Dress, dress of pieces (Thob abu qutbeh), silk, maker unknown, Jerusalem area, Palestine, c.1940
This style of this silk trousseau wedding dress was popular in the Jerusalem area, particularly in the wealthy nearby village of Lifta. A simlar style was also made in Hebron, in imitation of Lifta. Red and green panels always alternate in the body of the dress, with a varying number of side panels and with yellow panels at the shoulder of the sleeves. The embroidered chest panel or qabbeh is in the characteristic Bethlehem style.
The silk fabric used to make the dress was woven in Syria. Called heremzi, this narrow fabric is only 18-22 cm wide and was made in red, green, yellow, orange, and occasionally purple. The striped satin of the back yoke is called atlas and is also Syrian. The dress is hand sewn throughout, with decorative stitching along all the seams.
The average quality of the embroidery on this dress suggests a date towards the end of the British Mandate period in Palestine (1918-1948). It was during this stable and prosperous period that the majority of extant women's special occasion dresses were made. Dresses of striped silk panels, like this example, are also known to have been made in the Jerusalem and Hebron regions during the 19th century.
This is a special occasion trousseau dress of the 1940s, originally made for wearing at the various ceremonies which accompanied Palestinian weddings. The donor bought this dress in Jerusalem in 1971 and often wore it with beads to 'hippy style' parties in the 70s. The previous owner(s) are unknown.