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Traditional Crafts in Saudi Arabia

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Presentation on theme: "Traditional Crafts in Saudi Arabia"— Presentation transcript:

1 Traditional Crafts in Saudi Arabia
By Dr. Mona Al Munajjed

2 Map of Saudi Arabia

3 The impact of History and Geography
For Thousands of years, the Arabian Peninsula has been at geographic, commercial and cultural crossroads of the World. Pre-Islamic Kingdoms of the Minaens, the Sabaens, the Hymiarites and the Nabateans prospered economically and culturally through their control of the caravan routes to the Mediterranean and the trading of frankincense, myrrh and spices. Madain Salih the ancient Nabatean city of Hegra in North Saudi Arabia was added in 2008 to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

4 The Impact of History and Geography
In the seventh century, Islam as religion emerged first in Makkah then spread all over Arabia, the Arab countries, then West to the Atlantic Ocean and as far as the Indian subcontinent and China. Every year, for the past fourteen centuries, Muslim pilgrims from around the world travelling to Makkah and Al Madinah have helped further enrich the Culture of the people of the Arabian Peninsula. Islam influenced nearly all aspects of Arabian cultural and spiritual life, but it is the deep roots of Nomadic Bedouin society that shaped the country’s Cultural Heritage in the area of traditional crafts.

5 Considered as part of cultural heritage, social identity and creativity of the country..i.e. what we inherited from our past generations, what we should preserve and what we should pass on to our future generations. Traditional Crafts in S.A. include: Weaving, Jewellery, Costumes, Nomadic Equipment, Traditional Weapons, Household Crafts.

6 Traditional Bedouin crafts Weaving
Sadu (Arabic): Tent walls, curtains, rugs, blankets, camel saddle bags, coffee bean bags. Weaving materials are: wools from sheep, camels and goats, cotton especially for the white sections of the designs. Colors: are made out of natural plant dyes. Ornamentation is added such as appliqué, leather strips, braiding and tassels.. Influence: Asian, African and Ottoman using native stripes and geometrical designs with bright colors as opposed to the austerity of the life in the desert...

7 Traditional Bedouin crafts Jewellery
Jewellery: Form of symbolic communication revealing social and economic roles of women, marital status, tribal affiliation and religious beliefs. Mahr : A portion of Bride’s settlement is still paid in jewellery which is part of her personal wealth. Bedouin women wear wrist bracelets, arm bands, anklets, rings, earrings, head jewellery, necklaces which have amulets (hijab). They are made of silver in Bedouin areas and gold in urban areas. Decorations include: Islamic designs of Arabic calligraphy, granulation, filigree, twisted metal wires, crescents and hands, with turquoise beads, and which provide protection from the evil eye.

8 Traditional Bedouin crafts Costume
Women’s traditional clothes: a reflection of identity, social customs and traditions, as well as of cultural, economic aspects of the life of people. Women’s dresses consist of thawb, which is a long-sleeved and floor-length dress and a gown or tunic.. They tend to be mostly black, burgundy or dark green. Style and patterns of traditional dresses vary from region to region. They have been largely influenced by other civilizations, such as Syria, Egypt, Jordan, India, china, etc.. Decoration: They are embellished with different materials, textures and techniques, depending on the tribe. Appliqué strips, Floral motifs and geometric designs are created by stitches which can be chain, stem, flat or buttonhole.

9 Traditional Bedouin crafts Other crafts
Nomadic Equipment (saddles, litter, leather carriers)

10 Traditional bedouin crafts other crafts
Traditional Weapons Sword and Daggers

11 Traditional Bedouin crafts Other crafts
Coffee and Incense Coffee been bags, coffee boxes and pots, Incense burners

12 Traditional Bedouin crafts Other crafts
Household Crafts: Basketry and pottery, doors and windows.

13 How is Excellence Encouraged in the Development of Traditional Crafts
in Saudi Arabia?

14 the Role of Government Major efforts exerted by the Saudi Government in promoting Bedouin Handicrafts and developing expertise to safeguard traditional crafts: This has been expressed through: A. The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, (1972). It is part of Ministry of Culture and Information. It aims to: Develop the level of Culture and Arts in the Kingdom. Look after the welfare of Saudi artists by raising their cultural artistic and social standard. Sponsor talented artists and help them into displaying their skills, and represent the Kingdom in national and international events.

15 the Role of Government B. Al Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival: The Saudi National Heritage and Cultural Festival held first time in 1985 at Al Janadriyah (Riyadh). One of the most important and famous cultural events held annually for two weeks by National Guard and under patronage of King. Epitomizes Saudi Arabia’s commitment to preserve its customs and traditions and explore its cultural heritage. Artisans, such as potters, weavers, woodworkers, basket makers, jewelers, demonstrate their traditional crafts in small shops with typical palm roofed porches. Men perform traditional folk music and dance, as well as poets participate in poetry competitions reciting historic verses. A special day is usually designated for women to perform and demonstrate their crafts.

16 the Role of Government C. The Saudi Commission for Tourism (SCT), exerted efforts to promote Handicraft Industry in Kingdom and in strengthening economy. Worked out a strategy /executive plan to promote Saudi handicrafts in cooperation with nine government agencies. Projects have been launched to boost art and culture :   TAKAMUL Project: (2008).The National Project for Developing Tourism Human Resources. Aims to: a. create specialized body concerned with providing educational process/training of cadres according to best professional standards; b. provide training courses for craftsmen and artisans of handicrafts and traditional crafts, in all regions of Kingdom and use of incubators for tourism marketing products outlets. BAREH Project: (2009): National Project dedicated for development of traditional crafts and industries, financed by government for benefit of productive families. The SCT in cooperation with Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are working for creation and rehabilitation of markets and artisans in number of areas. Recently organized (July 2009) four training workshops in Al Jouf . Training focused on teaching development of traditional crafts for fifty Saudi women such as: soap with the use of olive oil, palm production, embroidery. One thousand women have been trained previously.

17 The role of government The International Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts (Nov. 2006) Saudi Arabia hosted the First International Conference on Tourism and Handicrafts in Islamic Countries. Organized with the Istanbul–based Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture. Aim: to boost Islamic Handicraft Industry. Focus: Cultural Heritage and Economic aspects of Handicrafts and how to improve quality through innovation and creativity/application of new ideas/designs to increase craftsmen’s qualifications. It included live displays of craftsmen and an exhibition of handicrafts. UNESCO in coordination with SCT conducted a three days training workshop in Riyadh (29-31 October 2007). Objectives: to increase public awareness on Handicrafts and promote the diversity and quality of crafts/the social status of crafts people. c. The National Museum in Riyadh including the King Abdul Aziz Center, (opened in 1999) display a number of cultural heritage and crafts.

18 Role of Women NGOs Encouraging crafts innovation and ensuring their sustainability; Providing capacity-building, training workshops for women and assisting craft producers in improvement of product design; Providing income-generating activities for poverty reduction. a. Al Nahdah Philantropic Society for women in Riyadh: (Arts Center -1986). Provides Training Courses in field of Arts (Arabic Calligraphy, Quran decoration) and Handicraft Courses(embroidery, dyeing fabrics program, flower coordination, candle–making and wall-painting program). Provides assistance to poor families and projects for women’s employment . As part of Saudi heritage, the association has preserved valuable and rare collection of traditional Saudi dresses made of silk, satin, chiffon, and lace, embroidered with gold and silver threads. These dresses are replicated with new styles and patterns for sale.  b. King Abdul Aziz Association in Buraidah: (Jan.2009) established in coordination with Ministry of Social Affairs, the first cooperative Association for Women in Saudi Arabia for Development and Commercialization of Crafts in Al Qassim; focus on weaving, embroidery and food production (dates and keleja or waffles)

19 Role of the Private Sector
Upgrade manual industries and develop economic opportunities and project funding. A number of Saudi women working in development and commercialization of Crafts Heritage such as: Traditional dress: Soad Al Dabbagh: owns several clothing shops in Riyadh and has developed a line of traditional dress with a modern innovative touch.

20 Role of the private sector
Jewellery: Ebtissam Al Gossaibi : gave Traditional Arab Jewellery new sophistication. Decorates with pure Arab Islamic calligraphic designs, geometric patterns with a touch of the European renaissance and rococo. Businessman: Muhammad Abdul Latif Jameel *Nafissa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts in Jeddah: programs on vocational and Crafts training courses for women. Number of trainees: 1,479 young women in beauty care, hair styling, tailoring, fashion, food preparation, weaving. *The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts: Al Foustat Crafts and Ceramics Centre: Funding in supporting establishment of regional centre for traditional Islamic arts/crafts in Cairo. Education program enables students to improve their design and crafts skills/technical ability to produce better quality range of products mainly in ceramics, woodwork, gypsum carving, stained glass and appliqué. Students work with local craftsmen on design projects and aim to understand principles of traditional art in contemporary design for adaptation to commercial products.

21 What more should be done
What more should be done ? for a New Renaissance of Saudi Traditional Crafts Educate young Saudi generation about importance of traditional crafts and preservation as part of Saudi culture/ heritage. This should be part of School Curriculum in Saudi educational system. (Ministry of Education in coordination with SCT) Raise public awareness on national level through organization of lectures, conferences, exhibitions and more festivals, in various regions of the country to present the products. Also use of Media with documentary films on T.V. (The Ministry of Culture in coordination with SCT). Provide training workshop/capacity building to help improvement of crafts product/design in market. (SCT in coordination with NGOs and the private sector).

22 What more should be done ?
Encourage production /development of high-quality traditional crafts using traditional skills and encourage product innovation design to ensure continuity and sustainability of crafts in a modern society. (SCT in coordination with artisans, NGOs and crafts activists). Provide new market opportunities for Saudi artists and crafts people to ensure sustainability of handicrafts which play a vital role in economic community development/ poverty reduction.(Built on a partnership between Ministry of Commerce in coordination with SCT and NGOs) Invest more resources and funding into crafts development and projects and the creation of another centre/academy for arts and crafts in other regions of the kingdom. (Private sector and SCT). Establish through STC a National Award for Handicrafts in Saudi Arabia such as (UNESCO/the Award of Excellence for Handicrafts)


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