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Bedouin Weaving

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Bedouin Weaving

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Bedouin Weaving of Saudi Arabia and its Neighbours

by Joy Totah Hilden (Author)

Portable and practical, tough and colourful, Bedouin textiles played until recent times a vital and functional part in the life of the Arab nomads. Bedouin women were expected to master the art of making entire tents as well as a wide range of rugs, saddlebags and other equipment able to withstand the rigours of the desert. They took a fierce pride in their work and produced, on the simplest ground looms, textiles that were at once hard-wearing and of vibrant aesthetic appeal. The true craftspeople of the desert, Bedouin women wove to provide the very fabric of day-to-day living.

Joy Hilden describes the weaving techniques of the Bedouin in the context of their transitional mode of life, as they adapt from their centuries-old nomadic existence to being both semi- and fully settled. She gathered her information on dyeing, spinning and weaving while living and travelling in Saudi Arabia between 1982 and 1994, extending her scope with trips to other parts of the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent Arab countries. She describes visits to Bedouin families, desert markets and urban centres where Bedouin gathered.

Her work comes at a time when many tribal peoples are losing their cultural traditions and, with them, their crafts and the material of everyday life in the desert. This is the most exhaustive study to date of the weaving methods practiced by the Bedouin of Saudi Arabia.

Profusely illustrated, and giving thorough instruction in techniques, Bedouin Weaving is an essential companion for collectors and connoisseurs of flat-weave textiles, the category into which Bedouin weavings fall. It is aimed both at general readers and at weavers, craftspeople in general, students, ethnographers, and museum and textile authorities.

Review

This is a book that satisfies on so many levels whether your interest is in the Arabian Peninsulas history, geography, tribes, culture or textiles. [...] This quality book had me in its thrall from start to finish as a completely compulsive read.'
(Dawn Willey Jounral of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, Winter 2010)

[Hildens] discussion of Bedouin life as seen through the weaver’s eyes reveals the gentle harmony they kept with the desert environment. The thorough information about the weavings photographed in the book will help collectors and archivists, and the book is also a precise and accurate guide for those who would like to make their own Bedouin weavings. It includes specific directions on weaving patterns and spinning and weaving techniques, and information on natural dyes.' (
Kay Hardy Cambell Saudi Aramco World, 2010)

...an exceptionally handsome volume that is bound to be regarded as a definitive work on its subject.' (
Susannah Tarbush The Saudi Gazette, 2010)

[No other book on the topic], to my knowledge, describes the research process in such a charming and illuminating way, nor covers the weaving techniques in such instructive detail. [...] Textile lovers will appreciate the wealth of coloured illustrations...and the detailed descriptions of techniques and motifs. This will be of particular interest to weavers and teachers because instructions are provided for doing it yourself. There is also a glossary of technical terms, and an Arabic-English glossary with properly transcribed Arabic terms, which will be useful to future researchers.' (
Shelagh Weir The Middle East in London)

Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Arabian Publishing Ltd (2010)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0955889486

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