As an ‘Orient’ of Egyptian descent, I am interested in the relationship between the Eastern ‘oriental’ and the Western ‘occidental’ in early modern English drama. My thesis will consider the oriental objects that flooded into England after the establishment of the Levant Company (1598) and the East India Company (1600), and the way they are staged, literally and figuratively, in early modern drama. Exotic goods including olives, olive oil, incense, spices and gold entered England from Oriental entrepots in the Middle East (Constantinople, Alexandria, Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers), and fine cotton textiles, silk, jade, iron and pepper from Asia (India, China, Indonesia). They are mirrored in the drama of the period. So, decadent objects from the East subtly colour and enrich Shakespeare’s plays: Antipholus of Ephesus’ desk is ‘cover’d o’er with Turkish tapestry’ (The Comedy of Errors, 4.2.105), Antony kisses the ‘orient pearl’ he gifts Cleopatra (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.5.43). The plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Thomas Kyd and Robert Greene, are likewise exoticised with oriental goods: Hieronimo adopts a ‘Turkish cap / A black mustachio and a falchion’ for the murderous masque of Soliman and Perseda (The Spanish Tragedy, 4.1.138-9), and the cruel Selimus is gorgeous in a ‘Turkish crown of pearl and Ophir gold’ (Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 2.24). Through Arabic translation, literary criticism, anthropological theory and practice-based research into material culture, my doctoral thesis will focus on oriental books, jewels and precious materials, perfumes and spices, textiles, armament, and paint, and their agency in the discourses of racial difference and cultural exchange enacted in the dramatic works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The result will give a new perspective not just to Shakespeare’s complex interactions with the orient, but to the social, religious, political, and economic interactions between the East and the West.