The Zay Collection has six identical examples of this silver embellished veil (Shaylah_Mnaghadah) also known as (Shaylah_Talli) or (Shaylah_Khusah).
This example was acquired in the 1980s at the shop of Abdullah Khunji in Abu Dhabi, one of the Emirates’ oldest and most prominent fabric merchants. Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli knew Abdullah from childhood as her mother was one of his early clients. Abdullah sold her six examples of this type of veil during the period Dr. Reem was studying for her Ph.D. because he felt that they would become rare one day and that she would appreciate their historical value. An accurate prediction!
This veil (Shaylah) is an example of a heavily adorned, yet more affordable veils that began to appear in the early 1980s. They were made in imitation of the expensive, pure silver straw adorned ones, that soon ceased to exist after the 1970s.
Although these silver imitation head veils were themselves a popular mass market product for a decade, and they are now quite hard to find. Today they are worn mainly by the elderly, or placed in a bride’s trousseau. As a result, they have become collectible in their own right.
This veil takes its name from the three-leafed Paisley (Kazuwah) design that forms the principal motif referencing the Indian (butah) design and features a three-leafed flower of metallic silver coloured straw (Khus). The spaces in between the motifs are then filled with sprinkled dots in the same metallic silver straw (Mnaghad), and a geometric checkered design runs along the border on one of the longer edges of the veil, framing the wearer’s face when the article is worn.
This type of veil is generally draped off the head covering the upper body from the back, it is then gathered and tucked on each fore arm to firmly frame the face with the shimmeringly slivery adornment. If worn by a bride on her wedding night it is pulled down the forehead covering revealing just silhouette of her face to the gazing female guests.