Friday, January 20, 2017

Oman's National Museum pt. 2: Some of the First Floor Galleries

So I already blogged about the ground floor gallery here: [ ] but really, the first floor had what I was I was looking for in terms of collections.
My thing is definitely late-bronze to early iron age civilizations.

I wanted to spend more time in the Prehistory and Ancient History gallery (where a stone axe head is on show, being one of the oldest ever found in Arabia) but my kids were bored, so we mostly spent time in all the other galleries but the ones I actually wanted to see.

Still there was some Magan copper. And bronze age amber necklaces and pottery.
There was also a Nabataean script? (don't quote me, in uni. ancient languages was something I beyond sucked at) tablet.
Also, I liked the Splendors of Islam gallery. Below is a quiblah taken from a masjid in Oman. The tiles were mostly imports from Iran.
I found this to be a surprising piece in the collection [below]. A letter from the Ottoman Empire annexing Oman from them (in the Prophet Mohammed's SAW time he gave Oman permission to collect and distribute the Muslim version of taxes [zakat] independent of the Caliphate in Madinah, so shariah law holds this one country is a separate tax jurisdiction which is kind of interesting).
More of those lovely Iranian imported tiles:
In the Renaissance Gallery? they had the old flag for Muscat for the Royal Family. Oman's old flag was white;) for the Islamic Imamate. Politically.... interesting, to only have the red flag on display...hmmm. Unity, if one is kind, could be the reason, historical re-write... if one is being unkind. I digress.
A royal family (from Zanzibar) life-size oil portrait:
Royal family traditional dress:
The old gate to old Muscat? I believe, or maybe the palace (I forget):
Sultan's custom China service:
This diverged into the Oman and the World and Collections galleries (I like old furniture):
(I read in Zanzibar, the slaves used to sleep under the bed that's why it is so high but I forget the source. Could be wrong).
And then we saw this Portuguese canon and my husband and I argued about the blow up on it. He argued it was made with a flaw but I remember reading somewhere in "A Peninsular War" (oh God, what volume or chapter I have no idea) by Sir Charles W. C. Oman that these lightweight canons weren't good shooting up at fortified hill forts etc... So maybe some idiot gunner thought to increase the range to beat the slope by overloading it beyond its capacity in terms of ammunition or powder. There's an awful lot of hill forts in Oman...;)
Anyways, there was more to see but not time left on the kid's attention span timer.

Next time.


කණ්ඩා ~ Kanda said...

Hi There,

I had the opportunity to visit the same museum few months back. I found it rally strange that no mention of slavery in any part of the exhibits. If there were any I certainly missed them completely. Slavery seem to a very touchy if not a taboo subject in this part of the world. Everyone seem to act as if it never happened.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Kanda: Hi:)

As far as I know there wasn't. If they do decide to add one, it should be in the Renaissance Exhibit, talking about when Sultan Qaboos made slavery illegal I suppose. Not a great deal of Oman's relationship with Africa is expressed, beyond furniture pieces I am afraid. If you do go to Stonetown in Zanzibar however, there are four great museums that tell a better part of this history. The trade in coffee, spices, and woods from Africa is vital to Oman's history, and exploring this link, goes into the realm of also discussing the slave trade.

I have met from freed slaves in Oman, and have heard some very sad stories.
I have also heard stories from slaves in Zanzibar who loved their "owners" and found freedom to be an economic burden lol, so I think Oman would benefit from doing a very well rounded exhibit on Oman's link with Africa. I have many Omani collegues who do not speak Arabic at all, but speak French and Swahilil because they were living in the Central African Republic, the Deomoratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. African culture very much enriches Oman, in terms of spices used in cooking, dance, music, and even dress, like the Omani kuma hats.

කණ්ඩා ~ Kanda said...

I'm glad to find that I'm not alone with these ideas as my friends think I'm half nuts trying to find stuff like this.

And thank you for sharing the information about Zanzibar. Though I've been to Africa few times never to Zanzibar, sounds like a vet interesting place off the beaten path.

So may be some day I will visit it for sure :)

Pra Jay said...

I'm a reader of Kanda's blog. He suggested that I ask you about something I was researching a while back. It was about man-eaters, particularly, leopards. I came across the fact that man-eating leopards of Zanzibar had super natural (black magic) connotations. People believed that there were "leopard keepers" using magic to attack people. Is the leopard extinct in Zanzibar? If so, was the "magical" notoriety responsible for it? The Zanzibar Museum is supposed to have a specimen/s.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Pra Jay: Oh gosh I have no idea. We do have leopards in Oman as well, and I haven't heard anything like this superstition here.