The Naqab Region

Dresses worn by the Bedouins in the Naqab desert are similar in shape to those in other villages. Bedouin dresses are A-shaped roomy, with pointed sleeves called irdan. The fabric of early Bedouin dresses were made of blue cotton that was later replaced with black cotton fabric called (tubayt), similar to that worn by Galilee Bedouins.

In the early twentieth century, Bedouin dresses had little or no embroidery, but, with the advent of cotton thread in the 1930’s, dresses became richly embroidered with cross-stitch using geometric patterns similar to the village embroidery.  

The chest piece was embroidered on a separate piece of cloth then stitched to the dress. The sleeves, side panels, back panel were embroidered on the fabric. The front of a Bedouin dress was also embroidered, something never found in village dresses. Also, distinct to this area’s dresses is the line of satin-stitch arou

Bedouin dresses are predominantly embroidered in red color. Marital status of the Bedouin women determined the color of the embroidery. Married women wore dresses embroidered in red and unmarried women embroidered in blue.  

In the hills east of Bethlehem Bedouins wore an enormously long dress unique to tribes such as the Ta’amreh and Obaidiyyeh. The dress had a very long pointed sleeves and its size was attributed to comfort.                                                                                                                               

The embroidered motifs were unique to this area and included geometric patterns that predated European copy-book designs. Such patterns included diamond shapes, stars, diagonal cross patterns, branches and vertical zig-zag patterns. Diagonal cross patterns were also found on Bedouin festive veils.  

The Bedouin veils (qun’ah) are long and made of the same fabric as the dresses. The embroidery is usually with red and orange color cotton thread using the same patterns as those embroidered on the dress.  

Under the veil, a headdress, embroidered with cotton thread in cross-stitch and decorated with shells, coral, beads and coins. The back flap of such a headdress is also embroidered with cotton cross-stitch and decorated with beads, shells and other items.

Married Bedouin women wear a striking face ornament called (Burqu) embroidered in cross-stitch and decorated with beads and two rows of coins suspended from it on both sides of the face.  

Bedouin women wore a variety of silver bracelets, necklaces, choker (kirdan) and amber beads necklaces. Palestinian jewelry was influenced by migrating silversmiths who came from Syria, Arabia, Yemen, Armenia. Centers of such jewelry manufacturing sites were Bethlehem, Nablus, Jerusalem, Gaza and Beer Es Sabe. Bead necklaces were very popular in the Bedouin population and consisted of coral, amber, glass and silver. Later in the 1930s, people started using gold jewelry which gradually replaced silver.