Thursday, March 3, 2011

Batoola : Traditional Arab Mask

ever seen anyone wearing their tudung with this kind of mask?

no, she’s not wearing a solar-powered face covering. and no, she’s not on her way to a mardi gras ball. and no, definitely not wearing that to stop her from nagging to her husband!

this is actually a traditional arab mask, called the ‘batoola’, or ‘batulla’ – normally worn by *bedouin women.

the bedouin (from the arabic badawī (بدوي), pl. badw) are a part of the predominantly desert-dwelling arab ethnic group…the term is now often applied in many ways either to arabs in general or to desert dwellers or nomads.

~ wikipedia



the first time i saw a makcik arab wearing it, i was quite taken aback. it was fascinating because i've never seen one. even in books, or pictures or documentaries on tv – never! it's said that this is a dying cultural practice, and still uphold by those traditional bedouin people.



the lady at the back wearing ‘batoola’ with her black tudung


i was remembered of this ‘batoola’ when we went to dubai global village few weeks back.

the dubai global village itself covers an extensive ground, but in a few corners you will see wooden tents. there are cooking stations in there – complete with hot frying pan, and the works. these are actually home-like stalls for beduoin women to sell freshly-prepared food for sale.

they will have all the ingredients in there. they will prepare the raw materials there. they will mix and stir and roll and knead dough – they will prepare the dishes from scratch, for tourists to see.

kuih yang macam cakoi ade. tapi cicah dengan madu. macam capati pun ada. roti telur macam kat mamak pun ada, tapi lain sikit. macam-macam makanan tradisi masyarakat beduin.




now, if you notice, the lady with the black tudung sitting at the back wore gold-color cardboard-like 'mask' to cover her face. this is the traditional veil called 'batoola', worn mostly by makcik-makcik and opah-opah arab, especially in the village.


* * *

i read a few wonderment about this ‘batoola’ over the net. many questions the actual purpose for the ‘batoola’ – is it JUST to cover the aurah? if so why is it gold colored, and shaped like so? why couldn’t they simply use a black cloth?

is it to display or enhance beauty? is it to protect these women's modesty or is it a symbol of status? some say that, because the voice of a woman is her aurah, so traditional arab women wear the ‘batoola’ to ‘cover’ their voice? really?

if you ask me – it’s just their tradition, the tradition of the beduoin women. and they wear it as part of their hijab (tudung). just like victorian ladies wear corset as part of their dresses, and men wear the skirt-like sampin as part of their baju melayu or the unnecessary ‘tie’ around their neck when they wear suits!

nobody questions those!


the many gold-colored batoola (image : google)


what is it made of? contrary to what you may think, it’s not made of shiny metal – it’s made of soft cardboard, and sometimes just cloth.


The backs of two Qatari batulasource : here


well, we all learned something today! eh, pernah nampak pelancong arab di malaysia pakai ni tak jalan-jalan kat klcc?


transformed housewife said...

tak pernah nampak pulak minah2 arab pakai kat KLCC. ANak2 murid kat ELS pun tak de yg pakai "Batoolah". menarik jugak pasal org2 BAdwi ni. Mmg tak pernah tengok pun.

lil sharky said...

I've never seen those before but it's fascinating!

Zulaikha Mohamad said...

never seen one before... yg dtg2 klcc ni muda remaja lg kot.. haha.. but then it is interesting to look at..

Fara said...

hmm.. looks interesting, tak pernah nmpk lagi kat sini, kot ade yg pakai as masquerade ball je :)

Syigim said...

>> kak nur, kat dubai mmg biase nampak but when i first saw it mmg terkejut!

>> lil sharky, fascinating sbb first time nampak :)

Syigim said...

>> zulaikha, masa i mula2 nmpak, hati2 je so that xnampak mcm i ni stare kat diorang. nanti marah pulak. :P

>> fara, maybe laides bedaouin in bukan jenis travel2 ke oversea smpai ke msia kan.. so nampak diorang pakai benda tu kat middle east ni je

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