19th century headdress from Palestine
The newly opened Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world represents an exciting new vision, displayed across two magnificent refurbished galleries at the heart of the British Museum, London. The British Museum’s Islamic collection comprises a broad and diverse spectrum of the material culture produced from the seventh century to the present day in the Islamic world, a series of regions stretching from West Africa to Southeast Asia. From archaeological material to contemporary art, from the paintings and vessels made for royal patrons to the evocative objects of daily life, this new Gallery brings together the stories of interconnected worlds across time and geography.
There is a huge amount of information available on the website of the British Museum. This includes blogs on conservation, information on how the collection was formed and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to view every single object from the Gallery. You can do a general search, or view the objects contained in each case, such as Case 4 Islam in Africa: Kano to Zanzibar. This is indeed a fascinating rabbit hole to get lost down……
Event date: Tuesday 27 November 2018
Julia Nicholson, Curator and Joint Head of Collections Management, Pitt Rivers Museum and Abigael Flack, Collections Officer, will lead this viewing of some fantastic textiles from the collection of Jenny Balfour-Paul, as well as explaining the role of voluntary community curators in the Multaka Oxford project.
For more information on the type of textiles on view have a look at this blog post written by Abigael, Textiles from the Arab World: A dress from Palestine. Don’t forget to click on the images to see the enlarged versions of this dress with its red silk embroidery featuring couching and cross-stitch.
Location: Pitt Rivers Museum (South entrance, from South Parks road)
Time: from 4 pm refreshments, 4.30 – 6 p.m. talks and viewing.
Admission is free for OATG members, and £3 for non-members (payment at the door).
Abigael Flack is the Collections Officer at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, and has written a great blog about her work on a dress donated to them by Jenny Balfour-Paul.
“As the Collections Officer, part of my role is cataloguing a recent offer of textiles collected from across the Middle-East and North Africa, which the museum is in the process of acquiring. Costume and textile collections are some of my favourite to work with, particularly because how we dress can say so much about us. As such, costume and textile objects will be a great jumping off point for discussions with our volunteers and participants.
Lately I’ve been working on textiles that were collected from Palestine, like this beautifully embroidered dress. This traditional dress (thob) is probably from either Ramallah or Bethlehem and likely made around the 1920s-30s. It is made from hand woven natural linen and decorated with distinctive red silk embroidery. The silk would likely have been imported from Syria. The dress shows many of the features of traditional Palestinian costume, including the rich colour of the threads and the square chest panel (Qabbah) with embroidered motifs.”
To read the full blog and see more images of this dress click here.
Exhibition dates: 25 May – 30 July 2016
At the Seams is the Palestinian Museum’s first international satellite exhibition. Curated by Rachel Dedman, it opened in May at Dar el-Nimer for Arts and Culture in Beirut, Lebanon. The exhibition, which includes items from the fascinating collections of Widad Kawar and Malak al-Husseini Abdulrahim, casts a critical look at the role of embroidery in shaping historic and contemporary Palestinian politics and culture. Based on years of research and fieldwork, and featuring newly commissioned videos, At the Seams is interested in the history of embroidery beyond 1948, exploring its role in nationalism, resistance and the practice of Palestinian identity today.
If you can’t get to Lebanon to see the exhibition in person, you can still watch the video clips in which ten women speak about their embroidery. I highly recommend them.
For more information, and a short video about the exhibition, visit the website of the Palestinian Museum, near Ramallah, Palestine.