Palestian Embroidery, £10.99
Width: 75.000 cm
Collected by Shelagh Weir for The British Museum
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Bedouin, AD 1970s
This camel decoration (mirakah) is placed on the front of the hump. Bedouin women weave and decorate a variety of plain and patterned textiles such as this, using goat hair and wool. Their most important product is the cloth for their tents, but they also prepare camel saddlebags and trappings. Some of these feature elaborate tassels and are ornamented with glass beads, cowrie shells, buttons and coins. On special occasions, such as weddings, the camel and litter to carry women are heavily decorated with multi-coloured textiles.
It was the camel that enabled the nomadic bedouin to occupy the inner deserts and steppes of Arabia. Although a pick-up truck is now a more common sight outside a bedouin tent, the camel is still important for transport in some areas. In the Gulf region camels have now gained great commercial and social significance as racing animals.
S. Weir, The Bedouin: aspects of the ma (World of Islam Festival Publishing Co. Ltd., 1976)