This piece (sirwal) is one part of a five-part ensemble including: dress (thawb_al_sawn) (ZI2021.500946.1 KSA), headdress (quba’ah) (ZI2021.500946.1b KSA), headband (‘usabah) (ZI2021.500946.1c KSA), and flask (ZI2021.500946.1d KSA). This outfit was purchased together with two other full outfits, Harb tribe thawb (ZI2021.500946.2 KSA) and Hijazi bridal thawb (ZI2021.500946.3 KSA).
Once our Digital Archive launched in 2019, people began to reach out to donate, sell, or point out interesting outfits and body adornments to The Zay team. When the webinar (Traditional Costumes and Heritage of Saudi Arabia) aired in July of 2021, Mr. Zakaria Ahmed, silver and antique dealer from Yemen and close supporter of The Zay Initiative’s work, managed to source three interesting and complete outfits through his personal connections throughout the region. Though not the highest of quality, Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli was very quick to acquire and add them to augment the Saudi section of The Zay Collection.
This undergarment (sirwal) is made from the same black cotton material as the matching dress (thawb_al_sawn). These pants are long, straight-legged, and wide-seated, stretching from the waistline and ending at the ankle. Typically, the matching dress is worn pulled and lifted towards the waist, where it is tucked into the waistband of the sirwal, so the ankle cuffs become visible.
This more modern version uses an elasticated waist, instead of the traditional drawstring cords, referred to as (dikkah), (ribqah), or (nis’ah), that were used in the past.
The ankle bands are wide enough to allow the feet to pass through, they are decorated with the same style of machine embroidery found on the accompanying dress, with red, green, and orange metallic thread in geometric motifs. The motifs include medallions, small circles, triangles, and rectangular lines. The machine embroidery is applied first on a black cotton fabric then the fabric is appliqued to the ankle bands. It is then hemmed with two strips of ready-made golden trim with a central line of repeated red chevron motif.