A special occasion overgarment (thawb) worn by high society ladies over a tunic dress (kandurah). Rodhah al Mansuri, Um Ali, first wore this during her own wedding week, and then started lending it to brides for their (hinnah) ceremonies (laylat_Al Hinnah). This illustrates the fact that in the late 1980s, UAE brides did not follow the current custom of wearing green for their hinnah night, as this is an acquired custom from neighbouring Bahrain and other Gulf states. Ladies loaned dresses like these to help other members of the community as a form of charitable (sadaqah) social and tribal bonding. The garment was in high demand for hinnah nights (laylat_Al Hinnah) and fearful of loss or damage Um Ali ordered a copy, although in simpler, less expensive loose weave silk fabric (bu_gafas) that also happens to be in the Zay collection (ZI1997.5006 UAE).
Rodhah al Mansuri, Um Ali, was born in Al Ain in the 1960s, she finished high school after getting married at the age of 14, through the state adult education program. She bore 5 daughters and 4 sons. She comes from an affluent family so she is quiet a socialite and she enjoys helping those in need within her community and tribe.
This example is paneled (myaza’). Traditionally; Leftover fabrics – especially more expensive ones – were used to sew new clothes as a form of austerity and recycling. Then, this pattern became a model known as myaza’.
The cloth of gold brocaded (khus) or (zari) silk chiffon (safwah) is of high quality. The body is in orange (bu_bchat), while the arms are horizontally paneled in the same orange and green bu_bchat, plus fuchsia (busi) (bu_wurud).
The neckline (bidhah) is adorned with monocoloured metallic straw (talli) work of white cotton (hdub) thread and silver metallic ribbon (khus). Using a running stitch, and continuously looping metallic ribbon with cotton thread a twisted strand is created in a style known as talli (fatlah). This strand (fatlah) is then applied by hand to the garment creating various looped, straight, semicircular, and circular lines. The gown also features a tail (thayil).
With time, as in this example, the neckline opening became wider to allow more of the decorative work on the neckline (halj) of the kandurah underneath to be visible. This in turn pushed the decorative heavy adornment work outwards, spilling over the shoulders and flowing down the upper sleeves. The length and width of the adorned central axis bidhah also became more exaggerated and elaborate over time. This heavy adornment, applied on delicate sheer fabric, stiffened and pulled the whole overgarment thawb from the front. To fix it in place, safety pins were used in the interior, at the shoulder points, to attach it to the tunic dress (kandurah) underneath. In time, this too evolved into metallic snaps (siq_w_biq) and eventually to transparent plastic ones.