In 2018 Dr. Reem Tariq el Mutwalli was contacted by one of her Instagram followers, Maitha Bakhit, who wished to donate something in memory of her late grandmother, Salamah Bakhit al Ali. She had passed away in 2015 and, following custom, her belongings were being donated to charity. Yet, she had held on to this tunic dress (kandurah), and luckily it is now part of The Zay Collection.
This rare and specific type of tunic (kandurah_arabiyah) is particular to the UAE. It sports the typical vertical slit (shaj) located on the left side of the neckline and extends down the chest.
It represents a fine example of the use of the traditional striped fabric (sultani) widely popular in the UAE, for both tunics (kanadir) and undergarments (sarawil). The popularity of this fabric has persisted through time. Though this particular example is no longer found in today’s markets, more contemporary versions remain sought after by older women.
An exceptional example of pure silver and gold plated embroidery (khwar_tulah). Focused along the neckline (halj) and sleeve-cuffs (hyul), in simple naïve floral motifs outlined in red silk thread (brisam), and leaf forms outlined in green silk thread brisam. The outline of the square-shaped area surrounding the neckline, where the floral designs are embedded, is then highlighted with a saw-tooth motif (bruj) line that also wraps around the side slit shaj.
Cotton thread buttons (igam) were used to fasten the neck slit shaj and sleeve cuffs (hyul). Though all the eye loops (ghiram) that held them are still intact, the original thread buttons (igam) have long gone.