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Signare designs are seen in all the best places, and very soon some of our latest products will be sharing space with priceless treasures and artefacts from all over the world at the British Museum in London. Not behind glass in climate controlled cabinets of course, but in the Museum’s gift shop where visitors will be able to purchase fashion bags and cushions featuring Cartouche, our ancient Egypt-themed design.

Cartouche was inspired by a visit that Signare founder Cindy Qiu took to Egypt a few years ago. Cindy returned to the UK determined to create a tapestry reflecting the classical Egyptian culture – a theme that’s been influencing Western art and design for nearly a century.

When archaeologist Howard Carter peered by candlelight into the innermost chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun, the sponsor of his expedition, Lord Carnarvon asked over his shoulder if he could see anything. Famously – and with typical British understatement, the Egyptologist responded, “Yes, wonderful things.”

Howard Carter to the tomb of Tutankhamun

Howard Carter to the tomb of Tutankhamun

It was 1923, and Carter and Carnarvon were about to enter the secret room where the golden sarcophagus of the boy king Tutankhamun, the 11th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt had lain undisturbed for nearly 3,250 years. The discovery of the Pharaohs completely intact tomb and its glittering collection of perfectly preserved treasures remains one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time.

The discovery of the Pharaoh

The discovery of the Pharaoh

But the find also had a profound influence on fashion, design and art. The designs of Ancient Egypt became one of the major influences on the Art Deco style; ancient Egyptian themes and motifs were integrated into fashion, makeup, architecture and Hollywood movies; and the bright young things of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ wore clothes and jewellery incorporating Egyptian art of colours and patterns.

Ever since the 1920s, classical Egypt has continued to inform fashion design and style, and according to those who predict upcoming trends, we can expect to see another resurgence of Egyptian-themed design in high street fashion as we approach the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

As usual, we’re ahead of the curve!

Our Cartouche pattern is based on hieroglyphs, the highly decorative form of picture writing developed by the ancient Egyptians in around 3,250 BC. Consisting of more than 700 Egyptian symbols, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs were used until the fourth century AD, when they were superseded by an alphabetic script. After they fell out of use, the meaning of the symbols was lost to history for nearly 2,000 years.

Signare-tapestry-Egyptian hieroglyphs

Egyptian hieroglyphs

And so things might have remained had it not been for a chance discovery by Napoleonic troops in Egypt in 1799. Soldiers digging foundations for fortifications near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile Delta uncovered an unusual stone. It was inscribed with an ancient decree – not unusual in itself, but the decree was repeated three times – once in hieroglyphs suitable for priests, again in the native Egyptian script used for daily life, and finally in ancient Greek, the language of the administration at the time. Remarkably, what the soldiers had found was the key to deciphering the lost meaning of hieroglyphs.

Signare-tapestry-Rosetta-Stone-Greek-Hieroglyph

Rosetta Stone in ancient Greek

On Napoleon’s defeat, the Rosetta Stone as it became known was shipped back to England to be displayed in the British Museum where it remains to this day.

We’re so pleased to have had our hieroglyph Cartouche pattern approved by Egyptology experts at the British Museum, and excited that our products will be available in such close proximity to the Rosetta Stone.

Signare-tapestry-Cartouche-patternIf you can’t get to the Museum, you’ll find the full range of Cartouche products including handbags, shopping bags, cosmetic bags, purses and cushions on our website.

Need help? If you’d like any help or advice regarding Signare products, please call us on 0044 845 257 2278 or email us at info@acjade.co.uk