Gold veil ornament for everyday use
20th century
Object Name: Veil ornament, mishbas
Period: 20th century
Date: 1900-1999
Provenance: Qatar
Dimensions: 4.56cm x 2cm x .37cm, weight: 2.76g
Medium: gold,glass
Registration Number: QNM.2012.138.1
This gold veil ornament, mishbas in Arabic, was used to pin a veil. The ring at one end would be sewn into a corner of the veil, while the hooked end would be used to attach it to another part once the veil had been wrapped around the head.

This example was made with machine tools rather than by traditional techniques. Production of this type stopped at the end of the 1980s because of a change in veils, materials and the ways in which the veil was worn, though some older women continued to wear it. This ornament has a pointed almond shape with floral decoration in the middle, and a red stone in the centre.
The Qatar Peninsula is surrounded by sea except in the south where it connects with its neighbours from the Arabian Peninsula. For hundreds of years people have shared the land, resources and knowledge inherited from their environment. With no fixed lifestyle in terms of time and place, people moved easily and freely between land and sea for trade, livestock, pearl diving, fishing, and hunting at various times throughout the year. This symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment was represented in the unity of their societies, including the exchange of knowledge, stories and the trading of available goods.

A distinctive characteristic of life on the Qatar Peninsula has long been the close association between the coast and the desert – al barr. Some desert tribes spent several months of the year in coastal cities, setting up semi-permanent residences to participate in pearl diving or fishing. Similarly, coastal residents occasionally moved to al barr during the winter to graze their livestock. This exchange of natural resources and the influence of different environments has contributed to the creation of a unique community.
The presence of British, French and Dutch trading companies in the Gulf from the early 1600s brought uncertainty to the region, with unstable alliances and intense competition over trade routes. As trade flourished, however, the strength of the Arab tribes increased. Many Arab tribes moved from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula to Qatar, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the major towns of the Gulf were founded. Several towns flourished on the Qatari coast, including Huwailah, Khor Hassan, Fuwairat, Ruwaida, Freiha, Al Bidda and Doha. The most notable was Al Zubara which became a hub for the Gulf pearl trade.