Embroidery History

Embroidery History

Embroidery through history and geography
It is not known exactly when women in the region started to put thousands of stitches on dresses, coats, jackets, veils and cushions, but is said that embroidered clothing was initiated by Kenaan people 4500 years ago. Research on embroidery has found no examples earlier than the 19th century.
In the 1930s, the French company Dollfus, Mieg & Co (DMC) distributed pattern books that introduced foreign motifs. Before long, these appeared alongside traditional motifs on women‘s costume. DMC also introduced the so-called perle cotton thread. Previously, women had used lustrous floss silk thread from Syria.
Traditional embroidery was typically produced by village and Bedouin women rather than town dwellers, who have usually worn Western or Ottoman attire. This fact probably explains why most of the research done to date on costumes and embroidered art has focused mainly on the rituals and social ceremonies in rural and Bedouin areas.
Since the introduction of Islam in the region, the traditional costume for men in the region has been very simple in design and its style has become identical to that worn by men throughout the Arab world. In contrast, women's costumes, and in particular those costumes for special occasions, were regionally and stylistically diverse and placed great emphasis on ornamentation. The detailed visual elements of these costumes reflected a correspondingly detailed system of meaning that centered on identity and status.
Historically, both Bedouin and village women made their own costumes for festive occasions, namely weddings and religious feasts. Until the end of the Mandate period, most village women made and embroidered their own dresses. In some areas, such as Ashdod, Gaza, and the Galilee of Palestine, the women themselves wove and dyed some of their fabrics. Bedouin women, however, have never woven their own material and have often sought the help of village women in embroidering their garments.

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