textile Research Centre

TRC Gallery exhibition:
5 Febr. -27 August 2020: American Quilts

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
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