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Bethlehem Couching (Palestine)

Sampler with various examples of Bethlehem couching. Late 20th century. Sampler with various examples of Bethlehem couching. Late 20th century. Copyright British Museum, acc. no. As1981,23.5.

Bethlehem couching is a dominant form of Bethlehem embroidery, and was particularly popular in the twentieth century for the panels on women’s dresses and jackets. It is characterised by various forms of cord couching, with thin cords in different colours and often including a metal thread of some kind, which are sewn down traditionally with silk, in sinuous and/or stylised floral patterns.

The term for ‘Bethlehem embroidery’ in general is shughl talhami. If it is worked with a silk cord couching, then it is known as tahriri (or rasheq [not to be confused with Egyptian rashq] if crudely copied by others). When a gold or silver cord is used, instead of a silk version, then it is known as qasab.

Source: KAWAR, Widad and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016): 'Palestinian embroidery and clothing,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 354-396.

British Museum online catalogue (retrieved 17th June 2016).

GVE

Last modified on Saturday, 13 May 2017 09:13