Embroidery as a Supply of Palestinian Identity

Among the many 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 people’s faces. Whether one resides in Palestine or anywhere else across the globe, it is a source of great delight 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 parties, an elegant night jacket, or a valueless reward to provide a friend. As old workshops and younger designers find new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant modern wear, the survival of this valuable heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

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

How did this art type develop? Really, a research of the development of the traditional Palestinian costume by way of the ages proves that this traditional costume accommodates historical data that paperwork centuries of textile-art growth in the area, an artwork type that has by some means amazingly survived to this day. Whether or not one studies the traditional traditional simple reduce of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the amazing number 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 thousands 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 type had its influence on Europeans starting from at least the tenth to twelfth centuries AD, during the Crusades. Arab styles were 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 one other example 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, using the newly discovered printing press, and spreading quickly by way of translated versions to Italy, France, and England. Ranging from the eighteenth century, Europeans touring the Center East described the beauty of Palestinian costume and embroidery, and took embroideries back home as souvenirs, considering them spiritual artifacts from the Holy Land. In his book History of Folks Cross Sew (1964), the historian Heinz Kiewe presents a chapter on “Historical cross sew symbols from the Holy Land,” in which he confirms his “belief within the frequent, Palestinian supply of these designs” used in European folks embroideries, because the patterns used in Palestinian traditional dresses have been considered of spiritual significance and copied into European folks embroidery during the last several centuries for that reason. He mentions, for instance, primary Palestinian patterns such as 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 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 style grew to become famous throughout Europe. In the early-nineteenth century, several European missionary groups collected Palestinian costumes and embroideries for display in Europe, normally for church exhibits. These collections ultimately discovered their method into important European museums and characterize a few of the oldest extant items of Palestinian embroidery.