Quteife Embroidered Dresses (Syria)

A women’s dress from Quteife, Syria (mid-20th century. A women’s dress from Quteife, Syria (mid-20th century. © Trustees of the British Museum, acc. no. 2011,6007.8.

The village of Quteife lies in the Qalamoun region of western Syria. It was known for its distinctive red festive dresses with some embroidery on the neck opening, skirt front and along the edges of its large, triangular sleeves. Perhaps because of their colour they have comparatively little embroidery, in comparison to other Syrian embroidered garments.

The back of the dress was usually left undecorated. The embroidery was worked in coloured floss silk and later cotton threads. The stitches used in this region include blanket stitch, chain stitch, plait stitch, satin stitch, square eyelets, stem stitch, tent stitch, as well as pulled thread work. The favoured colours are shades of blue, green, orange, pink, purple and yellow, as well as black. Sometimes the edges of the sleeves are further embellished with coloured glass beads and tassels. The patterns produced include star shapes and stylized bunches, either of dates or grapes.

Source: KAWAR, Widad, Layla PIO and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016). 'Syrian embroidery,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 444-475.

See also: Qalamoun style embroidery

British Museum online catalogue (retrieved 17 June 2016)


Last modified on Monday, 06 March 2017 12:00