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March 21, 2020

Rare Photos of Baluchi Women in Their Traditional Masks in Muscat, Oman From the Early 20th Century

The Omani burqa is a female identity in the nomadic desert. It covers the lower part of the face — from mouth to chin — and partially covers the forehead.

The size and shape of the Burqa, the facial mask, differs from region to region and it comes in different colors. It is predominantly made of fabric known as Sheil.

Girls begin to use burqa at the age of 14 or once they get engaged. It is part of the Omani tradition, which is dying slowly as women replaced burqa with other face make-up. But still the mask enhances the beauty of women.

The reason of why they wear it. Because the burqa is not a tool to cover the face from men’s gaze. It was a tool to protect women from the sun and sand. As you know, Oman is located in the Arab Peninsula and the Arab Peninsula is practically one big sandbox. For the people who still aren’t convinced and wonder why men don’t wear it if the Omani burqa is for protection: actually they have their own “burqa”, the keffiyeh –also known as a turban.

Today the burqa has become a fashion item worn all over the country. A beautiful quote said by an Omani woman to end with: “We wear the burqa not because we feel ashamed to appear without it, but because it is nicer to appear with it.”


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