Nomadic Rashaida family living at the dry and hot coastal plain of Eritrea.
Veiled from the age of five, Rashaida women are required by the law of purdah to cover their faces when they are in public. When they eat, they pass food beneath the mask,and when they sleep they must still remain lightly covered. The mask is only removed when they are alone with their husbands. The Rashaida believe that showing a smile, a sign of happiness, would be disrespectful to the Prophet Mohammed. They also view the mask as an expression of female beauty,and its elaborate style has remained unchanged for more than one hundred and fifty years