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A Costume Trope where the face is covered either partially or fully with an opaque or semi-transparent veil. Which just begs the question: What's under it?

This trope is almost omnipresent in works set in the "Arabian Nights" Days, where it may be combined with Belly Dancer or Bedlah Babe. Can be part of Hiding in a Hijab when used to hide one's identity, especially if the veiled character is actually a man Disguised in Drag. It's also often used to hide less attractive facial features, in which case The Reveal is often Played for Laughs especially if some hapless suitor had been pursuing her before this, and will often result in him running away as soon as he finds out, doubling with Abhorrent Admirer if she keeps after him. Or, because the audience will often get suspicious when this trope is used and be expecting a gag, it turns out that the face underneath is actually beautiful, making it an example of Playing with a Trope.

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If the veil just covers the mouth expect this character to do a lot of Eye Takes to show their expressions. And because the mouth flaps don't have to be animated with an opaque veil it can provide a method of Filming for Easy Dub.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In AKIRA, Kei sometimes veils her face when walking the ruins of Tokyo to hide the fact that she's a rather beautiful young woman. This trope is invoked when a roving gang realizes that she's female and try to tear the veil off to see what she looks like underneath.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Izutsumi wears one in her first appearance as a member of Shuro's party.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ishizu Ishtar wears one while on the Battle City blimp up until her first duel. It's not exactly clear why she's wearing it, as the audience is aware of her identity the whole time and she does not interact with the cast in any way until she discards it.
  • To Love-Ru: Lala's mother is a member of an Inhumanly Beautiful Race and so wears a veil in public to not cause disruptions. From the audience's perspective, her facial features tend to be completely unobstructed.
  • Queen Horn wears one during the first arc of the anime version of Violinist of Hameln. Presumably this is so that nobody would be able to figure out what her daughter looks like, since she takes it off once she is reunited with Flute.

    Comic Books 
  • In Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix, there's a prostitute named "Two Moons" because of her most distinctive feature who wears a hat with a veil that hides her rather unattractive face.
  • Way back in the early days of the Justice Society of America, Johnny Thunder was thrown back in time and was betrothed to a princess who always wore a veil. She turned out to be quite ugly under the veil and he promptly fled once he saw this.
  • Sooraya Qadir of the New X-Men, seeing as she's an Afghani Muslim, specifically it's a Niqab. She has appeared without it a few times, including a particular instance where X-23 stole her Niqab in order to impersonate her and Sooraya ran outside in her underwear, shocking another student not because of her attire but because he could see her face.
  • In the comic series Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, villain Paul van Minct wears a very odd-looking irregularly-shaped veil in a mosaic pattern, because he's actually Moorcock's recurring villain Gaynor the Damned, who has to hide his Chaos-affected face.
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    Film 
  • In Aladdin, the three Fanservice Extra harem girls who appear in the "One Jump Ahead" and "Prince Ali" musical numbers wear small, transparent veils over their mouths, colored the same as their clothes. They are the only female characters who do so.
  • In the second Deuce Bigalow movie there is a woman from Chernobyl who is wearing a veil to hide that she has a penis on her face as a result of a mutation.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Sybilla adopts the local custom of wearing a veil—sometimes translucent, sometimes opaque—on the first two occasions when she rides out to meet with Balin.
  • In Wild Wild West, Jim West is masquerading as a female belly dancer named Ebonia in order to infiltrate Loveless' hideout, and wears a veil as part of his disguise.
  • Princess Zuleria wears a semi-transparent veil over the lower half of her face in the 1979 film Arabian Adventure.
  • The title character in Queen of Outer Space wears a white mask that is assumed to be the Venusian version of this trope. It hides a face that has been disfigured by radiation burns, fueling her obsessive hatred of all Men and desire to destroy the Earth!
  • In The Mummy (1999), Evy is briefly seen wearing a sheer veil over her lower face when Rick and Jonathan are buying the camels after the riverboat battle. The sight of her in her native clothes and veil certainly catches Rick’s attention. Seen here at the beginning of this clip.

    Literature 
  • Diana, the mysterious police informant in The State Counsellor always appears to her visitors with a veil hiding her face—on the one hand, to protect her identity, but on the other, to hide the fact that she has a hideous facial deformity.
  • Orual of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces begins wearing one shortly before she becomes queen because her face isn't especially attractive. As a result, she becomes the subject of much rumor among the populace, and she unintentionally highlights just how shapely the rest of her body is.
  • In The Adventure of The Veiled Lodger, Sherlock Holmes deals with a mysterious lady in a veil who's unnerving her landlady. She turns out to be one of those using the veil to cover an unattractive feature, although there's nothing remotely funny about how this came to be.
  • In The Wheel of Time:
    • The Aiel veil their faces before going into battle and are a Proud Warrior Race so famous that "like a veiled Aiel" is a common idiom for someone with an intimidating presence. This leads to odd situations like Aiel fighting off a nighttime raid while wearing nothing but their veils. Although the veils have a psychological effect similar to Faceless Mooks (although in combat the Aiel are a formidable Badass Army), they originally marked the shame of having turned away from the pacifistic ways of their ancestors.
    • Wearing translucent veils is also a custom among both men and women in Tarabon, and the country's soldiers wear chainmail "veils" in battle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the ancient demon lord Pale Night, Mother of Demons, appears as a shapely humanoid whose face and body are veiled in a flowing white shroud. The shroud is reality itself trying to reject something impossibly awful; peeking underneath instantly kills anyone whose brain doesn't just glitch out and suppress the image.

    Video Games 
  • Agahnim of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past wears a veil over his mouth. It provides emphasis for his scowling eyes.
  • In Mass Effect Tali'zorah's environmental suit, which covers her entire body and only gives us a vague glimpse at her eyes and nose through the mask, effectively serves this purpose. The developers admitted to taking inspiration from this trope, and the actual reveal of her face in the third game was not particularly well received since it amounted to a photoshopped picture of a real-life model in a stock image, demonstrating that sometimes it's best to keep the mystery a mystery.
  • Kitana and and clone Mileena of Mortal Kombat, though in Mileena's case it's to cover up her teeth. It's also used by their Palette Swaps Jade and Khameleon.
  • Mung-Tsang wears one in Suikoden Tierkreis to hide the fact that her tattoos (a mark of her clan) have been magically turned red to mark her betrayal of the Tatau Council.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Umagon initially uses a veil to disguise her nature as a mutant, but in truth it's not all that effective. When meeting Mike McNeil, she takes it off in her first scene after determining that she needs GDI's help, while after killing a Nod soldier on live camera, they don't need to expend much effort to digitally remove it and expose her identity.
  • NieR: Automata: Operators 21O and 6O are non-Arabic examples since they are robot girls that wear dark veils across their face for some reason. In 21O's case, its fitting for her cold and aloof personality.

    Web Comics 
  • Thistle of Daughter of the Lilies always appears with some manner of face covering, and has had several variants. Whatever her deal is she does not want anyone seeing her real face, and so far the only facial feature that's been concretely established for her is her Innocent Blue Eyes.
  • Luna of Dominic Deegan first appears with one to cover up her tusks, which she is incredibly sensitive about.
  • This seems to be a part of drow fashion, since Diva'ratrika, Mikilu, and Vidhi'yani of Drowtales have one. In the latter two's cases it's probably because they're Imperial Overseers who are ostensibly extensions of Diva'ratrika's power. Chrys'tel also starts wearing one after the timeskip when she officially becomes an Overseer. Some Jaal'darya are also seen with them when they go out in public, including Wa'fay, and the Kyorl'solenurn Judicators all wear them in public to hide that most of them are actually Light Elves.

    Western Animation 
  • The Painted Lady, a powerful river spirit, wears one of these in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In addition to adding to her ghostly apparel, it also makes it much easier for Katara to imitate her and give hope to an impoverished town.
  • The assassin Curare from Batman Beyond wears one, and given how Terry reacts when he knocks it off plus concept art of her face, it's pretty obvious why she wears it.
  • In one Johnny Bravo episode, Johnny learns his date is a werewolf. So they can eat at the restaurant in peace, the girl puts a veil over her muzzle. "Now no one will ever know!" It works, too, until the veil falls off.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mane Attraction" Applejack's childhood friend Rara, aka Countess Coloratura wears one as part of her on-stage getup. It's symbolic of how she's been hiding her true self in favor of the persona her manager Svengallop created for her, and her discarding it at the end shows her embracing her real personality and calling him out for his manipulation of her.
  • There's a sketch in Tiny Toon Adventures where Lucky Duck does a mission to try for the hand of a woman in a veil who dances for him. It's Elmyra.
  • In one Woody Woodpecker cartoon, Socko in Morocco, Woody and Buzz Buzzard fight over a harem girl; in the end Buzz lifts the veil to see a horridly ugly face. Woody then finds out after Buzz gives up that the ugly face was a mask and she's actually beautiful.
  • Princess Yum-Yum from The Thief and the Cobbler wears a transparent one combined with a bedlah that really does nothing to hide her body or facial features.


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