Sunday, June 18, 2017

Window Grille Styles of the Interior of Oman

One rather expensive aspect of restoring our old Omani mud house will be replacing the mostly non-existent window grilles and some shutters. For our house, most of these are missing, and the ones that are there, the engineer may say they are in too bad a condition to restore. I'll double-check what the engineer thinks with what I know of museum conservation work, but yeah, they look pretty bad to me too.

The family that happen to be neighbors to the house I bought happen to be a famous crafts-person family for carpentry, so we will probably commission them for the work, but there is one other Omani carpenter working in Bahla whose work we like, and if I am not supporting my neighbors, then I definitely want to hire that old man. I want everything about the house to be Omani-made if and when possible, and correct to the region and time period of the house (beyond plumbing, toilets, kitchen, lighting, acs, and electricity of course.

So thus, I am looking at Interior Region style window grilles.

Since my old house is in the Interior/Ad Dhakliyiah Region of Oman, I am forcing myself to keep to the styles from that region, no matter how lovely the examples from Mirbat in Dhofar are. Maybe I'll do a separate post about Al Sharqiyah, Dhofari, and Muscati window styles? The most beautiful in my opinion are from Mirbat. But irregardless, I do not own an old house in Mirbat. Another project for another lifetime, that;).

I would like to keep these relevant to the time period the original foundation for the house was erected (so I am guessing 1900s---I don't think my house is too old but the engineer will know for sure when she sees it, because the house next to it is built using conical mud bricks, and this is an older building style so I dunno. My house has been too badly "maintained" and "upgraded" to know much of the architectural base (at least for a novice to Omani restoration work like me).

So while 1600s style window grilles can be found in Bahla, Izki, and Ibra, I really only found two styles from the 1800s-1930s in the Interior, with little variation. If I learn more, I'll change this post of course, but that's what I've found.
The above style, I call the Nizwa style. This, mostly because I saw it first at Nizwa Fort, but the style is all over the Interior: Birkat Al Mouz, Rustaq, Bahla, Nizwa, Jebel Akdhar etc... 

In Arabic it probably has a proper stylistic name I could translate it to. I will definitely ask the carpenter. 

I like the carved bottom panel and so this is what we will probably go with for our house window grilles. I don't like when they add wooden or iron bars to it, but for safety reasons, since many first and second floor windows are close to floor level, I guess why they exist.
The other style, which I told my husband I didn't want to do, (as pictured in the above two photos) is a plain split frame with bars, either wooden spindles, or metal bars.

It is safe, cheap, and...a bit too prison like for me. Like what if I am fighting with my husband, and then I sit there looking out that window? I'll kill somebody. I'll make life worse than it it is. I'll imagine I am suppressed when I'm not...

...At least that's my excuse for why we need the more expensive option of the two;).
Older style from Bahla include geometric wood overlay panels for arched windows, or more Gothic-style cut-work on the upper part of the panels, with bars being on the lower part of the window. I admit, I like this too, especially the cut-work, but it is probably totally wrong for our house.
 And, there is also the above exampled window, also from Bahla, which is almost Egyptian or Turkish in design. Maybe whoever lived there travelled? I dunno. It isn't correct for Omani window grilles styles, and yet, there is it is, in Bahla.

I don't know. I've seen some variations in Nizwa that are definitely contemporary but keeping with the traditional style, so maybe I could do something like that, but I feel that would be cheating somehow.

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