Monday, August 30, 2010

Omani Chests/ Traditional Boxes in Oman

For the Omani home: omani chests and traditional boxes are ornate works of wood and brass, including studs and elaborate inlaid work. Because Omani homes traditionally had no wardrobes or built-in-closets, the Omani chest is of particular importance for storing goods and clothes. Before chests were used for transporting goods. Nowadays, omani chests are used for storage of valuables particularly the bridal chest which is traditionally passed down from generation to generation and traces a history back to the 18th century.

Nowadays, for weddings the bridal gifts (maher) are often gifted to the bride in one of these boxes. They come in a variety of colours, black and tan being the most populat but also green and red. You can get a beautiful one made along the UAE border in Al Bahrimi, or purchase one from Nizwa souq. Obviously, boys, your new in-laws think bigger is better ;p if the box is being used for the maher and the maher is your bride's weight in gold;D. Sorry. Yet again I will rant against high mahers being the cause of great ill in Omani society.


Sythe said...

I really want to buy one of these chests - can you recommend where to go? And approximately how much they would cost? I want one to keep blankets/sheets in my bedroom :)

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Sythe: for the cheapest (and best, I mean Omani maher quality not tourist look-alike) getting one made near the border in al bahrimi is cheapest. You put your order in, come back next month to pick it up.

The non-national side of the border, there alot of shops where they make them, just a minute walk from the border exit side.

For ready-made good quality is Nizwa. Do you have any Omani friends FROM Nizwa? If they barter for you it will cost less than when you do. I will ask for you;)

In Mutrah Souq you can get a medium (I lived in Mutrah so I get local prices) size one of good quality for 15-25 OMR. I think they typically charge 25-70 on the tourists. It depends on the work that goes into it.

For larges sizes I am not sure. I am waiting for my wedding night;) to get one of those.

Al Bahrimi is cheapest for ANYTHING to do with Omani weddings. If you want, I can ask a friend in Mutrah to find out the large size ones (local price).

Nizwa does make good ones, non-touristy ones this time of year. This afternoon I will check for you. The work for the inlay usually denotes the price.

Anonymous said...

We have these in Mombasa too. There has been some Omani influence along this E.African coastal town historically. The swahili word for them is Kasha. Btw, I got some fan (hand held one, on top of the chest in the first picture from hadhramot!). sf

Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in the UK and would love an Omani chest. I lived in Oman in my early years and I would love a bit of Oman in my house. I love the big one 4th picture down. Does anyone know where one can be ordered and delivered to the UK? And at what cost? Thanks, A

Anonymous said...

Hi....where exactly in mombasa can one get this.....sedulously looking for one. What sizes and how much do they cost.