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Traditional Palestinian Costume

Origins and Evolution

Published by Olive Branch Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

The historical and cultural richness of Palestine is reflected visually in its costume and embroidery. Distinguished by boldness of color, richness of pattern, and diversity of style, and combined with great needlework skill, these textiles have long played an important role in Palestinian culture and identity and manifested themselves in every aspect of Palestinian life.

Based on over twenty-five years of extensive field research and the culling of museum resources and publications from around the world, this book presents the most exhaustive and up-to-date study of the origins of Palestinian embroidery and costume—from antiquity through medieval Arab textile arts to the present. It documents region by region the evolution of costume and the textile arts in Palestine in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is lavishly illustrated with over 500 full-color photographs from the highly praised Munayyer Collection, which includes a whole range of embroidered textiles from traditional costumes and coin headdresses of Palestinian village women to cloaks and jackets worn by village men to belts, sashes, and footwear. The exquisite colors of the silk stitching on natural linens are a feast for the eye.

The sumptuous photography and author’s well-informed text greatly enrich our appreciation of Palestinian embroidery and make this book a valuable resource that displays this unique art in all its splendor.

About The Author

Hanan Karaman Munayyer, a Palestinian-American, is co-founder and president of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. She has researched and lectured on Palestinian textile arts for over twenty years.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Olive Branch Press (March 2, 2020)
  • Length: 560 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781623719241

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Raves and Reviews

Traditional Palestinian Costume is a magnificent work of deep love; among the most elegant artistic productions between two covers I have seen… Meeting this book is like opening a treasure box. Congratulations on your gift to the Palestinian nation, the Arab heritage and indeed the cultural legacy of the world….”

“[A] beautiful volume now showcases 25 years of research by Munayyer, who has trolled museums, libraries and private collections around the world to shape this book. It documents costumes from antiquity to modern times, categorizing regional specificities, especially since the late 19th century onwards. Superbly illustrated-the book counts no less than 500 photographs documenting abayas, head gear, sashes, and the all important brides’ trousseaus, which young girls would start working on from their early teens-this is a mesmerizing must-have coffee table book.”

“Hanan Karaman Munayyer’s latest book explores the history, tradition, and significance of traditional Palestinian costume as a poignant, continued example of aesthetic political resistance and national identity … A history of Palestine through embroidery, this is a book not to be missed. The collection challenges Palestine's erasure as a result of the dominant, and fabricated, Zionist narratives. Moreover, the book is a valuable addition to the sources which document the forgotten, or marginalized, Palestinian historical narratives. The embroidery weaves its own story, against a backdrop of violent dispossession which needs to be resisted by all means, including disseminating the stories of overlooked Palestinian history.”

"Stunningly gorgeous ' This is a work of passionate commitment and unstinting dedication. Its comprehensiveness, density, elegance and sheer beauty are a tribute both to the subject and the author."

– Dr. Walid Khalidi

"[A] monumental volume ' this inspiring contribution testifies to the Palestinian people's unwavering commitment to the belief that their right to national and human dignity is irreversible and its realization is inevitable."

– Dr. Clovis Maksoud

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