Ethiopian woman’s attire

UnknownMid-20th century

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel

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. B88.0459; B92.0745; B99.1421


  • Title: Ethiopian woman’s attire
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Mid-20th century
  • Location Created: Ethiopia
  • Provenance: Dress. Purchased through the generosity of the Camilla and Fritz Hollander Foundation, Sweden Wrap-around cloth (shama). Gift of Hilda and Asher Na’im, Jerusalem
  • Type: Dress, Wrap-around cloth (shama), Belt
  • Photographer: (C) Eli Posner
  • Medium: Dress Cotton, cotton thread embroidery Wrap-around cloth (shama) Cotton Belt Cotton
  • Bibliographic References: Juhasz, Esther (ed.), The Jewish Wardrobe from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 5 Continents Editions, Milan and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2012

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