Wedding Dress

Origin: Palestine

Year: 1915

Collection: Goodwin Ternbach Museum

Identification number: GTM 92.7.34

Materials: Black cotton, red, pink, purple and mauve thread

This elaborately cross-stitched dress shows a variety of symbolic geometric motifs significant of fertility, suitable to the garment’s function. It is possible that the two delicately embroidered trees that rise out of the side panel embroidery of the skirt represent the tree of life.

Cross-stitch embroidery is one of the oldest types of embroidery and the most popular form in the Western world, done using X-shaped stitches to form an image of design. Different areas of the stitched Bedouin and Palestinian garments illustrated ahead. In Eastern and Central Europe, cross-stitch is done in two-dimensional floral and geometric patterns, usually worked in black and red cotton floss on linen. In the United States, the earliest known cross-stitch sampler was created by Loara Standish around 1653.

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