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Al-Jihla: Omani Traditional Handicraft

Posted on 8th July 2018
Al-Jihla: Omani Traditional Handicraft

Written by: Dr. Marwan Imran

Edited by: Karina De Jesus Murphy

 

One of the oldest Omani handicraft industries has spread in Al Batinah and Dohfar, the mid and Southwest side of Oman. “Jihla” means a kind of pottery made by natural clay since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries A.D. It was used for the keeping the water cold. There were two types of “Jihla”- the spherical ball and the oval shape. The ball shape often came in a small size with thick construction, and the oval is larger than the other type and usually made by roller wheel called “Pottery Wheel”([1]). It was made from pure clay delivered from Jabal Tagah([2]) which sometimes come with hand motifs([3]).

Most Omani people liked this kind of pottery not only for its main purpose but because it represented the local aesthetic as one of the earliest handmade products as well.

It has also been an inspiration of the Omani artists’ works especially the youth, as a symbol of ancient craftsmanship in the Sultanate of Oman. Some tourists nowadays are interested in the acquisition of the “Jihla” and customize its surfaces to change it from its functional nature to the aesthetic nature to keep it as old antiquary.

[1] )- Omani encyclopedia ,Vol.III, Oman : ministry of culture and heritage . First publishing. 2013. pp.905-906.

[2] )- Neil Richard and Marcia Dorr. The craft heritage of Oman.Vol.II .Motivate publishing. Dubai, 2003 P.406.

[3] )- Ibid.p.406.