Tatreez on the Oscar’s red carpet
Best Documentary Feature nominee Emad Burnat, his wife Soraya, and his 8-year-old son Gibreel arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Emad co-directed the popular film ’5 Broken Cameras’ which documents his village’s creative acts of resistance against encroaching settlements and Israel’s barrier wall.
Particularly striking is Soraya’s dress, a Palestinian thobe displaying intricate embroidery patterns, or tatreez, that traditionally represent a village or a family or a way of life. At a ceremony where flashy and impractical clothing takes precedence, Soraya’s beautiful dress challenges the norm and elevates the standard similar to the way her husband’s film does.
Symbol of the Palestinian culture
Once a traditional craft practiced by village women, Palestinian cross-stitchembroidery has become an important symbol of Palestinian culture. Embroidered pieces (tatreez) can be found in the homes of most Palestinian families in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel and the Diaspora beyond, adorning the walls of houses in Jerusalem, villas in the Gulf, suburban homes in the United States, and cement block houses in refugee camps. In addition, cross-stitch embroidery is given as gifts and worn by Palestinians worldwide on festive occasions.
The popularity of embroidery springs from both its beauty and its association with the Palestine of the past. Common patterns reflect the millennia-long history of the land. The designs are derived from sources as diverse as ancient mythology and foreign occupations and date as far back as the Canaanites, who lived in the area over three thousand years ago.
The handicraft also symbolizes the traditional rural lifestyle of Palestine, much of which was lost after the 1948 creation of the state of Israel. Embroidery was the principal decoration of rural women’s clothing. It was part of a village women’s daily routine and a means of showing off her personal skills and social identity. The patterns, colors and quality of the dress reflected a woman’s social standing, marital status and wealth.
A tradition deeply rooted
Tatreez, or embroidery, is a Palestinian tradition deeply rooted in the history and culture of Palestine. It is a form of art and a language of expression. If we study the symbols and patterns of each area of Palestine, we can witness the connection of the Palestinian people to their land.Tatreez depicts not only the surrounding nature but also rites of passages and historical events.