6269

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Saudi Woman’s Face Covering (Burqa)

Bedouin People, southern Saudi Arabia
mid-20th century

length: 33cm (including lower fringe), width: 17cm

Sold

Provenance

UK art market

This face covering is most probably from the Bedouin people of the southern part of Saudi Arabia, along the Yemen border.

It is of goatskin leather. The rectangular section which covers the face has two oval-shaped holes for the eyes. It is plain on the inside and the outside is hand-stitched primarily with orange, yellow, black and green thread as well as having applied metal chains, spangles and other decorations.

There are two hand-like silver alloy plaques suspended beneath the eyes. Probably, these are intended to represent talismanic or protective hands of Fatimah motifs, but they also have a tendency to look like single tears.

The top of the covering i sewn with a heavy silver-alloy chain.

The sides have long leather straps for fix on the mask. The base is decorated with three tufts of leather strands.

The covering is in fine condition.  Probably, it dates to the mid-20th century and until recently was framed which has tended to protect it.

References

Rajab, J.S., Silver Jewellery of Oman, Tareq Rajab Museum, 1998.

Ransom, M., Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Regional Yemeni Jewelry, AUC Press, 2014.

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