01 January 2010

Western Perspective on the Veil

"And how pretty they look, these women draped like phantoms in their black silks. Their long veils do not completely hide them...They are simply placed over their hair and leave uncovered the delicat features, the gold necklet and the half-bared arms that carry on their wrists thick twisted bravelets of virgin gold. Pure Egyptians as they are, they have preserved the same delicate profile, the same elongated eyes, as mark the old goddesses carved in bas-relief on the Pharaonic walls. But some, alas, amongst the young ones have discarded their traditional costume, and are arryed a la franque, in gowns and hats. And such gowns, such hats, such flowers! The very peasants of our meanest villages would disdain them. Oh! Why cannot someone tell these poor little women, who have it in their power to be so adorable, that the beautiful folds of their black veils give to them an exquisite and characteristic distinction, while this poor tinsel, which recalls the mid-Lent carnivals, makes of them objects that excite our pity."

-Pierre Lot, Egypt, p.111