Veils as souvenirs
Face veils are an incredibly successful souvenir for European and American visitors to the Asian and North African region. They are being sold at various markets all over the area, but their value and possibilities are not yet exploited to the full extent as souvenirs.
Face veils may be successful souvenirs for several reasons. First of all, they can easily be produced for both low and high price ranges. They may be lavishly decorated with real (even old) coins and handmade beadwork or embroidery; a handicraft executed by local women that may improve local business an stimulate pride. Or the veils may be produced 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 the 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 testimonies of the hard and different desert life, with highly personal elements sewn to the veils such as amulets, collected charms or self-made beadwork. These objects tell 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 a narrative in itself and adds to the mystery of the veil.
The differences and the similarities of these different worlds represented in the veil are the true attraction.