This article is part of a whole lot of 14 articles listed (ZI2021.500970.1 UAE to ZI2021.500970.14 UAE) obtained in one consignment.
Instagram has been a useful tool to connect the Zay team with audiences all around the globe. Many have connected with us during those few budding years of our existence and have donated articles of dress or adornment to help support our cause and preserve the memory of their loved ones.
While dealers, antique and vintage auction houses have noticed us as well, and many reach out to us to inform us of any great finds when they come across their attention. It was through such a situation that an antique dealer came across this article among a large and more comprehensive lot and offered it to The Zay Initiative.
Though the original owner asked to remain nameless, based on the quality and style, it can be well surmised they belonged to a well-connected person possibly from the direct entourage of al Nahyan family in Al Ain, where these items were possibly obtained by the former as generous gifts from the latter.
This rectangular high silk veil (shaylah) is simply a length of cut fabric.
This type of veil is reserved for special occasions and social gatherings and it is worn together with a cloak (abayah) to cover just the head, shoulders, and upper portion of the body. It is generally draped off the head, gathered on each side, and tucked in place at the elbow junctures similar to draping a shawl.
It is embellished with two lines of iron on crystals accentuating three of its hemlines that would surround the face and frontal portions, the fourth is left bare and drapes at the back of the body.
A common public practice within the region is to pull down the top portion above the forehead concealing the whole face down to the chest line, or reversely hold one of the draped corners in both hands and flip it up to cover the crown concealing the entire face, neck, and chest areas. This then renders the article a (ghishwah) from the verb to conceal. Both actions are carried out by women very swiftly, elegantly, and somewhat sensuously when any non-relative male crosses their path unexpectedly.