Omani antique shoes
Omani antique wooden sandals with silver toe-pins
WOOD incl CHESTS

The most impressive items made of wood by the Omani are of course the different types of Arab ships including the Baghlah, Ghanjah,  Boom, Battil, Sanbuq, Jalbut, Baqqarah etc. The large pre-20th century wooden ships also had beautiful carvings like we still find on Omani doors in Zanzibar and Oman and also on the "Malabar" chest. The Slavery section has an antique photo of an Omani ship. A famous place  for building ships is the town of Sur. 

Our collection contains understandably only smaller examples of woodwork including Omani chests (Mandoos Mandus), writing boxes, jar, camel saddle, wooden shoes, measurement jar etc. The oldest (very large) chests found in Oman are of Portuguese origin and are made of extremely hard teak-wood that possibly  originates from South America. These chests have no decoration and the hinges are made of metal wire. These are extremely rare.The next oldest category are the Shiraz chests. These are also large (have not seen any smaller ones) with thick brass decoration pieces. The design of these has clearly been derived from Dutch VOC chests that were probably made in Choromandel (Sounthern India) or Ceylon (Sri Lankha) and  Batavia Dutch colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. No examples added as they were too big to fit in my home. The next category are the Surat and Bombay chests typically made of "regional"  teak, rosewood  or East African bread tree wood. A useful source but with many questions remaining is the book by Sheila Unwin. I have added again from the swords and shields section a "Baluchi shield" from Oman with brass decoration as it has similarities with the Shiraz chests and the brass decorations just inside the steel band are almost identical to the top of an Saidi Khanjar! An early description of Omani (Zanzibari) doors can be found in J.J. Adie A Guide to Zanzibar 1949 page 101-103 (reproduced form an article in the East African Standard in 1946.

Omani antique chest Mandoos 

Omani antique Mandus (wedding-chest)

Emily Ruete in her memoirs of an Arabian Princess 1886, when discussing the furniture in the palace she grew up says: " we had a sort of chest or trunk with usually two or three drawers, and inside a secret hiding place for money and jewellery. These trunks , of which there usually were several in each room, were very large, made of rosewood  and beautifully adorned with thousands of small , yellow studs with brass heads"   Princess Emily left Zanzibar in 1867, so by then chests with many brass nails were used in the Omani palaces and houses in Zanzibar.

antique Omani writingbox

Pair of Omani antique wooden sandals / shoes

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Slideshow Omani antique wooden shoes

Very rare pair of  carved wooden sandals for Omani towns-women made of rosewood with silver toe-pins and bells so you could timely hear the lady approaching. Nowadays wooden shoes  are associated with the Turkish bath, however originally these shoes were also worn in the Harem and even on the street, we have several 19th century photos on the website to confirm this. For very similar shoes see the photo of Bibi Salme (in the slide-show) in her memoirs of an Arabian princess.  Height 7 cm (excluding silver pin) Length 26 cm.  Some "magic" moon / star symbols  have been punctured in the surface of the shoe. See picture Ingrams Ref 4 page 463 for similar magic symbols to protect against evil spirits.

Antique Omani shoes

Emily Ruete writes in her Memoirs of an Arabian Princess 1886 about the sounds in the  harem of the palace she grew up : "Children of the most diverse ages were running, quarrelling and fighting in every corner. In between resounding loud summons and clapping hands, which in the Orient is the equivalent of ringing a bell for the servants. Add to this the rattle of the women's wooden sandals, the kabakib (singular kubah), five to ten cm high and often adorned with silver or gold" These wooden shoes were typically only worn at home.

Antique Omani shoes

Arab Name: Qurhaf or Kabakib / Kubkah

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman Zanzibar.

During 18th /19th century also comparable sandals (but different decoration)  were used in Western India (named Paduka) often covered in silver or made of brass/bronze: See Bata shoe museum.

    References:
  1. See the famous photo of Princess Bibi Salme wearing them in Oman Adorned and other books for similar shoes
  2. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume two  page 463 illustration 167 (but with wooden toe-pins)
  3. Oman Exhibition Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 catalog p 141
  4. Zanzibar Its History and its people by W.H. Ingrams 1931
  5. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ethnologisches Museum Ident.Nr. III E 4685 a,b Similar item without the central wooden support. Also our shoes do not have the bells on the sides. From the collection of Karl Reinhardt 19-th century. Height x Length x wide: 14 x 24,2 x 8,5 cm Height: 9,3 cm (without the toe pin) Title:  Sandaletten einer Prinzessin

Two silver toe-pins for wooden sandals / shoes (very old)

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Slideshow Two silver toe-pins for wooden shoes

 

Two very rare Omani silver toe-pins for wooden sandals (without bells) and without the shoes. The toe-pins were sold as kohl-pots in the Nizwa souq. Height 5 cm.

 

In the slide-show we have added a photo of a pair of antique Omani wooden sandals with similar silver toe pins. These sandals are discussed in more detail   in the "wood" section.

 antique omani silver toe-pins

Omani Name: Qurhaf (wooden shoe); Kabakib / Kubkah

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman or Zanzibar

    References:
  1. See the famous photo of Princess Bibi Salme wearing the shoes in Oman Adorned and other books for similar shoes.
  2. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume two page 463 illustration 167 (but with wooden toe-pins)
  3. Oman Exhibition Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 catalogue p 141.

Omani antique chest named Mandus in Arabic. This is a wedding-chest in"Bombay style" made of Teak wood

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Slideshow Omani Chest Mandoos

Very rare complete Omani wedding chest named Mandoos / Mandus in the Bombay style. There is however no evidence that a Bombay chest was made in Bombay.... Made of some sort of red teak-wood. (very heavy) Signs of wear by ropes around the chest, in the book Alarms and Excursions (London edition) you can see on a photo a similar chest being transported by a camel. In an earlier article this chest was classified as a Surat type chest. Our chest complies fully with the description of a Bombay chest Type 1 (page 83/84) in the book of Sheila Unwin (Ref 1) :

  • Wood: Teak (very heavy and pretty)
  • Size (lid) 107 by 48 cm and 49 cm high
  • Sheeting (not very thick) perforated and punched
  • Studs and knobs: Handmade, small -headed, with short square shafts. Knobs on the front and on the lid
  • Lid: similar to Surat chest with square corner mounts with arrow like groups of studs pointing inwards. Central studding lobed
  • Hinges: Bombay style finials with 5 spikes above a cutout cross. Looks like an abstract palm-tree
  • Hasp: Elaborate Bombay style hasp with intricate cut-work
  • Handles: on the side C-shaped hung from sockets on a cast phoenix backplate
  • Drawer: Three drawers.One drawer with a Shiraz handle, one with a Rococo handle and one handle missing
  • Secret compartment beneath internal till. In the secret compartment a Maria Theresia Thaler and a few pieces of silver were found!

Our chest is identical to that shown in the top photo on page 83 of Unwin´s The Arab Chest (Ref 1) . These chests are very rare to find in good condition. Pearce in his book on Zanzibar 1920  Ref 9 p 226 writes: The Eastern does not believe in banks. If he has spare cash he prefers to keep it in a strong wooden chest in his house, where he knows it will be guarded by his trusty ancestral blade. These boxes are known to Europeans as Zanzibar chests.The more ornamental and smaller are favorite purchases. They are still used by Arabs in their houses and the brass studded chests are favored by Arab ladies for the safekeeping of their treasures and jewels. Some of these boxes possess a secret compartment. In purchasing a chest the following points are worthy of attention: The lid should be without join, the brass sheet should be thick. and the devices cut thereon should be well-defined patterns: In most genuine chests the remains of a gold colored tinsel will be seen underlying the brass decorations. More brass bosses there are the better; the lock hasp should be as elaborate as possible and the perforations should form a definite pattern" Note the guidance in Sheila Unwin´s book is probably better.

Antique Omani chest

 

Antique Omani mandoos

Antique Omani chest

 

 

Arab Name: Mandus Mandoos or Sanduq

Period: 1820-1920 Emily Ruete in her memoirs of an Arabian Princess 1886, when discussing the furniture in the palace she grew up says: " we had a sort of chest or trunk with usually two or three drawers, and inside a secret hiding place for money and jewellery. These trunks , of which there usually were several in each room, were very large, made of rosewood  and beautifully adorned with thousands of small , yellow studs with brass heads"   Princess Emily left Zanzibar in 1867, so by then chests with many brass nails were used in the Omani palaces and houses in Zanzibar.

Origin: Oman Zanzibar.

    References:
  1. Sheila Unwin The Arab chest Arabian publishing  2006 /2007 p 82-84
  2. Sheila Unwin Dhow-trade chests Kenya Past and Present issue 19 p 34-43
  3. Sheila Unwin in Seafarers of The Gulf: Arab Chests 1992  p 62-69
  4. J.J. Adie A Guide to Zanzibar 1949 page 104-107 contains a detailed description of the different types of Zanzibar "Arab" chests. Main categories Persian, Surat, Bombay and Malabar chests. This was a copy of an article in the East African Standard in 1947. He also mentions that during the 1930´s Omani chests were being imitated for the tourist trade. These imitations have iron rather than brass studs.
  5. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 1 p 246-248; Volume 2 page 277-283;page 461 illustration. 154;
  6. Robert Richmond Tribute to Oman 24th national day 1994 The bottom drawer. p 65-69
  7. Carter Tribes in Oman p 112
  8. A tribute to Oman National day 1987 "chests to treasure: Raising the lid on a fascinating art form" by Robert Richmond Apex p 144
  9. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 140
  10. Zanzibar The Island Metropolis of Eastern Africa by F.B. Pearce 1920 (reprint 1967) p 226
  11. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 143 photo with similar item

Omani antique chest named Mandus in Arabic This is an antique wedding-chest in Malabar style made of Rosewood

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Mandoos Omani antique wedding-chest Malabar style

 

 

Rare Omani wedding Chest named Mandoos / Mandus in the  Malabar style.  There is no evidence that a Malabar chest was made in Malabar. These are the only chests that are carved. Our chest without stand / drawers is very similar to that shown in The Arab Chest (Ref 1) on page 85. For details see page 88:

  • Wood: Rosewood
  • Size: (lid) 95 by 45 cm  and 42 cm high
  • Brass: Slightly thick plates/inlays.
  • Front carved with very fine (!)  flower and fruit symbols. Brass inlays. One lock. No fleur de lys finials.
  • Hasp: Simple and  similar to that for the small Bombay chest. Normally not present on this type of chest.   Behind the hasp is a lock.
  • Back and sides beautifully carved with detailed geometric patterns.
  • Reinforcing straps Perforated on the front and plain on the back.
  • Lid four  corner-mounts elongated with fleur de lys finials pointing inwards. Central oval disks sparsely arranged horizontally. Moldings on edges are attached to the undersides and the join strengthened with quatre-foils. separated by vertical brass strips. On our lid some of the inlays are very worn and or missing.
  • Hinges heavy and thick having a bulbous finial with cut-outs terminating in a fleur de lis.
  • No secret compartment. Drawers in the stand (not here)
  • Handles: shallow W shape carried on cups attached to qua trefoil disks.
  • One compartment inside

The carved fruit can be "breadfruit", or "Durian" or "Pine-apple", but breadfruit most likely. Note that the Breadfruit tree is native to Malabar as well as to East Africa. Malabar chests in southern Oman tend to be made from teak wood and not very old. Malabar Chests with such fine woodcarving are rare.  See the slide-show for an example of woodwork on the traditional Omani dhow.

Antique Omani malabar chest

                                                                              Front of the chest
 

Antique Omani chest

   Back of the chest

 

Antique Arab chest

Side of the Chest

 

Arab Name: Mandus Mandoos or Sanduq

Period: 18501900

Origin: Oman (note the similar carving on doors in Oman and Zanzibar) ; Unwin unclear on origin ;  Carter ref 5 page 109 shows an example with poor carving he says: This chest is from Bombay (??) and the pineapple pattern is much favored in the region of the Hadramawt (Yemen) and Dhufar (Oman)  . This one was acquired in Salalah Comment: Carters chest is a later copy made of teak wood. 

    References:
  1. Sheila Unwin The arab chest Arabian publishing  2006 /2007 p 85-89.
  2. J.J. Adie A Guide to Zanzibar 1949 page 104-107 contains a detailed description of the different types of Zanzibar "Arab" chests. Main categories Persian, Surat & Bombay chests. This was a copy of an article in the East African Standard in 1947. He also mentions that during the 1930´s Omani chests were being imitated for the tourist trade. These imitations have iron rather than brass studs.
  3. Sheila Unwin Dhowtrade chests Kenya Past and Present issue 19 p 34-43.
  4. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 1 p 246-248; Volume 2 page 277-283;page 461 illustration. 154
  5. Robert Richmond Tribute to Oman 24th national day 1994 The bottom drawer. p 65-69
  6. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 109
  7. A tribute to Oman National day 1987 "chests to treasure: Raising the lid on a fascinating art by" Robert Richmond. Apex  p 144
  8. Athman H. Athman STYLES OF SWAHILI CARVING, AAP 47 (1996). 11-29

Omani antique chest named Mandoos in Arabic. This is an antique wedding-chest in the "Shisam / Makran" style

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Mandoos Oman antique wedding-chest Shisam Makran style

 

 

 

Unusual  Omani Chest named Mandus possibly in  the Shisam or Makran style  see The Arab Chest by Sheila Unwin  (Ref 1):

  • Wood: Teak or Shisham
  • Size: Size (lid) 37 cm by 81 cm and  40 cm high
  • Reinforcement straps: Functional and made of thick quality brass
  • Studs: very large and hand made! no Knobs.
  • Front: two circular mounts and the hasp superimposed on a large triangular group of studding.
  • Hasp: Similar to the Shiraz /Surat  like style and fits over a staple on a plate.
  • Hinges Similar to the   Shirz / Surat style 
  • Handles: Simple iron or steel C-shaped
  • Secret compartment: no secret compartment. However two tills present.

This chest  was difficult to fit into a particular category. 

  1. The large handmade studs are very unusual. 
  2. The matching hinges, hasp and corner pieces  all made of very thick brass and with dot in circle designs seem to be very old.
  3. The design of the hinges and hasp are  closest to the Shiraz and Surat  styles.
  4. The curved design of the lower wooden part of the chest (fretted base)  reminds of the Shisham or Makran style.

Antique Omani chest

Front of the chest

Omani chest

Hinges of the chest

Arab chest

Side of the chest

 

Arab Name: Mandus Mandoos or Sanduq

Period: 1850-1920

Oman: Probably Oman / maybe UAE Maybe made or decorated by seamen on a Dhow .

    References:
  1. Sheila Unwin The Arab chest Arabian publishing  2006 /2007 .
  2. J.J. Adie A Guide to Zanzibar 1949 page 104-107 contains a detailed description of the different types of Zanzibar "Arab" chests. Main categories Persian, Surat & Bombay chests. This was a copy of an article in the East African Standard in 1947. He also mentions that during the 1930´s Omani chests were being imitated for the tourist trade. These imitations have iron rather than brass studs. 
  3. Sheila Unwin Dhow-trade chests Kenya Past and Present issue 19 p 34-43.
  4. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 1 p 246-248; Volume 2 page 277-283; page 461 illustration. 154;
  5. Robert Richmond Tribute to Oman 24th national day 1994 The bottom drawer. p 65
  6. A tribute to Oman National day 1987 "chests to treasure: Raising the lid on a fascinating art from" Robert Richmond. Apex p 144

For a very similar chest see the following UAE Youtube film:

Two Antique Omani locks for a Mandus (Omani chest )

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Omani lock for a Mandoos (Omani chest )

 

Two rare examples of antique locks and keys used for an Omani Mandoos ( Omani chest) . Made of steel and with brass decoration including flower / vine engraving. Very rare to find good examples.

 Antique Omani mandoos lock

Antique lock for an Omani chest

Antique Omani lockAntique Omani mandoos lock

Antique Omani lock

Name: Two examples of proper antique Omani locks  for the Omani Mandoos / Chest

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman Zanzibar

    References:
  1. The Craft heritage of Oman Vol 1 Richardson & Dorr page 248-249;
  2. A tribute to Oman National day 1987 "chests to treasure: Raising the lid on a fascinating art form" Robert Richmond. Apex p 144 
  3.  Max von Oppenheim in his book vom Mittelmeer zum Perzischen Golf band II illustration after page 250, but not exactly the same type.
  4. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 149 photo with similar item

Antique Omani cash box with silver bosses

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Sideshow Antique Omani writing box with silver bosses

Rare type of Omani cash-box. Cash-box is the name given to Arab chests less than 60 cm long, fitted with an internal framework containing small individual compartments. Cash boxes are derived from western writing boxes. Sometimes they are also called pearl chests. Silver nails and lock-plate have been sued.  Larger Omani chests with silver studs do exist, but are exceptionally rare.

Summarizing: small writing or cash box with traditional Omani geometric designs:

  • Wood: Rosewood
  • Front: Geometric decoration probably burned into the wood (=pyro engraving) plus silver plate with floral designs around the lock hole.
  • Top: Same design as the front but without the silver plate but with a brass handle.
  • Silver studs on front and on the top
  • Brass hinges (without spikes)
  • Size 35 by 16,5 and 9 cm high

 For similar technique of burning geometrical pyro engraved designs into the wood see powder boxes/tubes HvWO 119.

antique Omani cash box

Antique Omani writingbox

 Antique Omani writing box

Name: Antique Omani cash box with silver studs and silver lock-plate.

Period: 1850-1900

Origin: Oman Zanzibar

References:

  1. Sheila Unwin The arab chest Arabian publishing 2006 /2007 p 100-103 Cash-boxes
  2. Catalogue Oman exhibition Nieuwe kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 10,27, 54
  3. Athman H. Athman STYLES OF SWAHILI CARVING, AAP 47 (1996). 11-29

Antique Omani wooden camel saddle. Carved with geometrical patterns.

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Omani Wooden camel sadle

 

Rare (finely worked) Omani wooden camel saddle. Carved with geometrical patterns. The circular patterns  are also found as decoration on the barrels of Omani matchlocks (Abu Fathilah) of the 17th century see ref 4 page 147. Very high quality.  Measures 22 cm high 26 cm wide

 Antique Omani camel saddle

 antique Omani camel saddle

antique Omani wooden camel saddle

Arab Name: Shdad

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman

    References:
  1. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 2 page 334:337;463 illustration. 164 (example on the right is very similar)
  2. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 112 (on the Omani chest)
  3. A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  4. Oman Exhibition Nieuwe Kerk catalogue page 1472009
  5. Tribute to Oman 22nd National day. "Copper Craftsmanship" By Robert Richmond p 140 (happens to contain a photo of a similar saddle)
  6. British Museum has a similar item reg. 2011,6009.38.a-e Small wooden pack-saddle for camels, also called a 'saddle tree' or 'camel tree', made in five parts. The four legs of the saddle are made of carved wood decorated with concentric circles and zigzag patterns. The seat of the saddle is made of two lengths of carved wood that are held together with twine made of straw. The diminutive wooden saddle tree or camel tree (shdad) is carved from sidr [wood] or salam [wood] in four pieces which are joined together to form two parallel arches connected by a crossbar on each side. Two types of saddle tree are used in Oman. The sturdy shdad madalla', used for carrying heavy loads, is large, approximately 40 cm high and 35 cm across the base of the arch. The shdad katibi is smaller, approximately 20 cm high and 20 cm wide, and is used for travelling and ceremonial events. The shdad katibi is often intricately carved, and may feature brass inlay

Finely carved Omani wooden shoe

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Finely carved Omani wooden shoe

Very rare finely carved Omani wooden shoe made  of rosewood the, however the toe-pin is missing.  Has nice palm-tree designs. The shape is different as the shoe plateau has a horizontal "bar" with triangle  engraving. While the previous set of shoes has three wooden triangles under the middle pf the plateau to give extra strength. Nowadays they are associated with the Turkish bath, however originally these shoes were also worn in the Harem and even on the street. Length 27 cm. 

Antique Omani wooden shoe

Antique Omani wooden shoe

Arab Name: Qurhaf

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman Zanzibar

During 18th /19th century also similar shoes (but different decoration) were used in Western India (named Paduka)often covered in silver or made of brass/bronze. See Bata shoe museum.

    References:
  1. See the famous photo of Princess Bibi Salme wearing them in Oman Adorned and other books for similar shoes
  2. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume two page 463 illustration 167 (but with wooden toe-pins)
  3. Oman Exhibition Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 catalog p 141.
  4. Volkerenkundig museum Leiden Inventory 5310-8a Some similarities with ours. North Pakistan? length 27 cm

Antique Omani cash box

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Antique Omani writing box

Scarce Omani cash-box. Cash-box is the name given to Arab chests less than 60 cm long, fitted with an internal framework containing small individual compartments. Cash boxes are derived from western writing boxes.  Sometimes they are also called pearl chests. The eye motif  in the shape of a flower is highly unusual on a cash-box but it is very common on Omani dhows! See ref 4 page 47 for same symbol on a dhow! Cash or Writing box with:

  • Wood: Probably teak 
  •  Rose design in a circle on top. Fine similar design on old Omani ships (see book Seafarers of the Gulf p 47 "eye in the shape of a flower" ) and Omani doors.
  • Western style hinges
  • Contents of box  identical to the box shown in Arab Chests by Unwin on the bottom right on page 101
  • Size 47 cm  by 28 cm and 18 cm high.

Arab cashbox

 

Omani Cashbox

 

Name: Antique Omani cash box

Period: 1850-1930

Origin: Oman Zanzibar

    References:
  1. Sheila Unwin The Arab chest Arabian publishing 2006 /2007 p 100-103 Cash-boxes .
  2. Sheila Unwin in Seafarers of The Gulf: Arab Chests 1992  
  3. Catalog Oman exhibition Nieuwe kerk Amsterdam 2009 page
  4. Shirley Kay Seafarers of the Gulf Motivate publishing 1992 page 47.

Antique Omani painted Rosewood jar (shape of a Chinese pot)

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Antique Omani painted Rosewood jar

Very rare wooden jar in the shape of a classical 18th century Chinese vase. Made from yellow rosewood.

Striped decoration originally red yellow and green bands similar to antique Mandus supports (used in Oman) that may originate from the Omani colony Gujarat.  Height 10 cm.

However coloured wood utensils were also made and used in Oman and neighbouring countries. Omani chests when used for weddings were also sometimes painted bright red. Ref 2 discusses several coloured wooden objects collected by the famous Arabist Snouck Hurgronje in Mecca.

 

 Antique Omani wooden jar

  Omani wooden jarGujarat wooden jar

 

Name: Antique Omani painted rosewood jar (in the shape of a Chinese jar)

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Oman or Gujarat (Gujarat was a previous colony of Oman)

References:

  1. Sheila Unwin, The Arab chest Arabian publishing 2006 /2007 page 85
  2. Luitgaard Mols & Arnoud Vrolijk, Western Arabia in the Leiden collections, Leiden publications 2016p 176-177 and frontispice on page 2

Antique southern Omani or Yemeni Wooden lock with key

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Antique Omani Wooden lock with key

Very rare wooden lock with wooden key. (Rare to find with such fine old  dot in circle decoration and patina) Nicely carved and according to the patina on the wood  very old.  Purpose:  Typically to lock a door. Height 15 cm.  Ref 3 Oppenheim on page 250 contains a picture " Arabische Holzschlosser mit Schlussel"  of a similar (but undecorated) wooden lock from Iraq. This type of lock was used throughout the Middle East, but the decoration points more towards Oman or maybe Yemen.

antique Omani wooden lock

Arab Name: Qufl

Period: 1700-1850 (very old, see patina on the wood on the front)

Origin: Southern Oman; Nizwa souq

    References:
  1. British Museum Leila Ingrams collection has a modern copy of such a type of lock  in the on-line collection 2012,6030.209a-c purchased in the Hadramawt in the 1980´s.
  2. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 2 page 463 illustration. 166; 
  3. Traditional crafts of Saudi Arabia 1981 by John Topham p 164
  4.  Max von Oppenheim in his book vom Mittelmeer zum Perzischen Golf band II page 250 "Arabische Holzschlussel mit schlussel"
  5. Oman and its Renaissance  by Sir Donald Hawley Stacey International London 1987 page 122 for a similar wooden lock. from Dhofar (Southern Oman)
  6. Tropenmuseum Amsterdam has a more recent example from Yemen.  Inventory TM-2489-23a dating before 1956

Antique Omani wooden (measure) bowl

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Antique Omani wooden Measure

 

Scarce antique wooden bowl / measure. According to Richardson ref 1 it is a measure. Made of palm-wood or rosewood?  Measures 10 cm high and 11 cm diameter with a very thick bottom.

 

Omani measure bowlOmani measure bowl

Omani wooden Measure bowl

Arab Name: Mikyal

Period: 1850-1900

Origin: Northern Oman Purchased in Nizwa

    References:
  1. Craft heritage of Oman Neil Richardson & Maria Dorr Volume 2 page 170 illustration. 170 (in fact not a bowl but a measure)
  2. A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80
  3. British Museum on-line collection number 2010,6003.8 Height 12,7 cm 20th century "Wrongly dated in my view. Our example is slightly different in that it does not have brass handles and the walls of the bowl are thicker in ours" Wooden measuring-cup (mikyal) made from a carved and turned piece of wood. With a thick solid base and decorated with multiple rows of lines turned around the exterior. One brass loop is fastened to the side for suspension. Also used as a bowl

Antique wooden Bao game board from Oman or Zanzibar

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Wooden game board from Oman or Zanzibar

Rare antique wooden game board from Oman or Zanzibar. The wood is probably from a bread-tree (like many Omani doors) The back of the wooden board has seriously been eaten by termite.  Size 80 by 33 cm.

For detailed description including game rules see Ref 1 Ingrams 1931 page 256-258. In Zanzibar the game is called Bao. It is a game played on a board having four rows of eight holes in it with the grey seeds of a shrub that grows on the seashore. Every player has 32 seeds. There are three forms: Kiswahili and two kinds of Kiarabu. Kiswahili is complicated.  The game probably originated from Arabia (Oman) In Oman in its most basic form it is played by making holes in the sand and using camel droppings as game pieces (see Carter ref 2)  The shape of the wooden board is also similar to the Arab school writing board, the top compartment is only used for storage of gaming  seeds.

Bao board Zanzibar

Front and back of Bao board from Oman /Zanzibar

 

Arab Name: Bao (Kiswahili) / Huwaylis

Period: 1800-1900

Origin: Zanzibar / Oman; From the carving you can see that no modern tools have been used to make this board

     

    Youtube film explaining the Boa game in Zanzibar

    References:

  1. Zanzibar its History and People by W.H. Ingrams p 256-257. Picture of the board on p 257.
  2. Tribes of Oman by Carter page 24  Omani games incl rules
  3. 2014 Throw down the anchor The story of the Muttrah souq by Maxine Burden, centre for Omani dress, Muscat Media Group Page 50 discusses the Omani game Hawalees incl photo that has some similarities to Boa.

Arab Woodworking tools dating from around 1900

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Arab woodworking instruments

 The book Topsy Turvy land Arabia pictured for children 1902 contains a nice illustration of woodworking tools used in Oman / Bahrain.

 

 

Author / Publisher: Zwemer / Revell Company

Condition: Fine

References:

  1. Zwemer Topsy Turvy land Arabia pictured for children 1902:

Youtube film of the UAE showing an Omani / Arab traditional wood drill: