Embroidery as a Source of Palestinian Identity

Among the many turmoil and tragedy of current Palestinian existence, the beauty of Palestinian embroidery is sort of a ray of light that brings a smile to most individuals’s faces. Whether or not one resides in Palestine or wherever else across the globe, it’s a supply of nice delight 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 parties, a chic night jacket, or a priceless present to provide a friend. As old workshops and young designers find new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant trendy wear, the survival of this valuable heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Though some particular person options of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with features of textile arts of neighboring Arab international locations, the Palestinian model has its particular uniqueness that’s easily recognized by textile art fans everywhere in the world. Most books on worldwide embroidery present Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery because the prime example of Center Eastern embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this art type develop? Really, a study of the development of the traditional Palestinian costume by way of the ages proves that this traditional costume comprises historical data that paperwork centuries of textile-art development within the region, an artwork kind that has by some means amazingly survived to this day. Whether one research the traditional traditional simple cut of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the wonderful variety of types of embroidery, the types of stitches, or the traditional origins of its patterns and motifs, one is deeply impressed with the historical richness of this legacy that dates back 1000’s 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 fashion had its affect on Europeans starting from no less than the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, in the course of the Crusades. Arab styles had been copied in Europe, as documented by several European historians. The robust trade between the Arab world and Europe in the course of the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, during the European Renaissance, was one other instance of the spread of Arab textiles and embroidery to Europe. This resulted in Arab embroidery patterns being copied into European pattern books starting in 1523 in Germany, utilizing the newly discovered printing press, and spreading rapidly via translated versions to Italy, France, and England. Ranging from the eighteenth century, Europeans touring the Center East described the fantastic thing about Palestinian costume and embroidery, and took embroideries back residence as souvenirs, considering them non secular artifacts from the Holy Land. In his book History of People Cross Sew (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Ancient cross stitch symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “perception within the frequent, Palestinian supply of these designs” utilized in European people embroideries, because the patterns utilized in Palestinian traditional dresses were considered of spiritual significance and copied into European people embroidery over the past a number of centuries for that reason. He mentions, for example, basic Palestinian 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 also mentions the transfer of Palestinian traditional dress 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 fashion turned well-known all through Europe. In the early-nineteenth century, several European missionary groups collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for display in Europe, often for church exhibits. These collections ultimately found their means into essential European museums and signify a number of the oldest extant items of Palestinian embroidery.