Domestic Embroidery

Curtain Panel
Algeria, 18th Century
Linen, silk embroidery
30.5 x 256.5 cm (12 x 101 in)
Madeline Hart

The most careful embroidery from Algeria was reserved for two kinds of items, both made on loosely-woven linen: curtains hung over the doorway between the family home and the courtyard, and “towel-scarves” (tenchifa) used by women to wrap their hair after bathing. The curtains are composed of three strips joined by parallel sets of ribbons. They rarely survive intact, and when they are taken apart, the strips are difficult to distinguish from the towel-scarves. This example is likely to be a curtain strip because such strips usually have only one narrow panel at the end, as seen here, whereas tenchifa have two.