Here, in this Qatar guide article, we are going to take you back in time, and then bring you right back to the present. How are we going to do that?
We're going to tell you all about the many antique or vintage objects in Qatar that were used in Qatar and the Arab world for centuries, and can still be found in most Qatari households even today. These objects are deep-rooted within the very customs, the heritage and the rich history of Qatar and can be found in Souqs, shops and homes, especially Qatari ones, all around Qatar.
Al-Sadu is handwoven material or handicraft. It is made from goat and camel hair and uses a weaving technique that has been around for thousands of years and is owned by the nomadic Bedouin tribes who used this technique to make blankets, tents, carpets and cushions, and for decorating camels and horses.
The Al-Sadu material is usually black, brown, beige, white and red, and has very distinct and unique motifs and geometric designs that pay tribute to the Bedoiun tribe’s rich cultural heritage and the harshness of the desert environment.
The Al-Makhala and the Merwid are part of the Qatari heritage and culture and still enjoy a place in Qatari homes where females use them to apply 'Kohl" (eyeliner) over the eyelids, and in the eyelid and also to apply mascara on the eyelashes.
The Al Makhala can come in different shapes and sizes and is a container which holds the Kohl. In ancient times, the Al Makhala was made from copper, but now, it can be made with steel, wood, ceramic, etc.
The Merwid is the long think needle-like tool with which the Kohl is applied to the eyes. It fits in the Al Makhala. It was also made from copper in the olden days and the part where you hold it usually has a nice design, so the whole thing looks quite pretty and elegant.
A traditional symbol of Qatar's hospitality is how the Dallah can be described. This is Qatar's traditional coffee pot and is made from silver and brass , and though it may be simple, it is often engraved with beautiful designs and even decorated with stones and ornaments, and has been used for thousands of years to make and serve Arabic coffee called Gahwa. (hotels.com)
It's still used today and is an important symbol of Qatari hospitality and is still used to serve guests Gahwa as a welcome drink at family gatherings, social functions, traditional feasts and special occasions like Ramadan and Eid. You'll often see the Dallah with Gahwa in hotel lobbies here in Doha.
Then, there is the Finjaan which is the metal or porcelain cup used to serve the Gahwa to guests. It goes hand in hand with the Dallah and the two make quite the pair. The finjaan is a mini cup without a handle but even though it's a small cup, it's never filled to the top. In fact, it's actually considered rude to fill it to the top. Do you know it's only filled to 1/4th of the cup size?
Oud has been around for centuries and was originally used in mosques in incense chips that were burned. It was also used on the body. Did you know it's called the "Wood of the Gods, and is made from the resinous bark of the rare aquilaria tree (agarwood tree) that can be found in Southeast Asia and can actually be quite expensive? However, it is believed that this source is becoming scarce and many people are turned to producing synthetic ouds, because of supply and demand. (Town and Country)
According to the Town and Country:
"The Chinese mentioned its (Oud) being extracted for incense in central Vietnam in the third century AD. By the late 16th century Vietnamese traders were exporting it to China and Japan, where it has been burned as incense for centuries. In the Islamic world, though, it became prized as an oil and as a personal perfume.
It's most available as wooden chips that are used for burning in rooms to purify them and also as perfumes or oils. Qataris like to give them as presents to clients, bosses and wives.
Bakhoor (or Bukhoor), like Oud, has been around for centuries and has long been used in homes to make them pure, clean, and to aromatise the environment. It's also used for repelling the evil spirits in the home and attracting the good spirits.
Bakhoor means 'fumes' in the Arabic language and is well-known in the Arab world. Bakhoor means resins, scented bricks or a blend of traditional ingredients; (mostly rough woodchips) that are soaked with fragrant oils and also mixed together with other natural ingredients that may include musk, resin, sandalwood, ambergris and essential oils).
Bakhoor is placed over hot coal in an incense holder that's made of brass, but may also be made of ceramics, wood or steel. It's called the Mabkhara.
The Mabkhara is the incense holder in which Bakhoor and Oud are put over hot coal. In the olden days, it was made with clay or soft stone. The Mabkhara, traditionally, has a square pedestal base that may have legs carved from it so it's easy to stand. The base may be made from wood and has inward sloping sides, and may have legs carved from the base. These support the square cup that has outwards sloping sides. The square cup is lined with sheet metal. This is the basic Mabkhara. There can be fancier ones, too, that are decorated and made in different shapes.
The Itardan can be translated as a "bottle that holds perfume", and that's exactly what the Itardan has been doing for hundreds of years - holding perfume. The perfumes held in the Itardan are exotic and musky, and are called Itar. Itar is made from natural oils from wood, herbs, and flowers that may have been aged for, even up to, 10 years, often in sandalwood which is why they are pure.
You can still find the Itardan in and around Doha. It may contain Itar, or it may be empty so you can put what you want in it, or use it for decorative purposes, but in the olden days, the Itardan was often filled with Itar and given to a guest by the rich and noble.
The Qatari man loves his sword. It's a symbol of pride and tradition and has been part of the Qatari man's life for centuries. This long and curved sword with a single-edged blade was used by the men in battles, but now, you'll mostly see it in homes as a decorative item, or at special occasions like the Qatar National day, weddings, and other huge events, where Qatari men dance the Ardha with swords. but the same pride is still attached to it as the long-gone days.
The sword is so deep-rooted within Qatar's heritage, that, it's also been a part of Qatar's national coat of arms since 1976. There are two swords crossing each other within a yellow circle. Where the swords cross, there is a depiction of a dhow in the sea. The outside border of the circle depicts the Qatari flag.
The Shisha has been around since time immemorial and is a huge part of Qatari traditions and its history. It's been around here for over 500 years and though it was once done as a community thing, it's a popular pastime these days.
People smoke shishas in their homes, restaurants, cafes, lounges and parties in and around Doha. Shishas these days are colourful affairs and you can find flavoured tobaccos to heat on the Shisha, unlike the olden days when it was just tobacco.
There have been stories going around for years and years that the tradition of using these lanterns, known as Fanoos in Arabic was started in Egypt more than a thousand years ago when these Fanoos were used by people to light their homes and the streets at night. One evening in 969 AD (358 Hijrah), on the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Caliph Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah came to Egypt. The military commander, Gawhar Al-Siqilli, commanded the people of Egypt to light the Caliph’s path with lanterns so he could see where he was going as he walked through the streets.
Another story indicates that women were not allowed out of the homes except when it was Ramadan, but only if their children walked in front of them holding the Fanoos to light the way.
Whatever be the reason, these Fanoos are still commonly used especially during Ramadan.
The Oud is an instrument of immense importance in Qatar, and has been hailed as the "king of instruments", and was used in folk music of the past, Today, the music of the Oud has found its way into all genres of Arabic music and is enjoyed in the West as well.
According to the Arab America:
"There are theories that the oud is the predecessor to the guitar, evolving from the Persian barbat, which then made its way to Europe through North Africa. The oud’s presence in the Arab world can even be traced back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C., and its influence cannot be denied in the development of music in the Arab world."The oud is traditionally made from lightweight wood. It has a short neck and is connected to a large round body which serves as the instrument’s base. Its shape is something akin to the shape of a pear.
"Though there are many variations, the acoustic string instrument is typically built with 11 strings, 10 of which are paired together with the 11th and lowest note being played alone, usually, as a melodic metronome of sorts. Similar to other string instruments, the oud’s strings are spirally reinforced in that they are wound extremely tightly and then attached so as to give it its unique sound."
How many of these objects have you seen in and around Doha? Do you own any of them? For decorative purposes or do you actually use them? Do let us know in our comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
There are multiple advertising possibilities with the ILQ network, drop us an e-mail at [email protected] for inquiries!
If you have anything you want to share with us, send us an e-mail at [email protected]!
Want to send a tip? Drop us an e-mail at [email protected], anonymity is guaranteed!
You have successfully registered your account!Please confirm your e-mail address by clicking on the URL sent to you.The e-mail usually arrives in 5-10 minutes.
Salam! Welcome to our brand new site! Looking good huh?
We’ve got loads of cool new features and to help make sure your account is secure, you’ll need to reset your password the first time you log in.
New to ILQ? What are you waiting for? Sign up!
How ajeeb was that!? Thanks for contributing to our community! Your post will appear after we take a quick look!