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Palestinian Cultural Heritage, Symbolic Costumes and Textile Designs

Arafat, Beissan and Apeagyei, Phoebe (2018) Palestinian Cultural Heritage, Symbolic Costumes and Textile Designs. In: The 91st Textile Institute World Conference, 23 July 2018 - 26 July 2018, University of Leeds, UK.

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Abstract

Significance of the production of textiles and its consumption are unceasingly reflected on a global front; and continue to play a key role in today’s economic and social settings. Beyond its utilitarian value and throughout various countries, it is considered as a major component of material culture, often highlighting artisanship and symbolic interactions. The study of traditional textiles and their uses further provide detailed chronology of specific religious, political, economic and social conditions of those who use them. Safeguarding the cultural heritage of textiles is therefore a key substance to fostering a sense of identity. Cultural heritage is specifically crucial to developing countries and war zone regions such as the Middle East. For Palestine, it preserves history, restores identity, promotes traditional skills, artisanship and the general wellbeing of Palestinians. Palestinian traditional costumes contain historical data that document centuries of textile art and craft development in its region; showcasing richness and uniqueness. It demonstrates the antiquity of the Palestinian existence and their original roots; and remains as a sign of pride, resistance and national identity within regions and in diaspora. This study contributes to understanding by providing a rich insight into the aesthetics, craft and composition of Palestinian traditional textiles from which native costumes are constructed. The study’s narrative and visual context provide a scope and an understanding of the structure applied to the processes of development. It demonstrates a range of textile choices, embroidery styles, motifs, patterns and the meaningful symbols and colours underpinning the designs. Understanding applied textiles from various perspectives play an important role in evolving and promoting cultural heritage. It presents a stimulus for traditional preservation embedded within innovation. By capturing and appreciating traditional Palestinian textiles and their uses, the true significance of its historical, economic and social value becomes firmly established. Keywords: Cultural heritage; costume development; symbolic textile designs; embroidery; motifs

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