HvWO 095


Omani silver incense burner and tong

Omani silver incense burner

Scarce Omani silver incense burner.  Formerly in constant use but nowadays only used for ceremonial purposes.  A silver tong has been connected to the chain which is used to handle  the glowing coals when burning incense.

Incense may be gum from the Frankincense tree or it maybe  a sweet-smelling  wood such as the eastern Indian aloe-tree or a composite perfumed substance called dukhan meaning smoke.  This aromatic resin was in great demand in the ancient world (including Greeks and Romans)  for religious ceremonies and burial rites and the most important place where best-quality frankincense grew was and is southern Oman. However the role of Oman as an exporter of incense stopped when it was discovered how to produce cheap incense synthetically (chemically) Traditionally in Oman

After coffee has been served rosewater is sprinkled over the hands and sometimes over the heads of guests. Then incense is carried around, and its smoke is wafted into the beard and over the body. In the harem the women often put the burner under their clothing so that the aroma pervades the whole body for some time. Incense is the sign for departure as the Omani proverb shows: After the incense, there is no sitting on"

Antique Omani silver Incenseburner


Arab Names: Majmar (the silver tong is named Muhbash)

Period: 1900-1950

Origin: Oman Nizwa


  1. The craft heritage of Oman p 449
  2. The silver Tong The craft heritage of Oman Vol 2 Richardson & Dorr page 448 item 086
  3. Ruth Hawley Omani Silver Longman London 1978 (no page numbers
  4. A tribute to Oman The Sultanates Yearbook: 1993/1994 "Perfumes of Arabia by Pippa Lacey" Apex Ruwi page 125
  5. Tribute to Oman 1994 page 32-41 White Gold The story of Frankincense by Pauline Shelton
  6. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 Wierook en andere geuren page 59 - 70
  7. Silver jewellery of Oman by Jehan S Rajab 1997 page 40
  8. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 140
  9. Throw down the anchor The story of the Muttrah souq by Maxine Burden, centre for Omani dress, Muscat Media Group 2014 page 112 contains an interview with a modern Incense trader in the Muttrah souq. Page 194-195 contains an other article on Incense.
  10. Oman Faces and places, articles from PDO News magazine 2009 page 117 photo of similar incense burner

Below you find a Youtube film on Omani incense and its history: