Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brides of the Arab World: Mauritania and Libya

The Arabesque Festival: Brides of the Arab World- Mauritania and Libya


Moorish Wedding Dress
Since pre-colonial times, women in northern Mauritania have worn outfits such as this one for their wedding. Traditionally, the fabric is dyed with indigo, which is not only associated with good fortune but also offers protection from the sun. The color is also suitably subdued, as ostentatious hues are not considered appropriate. To complete the outfit the bride wears an "essabeh", a piece of jewelry draped across the forehead.

Haalpulaar Wedding Dress
The Haalpular, also known as the Toucouleurs, are among the ethnic groups that originally lived in southern Mauritania, near the border with Senegal. Still worn today, this dress style goes back to the days before the French colonized the country in the late 19th century. Originally such garments were made from white hand woven fabric; later, they were colored with organic dyes. Today, fabrics are machine women but are still hand dyed with natural pigments, in particular indigo, which is thought to bring good luck. Brides also wear a special braided hairstyle incorporating gold rings--the richer the bride, the more rings.


Tripoli Wedding Costume
Wedding dress styles vary throughout Libya-- in Tripoli, the capital, dresses are worn long; elsewhere n the country, they are shorter to show off gold- embroidered pant legs. In southern desert areas, dark cottons are common, whereas pale silks prevail to the north. Made of silk with silver and gold embroidery, this outfit features a dress and scarf along with a colorful beaded blouse, matching pants and a crystal-beaded vest with gold buttons. It is a recent reproduction of a traditional style still worn by Libyan brides.

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