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The Art of Palestinian Embroidery

A text that examines the history and motifs of Palestinian embroidery, from the time of the Silk and Spice Routes through to the end of the 20th century. Mainly using cross-stitch, Palestinians have continued to embroider their traditional motifs, giving them their own appellations and developing their own terminology. As clothing was of prime importance, Palestinian women wanted something personal, distinctive and handmade. By adopting the traditional styles and motifs of her area, a woman expressed her wish to identify and be identified with her cultural roots. Samples of late-19th to early-20th century Palestinian costumes are considered to be representative of folk art at its best.

Born in Jerusalem in 1927, Leila Hussein Fakhri El Khalidi graduated from the American Junior College in Beirut before working from 1943 to 1946 under the Palestine mandate government. From 1971 to 1978 she was head librarian at the PLO research centre in Beirut, then joined SAMED (The Palestinian Martyrs' Works Society) founding the Society's Central Library and heading a research unit for Folklore and Folk Arts and Crafts. Her efforts resulted in the recognition of the PLO research Centre Library as the national library of the Palestinian people. She is currently chairperson of the non-profit organization al-Manara for the dissemination of Arab culture, based in Amman.

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