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Islamicate Textiles: Fashion, Fabric, and Ritual

This thematically arranged book sheds light on the traditions, rituals and religious practices of Central Asia to Tanzania, and the ways in which each one incorporates materials and clothing.

This thematically arranged book sheds light on the traditions, rituals and religious practices of these regions, and the ways in which each one incorporates materials and clothing. Drawing on examples including Iranian lion carpets and Arabic keffiyeh, Faegheh Shirazi frames these textiles and totemic items as important cultural signifiers that, together, form a dynamic and fascinating material culture. Like a developing language, this culture expands, bends and develops to suit the needs of new generations and groups across the world.

The political significance of Islamicate textiles is also explored: Faegheh Shirazi’s writing reveals the fraught relationship between the East – with its sought-after materials and much-valued textiles – and the European countries that purchased and repurposed these goods, and lays bare the historical and contemporary connections between textiles, colonialism, immigration and economics. Dr Shirazi also discusses gender and how textiles and clothing are intimately linked with sexuality and gender identity.

About the Author

Faegheh Shirazi is a Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, USA. She is the author of Brand Islam: The Marketing and Commodification of Piety (2016), Velvet Jihad: Muslim Women’s Quiet Resistance to Islamic Fundamentalism (2009), The Veil Unveiled: Hijab in Modern Culture (2001) and the Editor of Muslim Women in War and Crisis: From Reality to Representation(2010). Her research interests include textiles, dress, gender identity discourse, and material culture in the Middle East; the meanings of veiling; rituals and rites of passage as they relate to material culture.

Table of Contents


1. Textiles and Symbols: A Mélange of Cultural Signifiers
Kanga: Cloth with a Message
Lion of Persia: pre-Islamic to Contemporary Iran
Felt and Fabrics under Domination: Central Asia
Ram’s Horn: Central Asia and Iran

2. Talismanic Textiles: Gender, Status, and the Supernatural
Protecting Fiber and Livelihood: the Ladakh
Blessed Looms, Blessed Fibers
Sacred Colors: Red, White, and Light Blue
Beyond the Loom
Amulets: Protection Against the Unseen
Inscribed Talismanic Shirts
Gendered Looms

3. The Politicization of Textiles: Colonialism to the Present

India and Cotton: Rejecting Colonial Rule
United We Stand: India’s Muslim Weavers
West African Wax Cloth
Calico: the Forbidden Indian Cotton
Indian Cloth in Southeast Asia
Keffiyeh: from Functional to Symbolic
The Russian Colonial Effect on Central Asian Textiles
Russian Political Symbolism on Woven Carpets

4. Textiles and Crisis: Displacement & Occupation
Rohingya of Burma
Siddis, Afro Indians
Pakistan/India separation: Becoming two nations

5. Textiles and Death Rituals in Islamicate Societies
Burial Garment for Muslims: the Kafan
Piecing Together the Past: Tiraz and Halaqa
Tomb Covers for the Prophet Muhammed: Kiswa
Tomb Covers: Signifiers of Status
Indian and South Asian Tomb Covers
Haji Ali Dargah
Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Egyptian Funeral Tents: The Art of Khayamiya

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islamicate Textiles: Fashion, Fabric, and Ritual

Author(s): Faegheh Shirazi

Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts

Length: 208 pages

ISBN:‎ 9781350291232

Pub. Date: May 04 2023

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