The crafts represented in House of Artisans celebrate the creative and artistic relationship between the people of the United Arab Emirates and the locally available natural resources. Within the diverse landscapes of the UAE- from the desert, to the oases, to the coast and sea- artisans have developed skills to meet functional and economic needs. The crafts made through these skills show a creative artistic expressions and aesthetics. Shared from generation to generation, they preserve not only the practical skills but also the shared social values associated with Emirati identity.
Al-Sadu is a traditional form of weaving practiced by Bedouin women in the United Arab Emirates. Using the wool of sheep, camels and goats, women create beautiful and distinctive designs rich with geometrical patterns that often reflect both social identity and the surrounding environment.
This intricate weaving was used to create the bait al-shaar (the tent) and various Al-Sadu patterns were used to decorate the interior tent divider. Camels were also often decorated with ataad (camel accessories) made of Al-Sadu, with the woven designs adding vibrancy and colour to the saddles and straps.
In recognition of its importance, In 2011 Al-Sadu was inscribed onto the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
The date palm is the foundation for many crafts of the United Arab Emirates. While the date palm is known for providing the staple food of the region it is the branches and leaves of this tree that are used in the traditional weaving technique known as khoos.
Khoos is practiced by both men and women and it involves the weaving or braiding together of date palm fronds to form an object. While the products made serve a functional purpose, the techniques used, and colours chosen provide elements of personal artistry.
While the products made serve a functional purpose, the techniques used, and colours chosen provide elements of personal artistry.
The products made include surood, circular mats on which food is placed, mahafah, a fan used to cool oneself or fan a flame, makabah, used to cover and protect food, and jefeer, a basket used to carry dates.
Talli is a traditional form of decorative embroidery practiced by Emirati women. Cotton or silk threads, intertwined with gold and silver threads are used to decorate the collars, sleeves and hems of the kandoora and thawb (traditional women’s robes) with intricate designs and vibrant colours.
Creating this beautiful embroidery is a time-consuming and complex process that requires much patience and concentration. Accomplished professional seamstresses are sought out for their unique and outstanding creations.
For thousands of years the people of the United Arab Emirates have found ingenious ways to both understand and benefit from the richness of the sea. The boat building industry helped develop trade relationships across the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, and boats made for pearling and fishing significantly contributed to the local economy.
The boat building industry helped develop trade relationships across the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
In coastal communities, the thriving fishing industry used local materials to create unique designs for fishing nets and traps which improved the catching of the different types of fish found in the Arabian Gulf waters.