Golden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE

© RIA Novosti / Yulia Tropicalmedicine women’s casual clothing, a cloak in the UAE. Archival photoGolden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© RIA Novosti / Yulia Troitskaya

United Arab Emirates is not only the attributes of the young modern state: the skyscrapers, flying taxi, advanced technology and a long tradition, unique to this region. One of these traditions is for women to wear a kind of face masks, which are called burgamy («Burgh» in the local dialect of Arabic).

In contrast to the more well-known now in the world Afghan burqa — the burqa, covering the woman from head to toe, traditional Emirati burka has nothing to do with religion, but is part of the cultural heritage. UAE «burka» is essentially a mask, which only partially covers the forehead of a woman and her upper lip.

Emirate his Umm Jassim, who never leaves the house without masks-cloaks, aspired in his youth to deter this accessory suitors. «When I said the engagement, it was to wear the burka, not because someone told me to do so — for me it was only natural to cover her face, as did my mother and grandmother, I saw in the burka a symbol of femininity,» she said. Umm Jassim holds the secrets of traditional cloaks and from time to time continues to make them to order, despite the fact that the demand for burkas have fallen sharply in recent years.

If you look at the burqa from a distance, it looks like she made of gold or other metal. However, wearing a metal object on the face in the heat would threaten the Bedouin women burn, so actually the burqa made of linen cloth exported from India. The fabric is dyed in blue (ink) or a purple color, and then rubbed a tin lid or the bottom of the pot to produce metallic luster. In the past women used for this purpose, mother-of-pearl shell.

«I did the burqa manually now sew on the machine, so looks neater, although older clients prefer hand-sewn,» explains the artist. According to her, nowadays in the market you can find many suitable fabrics to tailor a burka, including a desired dark blue color.

Stick that connects the upper and lower part of the burqa is called in Arabic «Seif» (sword). Umm Jassim as a «sword» uses sticks for ice cream. Inside it obkleivat «burqa» with tape so that the substance sticking to the face and painted it. However, in those days, when there wasn’t makeup, it was believed that leaving the woman’s face because of the heat and humidity blue-violet trace from the burqa, which is called the «sundown effect» makes it more beautiful.

Grate the burqa mistress used the lids from tin cans, in which world famous manufacturers sell cookies. «This burqa and women still smell sweet,» she laughs. Previously, her clients preferred Burki gold or red colors, now she mostly makes them black or silver.

There is almost no written evidence, telling about the history of traditional burkas in the Gulf region. A specialist in the culture of the UAE Ali al-Saloum suggests that this is due to the scarcity of the contacts of English travelers, who were mostly authors who write about the region with local women. Some researchers believe that the mask of the burqa in the UAE and other Gulf countries came from Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, or even Muslim India. The origin of the word «burka» too until the end is unknown, it is believed that it was formed from the Persian word рurda/parda meaning «veil» or «veil».

Emirati researcher shared the legends, why do women in the Bay began to wear such masks. According to one of them, when in ancient times a tribe was preparing to fight against another, his head due to the lack of men ordered women to wear the mask and sit on a horse. Enemies from another tribe was afraid of the large number of troops and did not engage in battle, after which the fame of the burka as a symbol of good fortune has spread throughout the Bay, and this item of clothing became popular among women. It is believed that the shape of the cloak resembles the traits revered in the Arabian Peninsula, the Falcon, which is a symbol of pride, strength and wisdom.

Also there is a legend that so the girls tried to scare off the men who chose them in the grooms parents if they had them to taste. In addition, the burqa is considered an effective remedy for the evil eye or love charms. However, an Emirati researcher is more inclined to a pragmatic version of the distribution of such masks in the hot and harsh climate of the Persian Gulf, Burke defended the woman’s face from the scorching sun, sand and dust. Women usually began to cover his face with masks after engagement or marriage.

In the eighteenth century Burke had covered almost the entire female face. However, over time its appearance has changed significantly. According to Umm Jassim, the design of the burqa differs in different Emirates of the UAE and the Gulf countries. She explained that the Dubai design which is also used women in the capital Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the so-called «cut Zaabel», represents the top of the thin strip and a wide rounded hem. In al ain, prefer to wear the burqa with a narrow top and bottom.

«These burqa funny, Butch moustache, women do not really love them,» she adds. In the Emirate of Sharjah in the North-East of the country, the burka is similar to Dubai, but the top part of the mask projects forward.

Golden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© AP Photo / Hasan JamaliВостоковед about the new rights of women in Saudi Arabia: it was in vozduhe other countries of the Persian Gulf, for example Bahrain and Qatar burqa square, there is not cut and not round the ends under with the slits for eyes, like they do in the Emirates. In neighbouring UAE, the Sultanate of Oman and bordering the Emirate of Fujairah burka larger and wider at the top than Dubai, its end projecting beyond the forehead.

«These cloaks are very strange in appearance, it seems like they turned upside down,» said the mistress. But in Saudi Arabia, according to her, traditional other Arabian monarchies cloaks are not quite popular there, the niqab, the black veil, leaving open only the eyes. «The niqab and went to us, now young, if you want to close the person wearing it, not the burqa,» — said the Agency interlocutor.

© RIA Novosti / Yulia Tropicalmedicine burqa UAEGolden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© RIA Novosti / Yulia Tropicalmedicine burqa UAE
From everyday wear to clothing for the holidays

Golden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© RIA Novosti / Taras to Litvinenkova in fotobanka exam is not a hindrance: why the debate about headscarves in schools is greatly razdatok told reporters the organizer of the exhibition at the national heritage Museum Sharjah under the title «Emirati burka: the intimate object», an Emirati artist Kerim al-Noisy, Burke was part of the everyday clothing of Emirati women to the end of 1960s — beginning of 1970-ies. However, the changes that have occurred in Emirati society since that time as the country started to produce oil, the improvement of living standards, led to the rejection of women from wearing masks in everyday life. Now this item of clothing can mostly be seen on the women of the older generation, younger people use traditional burka only on special occasions, for example, on the official holidays.

A noticeable drop in demand on the burqa confirms and Umm Jassim, which in former times had to do ten cloaks in a day. For each cloak she was paid from 10 to AED 20 (3-6 dollars), and now she offers them as a free extra accessory to sell it to Muslim dresses — Abijam and tawba.

Golden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich in photopackager stated that girls in hijab do not need to make an image of the enemy»In the old days some women have in their wardrobe burkas every day, others preferred to change them every week, now they are reluctant to wear the burqa, perhaps, they are uncomfortable. Those who do not want to cover the face, it does not close, the same who care not to show his face to outsiders, use of the niqab, only eyes visible, so customers became very low,» she complained.

However, a female mask-Burke remains as national symbol of the Emirates and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as traditional coffee, hunting with falcons and camel racing.

© RIA Novosti / Yulia Tropicalmedicine burqa UAEGolden Emirati burka, or the Secrets of female masks in UAE© RIA Novosti / Yulia Tropicalmedicine burqa UAE