Wigs, burqas, hijabs: Exhibition looks at history of veiled women

DEBATES over hijabs, burqas and other textile coverings are raging throughout Europe. Are they religious garments or instruments of suppression – or even both?

An exhibition at the Jewish Museum Berlin is examining the concealment of women in Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

“Cherchez la femme” (Look for the woman) is the name of the exhibition, which runs until July 2 and traces the beginnings of the female concealment and discusses the reasons for it.

Whether the niqab or hijab for Muslims, the wigs of Jewish women or the habits of Christian nuns, the three major monotheistic religions all have overlapping concepts of female decency.

The three took on the traditions of the former culture between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers – what is today Iraq. The concealment back then however was a privilege of rich women, while slaves and prostitutes were left unprotected from the glares of men.

The exhibition features various forms of headwear but also modern examples, such as the full-body burqini, which is partially banned in France. (dpa)

A video installation on headscarves in the Jewish Museum Berlin as part of an exhibition examining the concealment of women in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. - DPA
A video installation on headscarves in the Jewish Museum Berlin as part of an exhibition examining the concealment of women in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. – DPA