Explore the beauty and variety of Eastern Art objects on display in the Textiles gallery.
"As I approached the shore, I felt like an Eastern bridegroom, about to lift up the veil of his bride, and to see, for the first time, the features which were to charm, or disappoint, or disgust him. I [...] was about to throw myself entirely among strangers; to adopt their language, their customs and their dress; and, in associating almost exclusively with the natives, to prosecute the study of their literature. My feelings therefore, on that occasion, partook too much of anxiety to be very pleasing."
(Edward Lane, diary entry, 17 September 1825 - from An Englishman’s Travels in Egypt: Edward Lane in Cairo (1825-35))
Edward William Lane (1801-1876) lived in Cairo for several years. He immersed himself in Egyptian society: he adopted local dress, rented a house in the Arab Quarter, and developed a wide circle of Egyptian friends. Trained as an engraver, he recorded his observations in sketches and drawings, and he kept diaries and notebooks. When he returned to England he became a renowned Arabic scholar.
The Ashmolean has a set of Turkish-style clothing worn by Lane during his time in Cairo, donated by his direct descendant Catherine Dupré.