Siwa Head and Body Coverings (Egypt)

A black, bridal head covering from the Siwa oasis, Egypt. A black, bridal head covering from the Siwa oasis, Egypt.

In the Siwa oasis, in the Western desert of Egypt, women used to wear two types of embroidered head and body coverings. The first type is a black bridal cover and is called a troket. The second is a large head and body covering worn by married women.

The bridal cover is made of black silk or a comparable material with woven stripes. The edges of the troket are decorated with thick tassels at each end. The head covering is further decorated with lines of embroidery that cover its surface. Normally there are unbroken lines of decorative stitching, alternating with lines of equally spaced, little motifs. The lines and motifs are of varying widths and are worked in black, green, orange, red and white embroidery thread.

The second type is traditionally worn by a married woman. It is a blue and white cotton covering (tarfutet) made of two lengths of cloth sewn together. The cloth used to be woven at Kerdasa near Cairo. The final garment measures about 250 x 175 cm. It is used to cover the wearer’s body from head to foot. A tarfutet is normally embroidered along the seam line in the form of an elaborate band (taksart). The covering has a small section of embroidered decoration (kushit) used to cover the upper half of the face. This panel usually has a protective hand motif or an eight-pointed star, and is worn against the wearer’s forehead. A similar panel is at the opposite side of the tarfutet, which is worn at the wearer's heels.

See also: Siwa bridal dresses; Siwa bridal footwear; Siwa bridal outfit; Siwa bridal trousers; Siwa oasis embroidery


  • ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM GENEVA (1986). Égypte, Oasis d’Amun-Siwa, Geneva: Musée d’Ethnographie.
  • MEHREZ, Shahira and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016). 'Embroidery from Egypt', in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Publishers, pp. 264-293, esp. pp. 284-292.
  • VALE, Margaret Mary (2011). Sand and Silver: Jewellery, Costume and Life in Siwa Oasis, York: York Publishing Services Ltd.


A married woman's head and body covering from the Siwa oasis, Egypt. TRC Collection 1997.0270.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 September 2016 19:31