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NASHALISM (2017)

dedicated to my dearest Mother

“When the head of the house, or a son, returns from a long journey or the pearl banks, the woman of the house hangs up on a pole… one of her best and most brilliantly colored thaubs.  Among townswomen, this is hung up on the roof.”

 

H.R.P. Dickson, The  Arab of the  Desert, 1949

Thobe al nashals have been worn for decades in the Arabian Peninsula.  Eventually each Gulf Nation had it’s own unique and slightly different interpretation of it.

 

According to master thobe maker, Mohamed Saleh from Bahrain: “The thobe nashal is the Queen of thobes.”

 

Whether one is a bride or attending a religious or formal event, there is one that befits the occasion.  The designs have changed with the years, always reflecting the era; reminiscent of military badges that reveal ones rank in the field.  Years ago the motifs were more floral with ornate medalions such as the symbol of the crescent moon and star; nowadays it has the possibility of showing a woman’s unique signature.  The woman wears her own banner of representation.

 

In other words, these thobes reflect her culture and identity representing the “rank” one has in society or what tribe she belongs to.

 

In my journey, I wear the banner of my choice.  That of a strong woman standing proudly on a rooftop overlooking the sea.  Arms open like a web attracting those who need courage to stand up for themselves.  I bear my quilted memories and emblems.

 

Soldiers wear heavy metal armor yet I flow in the softness of my strength; glittering in the glowing golden light for all to see.

 

Don’t be confused by my camouflage; I’m not here to be invisible, I’m here to be the lighthouse of liberty.

 

Credit goes to an article written by Kay Hardy Campbell in AramcoWorld, March/April issue 2016

 

a very special thanks to Mohamed Saleh, Master Zari house of Bahrain

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