HvWO 093

Antique Omani silver kohl-pot in the shape of a gun cartridge (Male jewelry)


 A common kohl-pot in the shape of a Martini Henry cartridge / bullet. Connected to it with a silver chain is the application stick.

Omani men are not supposed to wear jewelry, however they are allowed to wear weapons, hence weapons were adorned to become a form of jewelry!

Both men and women in Oman wear the cosmetic Kohl round the eye, Which gives the eyes more expression. Local believe is that it improves eyesight however in practice many people LOST eyesight due to eye infections by the practice of passing the application stick around from person to person.  

Antique Omani kohlpot


Arab names: Makhalah / Makalil

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Northern Oman

  1. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton Robert Richmond Miranda Morris/ Apex London 1997p 112,193
  2. Carter Tribes in Oman p 24 and p 168
  3. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster page 97 fig 91
  4. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 137
  5. Arab & Islamic Silver by Saad Al-Jadir 1981  Stacey International p 32
  6. Ethnic Jewellery from Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands 2002 Amsterdam Pepin Press p 55
  7. Catalog of the Oman exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam 2009 page 153
  8. British Museum has a similar item reg. 2009,6023.199 Length: 7.5 centimetres (kohl container) Length: 38.5 centimetres (stick with chains) Weight: 87 grammes. Cartridge-shaped silver kohl container (makhal or makhalah) for men, with chains and an applicator stick (mirwad or marwad). Stamped and chased floral decoration.
  9. Gun-Running and the Indian North West Frontier, by Keppel 1911 page 50 From 1897 the sultan of  muscat issued a proclamation granting to the British and Persian men of war the power to search vessels in Muscat waters.e.g. on board s.s. Baluchistan 220 cases of arms and ammunition were found destined for Bushire.....By 1902 the trade through Persian and British Baluchistan had assumed such proportions that the law and order on the Perso-Baluch frontier was threatened. page 52 To avoid vessels being searched Omani ships sailed under the French flag! In 1905 this practice was forbidden by the International court in The Hague. ... page 53/54  In 1909/1910 so numerous were the captures of gun running dhows that skippers soon learnt to look before they "skipped". page 124 As the centre of arms traffic in the Gulf, Muscat naturally bristles with rifle depots and stores. The Customs House quay is seldom unencumbered with cases of rifles and ammunition , while every other shop in the bazaar is a rifle shop.page 125: Owing to a naval blockade by the British there are in Muscat at least 200.000 rifles and probably 3.000.000 rounds of ammunition for which  a market cannot be found.