"Ruth" story. Bethlehem women dancing. "Naomi at wedding", c.1940-1946
figureposted on 31.05.2019, 07:55 by Freja Howat-Maxted, Leila Sansour, Jacob Norris
This is a digital reproduction of an image held within the Library of Congress.
The women pictured have been captured mid-performance in the re-enactment of the Old Testament Book of Ruth. They are dressed in traditional Palestinian dress, local to the Bethlehem region. Two of the women are wearing festive dresses with heavily embroidered chest panels, which would usually include elements of Syrian silk, European velvet, brocade and cotton prints. The woman at the centre of the image plays the role of Naomi and is wearing a cone-shaped headdress otherwise known as the 'shatweh'. A shatweh was worn by married women of Bethlehem; the veil conceals rows of coral, coins and beads indicative of family wealth. The dress and movements of the women would indicate that they are celebrating a wedding (see "relation" field for similar image).
This image is part of the Bethlehem Women collection within the Library of Congress project of the Planet Bethlehem Archive.