This hair accessory (hyar) is part of an ensemble of a tunic dress (kandurah) (ZI2021.500971.3 UAE), overgarment (thawb) (ZI2021.500971.3a UAE), veil (shaylah) (ZI2021.500971.3b UAE), and a group of imitation jewellery in traditional UAE style: necklace (mriyah_um_shnaf) (ZI2021.500971.3c UAE), & earrings (kwashi) (ZI2021.500971.3e UAE).
This piece 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 was donated by the designer Shaikha AL Gaithi 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 decorative head embellishment is known as (hyar, naql, or majlah) and is common to UAE, Oman, Qatar, and other Arab gulf states.
This is an imitation piece made of gold coloured metal flowers with a central glass bead alternating between red and green imitating precious stones. These flowers are linked to form a chain worn across the top of the head similar to a headband. It has hooks on each end to allow the wearer to attach dangling earrings.
From the centre of the chain, another similar chain extends across the top of the head towards the back where a similar hook is attached to accommodate another medallion or attachment.
The two chains that sit at a right angle to each other are connected with smaller, lighter chains draping over the hair on each side of the head.
Although this example does not include it, a medallion (shnaf/taba’ah) can sometimes be attached at the centre to sit on the forehead.
Two earrings (halaq/kwashi) matching the crescent moon-shaped pendant and chained fringe on the accompanying necklace [ZI2021.500971.3c UAE] are included are worn attached to the hook on each side of the headpiece. Each earring is embellished with a central green glass bead imitating a precious stone.