Article: – Textiles from the Arab World – A Dress from Palestine

 

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.

Abigael writes:-

“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.

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Exhibition: At the Seams – A Political History of Palestinian Embroidery

Palestinian Museum - At the Seams

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.