HvWO 003

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

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 .

  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: