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Wadi Dawan Embroidered Dresses (Yemen)

Front of a festive dress from the Wadi Dawan, Hadramaut, Yemen. Mid-20th century. Front of a festive dress from the Wadi Dawan, Hadramaut, Yemen. Mid-20th century. Courtesy Textile Research Centre, acc. no. TRC 2012.0389.

Wadi Dawan is a desert valley in central Yemen, in the Hadramaut Governorate. During the twentieth century, brides from the Wadi Dawan often wore a wide dress with very short sleeves, a square neck opening and a train. The majority of the decoration is on the back of the garment. The decoration generally consists of appliqué cloth, sequins, as well as metal thread couching and embroidery around the neck opening.

It is noticeable that the cotton thread is not hidden by sequins, giving the initial impression that the sequins have fallen off. The pattern may be enhanced with cowrie shells. The neck opening and sleeve cuffs are normally covered with silver and gold coloured bands that are sewn down onto the ground material. These dresses were also worn by the women after their marriage, for festive occasions.

Sources:

  • MAURIÈRES, Arnaud, Philippe CHAMBON, and Éric OSSART (2003). Reines de Saba: Itinéraires Textiles au Yémen, Aix-en Provence: Édisud.
  • RANSOM, Marjorie and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016). 'Embroidery from Yemen,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 520-559.
  • STONE, Francine (1985). Studies on the Tihamah: The Report of the Tihamah Expedition 1982 and Related Papers, London: Longman.

TRC online catalogue (retrieved 24 April 2017).

GVE

Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 12:10