Widad Kawar

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Widad Kawar (Arabic: وداد قعوار ‎‎), is an internationally renowned collector of Jordanian and Palestinian ethnic and cultural arts. She has amassed an extensive collection of dresses, costumes, textiles, and jewelry over the past 50 years, seeking to preserve a culture that has been largely dispersed by conflict.[1] Kawar is known as Umm l'ibas al-falastini—the mother of Palestinian dress.


Kawar was born Widad Irani to Jalil Zand Irani and Haneh Sleh. Her father Jalil was an accomplished teacher and head of juvenile school system in British Mandate government of Palestine. She grew up in Bethlehem. She studied at a Quaker school in Ramallah and at the American University of Beirut.[2] Kawar has made her collection available for public viewing and has mounted exhibits of Palestinian dress around the world. She has written many books on Palestinian embroidery and is seeking to establish a Gallery of Cultural Embroidery. Recently, she collaborated with Margaret Skinner on A Treasury of Stitches: Palestinian Embroidery Motifs, 1850–1950 (Rimal/Melisende).[3]

Widad is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Center for Oriental Research. She has recently established the Tiraz Centre which runs small museum in Amman, housing her collection and dedicated to the preservation of Jordanian and Palestinian cultural traditions.

Published work[edit]

  • Kawar, Widad: Threads of Identity: Preserving Palestinian Costume and Heritage ISBN 978-9963-610-41-9 Rimal Publications. 2011
  • Kawar, Widad: Pracht Und Geheimnis - Kleidung Und Schmuck Aus Palästina Und Jordanien ISBN 3-923158-15-7 Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum Munich. 1987
  • Kawar, Widad and Tania Nasir: Palestinian Embroidery : Traditional "Fallahi" Cross-Stitch ISBN 3-927270-04-0. Munich, State Museum of Ethnography. 1992.
  • Widad Kawar and Shelagh Weir: Costumes and Wedding Customs in Bayt Dajan. "biography". Kawar Arab Heritage Collection. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Widad Kamel Kawar with an endowment from her late husband Widad he established small center and museum in Amman Jordan to house this unique collection". Rimal Publications. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Traditional Costumes from Jordan and Palestine: The Private Collection of Widad Kawar". Darat al Funun. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Benny Ziffer (23 November 2007). "A stitch in time". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]