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Ksour Es-Saf Embroidery (Tunisia)

Ksour es-Saf (Ksour Essef) lies close to El Djem in southern Tunisia. The town is known for its small head shawls (ta’jira). These shawls are traditionally embroidered by men.

The older examples of shawls are normally made of black, twill-weave woollen cloth and embroidered with a couched silk cord, often in off-white, yellow and a little red, with splashes of colour in blue, orange, red and yellow floss silk worked in a satin stitch. The designs used to decorate the shawls include large round moon motifs and geometric designs including stylized combs, jewels, stars, as well as figurative forms such as birds, fish and humans.

By the end of the twentieth century, some shawls were being made from black velvet and gold thread, but the range of designs remains similar to that of the older garments. The shawls are often signed by the (male) embroiderers with their embroidered names.

Source: CUÉNOT, Joël (ed., 1995). Noces tissées, noces brodées parures et costumes féminins de Tunisie, Paris: Editions Joël Cuéno, pp. 106-107.

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Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 11:32