The art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals

Palestinian embroidery
Last update: 25 October 2022

Traditional Palestinian embroidery is a widespread social and intergenerational practice in Palestine. It features intricate geometric forms sewn with silk thread on wool, linens or cotton, often combined with ornamental symbols of bird, trees and flowers. Palestinian embroidery is used to decorate the loose-fitting garment known as Thoub. Today, the art is still widely practiced as a symbol of national pride, and to supplement family income by women. 

It was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2021. 

Palestinian Embroidery

In Palestine, women’s village clothing usually consists of a long dress, trousers, a jacket, a headdress and a veil. Each garment is embroidered with a variety of symbols including birds, trees and flowers. The embroidery is sewn with silk thread on wool, linen or cotton, and the choice of colours and designs indicates the woman’s regional identity and marital and economic status. Embroidery is a social and intergenerational practice around which women gather and collaborate to supplement their family’s income. The practice is transmitted from mother to daughter and through formal training courses.