exquisitely crafted and fanciful tapestry creations shown below are from the Wissa Wassef
studios in Harrania, Egypt. Woven by young artisans who learned the tapestry craft as
uninhibited, free-spirited children in their after- school hours, the meticulous weavings
of fine cotton threads are exceedingly time- consuming to produce, and the source of much
pride. Small pieces often represent months of weaving.
Like the larger, more traditional Egyptian wool tapestries, these lyrical cotton miniatures are woven without drawings; the artists work from mental images alone. Animals, birds and plants from the surrounding countryside normally are the subjects. If you have not already read the Wissa Wassef Story, for some background on the astonishing Harranian experiment in creativity, be sure to do so.
The colors in these pieces are soft and muted, as is typical with indigo and other natural dyes on cotton threads. Rarely are the tapestry surfaces perfectly flat; instead, their rippled planes reflect the inherent freedom of the medium, as well as carefree attitudes toward the work-- attitudes which count lively and creative imagery of paramount importance. This three-dimensionality is not conveyed by the JPEG photos; indeed it makes some of the pieces exceedingly difficult to scan.
The small tapestries on this page have all been mounted--sewn to natural linen stretched over wooden frames, with a 3" to 4"-wide border on each side. Prices are lower for the small unmounted pieces shown on the following page.
Click on the underlined inventory numbers to see large details of these miniature cotton tapestries.
Mohamed, age 15. Harrania, Egypt
Cotton tapestry: 12½"x 15"
Mounted: 20"x 23"
Sekina, age 13. Harrania, Egypt
Cotton tapestry: 9"x 13½"
Mounted: 16"x 21"
Reda, age 19. Harrania, Egypt
Cotton tapestry: 15"x 14½"
Mounted: 22"x 23"
CT-1319 Large photo detail.....$285
Birds and Plants
Sabah. Harrania, Egypt
Cotton tapestry: 10½"x 11"
Mounted: 18"x 19"
CT-1642 Large photo detail.....$185
Horses and Zebras
Noussa, age 16. Harrania, Egypt
Cotton tapestry: 9"x 12½"
Mounted: 16"x 20"
CT-1497 Large photo detail....$185
Go to the Wissa Wassef Story
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