Dress (abaya), womens, cotton / brass / plastic, maker unknown, probably Yemen, 1953-2001
The abaya is the traditional dress worn by women in the Middle East, sometimes with a hijab or scarf. It is characterised by its modesty ensuring full-body length and long sleeves. As demonstrated by this example, abayas are often embellished with beads, sequins and heavy embroidery, when worn for special occasions or sold for the tourist market.
This particular abaya forms part of an extensive collection of textiles, dress and handiwork assembled from 1953 to 2001 by Mrs Helen McLeod Crocker, traveller and collector. Almost thirty countries are represented in the collection including Afghanistan, Australia, Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Central Asia, China, Europe, India, Japan, Kenya, Lao, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Salvador, Somalia, South America, Syria, Thailand, The Ivory Coast, Turkey and Yemen. Helen was very selective in the objects she acquired and the inspiration for her collection originated from her desire to preserve the true essence of the societies she encountered.
This dress was probably made in Yemen between 1953-2001.
This dress was collected by Mrs Helen Crocker during her travels, probably in Yemen (Middle East), between 1953 and 2001.