Khayamiya (Applique)

Khayamiya (Applique)

Fatamid Cairo

The Khayamiya artisans have been known for centuries for their decorative tents spread across the Arab world. Unlike traditional Western quilting, Khayamiya is created by men hand stitching intricate and colorful patterns onto fabric, then adding a heavier cotton backing. They are now primarily created in Cairo, Egypt, on the Street of the Tentmakers, south of Bab Zuwayla; a quarter of the city dating from the Mamluk era.
Khayamiya is a disappearing art form and struggling to stay relevant due to the decline in the demand of tent decoration works. The artisans have downsized from tents and large tapestries to smaller collectibles, bed quilts, throws, wall hangings and pillows to expand their entrepreneurial opportunities and stay relevant to modern lifestyles. Today these skilled artisans stitch geometric and arabesque patterns derived from Islamic ornamentation and imagery from Pharaonic art as they have been doing for centuries, each exquisite, each different.