A Batch of 5 identical face masks came in this lot.
Dr. Reem Tariq EL Mutwalli while visiting a heritage fair in 2015 met with a few lady crafters one was selling face masks and the two struck a chord. Um Zayid, offered a few of the samples she had made for the fair, and it is now part of The Zay collection.
Rodah Ahmed, Um Zayid, born and raised in Dubai, is in her late sixties. Married to her paternal cousin at the age of fifteen, she bore three daughters and four sons. She finished her high school degree as part of adult education evening classes. Skilled at making face masks she developed her own cottage industry catering to her family, friends, and neighbourhood.
The overall shape (gardhah) of the face mask (burgu) follows the (myani) style, named after the overall shape of the mask and generally associated with the tribes in the northern Emirates. The indigo-dyed, burqu fabric (nil) is found in grades of bluish to purple, which is then rubbed and pounded to produce a metallic luster ranging from yellow to brown to reddish gold.
The indigo dye would stain the wearer’s face after repeated wear which meant a cloth lining, usually made from cotton, was inserted underneath the traditional face mask burgu to prevent this. By the 1980s the trend changed to using strips of masking tape (lazig), which were superseded at the turn of the century by clear transparent adhesive sheets, cut to shape, as can be seen in this example.
The mask burgu is fastened to the head using braided cord known as (shbuch); in red, white, or brown cotton cord, or silver/gold metallic coil, or a combination of the two as in this example.