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Ethiopian woman’s attire
Mid-20th century

The white color and narrow embroidered band characterize Ethiopian dress, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. The wearer’s social status, occupation, and even mood are conveyed by the way she wears the shama, a cloth draped over the main garment in Ethiopia. Following their exposure to the rest of world Jewry in the early 20th century, Ethiopian Jews chose to emphasize their national identity by adding new motifs such as the Star of David and the menorah to the embroidery on their garments.

Cotton, cotton thread embroidery

Wrap-around cloth (shama)


Purchase, Fritz and Camilla Hollander Foundation, Stockholm
Purchased through the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Uzi Zucker, New York
Gift of Ora and Avi Mizrahi, Jerusalem
Accession number: B88.0459, B92.0799, B92.0802

From the Israel Museum 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

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