When Ali Baba opened ‘Sesame’, he entered a well organized treasury divided into various compartments: one filled with precious stones, one filled with silver and gold, one with the most luxurious delicatessen and one filled with precious textiles.

Picture: Ali Baba

Distinction, honors and decoration of diplomats, generals or bureaucrats through allowances of precious textiles is a well documented custom of the Roman empire (pagan and Christian) as well as the Middle Eastern world order. In a sense, today’s ‘military decorations’ are a leftover of the same concept.

1001 nights, the book which enchanted me again this summer, speaks of the special place textile holds in the Harun al-Rashid’s 8th century Bagdad.
We read how the leader of the faithful takes off his magnificent clothes and disguised in a person of lower rank strolls through the streets of his capital at night to find out what his sycophants would never…

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