General

Embroidery as a Supply of Palestinian Identity

Among the turmoil and tragedy of present Palestinian existence, the great thing about Palestinian embroidery is sort of a ray of light that brings a smile to most people’s faces. Whether or not one is living in Palestine or wherever else across the globe, it’s a source of nice pride and pleasure that one incorporates into one’s life, whether as pillows and wall hangings to decorate a home, a traditional dress to wear at particular events, an elegant night jacket, or a worthless present to offer a friend. As old workshops and younger designers find new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant modern wear, the survival of this precious heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Although some individual options of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with points of textile arts of neighboring Arab nations, the Palestinian fashion has its special uniqueness that’s simply acknowledged by textile art fans all over the world. Most books on international embroidery present Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery as the prime instance of Middle Japanese embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this art kind develop? Truly, a research of the event of the traditional Palestinian costume by the ages proves that this traditional costume comprises historical knowledge that documents centuries of textile-artwork development in the region, an art form that has by some means amazingly survived to this day. Whether or not one studies the traditional traditional simple cut of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the superb variety of kinds of embroidery, the types of stitches, or the ancient origins of its patterns and motifs, one is deeply impressed with the historical richness of this legacy that dates back hundreds of years, and which affirms the antiquity of Palestinian existence and roots, and the survival of its historic heritage.

The great thing about the Palestinian costume style had its influence on Europeans starting from a minimum of the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, during the Crusades. Arab kinds were copied in Europe, as documented by several European historians. The sturdy trade between the Arab world and Europe in the course of the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, throughout the European Renaissance, was another instance of the spread of Arab textiles and embroidery to Europe. This resulted in Arab embroidery patterns being copied into European sample books starting in 1523 in Germany, utilizing the newly discovered printing press, and spreading quickly by way of translated variations to Italy, France, and England. Ranging from the eighteenth century, Europeans touring the Middle East described the beauty of Palestinian costume and embroidery, and took embroideries back home as souvenirs, considering them non secular artifacts from the Holy Land. In his book History of Folk Cross Sew (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Historic cross stitch symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “belief within the widespread, Palestinian source of those designs” used in European folk embroideries, because the patterns used in Palestinian traditional dresses had been considered of non secular significance and copied into European folks embroidery during the last a number of centuries for that reason. He mentions, for example, fundamental Palestinian dress patterns such because the eight-pointed star and reesh(feathers), whose acquired European names turned Holy Star of Bethlehem and Holy Keys of Jerusalem. Kiewe additionally mentions the transfer of Palestinian embroidery patterns to Europe by St. Francis of Assisi and their use in church embroideries, which had been recopied in the nineteenth century by the embroidery workshops of Assisi, whose embroidery model became well-known all through Europe. In the early-nineteenth century, several European missionary teams collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for display in Europe, often for church exhibits. These collections eventually discovered their approach into necessary European museums and characterize a few of the oldest extant pieces of Palestinian embroidery.