Maslawi women were the biggest victims under Daesh-occupied Mosul. This exquisite veiled woman evokes a sadness and wistfulness in the viewer. In the lower left and the centre of the painting sits the hamsa hand - a symbol shaped as a hand palm with five fingers.
Found throughout the Middle East and northern Africa, in particular among the Islamic and Jewish faiths, it is known both in Arabic and Hebrew as a hamsa (lit. ‘five’ in Arabic). As a Muslim symbol the hamsa hand is known as ‘the hand of Fatima’, the daughter of Muhammad. In Islamic culture it is thought to be a symbolic representation of the five pillars of Islam. As a Jewish symbol the hamsa is related to as ‘the hand of Miriam’. In Christian communities, the hamsa hand is often referred to as ‘the hand of God’ and sometimes ‘the healing hand’. Among Levantine Christians it is called 'the hand of Mary', for the Virgin Mary.