Egypt/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.8 Other areas of relevant legislation

Legislation for self-employed artists

There is no law covering self-employed artists.

Film industry

The film industry is one of the most profit-making cultural industries and was addressed in the previous section.


This traditional industry is associated with tourism rather than culture since it manufactures models of Pharaonic and Islamic antiquities intended for commercial promotion at archeological exhibitions organized overseas, or intended for sale in the local market for tourists, used in film decorations or displayed at tourist villages and hotels.

First: handicraft centers affiliated to the Ministry of Culture

A center for archeological handicrafts was created in 1982 to make models of Pharaonic and Islamic antiquities, in addition to the handicrafts center at Fustat affiliated to the Cultural Development Fund.

The handcrafts center consists of the following sections:

 1: Carpentry

This section, which contains all carpentry machines and assembly equipment, produces household Egyptian artifacts using curve and luster in addition to the following activities:

  • Manual oriental lathing
  • Shell inlay.
  • Wood inlaying.
  • Gypsum-inlaid glass.
  • Jewelry.
  • Tent making.
  • Copper work.

Article 39 of the new Antiquity Law pertaining to trademarks and copyright, presented to the People's Council for discussion created debate about the Egyptian handicrafts since the said article gives the High Council for Antiquities exclusive right to produce models sealed by its stamp. This council is entitled, under the new law, to grant license to third parties according to certain conditions set by it and is also entitled to prohibit the ravel or circulation of any model that do not conform to specifications.

Antiquity dealers currently are required to obtain licenses from the Ministry of Culture to open antiquity shops and the High Council of Antiquities will be entitled now to grant licenses for selling antiquity models. The aim of these licenses is not to collect fees but to protect this traditional handicraft from the fake Chinese products and at the same time produce items according to specific technical specifications set by archeologists not dealers.

Article 39 also prohibits the commercial exploitation of archeological photos without the Council's approval; so many workshops which have deeply-rooted history in handicrafts will be affected, particularly in Khan el Khalili area.

2: private workshops

Egypt has many private workshops specialized in making and selling pottery products. The village of Garagos (Qena Governorate) has always enjoyed the support of Jesuit fathers and in 1945 a pottery factory was established in the village.

Thanks to Jesuit fathers, this village was put at the maps of French and German tourists coming to the country, hence production became tourist-oriented and the items produced became more symbolic, lighter and smaller.

Other areas that are famous for pottery production include the village of Higaza (near Garagos), Al Fustat area in old Cairo and some villages in Al Fayoum Governorate.

Egypt is also famous for its manually woven carpets and the key centers for this handicraft are Akhmim in Upper Egypt and Kirdasa and Al Harania in Giza.

There are no accurate figures available to determine the contribution of these products in the national income. Some civil society and organizations and international agencies however do support the country's handicraft and try to develop them, such as the Anglican Society and Society of Jesus.

45) Garagos Pottery: Religion, Art and Development – Magdi Ali Saïd – article posted in Islam Online website

Chapter published: 01-04-2016