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Palestinian Girl’s Dress

Until they were married, Palestinian girls would traditionally wear simple clothes with little embroidery. From the age of 12, they would begin learning the art of embroidery to create the clothing they would wear once they are married. This particular piece is a “Jillayeh” and the style indicates it is from Bethlehem area. The tapered sleeves, ever so difficult to wear while performing field or house chores, indicate the wearer’s leisure and wealth.

The dress is decorated with embroidery and appliqué. The embroidery of vines, rosettes, and other nature motifs is quite typical. Natural images are used to encourage positivity and connection to the land. Colors used also have meaning- shades of red symbolize happiness, good luck, and protection, and green is the color of paradise.

The ground material of this dress is locally woven striped cotton, and the applique is done with Syrian silk, velvet, and cotton. The silk embroidery  uses different techniques such as couching, cross stitch, and whip stitch.

Circa: 1920-1930s

Origin: Palestine

Material: Silk Embroidery on Cotton

Condition: Very Good

Dimensions: 36" long, 42" sleeve to sleeve

Inventory number: WR3971



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