Dr. Reem Tariq el Mutwalli purchased this article of dress in 1993 from Fatimah Al Mghani who had originally sourced it from Khadijah Khalaf Al Nasa in Ajman.
Fatimah Al Mghani is a social researcher and folklore expert, she is also a friend and fellow colleague of Dr. Reem, a supporter of The Zay Initiative, and a valuable reference in UAE cultural heritage.
Khadijah Khalaf Al Nasaj was born in the late 1940s, from the Emirate of Ajman. A housewife, like many of her peers, she never acquired any formal schooling. She married her paternal cousin at the age of 14 and bore 4 daughters and 3 sons, who all went on to attain university degrees.
Prior to the 1980s, it was common to employ contrasting colours and techniques within the components of traditional dress. Women used to wear an overgarment (thawb) that contrasted with their tunic dress (kandurah). This later evolved into a matching set known as (thawb_wa_kandurah), in which the two garments were fabricated from the same or matching materials and colours.
By the late 1990s, the thawb_wa_kandurah evolved further, as these two separate articles of dress were merged into one, becoming attached at the neckline, using the inner tunic as lining and creating a combination overgarment tunic (thawb_kandurah).
This thawb is simply constructed, made out of a cut length of bright orange cotton fabric, printed in 2 cm diameter red coloured polka dots (bu_tilah) also known as (bu_baysah). It is folded with an opening created at the center of the fold for the neckline (halj). The sleeves (jinan) are simply assembled out of two panels added to the central bodice panel (bdinah).
The neckline and central axis (bidhah) are densely machine embroidered (khwar dag) in lines of metallic silver thread (zari), interspersed with polka dots (bu_tilah / bu_baysah) in red silk (brisam) thread, mimicking the exact print found on the fabric. Thus, referred to colloquially as (tab‘ah).