Antique Omani face mask with silver chains and hooks to keep an (indigo died) Burqa in position (very old piece)

Antique Omani silver mask made of indigo cloth with heavy silver chains
  • Description

Very Rare complete Bedouin face mask made of Indigo cloth (see Ref 11) and fitted with antique silver chains and clasps to hold the mask in place at four points.

On April 30 1848 the famous traveller Ida Pfeiffer visited Muscat and mentioned in her book: " The Muscati women wear a sort of mask in blue fabric held by iron hooks or wire , which does not touch their faces" The "iron" she mentions is obviously silver. The item includes two silver hooks. 

Max Freiherr von Oppenheim (ref 7 Band 2 page 327) writes: " Die manner gehen alle bewaffnet, die frauen tragen die schon in Lingah vorkommende schwarze Maske mit Stickereien in Rot, Blau, Gold oder Silber. Beliebt sind blaue, auch rote Manteltucher" Masks are worn by girls/women from puberty onwards. Weight 240 grams

 

Antique Omani MaskAntique Omani Burqa

Omani Burqa indigo coloured

Arab name: Burqa silver chains; Burcu

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Central and Northern Oman.

The growing of indigo plants and the production of indigo still took place in Oman 40 years ago (see Ref 11)

Youtube slide-show of the Sinaw market in Oman:

 

 

    References:
  1. Arab & Islamic Silver by Saad Al-Jadir 1981  Stacey International p 94/95 very similar to ours! Very Rare
  2. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Part two p 492 / p 493 illustration 370 and 371
  3. Saad Al Jadir Arab & Islamic Silver 1981 p 94 / 95
  4. Ida Pfeiffer A woman´s journey around the world
  5. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 196/198
  6. "Indigo in the Arab world" 1997 by Jenny Balfour-Paul (who also studied indigo and the Zar ceremony in Oman)
  7. Vom Mittelmeer zum Persischen Golf Band II by von Oppenheim 1900 Berlin p 319 top p 327

  8. Throw down the anchor The story of the Muttrah souq by Maxine Burden, centre for Omani dress, Muscat Media Group page 2014 pages 200-201 Contains article on Indigo dying including masks.

  9. The traditional women's dress of Oman by Julia M. Stehlin-Alzadjali (centre for Omani Dress) Muscat press and publishing house (SAOC) 2010

  10. Staatliche Museen  zu Berlin Similar item but without the silver chains. Inventory Ident.Nr. I B 14354 size 20 by 25 cm; Also inventory Ident.Nr. I B 14366

  11. Traditional Spinning and Weaving in the Sultanate of Oman by Gigi Crocker Jones published by the Historical society of Oman 1989