Mother-of-pearl workers c.1900-1920
figureposted on 31.05.2019, 08:01 by Freja Howat-Maxted, Leila Sansour, Jacob Norris
This is a digital reproduction of an image held in the Library of Congress.
The image depicts three mother-of-pearl workers in a Bethlehem workshop, chiselling and filing the pearl oyster shells. Mother-of-pearl carving has been a major industry in Bethlehem since at least the 17th century. It formed the basis for the emigration explosion out of the town in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Bethlehem merchants began to sell mother-of-pearl devotional objects around the world. The image is almost identical to a double-image photograph also in this collection (see "Relation" field).
This image exists as part of the Bethlehem Crafts collection in the Planet Bethlehem Archive.