Linen, silk, and metal
Overall: 210.8 x 17.1 cm (83 x 6 3/4 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1221
Slender gray lines made in pencil or chalk trace out unstitched designs on this elaborate ritual cap.
Beniqa were stylish headdresses that women wore when visiting the hammam (steam bath). The linen fabric absorbed the damp from their wet hair. With its gold and silver metal thread, shimmering spangles, and brightly colored threads forming flowers and vines, this beniqa was a ceremonial garment worn for the ritual bath before a Jewish woman’s wedding; it was also part of her dowry. After toweling off her hair, a woman made two braids, which she would then twist into the cap’s fabric and tie on her head, with the gold-fringed ends trailing down.
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