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Wassef gave local boys and girls the opportunity to weave tapestries using naturally dyed local wools on traditional vertical looms. Without using a “cartoon,” or sketch of the design, children as young as eight improvised at the looms to create works of original art. These weavings show a high degree of originality, energy and technical expertise.

Where was this textile created?

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Kids' Creativity

Africa: North Africa, Egypt, Upper Egypt, Giza
Mid 20th century
Cotton warp tapestry woven with sheep’s wool
166 cm x 260 cm
Gift of Dr. Andrew M. Watson
T96.0194 Textile Museum of Canada

Shepherds are seen herding their goats and camels in this imaginative pictorial tapestry made of wool and cotton. The imagery reflects the world of the artist, who created the tapestry in imitation of the famous Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre. Located at Harraniya, Egypt, the Centre was founded in 1952 by Ramses Wissa Wassef, to test his belief in the innate creativity of young people.

In the first millennium AD, Egyptians known as Copts also wove vivid pictorial imagery in tapestry technique, mostly as decorations for their garments. Coptic textiles are some of the finest examples of tapestry weaving ever made.

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