The Carpet Shop: a photo essay

Author ········· Zeina Elcheikh
Photographs ···  Zeina Elcheikh
Published ······ Online, Apr 2013
Section ·······  Culture

These images were taken in a small shop hidden in a narrow alleyway in Aswan. Carpets were covering the floor and the walls – portraying scenes of life in Egyptian villages, in a lively and colourful style. Each carpet embeds messages and symbols, and tells a story – carpets with street views in souks paints a portrait of travelling vendors with their goods (jars, textiles), donkeys, and bargains with clients. Other tapestries illustrate sceneries from the Egyptian villages and their quiet life near the river Nile, along with other elements such as pigeon towers, camels and palm trees. There are even wall tapestries showing infant Jesus and Virgin Mary in Egypt. Craftsmen, filled with imagination, often confuse with their designs and patterns, showing traditional houses and palm trees with the pyramids of Giza in the background, which is not exactly what one would see when visiting the pyramids.

The most exciting however are the carpets with depictions of social gatherings in Egyptian villages, especially with the used colours and details of men and women in folk garments and other details depicting rural life.

Zeina Elcheikh is a Syrian architect doing her M.Sc. in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design at the University of Stuttgart.She worked as junior consultant with the German International Cooperation in Syria, the French Institute for the Near East and other firms. She is currently based in Egypt for her thesis work on cultural tourism in Nubia.