Dancers on Tapestries

Middle Eastern Dancers on Tapestries

I had bought one tapestry just a couple of years after I started dancing, but my real interest in tapestries probably started at Oasis Dance Camp, especially after being involved with the Twin Palms room at Camp North.

Still, I seldom found tapestries of interest to me until I discovered eBay. I've now acquired quite a few. One could go completely crazy there buying tapestries with Middle Eastern scenes (apparently such exotic themes have been popular for a long time). So I try to restrict myself to those with dancers on them (although I will also go for an occasional camel, or more abstract designs).

Following are some of the ones I've gotten. For ease in loading, I've organized these into separate pages, about 10 at a time.

Herewith the first set of tapestries. In most cases, you can click on the small picture for a larger one. This page was last updated 12/19/00.

I call this one the "dancer with horse" (you see the whole horse in the larger photo). It's apparently a Belgian design which I've seen quite a bit, in different variations. The tapestry I have is quite wide, and has a whole different scene on either side of the dancer: one a flower seller with a camel behind her, the other a man with a burro in a market. I've seen variatons in size, variations that use only 1 or 2 of the "panels", and variations with all 3 but where the dancer is not in the center. It's an interesting design that can be broken up that way, because the design looks continuous however it's done.

The image on the right (added 12/19/00) is basically the same scene, but reversed, and done on a different type of tapestry, more like a rug or kilim, which shows less detail.

I think of this one as the "dancer with no horse" mainly because otherwise it's similar in many ways to the preceding. It's also Belgian, and the scene is an outdoor scene, constructed in "panels", and I see it almost as often. I've also seen this with 3 different panels, the other two are a carpet seller with a camel, and a fruit seller with a horse.

This one is unusual in that it shows a pair of dancers. In fact, it's especially interesting because this is the center panel of 3, and the other two are matching pairs of male dancers. Also, it an interior scene, a palace or something. I've also seen this as a double panel, and I think I've seen just one as well. I've also seen it more intensely colored--mine is fairly muted, and I intensified the colors slightly to make the photo clearer.

The colors on this one are more intense possibly because it's a more velvety, rug-like tapestry, whereas the previous ones were plain woven fabric. The one I have is very large, like 4'x6', although I've seen it smaller also. This woman is dancing in a wide open courtyard or plaza. Here the veil that seems to be standard for tapestry dancers is more like a shawl.

I think of these as dancers with pots although I realize they may just be walking. This is part of a rather large tapestry with a symmetrical design that is mostly abstract but also includes camels and horses. The coloring is also unusual.

This one seems to be pretty unusual; I've only seen it once in my browsing on eBay. The dancer has 2 tamborine players with her, and that scene is the center section of a nice tapestry with a symmetrical design which is otherwise mostly leaves and stuff. (Added 4/12/00.)

This one is another velvety, rug-like tapestry, rather large, and the scene was called a "gypsy bazaar" on eBay. I like the other women hanging out in the scene (visible in the larger picture). (Added 4/19/00.)

Here's a sword dancer. She's from a smaller one of those velvety, rug-like tapestries. (Added 5/1/00.)

This lady seems to be holding a veil on top of her head? I've seen her on single panel, pillow-size tapestries, and also as the center of a 3-panel tapestry, where the panels on either side were matching scenes of a veiled woman lounging on a sofa. (Added 5/3/00.)

This must be a ghawazee--check out the skirt! This is part of a larger tapestry; next to the dancer is the same scene as the resting couple with camel tapestry, then the whole thing is reversed in mirror image. (Added 6/13/00.)