Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner
Outfit of a Jewish woman from Gabès
Tunisia
First half of the 20th century

“Let’s dress up like the girls of Gabès” is an adage that reflects the region’s reputation for rich, colorful clothing. One of the distinctive elements of this winter outfit is the wrap fastened with fish-shaped fibulae, worn over an embroidered blouse. The hips were accentuated by a belt of woolen yarn, and the head was covered with a kerchief worn underneath a scarf, adorned with amulet patterns and tassels. Embroidered scarves like this one were the sign of a married woman and formed part of her dowry. Instead of braided hair, woolen plaits adorned with beads and silver pendants framed her face.

Blouse
Cotton crochet on cotton fabric
Sleeves: tulle embroidered with cotton thread, sequins

Wrap (melhafe)
Wool

Fibulae (tchlal)
Silver, pierced

Scarf (tarf)
Wool and silk, silk-thread embroidery, braided silk cord trimming, silk tassels

Decorative braids (tmayem)
Braided wool, beads, and silver pendants

Belt (hzam)
Wool


The Zeyde Schulmann Collection in the Israel Museum
Gift of Elisheva Ballhorn, Tiberias
Accession number: B63.10.2414, B63.10.2421, B63.10.2657 (a–b), B63.10.2420, B63.11.2965 (a-b), B63.10.2403
 
 


Publications:
Juhasz, Esther (ed.), The Jewish wardrobe from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 5 Continents Editions, Milan and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2012

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir