PACE’s Exhibit of
Traditional Palestinian Handicrafts
PACE Heritage Shop is located on the first floor of PACE’s office in El-Bireh. The shop is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Daily. It offers a wide range of Palestinian handicrafts, including embroidery, ceramics, wool rugs, and books. The shop supports a number of women's cooperatives.
Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery (Arabic: tatriz) is a splendid example of a traditional Palestinian handicraft. It is an exclusively female, rich artistic tradition, characterized by elaborate patterns and vibrant colors. It is an intricate medium through which Palestinian women express their creativity, culture and sense of regional identity.
Across the country, Palestinian embroiders use the same techniques, but the styles and colors are unique to each region. The patterns are a combination of geometric, floral and arabesque designs. They may include images of houses, trees and birds. Abstract and animal motives, similar to those used in oriental carpets made in the eastern Mediterranean region, are also common. In general, a wide variety of fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and wool are used in embroidery.
Embroidered dresses (Arabic: thawb) come in a wide range of colors and styles to suit the season or the marital status of the wearer. A summer thawb, for example, is made of light, natural colored fabric, whereas black is the color for winter wear. Vibrant, heavily embroidered dresses are traditionally worn by married women. The predominant use of red usually symbolizes a married woman in her childbearing years. A predominantly blue outfit indicates a girl’s unmarried status.
In addition to traditional dresses, scarves and headgears, PACE's Handicrafts Exhibit has modern embroidered articles on offer, such as wall hangings, purses, pillow cases, table covers, mirrors, coffee plates and wall signs of various kinds. Most of the works are from camps and villages in the Ramallah area such as Beit Rima, Dair Ghassaneh, Beitin, al Jib, Jifna, ‘Aboud and Jalazone. They contain designs that have their origins in other districts such as Hebron, Bethlehem, and Gaza.
Pottery, Ceramics and Glass:
Pottery making is an ancient industry in Palestine. The traditional shapes and designs used in contemporary pottery are similar to those found on artifacts unearthed at old archaeological sites. PACE’s collection of traditional pottery, including cooking pots, jugs, mugs and plates are manufactured by men and women from historic villages like al-Jib (Gibeon), Beitin (Bethel) and Senjel. They are produced, as in ancient times, without the use of modern wheels or ovens. They are made by hand and fired in open, charcoal-fueled kilns.
Palestinian ceramics are produced at traditional family owned factories in Hebron and some other cities. They include a wide range of colorful hand painted plates, vases, hanging ornaments, tiles, cups, jars and framed mirrors. They are known for the intricate detail of their flower and arabesque patterns. In most ceramic factories, you can have your name painted on articles while you wait.
The city of Hebron is also known worldwide for its famous glass blowers and designers. Glass factories, where hand-blown glass products are made, have been a feature of the city since the Middle Ages. Here one may observe, from beginning to end, the fascinating process of glass-blowing. This traditional craft has been adapted for factory production methods. The royal blue glass of Hebron is perhaps the most recognizable in the Middle East, but glass blowers also create items in many other beautiful colors. Glass creations in deep amber, rich burgundy and verdant green adorn the shelves of PACE’s Handicrafts Exhibit.
Olive Wood Carvings:
The Bethlehem area, with its long-standing Christian tradition, is famous for its olive wood carvings. Olive wood has distinctive qualities and a warm texture which distinguishes it from other types of woods. Olive wood has been used in the Bethlehem area since the early Christian era for the production of crosses and rosaries. In the last century it has also been used to make other articles. In addition to the famous Christian devotional objects you will find other sophisticated items, such as Christmas cribs, candle holders, framed mirrors, caravans, camels and other animals.
Baskets and plates of various shapes, colors, and sizes are made from woven olive fronds and rushes that have been naturally dyed. Each has its own individual design reflecting the taste of the weaver. The items on offer at PACE’s Handicrafts Exhibit are made by women from villages in the Nablus area, such as Jamma'in, Zeita and az Zawiye.
The Role of PACE:
PACE strives to revive the various traditional handicrafts by encouraging women to use the ancient crafts that have been transmitted to them from generation to generation. In addition to preserving this precious heritage the goal of PACE is to provide support to Palestinian women in marginalized communities in the West Bank. So that they may produce handicrafts such as embroidered articles, pottery and basket weave to generate income for their families.
Visit PACE’s Exhibit of Traditional Palestinian Handicrafts in al-Bireh–Ramallah, Nablus Road, opposite al-Ain Mosque.
For further information or to place an order please contact:
The Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange (PACE), P.O.Box 841, Ramallah, West Bank – Palestine. Tel: 00972-(O) 2-2407611 Telfax: 02-2407610, E-mail:email@example.com