Traditional Crafts in Saudi Arabia. By Dr. Mona Al Munajjed. Map of Saudi Arabia. The impact of History and Geography. For Thousands of years, the Arabian Peninsula has been at geographic, commercial and cultural crossroads of the World.
By Dr. Mona Al Munajjed
In the seventh century, Islam as religion emerged first in Makkah then spread all over Arabia, the Arab countries, then West to the Atlantic Ocean and as far as the Indian subcontinent and China.
Considered as part of cultural heritage, social identity and creativity of the country..i.e. what we inherited from our past generations, what we should preserve and what we should pass on to our future generations.
Traditional Crafts in S.A. include: Weaving, Jewellery, Costumes, Nomadic Equipment, Traditional Weapons, Household Crafts.
Sadu (Arabic): Tent walls, curtains, rugs, blankets, camel saddle bags, coffee bean bags.
Weaving materials are: wools from sheep, camels and goats, cotton especially for the white sections of the designs.
Colors: are made out of natural plant dyes. Ornamentation is added such as appliqué, leather strips, braiding and tassels..
Jewellery: Form of symbolic communication revealing social and economic roles of women, marital status, tribal affiliation and religious beliefs.
Mahr : A portion of Bride’s settlement is still paid in jewellery which is part of her personal wealth.
Bedouin women wear wrist bracelets, arm bands, anklets, rings, earrings, head jewellery, necklaces which have amulets (hijab). They are made of silver in Bedouin areas and gold in urban areas.
Decorations include: Islamic designs of Arabic calligraphy, granulation, filigree, twisted metal wires, crescents and hands, with turquoise beads, and which provide protection from the evil eye.Traditional Bedouin crafts Jewellery
Sword and Daggers
Household Crafts: Basketry and pottery, doors and windows.
in the Development of Traditional Crafts
in Saudi Arabia?
A.The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts,(1972). It is part of Ministry of Culture and Information. It aims to:
C. The Saudi Commission for Tourism (SCT), exertedefforts to promote Handicraft Industry in Kingdom and in strengthening economy. Worked out a strategy /executive plan to promote Saudi handicrafts in cooperation with nine government agencies. Projects have been launched to boost art and culture :
TAKAMUL Project: (2008).The National Project for Developing Tourism Human Resources. Aims to: a. create specialized body concerned with providing educational process/training of cadres according to best professional standards; b. provide training courses for craftsmen and artisans of handicrafts and traditional crafts, in all regions of Kingdom and use of incubators for tourism marketing products outlets.
The International Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts (Nov. 2006) Saudi Arabia hosted the First International Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts in Islamic Countries. Organized with the Istanbul–based Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture. Aim: to boost Islamic Handicraft Industry. Focus: Cultural Heritage and Economic aspects of Handicrafts and how to improve quality through innovation and creativity/application of new ideas/designs to increase craftsmen’s qualifications. It included live displays of craftsmen and an exhibition of handicrafts.
Jewellery:Ebtissam Al Gossaibi : gave Traditional Arab Jewellery new sophistication. Decorates with pure Arab Islamic calligraphic designs, geometric patterns with a touch of the European renaissance and rococo.
*Nafissa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts in Jeddah: programs on vocational and Crafts training courses for women. Number of trainees: 1,479 young women in beauty care, hair styling, tailoring, fashion, food preparation, weaving.
*The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts: Al Foustat Crafts and Ceramics Centre: Funding in supporting establishment of regional centre for traditional Islamic arts/crafts in Cairo. Education program enables students to improve their design and crafts skills/technical ability to produce better quality range of products mainly in ceramics, woodwork, gypsum carving, stained glass and appliqué. Students work with local craftsmen on design projects and aim to understand principles of traditional art in contemporary design for adaptation to commercial products.Role of the private sector