Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Re-Openning, Cairo: The Textile Museum to Reopen Tomorrow

The Textile Museum in Al-Nahassin is to open tomorrow night after restoration. Written by Nevine El-Aref.

The entrance of the textile museum
At Al-Nahassin area on Al-Muizz street stands the sabil (water fountain) of Mohamed Ali, which sits waiting for its official reopening, scheduled for Wednesday night. The sabil has been closed since April this year for restoration. The Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty is set to open it.

Eldamaty explains that the sabil was originally built on the orders of Mohamed Ali Pasha to commemorate his son Ismail, who died in Sudan in 1822. It consists of a large rectangular hall opening onto the Tassbil hall, with a rounded, marble façade and four windows surrounding an oval marble bowl. The "logo" of the Ottoman Empire -- featuring a crescent and a star -- decorates the area above each window. 

The sabil's wooden façade and the top of the frame are decorated in a rococo and baroque style, the main style seen in several of Mohamed Ali's edifices. In 2007, Eldamaty pointed out that within the framework of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project the Sabil was converted into a museum of Egyptian textiles.

The widows facade of Mohamed Ali Sabil
The museum displays 250 textile pieces and 15 carpets dating from the late Pharaonic era through to the Coptic and Islamic ages. Among the collection on display are tools and instruments used by ancient Egyptians to clean and wash clothes, along with illustrations demonstrating the various stages of laundering clothes in ancient times. Monks' robes, icons and clothes from various times in the Islamic era are also exhibited.

"One of the most beautiful items on show is a red bed cover ornamented with gold and silver thread, said to have been a gift from Mohamed Ali to his daughter on her marriage. Another is a large cover for the Kaaba in Mecca sent by King Fouad of Egypt to Saudi Arabia," Eldamaty said, adding that this is a black velvet textile ornamented with Quranic verses and woven with gold and silver thread.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, the assistant Minister of Antiquities for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities, told Ahram Online that restoration work at the museum aims at upgrading the museum's security systems to reach international museum standards, as well as restoring cracks that spread along several walls and floors of the museum's different halls. Fine restoration also took place on all the sabil's stony and wooden decorative elements.

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