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date: 20 September 2019


  • P. A. Andrews
  •  and Mark Dike DeLancey


Portable structure with a fabric covering sustained by or interacting with rigid supports. Because of their mobility, tents have been essential in providing shelter for the nomads of the Middle East and Central Asia, and have been attested since the earliest written and pictorial records. The same constructional principles have been adapted for court and army life by the rulers of these and neighbouring regions, including medieval Europe and India. At times they were realized with a magnificence and sense of display hard to imagine today. Cloth also came to be used for tipis (teepees) after the destruction of the American buffalo herds deprived the Plains Indians of the traditional material used for covering (see ). This article deals with tents in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa: for information on Indian tents see Indian subcontinent §VIII 17.; for information on European tents and tension structures, particularly in the medieval period and in the 20th century, ...

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