Veils as souvenirs
Face veils are an incredibly successful souvenir for European and American visitors to the West Asian and North African region. They are already being sold at various markets all over the area, but their value and possibilities are not yet exploited to the full extent.
Face veils are a successful souvenir for several reasons. First of all, they can easily be produced for both low and high prices. They may be lavishly decorated with real (even antique) coins and handmade beadwork or embroidery; a handicraft executed by local women that may improve local business. Or they can be more simple with fake coins or machine-made tassels.
Veils are appealing to adults as well as to children. They are used in dolls for a very broad market both in the Arab region itself and in Europe. They are for instance imitated in dresses for Barbie dolls, but also for souvenir dolls.
Veils represent ambiguous characteristics to the European observer like beauty, eroticism, mystery or even supposed suppression. It is exactly this ambiguity that is appealing to visitor of today who likes to experience a rivaling tension between different ways of thinking.
Besides this, antique or used veils are also valued as testimony of the hard and very different life in the desert with extremely personal elements sewn to the veils like amulets, collected charms or self made beadwork. These objects are telling stories of weddings, illnesses and fears in a very different world, but the idea of different amulets sewn to the garment on important occasions is almost like charm bracelets so cherished in the West.
The differences and the similarities of these different worlds represented in the veil are the true attraction.