Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia

The Fabric of Life


A beautifully illustrated exploration of the textile traditions of a culturally diverse region, from the late 18th century to the present day.


ISBN: 9780500519912 Category:

Fahmida Suleman


From the intricate embroidery on a Palestinian wedding dress to the complex iconography on an Afghan war rug, textiles reflect the beliefs, practices and experiences of people from across the Middle East and Central Asia. This book explores the significance and beauty of textiles from across this vast area, and is arranged thematically to enable cross-regional comparisons of the function and symbolic meaning of textiles. Each chapter relates to a facet or phase of a person’s life in which textiles feature prominently: childhood, marriage and ceremony, status and identity, religion and belief, and house and homestead. The book also includes contemporary works that grapple with modern political issues.

The textiles featured include men’s, women’s and children’s garments, hats and headdresses, mosque curtains and prayer mats, floor coverings, tent hangings, hand towels and cushions, storage sacks, purses and cosmetic pouches, dolls and souvenirs, animal trappings and amulets. Focusing on the British Museum’s remarkable collection, this book offers a wealth of creative inspiration and will be essential reading for anyone interested in textiles and the cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Additional information

Weight 1480 g
Dimensions 24.9 x 27.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 October 2017
Number of pages 232
Format Hardback
Dimensions 24.9 x 27.7 cm
Weight 1480 g


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Dr Fahmida Suleman is Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum. She is the editor of Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur'an and its Creative Expressions and People of the Prophet's House: Artistic and Ritual Expressions of Shi'i Islam.