Yemeni costumes:diversity and originality [Archives:2005/813/Last Page]

February 3 2005

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
The Yemeni society is famous for the diversity of its heritage, especially the traditional clothes with distinctive colors and designs. They are a manifestation of the society's culture, ideology and identity.

Costumes' designs, embroidery and drawings play a significant role in articulating the community's tastes, customs and traditions.

The diversity of traditional clothes and costumes in Yemen has been attributed to the diversity of the country's geographical regions, plants, animals and raw materials.

The clothing of the mountain regions are known for the good quality of the wools, cottons, and silks used. In these areas, color is used widely, sometimes with the addition of some coins or other pieces of metal or gemstones. The embroidery also appears only on the front side and the end of sleeves. It is the opposite of what is done in the middle heights areas, where the embroidery extends to involve the majority of the dress.

The costumes of Tihama and coastal plains are distinguished with their soft and delicate cottons. In these areas, costumes do not cover the entire body, the neck opening is wide, and is either rectangular or square in shape. There is usually another dress that is worn on top of this one when going out of the house – a shirt of cotton designed as a square piece of cloth to be hung over the body with very wide sleeves.

Women's costumes in these areas contain embroidery is of straight lines and different geometrical shapes, with the front side before the knee shorter than the back part. Women in some plain areas wear various silky scarves on which embroidery is used with glittering lines.

Gemstones often complete the costumes' beauty, showcasing the magic of the handicraft and beauty of the embroidery with stones such as agate, ruby, pearls, amber, coral, and emerald.