Newsletter, Winter 2002

Welcome to the Palestine Costume Archive's latest update and newsletter for Winter 2002!

New Archive Friends

Archive Friends Appeal
Recent acquisitions and donations
Current and forthcoming exhibitions
Ongoing research projects and public enquiries
Educational and public programs
Recent Archive publications
Requested information on videos and music played in our exhibition spaces
Palestinian Heritage Foundation, USA, online
Updated information on Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects, new projects and projects and project promotion agencies now online

New Archive Friends

The Archive would like to welcome the following new Friends:

Maranna Sears, Sydney
Bernice Lees, Canberra
Jenny Keenan, Perth

Michelle Tonissen, Melbourne

Ruth Clemens, Melbourne

Norma Pilling, Melbourne
Anonymous (x 4)

If you are not officially an Archive Friend now would be a wonderful time to join!

The joining fee for Archive Friends is presently $70, with an annual fee of $40 after the first twelve months if you wish to remain a Friend. Archive Friends receive a copy of our colour exhibition catalogue for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Exhibition Notes for Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world, together with current exhibition free passes, posters and postcards, as a welcome gift (valued at just under $50) upon joining. Other Archive Friend entitlements include our Newsletter (detailing our ongoing research projects, recent acquisitions and donations to our costume collection and library, forthcoming exhibition openings and educational and public programs, and information about new refugee camp and women's handicraft projects' products in stock at the Archive. Friends also have access to the Archive's costume collection (both the display collection and the study collection) and Research Library (with over 1000 books, journals, prints, photographs and ephemeral material on Middle Eastern costume and cultural heritage. Friends also have borrowing rights to the Library).

Perhaps what Archive Friends enjoy and utilise most is access to curatorial, research and collection management expertise. Friends may make up to three research requests to Archive curatorial, research and conservation staff per year on a variety of subjects, from the identification, research and dating of any Middle Eastern or ethnographic textile to private collection management advice on objects and textile conservation, home storage or home display issues.

**As an added incentive, if you would like to round out your cheque or money order to $100, we will include in your welcome gift the recently published Exhibition Notes for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume, featuring unpublished updated Archive research on Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948, and cultural traditions in the Palestinian communities of the international diaspora, together with additional postcards and exhibition free passes for your family and friends.

(for further details contact the Archive at for a Friends Joining Form and a copy of our Archive Friends Appeal.

Archive Friends Appeal

The Archive launched an Appeal in June 2002 to try to recoup the costs of exhibiting two of our travelling exhibitions Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and  Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world Museum Victoria's Immigration Museum in Melbourne, after the museum cancelled all educational and public programs planned to accompany the exhibitions.

The Archive is a non profit costume and textile research centre and has received no formal funding in over twenty years.  The prohibitive costs of maintaining free educational and public programs for four months in a city far from Canberra meant that the Archive was not sure if we could meet the remainder of our travelling exhibition and academic commitments for the second half of 2002.  While we were just able to cover the costs of exhibiting Portraits without names: Palestinian costume in Grafton, in northern NSW, in August-October, we desperately needed assistance to exhibit Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948 at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies in Mainz, Germany, and present papers on contemporary Palestinian costume at both WOCMES and the Textile Society of America symposium in Northampton, USA, both in September 2002.

The events of this last year have shown how important the dissemination of correct cultural information is, in regards to Middle Eastern and Central Asian societies and heritage.  Now, more than ever, the Archive's travelling exhibitions and research must reach as many people as possible, so that we can continue to battle Western misconceptions and stereotypes regarding Arab and Muslim life.

Please help us, in any way you can, so that the Archive can continue the work in which we believe, work so important that the Arab Times in December 1994 headlined the Archive's research, exhibitions and projects as "restoring the fabric of a [nation's] social soul".

Ways to help:

    1) Donations by cheque or postal order can be sent to the Archive c/- PO Box 98, Lyneham, Canberra, ACT 2602, Australia, and will be acknowledged in our Newsletter and website.       

    2) Become an Archive Sponsor with a donation of $200 or more, and be formally acknowledged within the Archive's travelling exhibition display spaces and at all educational and public programs.

    3) Become an Archive Friend (see above)

    4) Purchase Palestinian refugee camp embroidery project products from the Archive's current stock (see below)

    5) Purchase Archive publications, including the colour catalogue for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume ($25 plus postage)  Exhibition Notes for Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world ($10 plus postage) and Portraits without names: Palestinian costume ($15 plus postage), exhibition posters, Archive postcards and Palestinian refugee camp embroidery project postcards

Please contact us if you would like further information or a copy of our Archive Friends Appeal document.

The Archive would like to sincerely thank John Karkar QC, Melbourne, for his kind generosity towards the Archive Appeal.  We would also like to thank our other donors, including those who wish to remain anonymous - WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Recent acquisitions and donations

Recent acquisitions and donations to the Archive's collection include everyday and ceremonial costumes, textiles and accessories from Palestine (pre and post 1948), Iran, Egypt (Sinai Desert and Bahriya Oasis), Egypt (modern urban), Syria (Saraqab, El Sukne and urban), Oman, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya.

Images of all acquisitions, and further cataloguing and acquisition details, are available from the Archive.

The Archive would like to sincerely thank the following costume collection and research library donors, financial donors, and those who have greatly assisted the Archive in sourcing new acquisitions:

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director, Stichting Textile Research Centre, Leiden

Palestine Red Crescent Society, Gaza Strip

Penny Smith, Melbourne

Fay Plamka, Melbourne

Kathleen Gawler, Melbourne

Robbie Bartlett, Melbourne

Dr Fiona Hill, Melbourne

Lynneeta Darmody, Melbourne

Frans Timmerman, Melbourne

Helena Ling, Melbourne

Linda Heapy and Kashgar, Sydney

Sally Brokensha, Adelaide

Michelle Woodward, USA

Sheila Paine, UK

Hebron Poor Women's Embroidery Project, West Bank

Emilie Faudem, Nuweiba/Jerusalem

Women of the Tarabina Bedouin Women's Beading Project, Nuweiba, Egypt

Al Badia Embroidery Project, Beirut, Lebanon


Palestinian Heritage Foundation, NJ, USA

Textile Museum of Washington, USA

Anonymous (x 3)

For further details of recent acquisitions to our display and study costume collection and research library, click here.

The Archive would also like to again acknowledge the generous support of our kind long term lenders, including:

Jehan Rajab, Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

Neville Black, Sydney

Fay Plamka, Melbourne

Current and forthcoming exhibitions

Two of the Archive's travelling exhibitions Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world, are currently on display at Museum Victoria's new Immigration Museum in Melbourne, from 5 April to 14 July 2002.

The two exhibitions have been touring Australian and international venues since 1995, and contain more than three hundred 19th and 20th century Middle Eastern costumes, textiles, accessories and jewellery drawn from Australian and Middle Eastern museums and private collections. Reviewed as "delightful" (Costume, London), "truly beautiful" (The Australian) and "fascinating" (Art Monthly), the exhibitions inspired a member of the Sydney Palestinian community to write "...we believe [these] exhibitions have raised our self esteem and confidence and developed our sense of identity as a small community in Australia. As the exhibitions move around the country [they] will continue to raise and reinforce the identities of the Australian [Arab and] Palestinian communities...".

With the generous assistance of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( the Archive hosted a function at the Immigration Museum on 30 April where the Hon. John Pandazopoulos formally declared the exhibitions opened, with speeches by Immigration Museum Director Padmini Sebastian, AACCI Committee Member Mr Ala Ghandem, and the Archive's Director Jeni Allenby. 

Photo: the official party at the opening of the Archive's two exhibitions at the Immigration Museum, including Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. John Pandazopoulos, Immigration Museum Director Padmini Sebastian, AACCI Committee Member Mr Ala Ghandem, and the Archive's Director Jeni Allenby. (photo: Haydn Washington)

This was a wonderful evening, which allowed the Archive to acknowledge local and international sponsors and lenders to the exhibitions, some of whom had travelled to Melbourne for the event.

Articles about the exhibitions were published in the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and industry's Sallaam magazine (at , Multicultural Victoria Newsletter (see go to Publications, then article titled "Restoring the fabric of a social soul") and Museum Victoria's magazine. The exhibitions also featured on Australia's ABC TV channel.

Many visitors to the exhibitions have made use of the Reading Area between the two exhibitions, where further information on some of the issues raised in the exhibitions, including contemporary Islamic modesty dress hijab and Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects, is available. A Comments Book in the Reading Area has also been much used, with entries such as:

"…I congratulate you on the brilliant work the Palestine Costume Archive has done…"

Iman Irhimeh, Melbourne, 2002

"…to see this beauty and all the love expressed in this exhibition, and go home and watch the TV news is almost unbearable…"

Ann S, Melbourne, 2002

"…lovely…Palestine is in my heart. Our heritage will endure forever. We are proud of this exhibition. Thank you…"

Dr Mai Sarraj, Melbourne, 2002

Photo: Guests Iman Irhimeh from Melbourne (right) with Christine McMillan (an Australian textile artist whose contemporary art works, inspired by Palestinian and Middle Eastern costume, are part of the "Portraits without names: Palestinian costume" exhibition) at the exhibition's Melbourne opening in April 2002. 
(photo: Haydn Washington)

"…wonderful and thrilling display. Just to see the Palestinian people portrayed in such an exhibition reveals their skills and beauty. I worked for several years amongst the Palestinian refugees and have seen some of the injustice and suffering of these people…"

E Stainer, Melbourne, 2002-07-01

"…sallam tommek. Words fail me. The Palestinian exhibition is very powerful and brought to mind many beautiful and painful memories and tears. Thank you…"

Georgette Hazelbank (Sahhar), Melbourne, 2002

"…in a time full of terror, discrimination, racism and hate I thank you for the knowledge that helps me go beyond the easy labels and see the beauty that exists to remind me that when we talk about conflict between groups – white/black, aboriginal/european settlers, Muslim/Jew, Palestinian/Israeli – we are discussing PEOPLE – individuals with rich cultures, traditions and histories…"

(signed) A Zionist Jew, Melbourne, July 2002

Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Open 7 days a week from 10am until 5pm
. Admission charge

Portraits without names: Palestinian costume will then travel to regional NSW, Australia, to be displayed at the Grafton Regional Gallery from 28 August until 20 October 2002.

Grafton Regional Gallery, 158 Fitzroy Street, Grafton
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
. Admission by donation

The Archive will be displaying an exhibition featuring part of Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Symbolic defiance: the costumes and textiles of the Palestinian intifadas at WOCMES, the First World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies in Mainz, Germany in September 2002 (

Museum and gallery exhibition venues for late 2003/4 currently under negotiation include the UK, Canada, the USA and Australasia.  Further information about the Archive's travelling exhibitions and current exhibition program can be found here.

The Archive would like to thank the many lenders to our current museum exhibitions, including:

Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

Norma Pillings, Melbourne

Heike Weber and the ANAT Worshop, 
Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Syria

Ruth Clemens, Melbourne

Neville Black, Sydney

Robert and Jenny Bowker, Canberra

Lynneeta Darmody, Melbourne

Suheir Kassis, Sydney

Sally Brokensha, Melbourne

Basil Hennessy, Sydney

Jenny Smith, Melbourne

Christine Ensel, Melbourne

Christine McMillan, Kandos, NSW

Christine Asmar, Sydney

Lindesay family, Melbourne

Bronwyn Taylor, Canberra

The Archive would also like to acknowledge and thank the many photographers who have kindly allowed their work to be used as graphics in our current exhibitions, including:

Pascal and Maria Marechaux, Paris   

Werner Forman and the Werner Forman Archive

Penny Smith, Melbourne      

Sally Brokensha, Adelaide

And others who have given much of their time and professional talents to assist the Archive in a variety of different projects recently, including:

Robin Garner, Canberra

Soraya Asmar, Sydney

Sue Hunter, Canberra

Christine McMillan, Kandos

Haydn Washington, Kandos

Iman Irhimeh, Melbourne

Matthew Phillips, Melbourne

Archive Director Jeni Allenby speaking at the opening of the two Melbourne exhibitions  
(photo: Haydn Washington)

Ongoing research projects and public inquiries

The Archive continues to receive several research requests daily, mostly via our website and current exhibition Comment Book.  While requests come in many shapes and forms - from how to locate Hebron glass on the internet to identifying Coptic textiles! - our favourites remain the many we receive from young Palestinians in the international diaspora about to marry (and women marrying into Palestinian families), looking for information on Palestinian cultural heritage and society so that they can combine traditional costume elements or traditional rituals into their own wedding outfits and wedding services.  Once the Archive knows their village or town of origin we are able to email scanned photographs of early 20th Palestinian costume from that particular region, together with photographs and detailed research on Palestinian wedding ceremonies, to help them create a wedding unique to themselves and yet evocative of Palestine.  These are the only research requests for which the Archive ever asks payment - the payment being a photograph of their wedding party for the Archive's collection!  For us at the Archive, each of these precious photographs continues to remind us that Palestinian culture is still alive in the world.

Remember too that the Archive is happy to identify and date any Palestinian or Middle Eastern costume brought to our attention, as well as handle research requests on Palestinian and Middle Eastern cultural heritage, and contemporary issues such as Islamic modesty dress hijab and Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects.  Please email us at with any requests.  For information on all the Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects and middle Eastern women's self help handicraft projects with whom the Archive works please see and for a recent update on their current restrictions see .

The Archive continues to document and acquire embroidery and products from Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects and village embroidery projects in the West Bank, as part of our long term research project on Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948.  We now work with over thirty projects, including several new projects that you can read about in  If anyone has bought a particularly beautiful or unusual product from a project recently we would love to see an image for our archives.  We are also always on the lookout for embroidered products produced during the 1950s to 1970s from the earliest embroidery projects – please let us know of any you might have, or if you are in search of a good home for something!

We are also continuing with our oral history collections, especially in the Palestinian communities in cities where our travelling exhibitions are shown.  This year we have been working mostly with the Melbourne community, and for those interested in Arab cultures in the international diaspora we would like to recommend the recently published Muslim Communities in Australia, edited by Abdullah Saeed and Shahram Akbarzadeh and published by UNSW Press in 2001.

The Archive is currently researching and  curating two major exhibitions of Middle Eastern costume in conjunction with the Stichting Textile Research Centre at Leiden University in the Netherlands. An online exhibition of Omani costume is planned for 2003, together with a major international travelling exhibition of Yemeni costume in 2004.  We would be most interested to hear from people with an interest in Omani and Yemeni costume, as well as people who might hold photographs or private collections of costume from these regions.  For further information about these projects please contact the Archive on

Educational and public programs

The Archive offers free educational and public programs during the run of its two exhibitions in Melbourne. Please email us for further information, or to organise public tours of the exhibitions.

The Director of the Archive Jeni Allenby presented a paper at the 6th Women in Asia conference held at the Australian National University in Canberra on 25 September 2001, on "The Re-invention of Cultural Heritage: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948". Documenting and illustrating the Archive's recent research on this subject, the lecture was reviewed as 'a marvellous presentation [of a] fascinating paper".

She also gave a paper on 20th century Palestinian costume at The Asian Arts Society of Australia's "Art and Symbolism" symposium in Melbourne on 1 June, and for RMIT University's Frances Burke Textile Resource Centre's Fashion, Textile and Design Lecture series on 5 June. She was also invited to speak as a member of the "Global Feminism: An Irrepressible Force for Justice and Peace in Palestine" Forum, organised by Radical Women and the Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women's Rights in Melbourne on 6 June (for further information on Radical Women programs in Melbourne contact them direct on (03) 9386 3230 or email: Website:

In July the Archive has been invited to speak at the Tragedy of Palestine Forum organised by Women For Palestine at University House at the University of Melbourne on 13 July. Other speakers include Professor Merrill Kitchen, Head of the Church of Christ Theological College. For further information about this event and Women for Palestine see or ring Sonja Karkar on (03) 9882 9236.

The Archive has also been invited to present papers on post 1948 Palestinian costume and embroidery at WOCMES, the First World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies ( in Mainz, Germany in September 2002 and at the 8th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America ( in Mainz, Germany in September 2002 and at the 8th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America ( also in September 2002. Abstracts of these papers can be obtained from the Archive, ANU or the Textile Society of America.

Other conferences to whom the Archive has submitted Abstracts for papers include Fabric(ations): texts and textiles of the Postcolonial in Wollongong, ( and Conflict and Culture: war and terrorism in the modern age at the University of Newcastle in late September 2002 ( ). The Archive will also be attending the Frontlines: gender, identity and war conference organised by Monash University in Melbourne on 12-13 July 2002 (

Recent Archive publications

Exhibition Notes
Colour exhibition catalogues


With the kind assistance of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( and Nuconcept Printing, Melbourne, the Archive recently published a series of postcards, which are available for purchase either individually or as a set of eight.

The postcards feature the very popular main promotional images used by the Archive for the Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world exhibitions, together with close up images of costumes and textiles in both exhibitions. These include close ups of exquisite 19th century Galilee coats, contemporary Intifada "flag" dress embroideries, details of decorations from a Yemeni wedding dress, a close up section of a Sinai Desert bedouin face veil, and a section of an embroidered dress from the Saraqab region in Syria.

Mother and child, Hebron c.1930s- Archive postcard

Detail of embroidery from an Intifada dress made by ANAT Workshop, Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Syria 1991 (on loan to the Archive from Heike Weber, ANAT Workshop, Syria) - Archive postcard

As with our other publications and refugee camp products, the Archive is happy to ship postcards worldwide. Please contact the Archive at for further information regarding prices and shipping costs.

Exhibition Notes for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world

Due to popular demand the Archive has had the wall texts of the Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world travelling exhibitions, together with further Archive research and illustrations, maps and graphics from the two exhibitions, collated and bound for public purchase.

The Exhibition Notes for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume update the information available in the colour catalogue of the exhibition, which of course was originally published in 1995, when the exhibition first began touring. The Exhibition Notes include detailed information on Palestinian weddings as well as information on each of the regional areas displayed in the exhibition (including Galilee, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Jaffa, Beit Dajan, Bethlehem, Jericho, Gaza and southern Negev bedouin costume styles). However, the most important new sections of the Notes deal with Palestinian costume and embroidery after 1948, examining each decade in detail, as well as documenting the expression of nationalism in traditional Palestinian costume and the Intifada "flag" costumes and textiles, the establishment of Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects and the development of Palestinian embroidery as a separate craft and art form to costume, and Palestinian cultural heritage in the communities of the international diaspora.

The Exhibition Notes for Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world contain costume and textile information relating to all the countries displayed in the exhibition (including Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt (including Siwa and Bahriya Oasis and Sinai bedouin styles), Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The Notes also include detailed information on hijab Islamic modesty dress as well as the Middle Eastern concept of covering and veiling. These sections are accompanied by a small reading list and a map showing areas of the world (including outside the Middle East) where covering and veiling are part of traditional costume.

Sinai Desert bedouin girl dressed up in her mother's wedding clothes, Katri'in village, 1997 (Photo: Jeni Allenby) - Archive postcard

Detail of decoration from the front of a Yemeni indigo dyed wedding dress balaka qamis (on loan to the Archive from Sally Brokensha, Adelaide for the exhibition "Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world) - Archive postcard

Please contact the Archive at for further information and details of cost and shipping.

The Archive again thanks the photographers and authors of publications who allowed their images and research to be reprinted in these informal Exhibition Notes.

Colour exhibition catalogues

Full colour catalogues for Portraits without names: Palestinian costume are still available from the Archive. Please reserve a copy of the original edition soon as the print run is nearly finished.

Videos and music

The Archive has received many requests for further information regarding the music and videos we play continuously within our exhibitions, especially within the Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world exhibitions.


The main CD which plays in Portraits without names is the truly inspiring and evocative Lost Songs of Palestine produced by Anatolia, a US based group, in 2001. In their words:

"…This recording of traditional Palestinian folk songs takes us back to a time long ago when life in the Middle East was very different. The everyday experiences of any culture - love, celebration, friendship, marriage - have always been the themes of its people's folk music. The people of Palestine are no exception.

In this collection we hear songs that have been sung by generations of Palestinians, but which have been overshadowed by the music and poetry of a people living under occupation. Music is a living and evolving art. As the day to day experiences of the Palestinians became more involved in the politics of resistance, so changed the musical output of the people. In this sense, the songs on this recording have been recently supplanted by politically based material.

For Palestinians in particular, many of these songs will bring back memories of a time long ago. Some of the songs are found in other parts of the Arab world, where they are sung in popularized versions. But for Westerners, the Lost Songs of Palestine is a new opportunity to learn about the culture and rich musical heritage of an ancient people".

This wonderful CD features Michel Moushabeck, Edward Hines, Taner Okatan, Jamal Sinno, Mohammed Mejaour, Saied Khoury and the voice of Mirelle Tannous.

It is available online through (Edward Hines Music, PO Box 941, Wendall, MA 01379, USA, tel/fax: (978) 544 6986). You can also learn more about Anatolia at that same site, and even download free one of the songs from the Lost Songs of Palestine CD, "Weyn a Ramallah".

The Archive is most grateful to Edward Hines for permission to play Lost Songs of Palestine within the exhibition space of our Portraits without names: Palestinian costume exhibition.

The haunting CD which plays in one area of Portraits without names, and throughout the exhibition space of Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world is Nafas by Rabih Abou Khalil ( which is produced by EMC Records, Munich, and can be ordered through the website at We also thank EMC Records for their kindness in allowing the Archive to use this exquisite album to bring our exhibition spaces to life.


The video that plays in the Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world exhibition space is "Threads of Time: handmade textiles for weddings in Fez, Morocco", produced by curator Louise W Mackie and the Royal Ontario Museum in 1990.

Handmade textiles play an important role at weddings where they are worn and displayed. In 1990, Louise W. Mackie and her team videotaped the making and use of eight different types of fabrics and clothing, plus interviews with artisans, merchants, and consumers, all set in wedding festivities where handmade textiles were featured as symbols of regional pride.

This fascinating video, which has Australian audiences in Melbourne entranced, can be ordered through

The video currently showing in Portraits without names: Palestinian costume is "Threads of Hope" produced by Sunbula, a non profit organization in Jerusalem promoting the development of Palestinian women's self help handicraft and embroidery groups in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The video is a 15 minute presentation showing some of the projects that Sunbula works with, including the Women's Child Care Society of Beit Jala and the Bethlehem Arab women's Union.

NOTE: However, please remember when you watch this that the video was made several years ago, at a time of hope (as you can see in the title) and does not reflect the current state of these refugee camp projects, many of whom are now almost at the point of having to close due to Israeli restrictions on personal movement as well as product material sourcing and shipping problems.

A copy of this video can be ordered through Sunbula at or the Archive.

Other videos that might be of interest include the selection on Middle Eastern subjects that you will find on the Women Make Movies site at

The Archive also highly recommends the Palestinian Heritage Foundation's "Palestinian national costumes: preserving the legacy" video. Featuring groups of costumes, representing towns and villages in the areas around Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Al-Khalil, Majdal, Gaza, Jaffa and Galilee, this very well-received 35-minute video documentary examines Palestinian dress from antiquity through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Ottoman Turkish periods up to the 20th century.

Also included is a short summary of the fascinating historical development of textile arts and embroidery in the Arab world, containing photographs of surviving pieces of ancient textiles from the Middle East on display in European and American museums. Devoting considerable attention to detailed close-ups of stitches and patterns, the video looks at the impact of environment on such motifs. Viewers interested in copying the patterns are enabled to do so thanks to the close-up enlargements.

You can find out more about the video from or buy direct from the PHF at P.O. Box 1018, West Caldwell, NJ 07006, E-mail:

Palestinian Heritage Foundation Online

The Archive is also delighted to welcome the Palestinian Heritage Foundation online! 

You can find their new web page at There are now three web pages online dedicated to Palestinian costume and embroidery!  We encourage everyone to visit their site and admire the lovely images of the Palestinian costumes in their collection, and the articles about their beautiful collection and its acquisition process.

Other News

For up to date information on the destruction of Palestinian Women's Organisations and charitable societies see this article by Rose Shonali Musleh.


We sincerely thank you for your interest in the Archive.

For updates on the precarious situation of many Palestinian refugee camp projects, as well as information on new projects, and projects now on line CLICK HERE.

For details of recent acquisitions to the Archive's display and study costume collections and research library, CLICK HERE.

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