Objects of the Day

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Published by BLKVLD Publishers | The Netherlands www.blikvelduitgevers.nl

Š BLKVLD Publishers, Zandvoort 2017

All rights reserved by Jolanda Bos 2016 - 2018 Text and photos Jolanda Bos

Book design and cover Lonneke Beukenholdt ISBN 978-90-807744-8-3

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Content

Object of the Day no. 001 | Jordan face veil no. 002 | North African Aggrab no. 003 | Qabqabs no. 004 | Arousa el burqa no. 005 | Sinai amulet no. 006 | Eye amulet no. 007 | Tuareg kohl tube no. 008 | Sinai face veil with amulets no. 009 | Maria Theresa Thaler no. 010 | Lochscheibenamulet no. 011 | Southern Egyptian bracelet no. 012 | Syrian kohl container no. 013 | Siwan kohl tube no. 014 | Siwan wedding costume no. 015 | Palestinian kohl container no. 016 | Yellow North Sinai face veil no. 017 | Small Sinai face veil no. 018 | ‘Araqiyeh no. 019 | Red Sinai face veil no. 020 | Sinai headdress no. 021 | Salhayat amulet no. 022 | Egyptian face veil no. 023 | Beaded veil no. 024 | Yellow South Sinai veil no. 025 | Urge sinsaal no. 026 | Egyptian cap no. 027 | Yemeni Qarqush no. 028 | Siwan headcover

6 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 100 104 108 112 116 120



As an archaeologist and ethnographer my main research area covers Egypt and the West Asian and North African region. I have been travelling to these parts of the world for over twenty years, mostly while working as an archaeologist. The archaeological field specialties I am working on are beadwork analysis, human hair, hairstyles and hair decoration. My first time on an archaeological expedition (in the early 1990’s), was when I went to Berenike, a Greco-Roman harbor town on the Egyptian Red Sea coast. Here, I worked with the Ababda nomads, an indigenous African people who have been living in this area for hundreds of years. It was a fascinating time and place. The Ababda people I worked and lived with in the proximity of the excavation camp, talked about their families and traditions, showed me their houses and their ways of life and I soon started writing about their traditions and customs. At the same time we started trading objects as well; my binoculars for a small kohl container or a dagger. These were the first objects in the Wearable Heritage collection. In the autumn of 2006 I was part of a small field mission to set up a visitor


Some of my favorite wearable heritage objects described in a nutshell and photographed, wouldn’t that be nice. So here it is: my object of this day...


center (called Beyt Ababda) for the Ababda nomads in Wadi Gamal National Park (Egypt), displaying their customs and ways of life. In this manner, over the years, my work shifted from mainly archaeological heritage to a combination of cultural heritage, costume, its social implications and ethnographic work. This booklet tells about some of my favorite objects in the Wearable Heritage collection, the privately held collection that I curate. All the artefacts in this booklet have been published before on the Facebook page Wearable Heritage as Objects of the Day between 2016 and 2017. In the small chapters that follow, I have tried to describe why these objects are of special interest to me and - when possible - where and why they were collected. Jolanda Bos Zandvoort, April 2017

www.wearableheritage.com www.ancientbeadwork.com www.jolandabos.com





no. 001 | Jordan face veil This face veil I love for its simplicity and age. I found it in Jordan, but who knows where it has been all its life. It probably travelled with Bedouin for a great many years…. The materials are simple and beautiful at the same time: a cotton band, goat hair cords, camel hair cloth, metal and silver coins and silk and cotton embroidery. It has beautiful plaited bands connecting the headband to the face cloth (see close up image). Most coins – and when I say most, I mean the bulk of 59 against 5 – are Ottoman coins minted in 1327 of the Hijri calendar (1909 Gregorian calendar). Two of the other 5 are foreign, one is a German coin (2 pfennig from 1911) and one is English (6 pence from 1957). This is also the last date on the veil, so supposedly the veil has been constructed after 1957 because all coins are attached with a single string. The cloth of the veil is just fantastic. I love its colours and hope you will enjoy it as well. ‹‹

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no. 001 | Jordan face veil



no. 002 | North African Aggrab In Northern Africa people decorate their hair with all sorts of objects. They are worn in the hair to wear plaits down, to spread a pleasant scent, to protect against evil or just to show status. I study hairstyles in ancient Egypt and therefore any hair decoration in contemporary culture I really like. Some of my favourite objects are these small metal Aggrab al Faddah beads from the region of Mauritania. They are worn with strung (other) beads in the hair of women. The metal beads are often hammered into shape in two halves. The two halves are then soldered together, often with copper. In the more fragile beads the two halves are connected by folding and hammering the edges together. The beads are often made with different and delicate layers of hammered (silver) sheet. I especially like the fact that the technique gives a very subtle decoration to the surface resembling granulation. That is, sometimes, true granulation is added as well. ‚‚

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no. 002 | North African Aggrab



no. 003 | Qabqabs In the 19th century, Cairo counted more than 70 bathhouses or Hammams. At that time, these were important social places, where people met and relaxed. With this public role of the Hammams, the objects used in the baths also became important. For example the so called qabqabs; bath shoes named after the clogging sound they make, as the owner would walk on the marble floors of the bathhouse. I really appreciate the history of these objects and my imagination takes a flight with these two clogs from our own collection. Judging by the morphology, these ones were most likely made at the end of the 19th century in the Ottoman tradition. The heavy wooden body with the forked front is inlaid with mother-of-pearl and shell, and has bands of leather and gilded metal decoration. I purchased this pair from a dealer in Cairo, some 10 years ago. It whispers stories to me about meetings and voices in steamy halls. But above all, I really enjoy looking at these colourful relics from an old tradition. ‚‚

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no. 003 | Qabqabs



no. 004 | Arousa el Burqa I love arousas. The Arousa el Burqa is worn on the nose of their owners. They feature proudly in my Egypt’s Wearable Heritage book, but I can’t help myself, and have to display them here as Object of the Day as well. They were used as amulets and amulet containers on Egyptian face veils. They are made of brass, silver, gold, gold wire or other metals and (often) with a hollow wood or reed core. If you are lucky they are stamped when they were sold, and then a rough date can be obtained. Most of the ones I found were most likely made at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. They were once made in a variety of sizes. The ones seen here are of very good quality by the way, and 5 to 7 cm long. The wire is not just a motif in the metal, but real and fine twisted metal wire, wrapped around the object’s core. Of course, in the past, the size of the arousa on your nose, and the quality of the craftsmanship, would tell about the wealth of its owners. ‹‹

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no. 004 | Arousa el Burqa



no. 005 | Sinai amulet This rare amulet, found in Sinai (Egypt), was given to me personally by a dear friend and I wear it on certain occasions. These amulets are usually part of qiladet qurenful necklaces worn in and around the Palestinian region. These necklaces are associated with weddings, often made with sweet smelling clover and other beads and amulets. This cone-shaped amulet still has its original content hidden inside the beadwork: alum. Alum is used for its apotropaic values, mainly against the Evil Eye. The alum hidden between the beadwork is still visible when turning the amulet over. The triangular glass beadwork around it is made with metal wire. The amulet has dangles with jettons. These jettons are socalled ‘Rechenpfennige’; tiny coins used for a specific manner of calculating. These coins have been minted between the 13th and the 19th century. Many of them were afterwards exported to the Ottoman Empire and ended up as decoration on female costumes. These specific ones are brass Nürnberg tokens, decorated with a ship on the reverse, and sun, moon and stars on the obverse. These specific tokens were made from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. How marvellous it is to go on a search tracing the origin of objects like these. ‹‹

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no. 005 | Sinai amulet



no. 006 | Eye amulet This amulet is my absolute favourite! If I ever had to choose one object from the entire collection, I would choose this one. This is an Egyptian eye amulet, worn to ward off the Evil Eye. I love the metal work; nothing too fancy, just a few silver strips wrapped around the core of the amulet, with some fine decoration on the bells and the setting. The bells make a beautiful sound and the materials chosen to make this amulet are just fantastic: silver and a simple marble. And it is the marble of course that attracts the most attention. It is supposed to resemble an eye, which it successfully does. It was frequently used for a game in its lifetime as a marble. You can tell by the scratches on the surface of the glass. And now it has been given a second life, an upgrade so to speak, warding off the worst of all evil. In the fitting, it still has room to move and roll around, just like an eye moves as it follows you. Have you ever put a marble in your pocket for good luck? If you did, you’ll understand this choice. ‚‚

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no. 006 | Eye amulet



no. 007 | Tuareg kohl tube This kohl tube was once owned by the Tuareg. It is made from leather, around a core of sinew, that is completely coloured black by the kohl still left inside. The leather container is made of plaited leather straps, creating a bulgy bottom and a lid that can slide on and off the tube. This sliding lid is fastened to the kohl tube by the leather strap, also functioning as a way to hang the object. The leather ends of the plaits are decorated with plastic and glass beads to form pretty tassels. These kohl pots were often carried around, fastened between layers of clothes, or they were hung inside the mat houses of the Tuareg. The surface of this object became smooth over time from its many uses. And personally, I think that the patina of these objects is fantastic. It is precisely this fatty film on the surface, developed over time by handling, that shows the function or role an object had in society. To me, this patina best represents human (inter)action with the artefacts they use. ‚‚

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no. 007 | Tuareg kohl tube



no. 008 | Sinai face veil with amulets This veil is from Sinai, Egypt. Most likely from the south of Sinai, judging by the shape and decoration. I purchased it in Cairo, fifteen years ago. On the bottom of the veil beaded tassels are attached. But the most interesting feature of this veil is a textile covered, decorated reed attached to the side bands, and worn across the veil cloth, keeping it in place in the strong desert winds. On both sides of the veil the reed is fastened to two amulets that dangle from the headband by two strings of shells. The two amulets are made of textile, covered with strung beadwork and buttons. Small cowry shells are sewn onto these bands as well. These cowries are a symbol of (female) fertility, resembling the shape of an eye. Together with the buttons and the beads, these objects form a strong magical protection against the Evil Eye. I especially like the combination of different materials and amulets in this veil; the content of which remains unknown to this day. And that is a good thing, because it is believed that when opening an amulet, a person may attract the evil for which the amulet was providing protection. ‚‚

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no. 008 | Sinai face veil with amulets



no. 009 | Maria Theresa Thaler The Maria Theresa Thaler is one of the most desired coins of the past few centuries. It was first issued in 1741 by the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa and became famous for its consistent weight and silver content. As soon as it was used in international trade, it became especially loved in the Middle East. Over the years it received many nicknames, such as ‘Abu Rish’ after the eagle feathers (rish in Arabic) on the obverse of the coin. The word thaler gave rise to many other coin names like ‘daalder’ and ‘dollar’. The thaler was often used as a silver source in the Arab world or was remade into pendants. This pendant here for example, it is nicely made and makes a lovely sound when it is moved. The silver bells on the bottom of the coin are suspended from 7 eight-shaped links. And the small rings, from which they are suspended, are soldered to the coin itself, decorated in the same manner as the ring on the top of the pendant. I found it some 15 years ago on a marketplace in Cairo and have loved it ever since. ‹‹

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no. 009 | Maria Theresa Thaler



no. 010 | Lochscheibenamulet One of my closest friends has a theory she yet has to publish about these amulets and I can’t wait until she does.... Although she has lifted a small tip of the veil on her website: www.desertsilver.com. Some researchers call it the Lochscheibenamulet; a blue glasspaste disk with holes in it. It is found in the areas of Pakistan and Iran these days. Once however, it was used in Egypt and Palestine, most likely evolving from the ancient amulet “the Eye of Horus” or “Wedjat”, until its meaning was lost or changed somewhat as the use of the amulet moved eastward. I absolutely love it, because it shows how the shape of an object may change, moving the attention away from the shape of the Horus Eye, towards the shape of the holes and the circle that once framed the Eye of Horus in the ancient amuletic counterpart. In the two slightly diferent amulets presented here, the blue frit is incorporated into a silver plaque, decorated with silver tassels and bells. I found them at a dealer who mainly sells amulets and material from the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. ‹‹

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no. 010 | Lochscheibenamulet



no. 011 | Southern Egyptian bracelet I don’t collect silver jewelry because I am particularly interested in the workmanship of jewellers; I like all aspects of heritage worn by people, whether crudely or finely made. However, this bracelet that I found in Aswan, Egypt, is really beautifully fabricated. Massive silver, very intricate wire, granulation and filigree work, worn on the wrists of women in the south of Egypt. The bracelet hinges on one side of its two halves and is closed on the other side with a pin, decorated with a small bell. Its previous owner has worn it often and a nice patina has accumulated on the surface. Between the wires and beads soldered to the surface of the bracelet, dirt has accumulated that now accentuates the differences in colours between the polished silver and the deeper, darker areas. No doubt it has been deposited there over time as the woman who wore the bracelet went about her daily activities. Because that is what women do and did: wear their jewelry always. To me this is a form of archaeology: the study of layered dirt on jewelry. So for obvious reasons, I have not cleaned it. ‹‹

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no. 011 | Southern Egyptian bracelet



no. 012 | Syrian kohl container Syrian, at least, so I have been told; although I purchased this kohl container in Jordan. It is nicely made, decorated with brick-stitched beadwork in geometrical patterns, a row of tube beads on the top and at the bottom of the kohl container. The body of the cushion is backed with Atlas silk, a kind sold mostly around Syria and Jordan. The tassels framing both sides and the bottom of the pillow are made of silk as well. Two cowries and buttons serve as protection against the Evil Eye and protect and ensure the fertility of the owner. In the cushion, at the top, a glass bottle for the kohl is incorporated and a textile stopper decorated with a tassel closes off the vessel. It is difficult to date this container, although some of the glass and plastic beads do give us some clues. The beads are used mostly in the first half of the 20th century, but judging from the other elements of the pillow, I would be inclined to date it around the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. A fantastic piece in the realm of body adornment. ‚‚

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no. 012 | Syrian kohl container



no. 013 | Siwan kohl tube In the Siwa oasis, in the Egyptian Western Desert, kohl is preserved in long tubes made of reed or wood, much like other Berber populations in North Africa. These tubes are covered with red leather and decorated with tassels, embroidery and buttons. Large fringes of leather dangle from the bottom. They too are decorated with small tassels or pumpkins, all in the characteristic colours of the Siwans: red, orange, green, blue and white. In the leather, along the full length of the tube, a separate envelope is created by folding the leather. Here, the so-called ‘needle’, with which the kohl was applied to the eyes, can be stored. As a stopper, a small cushion of leather is formed. These tubes are called Tankult in the Siwan language and they are actually quite large, approximately 25 cm in length. Quite impressive objects for make-up containers, I should say. Most aspects of these objects serve an apotropaic purpose, the buttons, tassels, etc.. The colours however symbolize the ripening stages of dates and stimulate the fertility of the owner. ‹‹

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no. 013 | Siwan kohl tube



no. 014 | Siwan wedding costume The Berber population of the Siwa oasis has an exceptionally rich costume tradition. Especially the wedding costumes are beautiful and decorated lavishly with embroidery and mother-of-pearl buttons. The object here is a pair of pants from a wedding costume. We collected it twenty years ago, when first visiting Siwa in the early 1990’s. Since then the wedding costumes there have changed a great deal. More elaborate colours and materials have been used since. Although in this pants you can still see the original colours of Siwa: green, yellow, orange, red and black symbolizing the different ripening stages of dates - the main produce from the oasis - all on white cotton textile of course. The pants are wide and decorated just above the ankles. All hems and ends of the pants are decorated with rich embroidery. The stiches and patterns are made resembling the rays of the sun, with Maltese crosses, stars, fish and triangles used as characteristic Siwan elements as well. Just fabulous! ‚‚

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no. 014 | Siwan wedding costume



no. 015 | Palestinian kohl container This Object of the Day is another kohl container. This time from the Palestinian region. Nicely decorated with embroidery typical for the region. I love these practical ones where, besides a container, also a mirror is integrated. This is a fairly recent acquisition, acquired in 2015. The mirror is set into a velour envelope, the bottom of which also has two tassels with glass beads. The body of the container is a stuffed pillow backed with green and yellow lined and very smooth Atlas silk. The front of the pillow is a textile piece with delicate embroidery in hues of red, black and purple in geometrical patterns. On the top of the pillow a small glass bottle is incorporated. In this bottle the kohl was kept. It is unclear where the needle used to be kept for applying the kohl. The container was hung from a string attached to the top of the pillow and has been hanging in the sun for some time I suppose, since the colours of the object have all faded, especially the colour of the velour. All in all a very nice asset to the collection. ‚‚

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no. 015 | Palestinian kohl container



no. 016 | Yellow North Sinai face veil Veils with coins, real ones or jettons, each tell a story of collection and trade in a culture where people come into contact with many different groups and nations, due to their pastoral lifestyle. These pieces of traditional costume, will ‘tell’ you a tale of the life of its owner. A tale of trade and collecting. Some coins may bring good fortune, some may be valued for the image on the head of the coin, or be appreciated for their age, origin and the apotropaic qualities of the ‘unknown signs’ they carry. This veil has a variety of different coins, although one group of coins represents the bulk of the sewn-on jettons. This is often the case with veils, and it is through this phenomenon that a very rough date may be given for these textiles. A large group of similar coins on a veil, issued within a certain timeframe, is one of the very few means available to date a veil. Then there is the help of beads of course, whose typology may also aid in determining a rough construction date. Although, veils are often repaired and added on, much like charm bracelets. ‹‹

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no. 016 | Yellow North Sinai face veil



no. 017 | Small Sinai face veil Veils are my favorite object type in the Wearable Heritage collection. This one was acquired in the late 1990’s from an Egyptian dealer. It was worn by Bedouin from the Sinai Peninsula. The coins on the object display trade contacts in the form of foreign currency that is sewn onto the cloth. Also, some beautiful gold coins have been applied over the nose. I like the way different kinds of sturdy, almost robust textiles have been used in the fabrication of this piece. It was this burqa or face veil that got me to study ways in which veils were tied around the head of women and the way in which they can be tightened around the forehead. My research on the subject is almost finished and will be published soon. Lastly, a detail of this veil worth mentioning here is a stone amulet, in the form of a pebble in which a hole has been drilled. It has been applied on the inside of the veil on one of the textile strips that is worn over the lower part of the face. All in all a remarkable piece of traditional costume. ‹‹

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no. 017 | Small Sinai face veil



no. 018 | ‘Araqiyeh This colourful and rich head cover can be found in Yatta, in the southern Hebron area, where it is called ‘Araqiyeh. The headdress is worn by married women and is lavishly decorated with thick embroidery and various layers of textile mainly in red and purple. The round cap ends in a tip at the top of the head and shows in a triangular shape at the back of the headdress. This triangular patch at the back is decorated with nine Maria Theresa Thalers. They are pierced and have been sewn to the cap alternating with the heads and tails of the thalers directed outwards. Only when women are in mourning will they cover these coins on the headdress up with black cloth. When worn, the large, decorated textile strips at the back are tied around the hairstyle and braids of the women who wear these caps. I found this beautiful cap in Jordan on one of my visits to a befriended collector. The textile is really soft and thick and I always found it very inviting to wear it, only by the touch of its material. ‹‹

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no. 018 | ‘Araqiyeh



no. 019 | Red Sinai face veil This richly decorated face jewel originated from the Sinai, Egypt. The woman who owned this veil must have been wealthy. The object consists of two layers of cloth sewn together and decorated by cross-stitch embroidery applied in vertical lines to the material. On the centre of the veil, running from the headband to the bottom, a row of coins is sewn, some of them gold. On the bottom half, two horizontal panels of sewn-on coins can be seen. Some of these coins are old and come from various areas and countries of the North African and West Asian region. Lots of strung beadwork is dangling from the veil on both sides. Two bands of glass beads strung in geometrical patterns and netted strings of glass beads decorate the front. Also, evil repelling amulets can be found on this piece, as well as rows of prayer beads and an amulet attracting fertility and protecting a mother and her infant. Some very typical metal amuletic plates are dangling from chains at the bottom on the left and right of the veil. ‚‚

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no. 019 | Red Sinai face veil



no. 020 | Sinai headdress This cap I found in Egypt some time ago. It is completely covered with amulets at the back of the object, some of which zār amulets. Originally it also contained an arousa fixed at the back of the object, although the arousa is now gone. The embroidery on the cap is situated at the back of the head, on the piece of textile that covers the neck and the back of the wearer. Similar caps are found in the Sinai, executed in rich materials, like silver, amber, cowries and red coral. Object of the Day no. 026 for instance, shows similar decoration patterns at the back of the object. This particular piece is mostly covered with ‘imitation’ products. The object is decorated with medallions, some silver and other metals. The large amber-like beads on the bottom of the chains for instance, are made of phenolic resin, an early plastic. These beads however, are becoming increasingly popular with collectors around the world. No real mother of pearl buttons are attached to the item, but rather plastic buttons are used and the same is true for the red beads imitating coral. I love this object for its simplicity and gorgeous embroidery. ‹‹

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no. 020 | Sinai headdress



no. 021 | Salhayat amulet This is a salhayat amulet; executed in silver, hallmarked in Egypt as can be seen from the mark on the image on the next pages. I have found this piece some 20 years ago, on the Cairene souq or marketplace Khan el Khallillih. It is a very typical amulet, worn in the North African region around Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The objects vary a bit in shape from region to region, but the basic shape remains the same. The amulet protects women and is worn by women in relation to motherhood. The amulets are often worn as a necklace together with other salhayats and beads, but they are also worn alone on simple strings around the neck. The story goes that once a woman has given birth, one of the small strips of silver on the bottom of the object (the ends of the semicircle shape) is broken off. In some stories this is done after the birth of a boy, other stories say that both for boys and girls the ends are broken off. Anyhow, this practice does illustrate the intimate relation between (events in) personal lives and jewelry! ‚‚

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no. 021 | Salhayat amulet



no. 022 | Egyptian face veil This is one of the first veils I came across on my travels. The material of this veil is not particularly rich, but it is a very rare veil, most likely originating from one of the deserts of Egypt. It is covered with cross stitch embroidery and medallions. It follows the decorative pattern of veils from the Sinai, but shows very different elements as well. For instance the way in which metal fish amulets and (a type of celluloid Confetti Lucite) beads decorate the headband of the veil. The headband is thin, covered with embroidery and the amulets are simply attached by one thread running over the amulets and passing through the beads. Also, the beads on the strings at the side and front of the veil are different and made mostly of prayer beads (made of wood and phenolic resin), suggesting plenty of access of the maker or owner to these kinds of beads. The veil is in bad shape, much of the textile is decaying at places where the metal is touching the textile. Therefore veil is currently stored in a climate-controlled environment. ‚‚

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no. 022 | Egyptian face veil



no. 023 | Beaded veil I was intrigued when I first saw this object. It is made of glass beads threaded in a netshaped pattern. Through the use of red and white beads, a pattern of bands is created. At the bottom, a fringe of beads is strung in a seemingly random pattern of white, red, an occasional yellow bead and mother of pearl-like buttons. The netted part is attached to a narrow textile band. I was told by the collector that this is a veil, although I have never seen similar ones actually worn. Although the object comes from Egypt, the original region where these objects were worn, still remains unknown to me. The body is made of small red White Heart beads, or Cornaline d’Aleppo beads. These beads were produced from the 1800’s until the first half of the last century. The artificial fibre of the textile band suggests a similar date in the 1950’s or even slightly later. To me this object is a beautiful integration of my two passions, veils and beadwork. True love at first sight! ‹‹

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no. 023 | Beaded veil



no. 024 | Yellow South Sinai veil This veil is originally from the south of the Sinai (Egypt). It is covered with small rosettes, beadwork and some embroidery. The South Sinai veils are a much longer and thinner than their northern counterparts, less rigid in shape or pattern, and less conservative when it comes to materials used. They are indeed very interesting pieces of costume. This veil is made with colourful decorative elements in purple, red, orange, yellow, red and green. Small white glass beads are strung all over the headband. Tiny white and red beads also create a fringe around the headband of the veil. White beaded fringe is often used as a talismanic stimulant for the production of mother’s milk and worn for this reason on head covers in Sinai. What I particularly like about the veil is the (in our eyes) unorthodox use of materials that makes the veil production look almost unintentional. The maker for instance reused an elastic band (once serving another purpose) to hold the veil in place on the head. ‚‚

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no. 024 | Yellow South Sinai veil



no. 025 | Urge sinsaal This Object of the Day is an urge sinsaal, used in the Palestinian region of Irbid, and a spectacular object. It is decorated with silver coins; Ottoman as well as Maria Theresa Thalers. But it is also adorned with woven beadwork made of glass beads, silver metal chains and silk tassels. This headband with the small silver coins is worn around the hair line and the row of thalers and green and red tassels are hanging from the back of the head, down onto the back of the wearer. I have always liked the object; it shows wealth in a fabulous combination of colours. The thalers display wear marks and the manner in which they have been pierced can clearly be seen. By wearing this object a woman may display her group identity, while the rich execution of the headband displays her personal status. The pattern of the beadwork is less rigid however, than in other objects of its kind I have seen. This may be showing a matter of personal choice of the wearer. Now these are aspects of wearable heritage I absolutely love! ‚‚

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no. 025 | Urge sinsaal



no. 026 | Egyptian cap I found this cap in Sinai some fifteen years ago. It is an interesting object made largely with second-hand pieces of textile forming the cap. The black and green patches of polyester were used to cover the head and conceal the hair of the wearer, placing the beadwork, coins and snail shell fringe on the forehead and the temples. The broad strip of red cotton hung down on the back of the woman wearing this piece and may have been used to tie her hair in. It is decorated with geometrical embroidery patterns, fringes with white beads on the bottom and plastic buttons imitating mother of pearl. At the temples, two small pieces of watch bands serve as amulets to ward off evil. Head covers like this are worn in the Sinai and are usually made with rich materials such as silver coins, cotton and silk, mother of pearl and glass beads. This object however, partially displays the adaptions of costume and dress code to more modest circumstances. It shows the use of less valuable materials that have nevertheless produced a beautiful piece of costume. ‚‚

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no. 026 | Egyptian cap



no. 027 | Yemeni Qarqush An object from Yemen this time. A cap that is worn these days mostly by girls from the Jewish community. The cap is made of red Atlas silk; a silk with a very distinct striped decoration pattern in the weft. The cap is lined on the inside with differently coloured pieces of cotton, probably reused from other garments. The outside of the cap is decorated with embroidery of metal wire in different geometrical patterns. The circles of metal wire protect the temples of the wearer. The bottom of the object is weighed down by a fringe of metal beads and chains with small pendants and medallions at the bottom. On some of these fringes, small red and green beads are strung. These head covers are called Qarqush and this specific one is probably made around the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. The caps are thought to have pre-Islamic roots and were supposedly only taken off by the girls at the night of their marriage. They are worn both inside and outside the house and most girls are very proud of these garments. ‚‚

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no. 027 | Yemeni qarqush



no. 028 | Siwan headcover In the Egyptian oasis of Siwa, beautifully decorated caps are sometimes worn by girls covering the back of their heads, resembling the Qarqush on the previous pages. I knew this practice was rare, so when I found this piece in Siwa, I was surprised and excited at the same time. It is made of black damask, decorated with silk embroidery in the traditional colours of Siwa. The centrepiece of the decoration is a square with radiating lines of embroidery. The patterns show Maltese crosses, sunrays, stars, fish and triangles. In the middle of the centrepiece a large tuft of yellow silk can be seen. From this, a braided silk tassel dangles with a squash of silk at the end. On the top of the head more tassels ward off evil spirits. These brushes on the top stand almost upright when the cap is worn, like an eccentric comb of hair. As a strange contrast, on the inside, the cap is lined with blue cotton with a decoration of red, purple and white flowers. As is more often the case in traditional costume, the lining is executed almost carelessly and with, in my opinion, sometimes clashing colours. I like to think about these choices of materials used in costume items. ‚‚

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no. 028 | Siwan headcover


Jolanda Bos (The Netherlands, 1973) has travelled in Africa and the Middle East for more than 20 years. As an archaeologist and ethnographer she has done extensive research in the field of wearable heritage. She understands the need for documenting vanishing ways of life, clothing traditions, jewelry, the use of amulets, talismans and other ornaments. This book bundles her series “Object of the Day�, previously published on the Facebook page Wearable Heritage. The short stories are informative and reflect her personal preference for items in the Wearable Heritage collection. Please enjoy this diversity of objects from a vanishing world.

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