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 is living in Palestine or anyplace else across the globe, it’s a supply 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 special parties, a sublime night jacket, or a priceless present to provide a friend. As old workshops and younger designers discover new methods to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant modern wear, the survival of this precious heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Although some individual features of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with aspects of textile arts of neighboring Arab international locations, the Palestinian type has its special uniqueness that is simply acknowledged by textile art lovers all around the world. Most books on international embroidery present Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery as the prime example of Middle Eastern embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this artwork kind develop? Truly, a study of the event of the traditional Palestinian costume via the ages proves that this traditional costume incorporates historical knowledge that paperwork centuries of textile-art development within the area, an art type that has by some means amazingly survived to this day. Whether or not one research the traditional traditional simple reduce of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the amazing number 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 1000’s of years, and which affirms the antiquity of Palestinian existence and roots, and the survival of its historical heritage.

The fantastic thing about the Palestinian costume style had its influence on Europeans ranging from at the very least the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, in the course of the Crusades. Arab types had been copied in Europe, as documented by a number of European historians. The strong trade between the Arab world and Europe during the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, through 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, utilizing the newly discovered printing press, and spreading rapidly by means 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 residence as souvenirs, considering them non secular artifacts from the Holy Land. In his book History of Folk Cross Stitch (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Historical cross sew symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “perception in the widespread, Palestinian supply of those designs” used in European folks embroideries, because the patterns utilized in Palestinian Henna thobe traditional dresses were considered of religious significance and copied into European folks embroidery over the last several centuries for that reason. He mentions, for example, primary 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 switch of Palestinian embroidery patterns to Europe by St. Francis of Assisi and their use in church embroideries, which have been recopied within the nineteenth century by the embroidery workshops of Assisi, whose embroidery style turned famous all through Europe. Within the early-nineteenth century, a number of European missionary groups collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for show in Europe, often for church exhibits. These collections finally found their means into necessary European museums and characterize some of the oldest extant pieces of Palestinian embroidery.