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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1986M112.95
Collection:Applied Art - Costume
Date:1850 - 1920


The Southall Collection is a major collection of Palestinian Dress dating from 1900-1930. It includes garments and accessories worn by nomadic Bedouin people as well as men, women and children living in Ramallah and Bethlehem.

This example from the collection is a full length striped women's robe, with long pointed sleeves. The chest panel is embroidered in cotton couching and silk embroidery. The whole chest panel is called the 'flower pot', and the flowing designs of flowers, leaves and other motifs are in marked contrast to the geometric cross stitch patterns of the rest of Palestine.This is a poorer version of 1986M112.94 and does not have the silk inserts.Bethlehem and nearby Beit Jala were famous all over southern Palestine for their couched thread embroidery, and the thob malak (meaning queenly dresses), which was their wedding dress, became the fashionable wedding dress in many villages in southern Palestine by the end of the British mandate. Those who could not afford the whole dress ready made bought the embroidered panels for the chest and sides and sewed them onto dresses made of cheaper material.

Presented as part of the Southall Collection, 1985.

Further Information

Production Period:19th/20th Century
Medium:Striped linen in dark blue, maroon, orange and blue.
Place of Origin:Palestine


Height:143 cm
Width:135 cm