My mother's mirror

COURTESY Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Khoori

I remember this mirror very, very well. It is one of the few items from my mother’s "areesh" house that I still own after all these years. There were similar mirrors in my aunties’ and cousins’ home. This mirror is eighty or ninety years old, and is typical of the small mirrors found in homes in Abu Dhabi during the 1950s and 1960s. The mirror is set in a cabinet-like wood frame with a shelf and narrow drawer. A small comb could fit in the drawer or on the shelf. Most of the combs used in Abu Dhabi during the 1950s and 1960s were made of wood imported from India. Some were locally made from imported wood. The locally made combs used by Bedouin tended to have fewer and longer teeth, useful for combing the long hair worn by men and women alike. Bedouin men wore long braids, a style that had faded out by the sixties. In the past, people spent little time looking at themselves in mirrors.

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