Dr. Reem was initially contacted on Instagram by Mariam Khalfan Mohammed Khalifah al Maydi al Badwawi, who offered to volunteer and help source old artifacts from the northern Emirates for the Zay Collection. Mariam has been an invaluable addition to our team, as she connects easily with people and patiently explains our role, convincing others to help the cause. This (kandurah_arabiyah khwar_zari) is one of her finds.
This is a relatively simple example of a tunic dress and features the distinctive vertical slit (shaj) on the left-side of the neckline, characteristic of older versions of the (kandurah_arabiyah), a style particular to the UAE. The slit allows the head to pass through, although in more recent versions the shaj has lost this function and become purely decorative. The garment is made from a polyester satin fabric in orange and features a black underarm gusset (bat).
We can date this garment accurately to the 1980s due to the style of the machine embroidery around the neckline (halj), done in gold (zari) and black (brisam). Both the neckline and sleeve cuffs (hiyul) are highlighted with a few bold stylised floral motifs that almost resemble different-sized leaves. The border of the neckline is formed of large gold embroidered triangles arranged in a row, while the sleeve cuffs feature a series of golden wavy lines and knotted loop motifs.
The garment opens and closes at the shaj with the aid of cotton buttons (igmah) in orange thread, looped through fabric eyelets. These buttons again allow us to date the garment to the 1980s, as later versions used either metal stud snaps (siq_w_biq) or zippers.