This veil (shaylah) is part of an ensemble together with tunic dress (kandurah) (ZI2021.500971.3 UAE), overgarment (thawb) (ZI2021.500971.3a UAE), and a group of imitation jewellery in traditional UAE style: necklace (mriyah_um_shnaf) (ZI2021.500971.3c UAE), hair accessory (hyar) (ZI2021.500971.3d UAE), & earrings (kwashi) (ZI2021.500971.3e UAE).
This garment is part of a five-piece ensemble that was awarded first prize at the Zay Art of UAE Dress Design Competition held by The Zay Initiative in conjunction with Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown in 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UAE.
The outfit, titled thawb Ftayim, was donated by the designer to The Zay Initiative and will be included in the Fanan: The Art of Dress Exhibition, curated by The Zay Initiative at Zeman Awwal, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, from 28 January to 28 March 2022.
The exhibition will showcase the intersecting relationship between Art and Fashion while continuing to document the evolution of UAE traditional dress through the works of five UAE designers and five UAE artists. Together we will explore what fashion and heritage mean to contemporary Emirati women.
Shaikha AL Gaithi, a Sharjah-based, mother to two boys, holds a bachelor’s degree in Islamic history and is a self-taught UAE designer. She established her workshop in 2008 and was awarded the prestigious role of designing the traditional outfits for the young hostesses during the opening ceremony at Dubai Expo 2020 in October 2021, where she created three particular styles. She donated an example of each style to The Zay Initiative’s collection.
This veil (shaylah) is an example of a heavily adorned, yet more affordable veils that began to appear in the early 1980s. They were made in imitation of the expensive, pure silver straw adorned ones, that ceased to exist after the 1970s. It is made of black netting.
Although these silver imitation head veils were a popular mass market product for a decade, they are now quite hard to find. Today they are worn mainly by the elderly, or placed in a bride’s trousseau. As a result, they have become collectible in their own right.
This veil takes its name from the metallic silver coloured straw (khus) when applied in spotted form resembling coins (mnaghad). Here border design runs along one of the longer edges of the veil, framing the wearer’s face when the article is worn. It consists of a row of evenly spaced dots (mnaghad) flanked on both sides with a row of tiny pinprick dots. The remaining fabric is then embellished with the same dots (mnaghad) in oval-shaped designs scattered cross the fabric and interspersed with evenly spaced pinprick dots.
The long edges of the veil are finished with selvedges and the shorter cut edges are unfinished.
This type of veil is generally draped off the head covering the upper body from the back, it is then gathered and tucked on each fore arm to firmly frame the face with the shimmeringly slivery adornment. If worn by a bride on her wedding night it is pulled down the forehead covering revealing just silhouette of her face to the gazing female guests.
Keywords: khusah, mnaghadah