Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Quaker Influence on Palestinian Embroidery

Palestinian embroidery is culturally very rich. The influences on Palestinian embroidery arrive from all four points of the compass. Motifs from the Chinese and Mongol Empires are interspersed with Hellenic and Byzantine ones. Some are identifiably Roman and Venetian, some are derived from Scandinavian sources via the Normans in the Kingdom of Sicily, and others Coptic. But here amongst the strongly abstract and geometric patterns on a woman's dress from Ramallah you can see an urn of flowers with facing birds, which was introduced through European pattern books brought by the Quakers in 1869 when the Society of Friends established a girls' school in Ramallah.

Leila El Khalidi has written a wonderful book - The Art of Palestinian Embroidery - which examines sources and motifs used by Palestininan women. Included in the book are 50 pages of motifs for you to study or include in your own designs. Another wonderful book to read if you are interested in the running of the Friends' Girls' School in Ramallah is Lois Harned Jordan's Ramallah Teacher - the Life of Mildred White, Quaker Missionary. Mildred was a remarkable Quaker from Richsquare, Indiana in the USA.

1 comment:

  1. what an increible culture all around us. i love the rich colors and can't wait to read the book. thanks for sharing.