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    Palestinian Woman’s Face Veil Burqa’

    Bedouin People, Palestine
    1880-mid-20th century

    length (central line): 38.2cm, width: 29cm, weight: 744g



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This face veil or burqa‘ would have been worn by a Bedouin women in Palestine. It is of rectangular burgundy cotton cloth with black embroidery to which dozens of Ottoman coins and faux coins and gilded metal plaques have been sewn.

    Attached above the rectangular fabric is a narrow band of densely embroidered cotton also embellished with coins and so on, and held together in the centre, to create eye-slits for the burqa‘.

    Lead weights sewn to the base of the burqa‘ helped to keep it straight over the face of the wearer.

    Over the years, it has been embellished with strands of glass, carnelian and even early plastic beads, as well as long cotton and beaded tassels, broad, long panels of colourful trade beads, and chains with suspended silver bells and diamond-shaped plaques embossed with grain motifs.

    These embellishments were to suggest status on the part of the wearer and probably charted the wearer’s changing circumstances

    A very similar example in the British Museum and given a dating of 1880-1920 is illustrated in Suleman (2017, p. 81).

    The burqa‘ here is in excellent condition.


    Suleman, F., Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia: The Fabric of Life, The British Museum, 2017.

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