Traditional Crafts

·         Report on Traditional Crafts for the IMC of the Ministry of Industry:

o   In 2009, the Ministry of Industry established a five-year plan dedicated to incorporating traditional crafts in its development program. They were interested in investigating the status of various Egyptian crafts. The Ministry approached ESFT to undertake this task.

o   Through the pilot survey, we recorded 363 traditional crafts. Locations were revisited to conduct in-depth surveys in the crafts.

o   Although the research was done, unfortunately the project was not implemented due to changes of cabinet and other changes related to the revolution of January 25th 2011.

o   The study is still viable, for it documented and preserved a large number of crafts. Presently, the Ministry of industry is very much interested in incorporating traditional crafts into the national economy of the country and hopefully they make use of the survey that we accomplished.


o   The Impact of the contributions to the preservation and accessibility of the documentary heritage:

§  Data collection methodologies

§  A research station in each governorate

§  A research team was organized and trained

§  Crafts were located

o   The IMC had the following queries which were delivered in the report.

§  Number and names of existing traditional crafts

§  Crafts that have an important function

§  Crafts which have a potential for development

§  Crafts which cluster in a particular region and have an impact on the economy of the region

§  Crafts of the marginal sectors of the society e.g. women

§  Special attention to crafts with a long history and authenticity

§  Social and environmental conditions

§  Economic standards

§  Acquisition of the skills

§  Technology of the crafts

§  Hazards of the crafts

§  Working conditions (lighting, cleanness, organization, etc.)

§  Child labor

§  Insurance facilities

§  Wages or income

§  Basic information about practitioners: age, sex, education, marital status, number of children)

§  System of acquisition of the craft

§  Types of tools


o   Some specific crafts  were subject to further in-depth studies

§  Traditional musical instruments

§  Traditional wood carving

§  Traditional pottery of Old Cairo

§  Traditional Blown Glass

§  Klim of Marsa Matrouh

§  Crafts related to Palm Trees

§  Traditional foods and beverages which have potential for development

§  Hand loom Weaving of Akhmim.

§  Craft of Fringes

§  Craft of Boat Carpentry

§  Traditional Craft of Kheyamia embroidery


o   The following were recommendations for the development of traditional crafts as presented by ESFT to IMC:

1.       Crafts should be preserved, but should be improved upon if necessary.

2.       Developers should realize that crafts are a source of inspiration for industrialization and are important for an Egyptian image and identity.

3.       Developing the logistics of traditional crafts is essential.

4.       It is important to study pioneer Egyptian projects and acknowledge the reasons for their success. It is also essential to learn from foreign experiences (e.g. Spain, India and East Asia)

5.       Training should make use of simple technology, which would facilitate work.

6.       Innovation should be encouraged.

7.       Cultural, social and humanistic aspects need be considered.

8.       Traditional and unique crafts of Egypt need to adopt international standards of production.

9.       Attempts need to be made towards industrialization, in terms of production scale, management and logistics and not just automation, to benefit the Egyptian workforce.

10.   Patronage of developed industrial firms is needed to assist traditional crafts that are relevant to their industrial production, e.g. exposing the traditional craftsmen and their products in international fairs to show that their products have historic depth.