Design Figurative from Nature

Design Figurative from Nature

Slide-Show: Designs form nature e.g. a palm treee

Examples of Figurative designs from nature in the slide-show are:

a) Palm Motifs

b) Floral e.g. Rose

c) Shell imprint (pattern copied by using a shell as a moult for casting silver to make belt buckles

d) Animals like birds, hare, lions and elephants (Not allowed with the Suni Moslims,  however it is allowed with the Shia's Moslims) See also Ref 5.

e) Fishes


Antique Omani silver anklet


Antique Omani silver anklet with palm motif design

Subject:  Design Figurative from Nature


  • Use of animals like birds elephants indicate a strong Persian or Indian influence or origin
  • The use of fishes in a perpetual (circular) movement typically indicates Chinese influence (see Chinese porcelain plates of 17 / 18th century)
  • The design of a couple of antique Arab doors in Zanzibar Stonetown contained birds and lions similar to those found on Omani brass vessels. On several other antique doors the animal designs had been removed over time. See ref 5.
  1. Craft heritage of Oman
  2. Athman H. Athman stules of Swahili carving page 47 1996 11-29
  3. Ruth Hawley Omani Silver, Longman, London
  4. The National Museum Sultanate of Oman Highlights, published by Scala Arts & Heritage London 2016 page 51 Jewellery in Arabesque style.
  5. The book "Doors of Zanzibar" 1998 with photos by Uwe Rau  and text by Mwalim A. Mwalim contains photos of 94 antique Arab doors in and around Zanzibar stone town. Representation of animate objects  is forbidden in Islam.The design of a couple of the carved Arab doors did contain birds (e.g. peacock) and lions similar to those found on Omani brass vessels. Even on one of the carved doors of  the Sultan's House of Wonders contained a carved bird and lions. On several other antique doors in Zanzibar Stonetown  (e.g. house Tippu Tip) the carved animals have been removed, thereby reflecting differences over time on how strict to interpret these Islamic rules. However the majority of doors did not contain animal decoration. In recent years we saw quite a few Omani  girls decorating their scarf's with silver brooches, it is probably human to explore the limits of what is allowed!