This overgarment (Thawb) is worn over a (Sayah) shirt, which is also in Zay Initiative’s Collection.
This garment was hand stitched in Basra in the 1940s, and at that time al-hashmi were still considered the prestigious dress of ladies from Basra city, specifically. The journey of this garment (Thawb_hashmi) before its arrival at the Zay Initiative is long, as it has been passed down through generations of women. It was first owned by Mrs. Maedah Sabih al-Khudairi, daughter of Hajj Sabih al-Khudairi, son of Yassin Basha al-Khudairi, an Iraqi merchant and politician who was a member of the Senate and advisor to King Faisal I. Maedah was born in Baghdad in 1924, and she had obtained a BA in Arabic Language from Queen Alia University in Iraq. Later, the ownership of the Thawb was transferred from the mother to her daughter, Mrs. Alia Anwar Al-Qaymakji, who subsequently gave it to her daughter, Maryam Istabraq al-Imam.
This (Thawb_hashmi) is sewn from transparent black silk chiffon and stitched in a wide T-shape. The Thawb is embroidered with gold threads (Zari) in circular shapes stacked on top of each other, flowers surround the two sides of the central axis, forming the letter [V]. The embroidery is decorated with shiny gold metallic sequins. The sequin embroidery further covers the front and back stitches that combine the sections of the garment, as well as the two triangles under the very wide sleeves.
The details of the Thawb_hashmi are similar to those of the (Thawb_Najdi) and (Thawb_Nashil). The origin of this particular style of overgarment goes back to the Sumerian civilization. Thawb_hashmi is thought to get its name from the women of Bani Hashem, who are famous for wearing them. Traditionally they were most famously sewn in the Iraq regions of Najaf, Hilla, and Basra. In more recent times, these overgarments are sewn in the Gulf countries.
Wearing this type of Thawb is associated with weddings, and until the 1960s, they were strongly present in Iraq as a luxurious traditional dress. To highlight the beauty of al hashmi and its elegant embroidery, the woman wears a long dress in a contrasting colour under this distinguished overgarment.