Preserving the Emirati craft of Talli



British Muslim Magazine | AZANTI Sober Living

Preserving the Emirati craft of Talli

Words: Rabi’ah.M

Special thanks: The IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council

“The craft of Talli is close to the heart of the U.A.E culture which narrates a beautiful artistic tale of old traditions and hard labour translated in the form of embroidery and attractive colours which was close to be forgotten but gained revival thanks to the initiative by the Irthi Contemporary Craft Council in the U.A.E”For most of us when we think of the U.A.E, the first description which comes to our mind is that of the sun, sand and ideal holiday spots and shopping malls; but there is more, its traditions and the contemporary crafts, the “Talli” advocated and promoted through the IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council.

Due to globalization, the emergence of technology and the changes in our modern world often the traditional practices are either neglected or forgotten, like what has happened with the Talli.

The “Talli” originates from the Turkish word meaning shining thread; itis an indigenous craft belonging to the U.A.E that consists of weaving a kind of braid by hand by using a method like the bobbin lace.

Historically speaking, Emirati women would use this technique in the comfort of their homes to use the cuffs, hems and collars of clothing. Essentially the traditional form of the craft would include weaving together cotton threads of bright colours with synthetic metallic threads which are either in gold or silver known as“khosa” as described in the Emirati dialect for the purpose of creating outstanding baroque designs in various colours.

Photo credits: The IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council

Over a period, the art of Talli died out due to industrialization and the era of mass-produced generic embroidery and textiles. However, the hard work and efforts of the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council have resulted in empowering this traditional craftandeven female artisans.

Photo credits: The IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council

At the heart of Talli it sums up the admiration for art and beauty which has passed on from one generation to the next.

A fresh narrative provided by the Irthi keeps the Talli alive, which is possible through improvement and design intervention simultaneously modernizing the craft which makes it popularly seen in fashion, art, production and design.

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