Cover for MAGUIRE: Weavings from Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Egypt: The Rich Life and the Dance. Click for larger image

Weavings from Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Egypt

The Rich Life and the Dance

An ancient time brought to life by textiles

While the monumental sculptures of ancient Egypt are more widely known, the simple pleasures of life as it was lived are better portrayed in textiles, which carried designs commemorating the joys of festivals, food, and dancing. The Rich Life and the Dance presents 103 full-color images of the astonishing textile collection of Rose Choron, featuring rare examples from Egypt's Coptic Christians as well as the Islamic period.

Dating primarily from the third to seventh centuries, these hand-woven fabrics showcase colorful images of dancers, haloed saints with hands raised in prayer, and a plethora of flowers and animals evoking the bountiful ecology of the Nile Delta. Some display Arabic inscriptions celebrating divine power, and all offer insights into a lost world: people's dress, their interior decoration, and their view of their relationship with the natural and supernatural worlds.

Eunice Dauterman Maguire explains the work by providing a rich historical and mythic context, as well as detailed technical explanations. This volume also features a preface by Rose Choron herself, explaining the origins of the collection and the source of her fascination with the textiles.


Eunice Dauterman Maguire is curator of the Johns Hopkins University Archaeological Collection. She is the coauthor of Ceramic Art from Byzantine Serres, and was formerly the curator of the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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