Embroidery as a Supply of Palestinian Identity

Among the many turmoil and tragedy of current Palestinian existence, the beauty of Palestinian embroidery is like a ray of light that brings a smile to most individuals’s faces. Whether one resides in Palestine or anyplace else around the globe, it’s a source of nice satisfaction and pleasure that one incorporates into one’s life, whether as pillows and wall hangings to decorate a house, a traditional dress to wear at special events, an elegant evening jacket, or a worthless reward to present a friend. As old workshops and young designers find new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant modern wear, the survival of this valuable heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Though some individual features of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with features of textile arts of neighboring Arab countries, the Palestinian type has its particular uniqueness that is easily recognized by textile artwork fanatics all over the world. Most books on worldwide embroidery current Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery as the prime example of Middle Japanese embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this art form develop? Really, a examine of the development of the traditional Palestinian costume by means of the ages proves that this traditional costume accommodates historical data that documents centuries of textile-art development in the area, an artwork kind that has by some means amazingly survived to this day. Whether or not one studies the ancient traditional simple reduce of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and equipment, the wonderful variety of styles 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 fantastic thing about the Palestinian costume style had its influence on Europeans ranging from not less than the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, through the Crusades. Arab kinds were copied in Europe, as documented by a number of European historians. The sturdy trade between the Arab world and Europe in the course of the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, through the European Renaissance, was one other example 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, using the newly discovered printing press, and spreading shortly by translated versions to Italy, France, and England. Starting 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 People Cross Sew (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Historic cross sew symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “belief in the frequent, Palestinian source of these designs” utilized in European folk embroideries, because the patterns utilized in Palestinian traditional dresses have been considered of religious significance and copied into European folk embroidery over the last several centuries for that reason. He mentions, for instance, 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 additionally mentions the switch of Palestinian embroidery patterns to Europe by St. Francis of Assisi and their use in church embroideries, which were recopied within the nineteenth century by the embroidery workshops of Assisi, whose embroidery model turned famous all through Europe. In the early-nineteenth century, several European missionary teams collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for Embroidered tops display in Europe, usually for church exhibits. These collections finally found their way into necessary European museums and characterize among the oldest extant pieces of Palestinian embroidery.