This tunic dress (Kandurah) was sold to The Zay Collection by Bakhita Al Ali. Word had reached her that Dr. Reem El Mutwalli was buying Arab clothing of this type. Like many other women who do not comprehend the documentary value of placing their items within a historical collection, they could only be encouraged to sell their items following the suggestion that they use the proceeds as a charity (Sadaqah), to help build a mosque or school.
Bakhita is a delightful woman in her early fourties, she finished high school through the adult education program. Married at the young age of 15 to her maternal cousin, she gave birth to 3 daughters and 5 sons.
This tunic dress (Kandurah) is made of a highly lustrous, vertically striped purple cotton Satin (Bu_glaym). The stripes are formed by sandwiching a repeated central 5 mm wide fuchsia stripe between thinner 1 mm wide white stripes. This type of fabric is popular and commonly worn by, Emirati women and young girls alike.
This 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 (Halj) which extends down the chest. Its origins are believed to go back to the Punjabi (Kurta) dress.
In this example, the neckline (Halj) is outlined, and the overall shape is accentuated with geometric lines of silver braiding (Talli Fatlah) in white cotton thread (Hdub) and silver metallic straw (Khus). Twenty-two lines of the same braiding Talli Fatlah are also applied in ringlets or bracelet forms to delineate the decorated sleeve cuffs (Hyul).
It is fastened using silver-coloured metal, snap press studs (Siq_w_biq). At the time this garment was made these studs were seen as a sign of modernity, trendiness, and social stature. On earlier garments of this type, cotton thread buttons (igam) were used.