Embroidery as a Source of Palestinian Identity

Among the turmoil and tragedy of present Palestinian existence, the fantastic thing about Palestinian embroidery is like a ray of light that brings a smile to most individuals’s faces. Whether or not one is living in Palestine or wherever else around the globe, it’s a source of great delight and pleasure that one incorporates into one’s life, whether or not as pillows and wall hangings to decorate a house, a traditional Embroidered dress to wear at particular parties, an elegant night jacket, or a worthless present to offer a friend. As old workshops and young designers discover new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant trendy wear, the survival of this treasured heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Although some particular person options of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with features of textile arts of neighboring Arab international locations, the Palestinian fashion has its particular uniqueness that’s easily acknowledged by textile artwork enthusiasts all around the world. Most books on worldwide embroidery current Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery because the prime example of Center Jap embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this artwork type develop? Really, a study of the event of the traditional Palestinian costume by the ages proves that this traditional costume comprises historical knowledge that paperwork centuries of textile-artwork improvement in the area, an art type that has one way or the other amazingly survived to this day. Whether one studies the ancient traditional simple minimize of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the amazing number of styles 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 thousands 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 type had its influence on Europeans starting from no less than the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, throughout the Crusades. Arab styles have been copied in Europe, as documented by a number of European historians. The robust trade between the Arab world and Europe throughout the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, in the course of the European Renaissance, was another 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 rapidly via translated variations to Italy, France, and England. Starting from the eighteenth century, Europeans touring the Center East described the beauty of Palestinian costume and embroidery, and took embroideries back house as souvenirs, considering them religious artifacts from the Holy Land. In his book History of People Cross Stitch (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Ancient cross sew symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “belief in the frequent, Palestinian source of these designs” utilized in European people embroideries, because the patterns utilized in Palestinian traditional dresses were considered of non secular significance and copied into European folk embroidery over the last several centuries for that reason. He mentions, for instance, basic Palestinian patterns such as the eight-pointed star and reesh(feathers), whose acquired European names grew to become 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 within the nineteenth century by the embroidery workshops of Assisi, whose embroidery fashion became famous throughout Europe. In the early-nineteenth century, a number of European missionary groups collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for display in Europe, usually for church exhibits. These collections eventually found their method into essential European museums and characterize among the oldest extant items of Palestinian embroidery.