Palestinian Embroidery | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Palestinian Embroidery

Malak Al-Husseini holds up a square piece of cross-stitch embroidery, with strong colours and patterns stitched with small, uniform, crosses. A small motif embroidered in red reappears across the piece, resembling an elongated pot with flowers. ‘This pattern comes from Jaffa,’ Al-Husseini says. ‘I know that from the flower pots, they are typical of Jaffa. I can immediately see where a piece of embroidery comes from – what specific part of Palestine,’ she says.

Many more pieces are spread out on the table in front of her – large ones with a multitude of colours, smaller ones with minimalist designs. Behind her, inside a wardrobe, is a literal archive of embroidery: sample after sample with different patterns and colour combinations hang tightly together. Some have embroidered palm trees and cypresses, others tiny apples and chickpeas – or figures with names like ‘cow’s eye’, ‘old man’s teeth’ or ‘the baker’s wife’.

‘They are all examples of different Palestinian embroidery,’ says Al-Husseini.

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