Old Rashaida Veil – Eritrea
Cotton finely embroidered with metallic silver thread. Approx cm. 65,0 high x cm. 35,0 width (25.59″ x 13.78″).
The women explain their observance of the veil in terms of beauty, not the Islamic religion. “We feel you are more beautiful when you wear a veil,” Mrs. Hamida said. “When we are 5 years old we ask our mothers if we can be veiled so we can be like them.” These veils cover their whole face apart from their eyes and are finely embroidered with metallic silver thread, beads and sometimes seed pearls. These veils cover their faces at all times, even when they eat unless there is no male present except for their husband as no other male will ever see their face.
The Rashaida is a tribe of ethnic Bedouin Arabs descending from Hawazin native to the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. In 1846, many Rashaida migrated from the Hejaz region in present-day Saudi Arabia into what is now Sudan. The Rashaida are also the smallest ethnic group currently present in Eritrea.
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