Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World

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Together with Mrs. Widad Kawar (Jordan) and Mrs. Layla Pio (Iraq), and furthermore aided by Dr. Meriem Chida (Tunisia) and Dr. Caroline Stone (Cambridge, England), Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (director, TRC) has completed an Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World. This is a continuation of an earlier TRC exhibition and accompanying publication in this field (Embroidery from the Arab World, Leiden 2010. ISBN 978-9059970892). The book was published on 25 February 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

For thousands of years embroidery has been a way for men and women to communicate with different social and ethnic groups, decorate their homes and the clothing of their family  and to state who they are. The oldest embroideries from the region come from the tomb of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, but who has heard of these pieces? Currently, embroidery is severely threatened by the economic and political changes that are affecting North Africa and the Middle East. Yet embroidery is a major source of income for many people in the region, as well as offering artistic and cultural stimuli.

This is the first time such an extensive survey has been carried out about this historical craft. The book is 688 pages long, and contains 46 chapters discussing embroidery in general, and historical and modern embroidery forms from Morocco to Iraq. It is fully illustrated with over 750 colour images, as well as 56 black and white illustrations and line drawings. For more information, please click on the illustration.

For a recent review in Aramco World, May/June 2016, by Caroline Stone (Cambridge University), click here. Another review, in the ARLIS NA Reviews (Sept. 2016), is by Caroline Dechert, Librarian and Archivist, Bartlett Library, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, USA. For the review, click here.

The book has been awarded the 2017 Dartmouth Medal. This is THE most prestigious reference book award in the world. It is granted by the American Library Association every year to just one book. It also received one of the 2017 PROZE Awards of the Association of American Publishers/Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division.

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