Arabian Peninsula


The Arabian Peninsula, of course, covers a vast area with different Bedouin tribes and peoples. It would be impossible to describe all styles in one page only. Therefore, I would like to focus here on the more general character of veils from this area. On the Arabian Peninsula, niqabs are worn; veils made out of a single piece of cloth from which slits or holes for the eyes are cut out. The Arabian veils are often dark coloured, mostly made of textile, such as silk, cotton or linen. In ancient times, silk was often traded and used in the more elaborate veils. In Oman, this tradition still exists (see the page for the Omani batulah here). Also, leather is sometimes used for veils (see image top left).

There are various methods of decoration in the Arabian veils. However, a characteristic most Arabian veils have in common is a rim of cloth on the front center of the veil that is supported by embroidery or stitches to strengthen it and make it stand out from the flat surface of the niqab (see for instance also the veils from Oman and Rashaida, or Iran). These rims are very typical for Arabian veils, whether the veil is made of cotton, silk or other materials.

In some areas the Arabian veils are heavily decorated with metal or silver strips, made with a technique called badla. Other methods of decoration on these veils are metal embroidery, silver chains, buttons, tassels and coins. Compared to, for instance, the burqas of  Palestine, the Arabian veils use a limited set of colours, often greens, reds, black and yellows are found.

(The images on this page are partially made by me, the image of the woman by National Geographic)

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