Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner
Algerian woman’s ceremonial outfit
Mid-19th century

These garments, typical of Algerian Jewish women until the early 20th century, show the influence of territorial conquests, immigration, regime changes, and commerce on clothing. Such cultural influences are apparent in the rich metal-thread embroidery and its motifs, which originated in Spain, Morocco, and the Ottoman Empire.
The outfit consists of a sleeveless dress, a sash, and a jacket worn underneath the dress. Interestingly, the densely embroidered front of the jacket is concealed, with only the sleeves showing. This indicates the importance that was accorded to beauty, even when hidden.

Silk, gilt metal-cord embroidery

Silk, gilt metal-cord embroidery

Silk, gilt metal threads

Gift of Annie Teboul, Nice, in memory of Aziza Narboni née Souto
Lent by Kibbutz Regavim
Gift of Baroness Alix de Rothschild, Paris
Accession number: B02.1336, L-B81.0016, B72.0737

Beauty and Sanctity: the Israel Museum at 40. A Series of Exhibitions Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Zalmona, Yigal, 2006
Juhasz, Esther (ed.), The Jewish Wardrobe from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 5 Continents Editions, Milan and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2012

Sacred Beauty: Treasures of Judaica and Jewish Ethnography, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 11/03/2005 - 21/01/2006

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