This light silk chiffon (safwah) head veil (shaylah), was gifted by Moza Ahmed, Um Khalifah to Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli. The two ladies met at one of Dr. Reem’s many regular visits to the palace of Sheikhah Hamda bint Mohammed al Nahyan, maternal aunt to the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid al Nahyan, as she was compiling data for her Ph.D. research on the topic as early as the 1980s. Sheikhah Hamda was instrumental in allowing Dr. Reem to meet with her entourage and visiting guests at her daily open reception (majlis) be it in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain. It was there that she met Moza and discussed the topic at hand.
A few days later Moza sent this article as a gift to add to the research collection, which eventually became part of the (Sultani) collection in the UAE section of The Zay Collection.
Moza Ahmed, Um Khalifah, born in the early 1950s, is a high school graduate who insisted on completing her education through adult learning. She married her paternal cousin at the age of 15 and bore 3 daughters and 4 sons.
This rectangular-shaped veil (shaylah) is basically a black, plain, rectangular light silk chiffon cut- fabric, where the outer cut edges are hemmed by hand using thread frayed from the same cut edges. Generally draped off the head covering the upper body portion.
A common public practice within the region is to pull down the top portion above the forehead concealing the whole face down to the chest line, or reversly hold one of the draped corners in both hands and flipping it up to cover the crown concealing the entire face, neck, and chest areas. This then renders the article a (ghishwah) form the verb to conceal. Both actions are carried out by women very swiftly, elegantly, and somewhat sensuously when any non-relative male crosses path unexpectedly.