Inspired by revivalism, eclectism, and a quest for novelty in the second half of the 19th century, Exoticism looks non-Western cultures for inspiration and borrows their forms, colors, and motifs.International expositions, books, periodicals, travel, and advances in technology acquaint Europeans and Americans with othe cultures while creating a romantic image of far away lands and people.

Egyptian Revival- The art and architecture of ancient Egypt project a timeless, formal, and ordered appearance arising from a hierarchal socierty immersed in religion.

Turkish, Arab, Saracenic, or Moorish and Indian Styles- Like Egypt, religion is a significant influence on Islamic art and architecture. The design traditions of its various peoples and the aesthetic sensibilities of its artists and builders contribute to its unique form and decoration.


Characteristic motifs are geometric forms typical of Egyptian architecture, columns, and other architectural details, as well as real and fake hieroglyphs, scarabs, Egyptian figures or heads, Egyptian gods and goddesses, lotus, papyrus, crocodiles, cobra, sphinxes, and sun disks. Islamic or Turkish motifs include onion domes, minarets, lattice, horseshoe arches, multifoil arches, ogee arches, peacocks, carnations, vases, arabesques, and flat and intricate patterns.



Oinon Dome

Horseshoe arch

Multifoil arch

Ogee arch



Egyptian includes cemetary gates, funerary structures, prisons, courthouses, commercial buildings, fraternal lodges

Trukish or Moorish includes synagogues, fraternal temples, pubs, clubs, theaters, music halls, and few commerical buildings.

  • No particular site orientation
  • Designers do not re-create accurate floor plans of any exotic style.
  • Materials are of stone, brick, or wood
  • Facades revel Egyptian influence
  • Dome, Moorish arches, minarets, and colorful tiles define Moorish- style buildings
  • Windows have slanted sides or surrounds in Egyptian Revival
  • Doors in Islamic- style structures may be located within horseshoe arches
  • Roofs are flat or low- pitched (Egyptian) onion domes (Islamic)

Philadelphia County Prison

Temple Mill

Egyptian Hall

Grove Street Cemetery Entrance

Isaac M. Wise Temple

India Building, World’s Columbian Exposition

Corn Palace



The rooms are particular in fraternal temples and in the early  20th century movie theaters, smoking rooms, billiard rooms, Turkish bathrooms, male-related spaces in hotels and houses, tea rooms, and conservatories.

  • Egyptian colors: blue, green, gold, yellow, red, and black
  • Turkish colors: blues, greens, purples, turquoises, reds, oranges, white, and black
  • Mosque lamps may illuminate Turkish interiors
  • Walls feature motifs of the style chosen
  • Window treatments are lavish and layered and are the same characteristic of the exotic rooms
  • Doors (Egyptian) slanted surrounds and painted motifs. Doors (Islamic- style) have stenciled or inlaid decoration in geometric patterns.
  • Ceilings may have wallpapers or painted or plaster decorations in highly saturated colors.

Isaac M. Wise Temple- Nave


Arab Hall

George Kemp House – Salon

John D. Rockefeller – Smoking Room

Furnishing and Decorative Arts:

The Turkish-style overstuffed upholstery has no prototype in the Middle East as do many Egyptian Revival pieces, such as pianos and wardrobes.


Horn Furniture

Slipper Chair (new)

Wicker Chair


Moorish Table

Egyptian Revival Table

Decorative Arts


Porcelain Vase

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