Publisher/Manufacturer: Islamic Clothing Co.
Product specifications: Headdress clothing article
Item type: Headdress clothing article
The keffiyeh (Arabic: ??????, kufiyyah, plural ??????, kufiyyat)), also known as a (ya)shmagh (from Turkish: yasmak "tied thing"), ghutrah (????), ?a??ah (????), mashadah (????) or shemagh is a traditional headdress typically worn by Arab men made of a square of cloth (“scarf”), usually cotton, folded and wrapped in various styles around the head. It is commonly found in arid climate areas to provide protection from direct sun exposure, as well as for occasional use in protecting the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand. Its distinctive woven check pattern originated in an ancient Mesopotamian representation of either fishing nets or ears of grain.
Many Palestinian keffiyeh are a mix of cotton and wool, which lets them dry quickly and keep the wearer’s head warm. The keffiyeh is usually folded in half, into a triangle, and the fold is worn across the forehead. Often, the keffiyeh is held in place by a rope circlet, called an agal (Arabic: ?????, ?iqal). Some wearers wrap the keffiyeh into a turban, while others wear it loosely draped around the back and shoulders. Sometimes a taqiyah is worn underneath the keffiyeh, and, in the past, it has also been wrapped around the rim of the fez. The keffiyeh is almost always of white cotton cloth, but many have a checkered pattern in red or black stitched into them. The plain, white keffiyeh is most popular in the Persian Gulf states, almost excluding any other style in Kuwait and Bahrain.
The black-and-white keffiyeh is a symbol of Palestinian heritage. The red-and-white keffiyeh is worn throughout these regions as well as in Somalia, but is most strongly associated with Jordan, where it is known as shmagh mhadab. The Jordanian keffiyeh has cotton decorative strings on the sides. It is believed that the bigger these strings, the more value it has and the higher a person’s status. It has been used by Bedouins throughout the centuries and was used as a symbol of honour and tribal identification.
The keffiyeh, especially the all-white version, can also be called a gutrah, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain (where the skullcap is confusingly called keffiyeh), but is also known in some areas as shmagh or ?a??ah.