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Modern wigs & hair pieces


In the West Asian and North African region, hairpieces or wigs made of leather, rope, synthetic fiber, animal or human hair are worn as a substitute or an addition to a woman's hairstyle. On the images here, some of these contemporary haircovers or wigs are shown. The pieces are not intended to actually replace the hair in such a way that it is indistinguishable from the woman's original hair, it mostly only refers to hair as a headcover. Sometimes, tassels are placed onto the hair, referring to the braids of a woman. Often, to these wigs or hairpieces, silver beads or coins are attached as well. 

The top right image on this page, shows a leather wig or shabka headdresses from Oman (late C19 AD) in which silver beads and coins are threaded. On the top left you see a headcover made of synthetic fiber, decorated with beaded fringes worn by the Ababda nomads of the Egyptian Eastern Desert. The woman in the image with the child is wearing a similar hairstyle decorated with gold coins.


Below, a leather brow ornament with beads from the Maghreb is shown. This is worn on the forehead of a woman and is meant to resemble strings of hair decorated with stone beads.

An ingofa headdresses made with synthetic threads braided by local women is depicted below right. Women purchase and sew the various decorative elements on after the wig is made. Zakate is the local name for the stone decorations, courcourou the name of the silver discs and ajouroutane the name of the silver rings on the wig. This particular object was used in Timbuktu, Mali. Originally, the decorative elements were braided into the hair directly. Because this wasn't considered comfortable, they were added separately to a wig since the 1980's. The use of these headdresses is confined to festive uses or ceremonies only.

But other hairpieces are known as well that are not presented here. In Yemen headcovers made of textile and leather are made, decorated elaborately with silver ornaments and coins from the Arabian Peninsula.

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