Sunday, March 22, 2015

Omani Copper: why can't I find a made-in-Oman copper sink or bathtub, in the kingdom of Magan?

In case you didn't know, Oman's relationship with copper is pretty ancient. In fact, Oman was well and around before Mesopotamia. In fact, Mesopotamia was a big trade partner of Oman's, then called, Magan.
That's why, in Oman, if your name is Megan, instead of Maggie [the soup boullion brand] people will pronounce your name as if you hailed from an ancient empire, rather than MSG and and faux chicken spice. (Sorry for that addition to this post, contract renewal time again, where I get to play at being PRO for all my boss's new staff). The ROP have the funniest way of playing with Western names.
Mesopotamian and Egyptian hand mirrors (using Magan copper)
Me, I am an Iron-age girl. I love the Iron age, but I like the neolithic too. However, archeologically speaking, Oman is awesome from a bronze-age standpoint. If you are a bronze age archeologist than Oman totally rocks your world.
Archeologists in Oman---you can't tell how much coffee they drink, can you;) ;p
 Ha ha, rocks.  Archeologists hate me when I have too much coffee. And they can drink coffee black all day and be the coolest, like, hey, nothing they do is funny in the least, except for when we mock that Egyptologist dude, who ACTUALLY does wear leather bombers and fedoras (in Egypt---in that heat) like Indianna Jones. Although, THAT dude IS one of my childhood friends' father's friend, and I shouldn't mock him, because then, maybe I too, one day, like my friend, will get to go inside of the great pyramid, instead of bribing Egyptian police officers like all my other friends....
Nah... Pyramids never insterested me. Oman's copper industry is waaaaaaaaaaaaay more fascinating.
In Wadi Samad (Samad ash-Shan and Al-Maysar settlements) workshops for copper working existed in the bronze age. Mines for copper still exist in Oman, however, this industry is in a sorry state if we can't even boast much of a made-in-Oman copper culture here in the Sultanate. Government-owned and operated Oman Mining CO. (OMC) operated from 1980-1994 however, now OMC currently operates the smelter and treatment of imported concentrates (toll basis for doing so). Apparently?: Imports have amounted to around 80,000 t/y of concentrate for the production of some 24,000 t/y of copper. However, now the company is listed as privately held? Correct me if I am wrong. And since the price of copper is very high in Oman (since 1994) I am sure we export most of what we have rather than produce many products in-country with it.
modern Omani craftmanship with copper
ancient Omani craftmanship with copper

 I would like to see Oman totally get into its coppery past. Arabian designed copper sinks and bathtubs from Morocco are ALL the rage. Let us make these, and facets, etc... in Oman. I am trying to find Omani versions (and to cost them) for my interior design endeavors and besides independent copper artisans who mainly do plates (only great for stove/hob backsplashes) I am having great difficulty. Morrocan examples below:

To a future in Omani craftsmanship with copper:

1 comment:

Sunil Bhutani said...

Hey ....nice to read your post
I am out and out a copper man and thought of correcting some basic mistakes in the post. OMC is still and Govt of Oman company.

However, the most important is that the tolled copper cathodes being produced in Oman by OMC are being used within the country by our cable manufacturing company - Nuhas Oman LLC based in Rusayl. In fact OMC is unable to meet our requirements and we source the shortfall from imports. This not only saves valuable foreign exchange but also production of downstream value added products within the economy.