A Batch of 3 identical face masks was commissioned in this lot.
This article among two identical ones was commissioned by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, to show hand-stitched examples of face masks (burgu).
Made by hand by Halimah Mohammed Khalfan, from Al Wlayah of the eastern region of Khor Fakan. Born in 1968, a widow, she finished her first year of high school, married at the age of 13, and bore 10 children. She works from home as a crafter skilled in a number of UAE traditional crafts saucy as talli making, sfifah, etc.
The overall shape (gardhah) of this 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, cotton, 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 By the 1980s the trend changed to using strips of masking tape (lazig), which were superseded at the turn of the century by clear transparent adhesive sheets, cut to shape, as can be seen in this example.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 the red, white, or brown cotton cord, or silver/gold metallic coil, or a combination of the two as in this example.