Saturday, February 16, 2008

On the road

She bakes bread and manaqish (thyme and oil pies) in a traditional wood-fired clay oven (a furniyyeh) in a shack by the roadside a few kilometers north of Sour. This is where I buy my breakfast when I go to work with the mobile agricultural clinics of Land and People. She asked me yesterday why flour prices have increased and why were the bakeries getting subsidized flour to make cake when she now has to pay twice the usual price to scrap a living.

1 comment:

Leila said...

BEautiful picture. Her situation is heartbreaking.

On a trivial note, I like her dress. I have one with matching abeyah that my parents bought for me in souk Saida. I asked Dad to get me another one but he kept bringing me weird cheap flimsy things that my cousins thought were appropriate, but didn't look right to me. This lady's robe seems to have the applique of contrast ribbon taken from heavy upholstery fabrics. It is also the exact same color as my dress. I am happy to see her wearing something so beautiful.

I wish I could travel in South LEbanon and research these dresses. I think there is a story here - they look like they are local work. They are not the same as "traditional" dresses that my textile collector friends favor - they seem to be modern adaptations. The fabric on my dress and robe seems to contain some man-made fiber but it is a good quality, heavy twill, and is lined with something substantial. I have had it for years and I even wash it on delicate cycle in the automatic washer.

I also don't think that the Artisanat in Beirut carry these. They carry shiny glitzier robes that are too much. I wonder if these robes are mass produced in South Lebanon or if its just that all the local makers favor a kind of style, or that the fabric is widely available so the colors and trims look similar.

sorry for blathering on about this. I like costume in fact and am very interested in local handicraft, even if it's not strictly "traditional" (what is traditional in clothing? It evolves).