Palestinian Heritage Foundation 

Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
    Volume 17,  No. 3                   December, 2011    

نشرة مؤسسة التراث الفلسطيني

A Gift to World Leaders

Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in attendance at the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, presented “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution” by Hanan Karaman Munayyer to each of the world leaders as a gift from the Palestinian Authority. The historical and cultural significance of the book provided a meaningful depiction of the Arab people at the momentous U.N. event.

The Palestinian Authority purchased 50 copies of the book, and another 100 copies were made available to President Abbas through the generous donations of Basem and Muna Hishmeh, Dr. Saif Titi of New Jersey and Dr. George Assousa of the United Kingdom.

The Palestinian Heritage Foundation would like to sincerely thank Dr. Titi, Basem and Muna Hishmeh and Dr. Assousa for their kindness and generosity in making this dream a reality.


English translation of letter from President Mahmoud Abbas to the Munayyers

Dear Hanan and Farah Munayyer
Palestinian Heritage Foundation


On behalf of myself and the Palestinian people I would like to congratulate you both for the great and valuable effort in producing the book “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution”. No doubt, it is a unique achievement that preserves the Palestinian heritage of which we are all proud.

My admiration and appreciation of this work were the basis for my decision to gift this publication to world leaders during my stay in New York to attend the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly. In this respect, I would like to thank you for your efforts in making so many copies available for this endeavor, and to thank the generous donors for their valued participation in this effort.

My congratulations and best wishes,

Ramallah, September 26, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, President
Palestine Authority
State of Palestine
PLO Executive Committee

The American Task Force on Palestine

Honored Hanan Munayyer                                                                

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) honored Hanan Karaman Munayyer with the Excellence in Arts Scholarship Award for her book “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution” at the ATFP 6th Annual Gala held on October 19th, 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C.

The ATFP recognized the book as not only a major contribution to preserving Palestinian cultural heritage, but also as a means to build bridges and dialogue with fellow Americans on the history of the Arab people. The award was honored Hanan’s “invaluable contribution to the advancement of the Palestinian-American community through her tireless efforts and significant achievement”.

This year’s theme: “Honoring Heritage, Embracing Originality” showcased Palestinian culture by celebrating and expressing public appreciation for talented Palestinian Americans who have enriched America through unique achievement and remarkable scholarly accomplishment.

At the request of the ATFP, the Foundation held an exhibit at the event that consisted of Palestinian costumes, pillows and veils, representing the different regions of Palestine, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jaffa, El Khalil, Gaza and Beer Es Sabe.

To see full content of the presentation of Award click link below, then scroll down and click Hanan Karaman Munayyer

Lecture and Book Signing at the Jerusalem Fund

On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Hanan was the guest speaker at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington DC. Mrs. Munayyer presented her research on the cultural and historical significance of contributions from the Arab world. She presented an exhaustive and up-to-date study of the origins of Palestinian embroidery and costume, from antiquity, to medieval Arab textile arts, to modern day. The presentation commenced with scholarly exploration into art history, archaeology, the interpretation of ancient patterns, and dove into the history of costumes and craft in the Middle East over the last 4,000 years. The lecture was a culmination of extensive research and the culling of museum resources and publications from around the world.

Following the lecture and Q&A session, Mrs. Munayyer autographed her book, “Traditional Palestinian Costumes: Origins and Evolution”, that features over 700 beautiful high-resolution photographs of rare Nablus and Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Lydd and Ramleh, Al-Khalil, Gaza and Al-Naqab.

Mrs. Hanan Munayyer was introduced by Yousef Munayyer, Jerusalem Fund Executive Director.

Click here to view the video of the lecture:

PHF at the UN Day of Solidarity with Palestine

On November 29th, 2011, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation participated in the annual International Day of Solidarity at the United Nations in New York City. The Foundation was invited by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations to share its collection of Palestinian antique costumes and crafts with the public. The exhibit opened on November 29th and will last through December 31st, 2011. This is the fourth time the Foundation has presented the collection at the U.N. since its establishment.

The evening commenced with a welcoming statement by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. This was followed by a speech from Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, and a brief message by Hanan Munayyer, President and co-founder of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The reception was attended by more than 250 guests, and was followed by a music concert by Simon Shahin.

Some of the items on display were ceramics from the Isabel Bacon collection recently donated to the Foundation (see below).


Holy Land Museum Collection Donated to Munayyers

The collection of the Isabel Bacon Holy Land Museum based in Pawling New York was recently donated by Rosalie Reynolds of North Carolina to the Munayyer Collection.  Rosalie is the daughter of the late Isabella Bacon who passed away two years ago at the age of 96. 

The items on display at the museum included Palestinian and Syrian dresses, embroidered pillows, Palestinian ceramics, brass lamps, little dolls and some silver jewelry. Some of the items were donated to the Holy Land Museum by His Majesty the late King Hussein of Jordan after the closing of the Jordanian Pavilion in New York in the early 1960s.

Lynn Munn Donovan Donates Dress to Foundation

Lynn Munn Donovan, the daughter of Robert and Ethel Munn, has donated an antique Palestinian embroidered dress to the Munayyer . This dress was one of two dresses that Lynn’s mother bought in Jerusalem when her husband was serving as the United States Consul in East Jerusalem in the mid-1960s. The dress had long been a meaningful part of the Munn family. Lynn presented the dress to the PHF in Washington, D.C. this past October.

Farah first shared his story of the Munn family back in the June 2000 Foundation newsletter. Below is the link to the article that recounts his first meeting with Robert and Ethel Munn.


Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution. 

Reviewed by Caroline Stone

Aramco Saudi Services
September/October 2011

This spectacularly beautiful production is a major contribution to recording a critically endangered costume heritage. Elegantly boxed, with hundreds of splendid photographs, many of them full page, as well as a small selection of old photographs, paintings and prints, and images of jewelry and household accessories, the book is a treasure chest of information.

The introduction tells the moving story of Farah and Hanan Karaman Munayyer’s determination to do something to preserve their land’s threatened cultural heritage. The couple’s own extensive collection, augmented by gifts and purchases, now numbers more than 1500 items and forms the core of the Palestine Heritage Foundation that they have established   

The first section sheds an extremely interesting light on the origins of Palestinian dress, with illustrations that show, for example, parallels between headdresses of the mid-20th century and those from second-century Palmyra, or embroidery designs from Ramallah and mosaics on the floor of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Palestine had an extraordinarily rich and varied embroidery tradition. Not only did each town or tribal group have its own designs and style, but they were constantly evolving. The dresses are stunning with every kind of technique—from counted thread work, to brilliant and modern looking patchwork effects, to Ottoman-style couching. The book is arranged by major towns and, although older pieces are represented, is largely concerned with the dresses in use at the time traditional Palestinian society was overturned in 1948.

Besides being a valuable resource for the history of costume, or the identification of pieces, Nathan Sayers’s photographs make the book a wonderful resource for anyone interested in design or tempted to try her or his hand at some of the beautiful cross-stitch patterns.

From the Publisher
Special Announcement

I am writing to tell you about Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution by Hanan Karaman Munayyer, a monumental work that my staff and I are super proud to have published this year. Beautifully designed, exquisitely-produced, and highly informative, this full-color, 560-page, boxed, limited edition volume is a must have for every Palestinian and will make a perfect gift for lovers of textile arts. We are so heartened by all the praise we have received and are especially pleased that so many of you came back to order multiple copies for your children and grandchildren. It is a special gift they will cherish for ever. In addition to its value as an important resource, this book represents nonviolent resistance at its best. It shows between its covers the intricate stitches of Palestinian history and displays on every page the enduring patterns of Palestinian culture. Most importantly, you will glimpse in every piece of embroidery the unshakable identity of a proud people. Newt Gingrich can say what he wants about the Palestinians being an “invented” people and the peace process “delusional.” This book will voice a much stronger message: Palestine was, Palestine is, and Palestine will be—no matter what Newt and other deniers of Palestinian identity say.

Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution

The book reflects the historical and cultural richness of Palestine and the Arab world through costumes and embroidery. It presents the most exhaustive and up-to date study of the origins of Palestinian embroidery and costume — from antiquity through medieval Arab textile arts to the present. Also, it documents the evolution of costume and the textile arts in Palestine in the nineteenth and early twentieth century region by region.

We invite you to acquire it for your personal library and to gift it to family, friends, libraries and educational institutions.

Hardcover – 10″ x 14″ – 560 pages – Over 700 photos – Clam-Shell box

List price – $200
Price through Foundation – $165

Copies autographed by the author are available only through the Foundation.
Payable by check to “PHF” at the address below:
Palestinian Heritage Foundation
P.O. Box 531, West Caldwell, NJ 07007-0531

For shipping and handling within the continental United States, please add $10 per book. For more information, contact

 Book Reviews and Lectures:
Hussein Ibish’s review in NOW Lebanon. August 2011

This Week in Palestine, Book of the Month.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Dr. Clovis Maksoud review in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Library of Congress
The Jerusalem Fund  

Palestinian Costumes & Embroidery: A Precious Legacy

Available in VHS and DVD formats / A Review By Shira 

We’re on Facebook!
For the latest PHF updates and photos, visit us at: