July 14, 2013

0738 OMAN - A traditional craftsman

Oman is as much a product of geography and history as of culture and economic change, so even if it shares many of the cultural characteristics of its Arab neighbours, particularly of those in the Gulf, it is unique in the Middle East. The relatively recent and artificial nature of the sultanate means that it is difficult to describe a national culture,  its cultural diversity being much greater than that of its Arab neighbours. One of the elements that identifies it is the traditional handicrafts, which in recent years was preserved, promoted and supported by the state. If I'm not mistaken, the man shown in the postcard makes a braiding of palm leaves, a very old manual work in Oman, a lot of people working even today in this field.

He wears a dishdasha, a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves, the male national dress in Oman. Its main adornment is a tassel (furakha) sewn into the neckline, which can be impregnated with perfume. Underneath the dishdasha, a plain, wide strip of cloth is worn, wrapped around the body from the waist down. The most noted regional differences in dishdasha designs are the style with which they are embroidered, which varies according to age group. On formal occasions, the dishdasha may be covered by a black or beige cloak, called a bisht.

Omani men may wear a variety of head dresses. The muzzar is a square of finely woven woollen or cotton fabric, wrapped and folded into a turban. Underneath this, the kummar, an intricately embroidered cap, is sometimes worn. The shal, a long strip of cloth acting as a holder for the khanjar (a silver, hand-crafted knife or dagger) may be made from the same material as the muzzar.

About the stamp

The stamp is part of the series 41st National Day - Royal Opera House - Muscat, issued on November 18, 2011 and consisting of three stamps, with the face value of 0.50 OMR, 1.00 OMR, and 1.50 OMR (it's on this postcard). Each stamp contains, in addition to a picture of the Royal Opera House and of a performance which took place there, the portrait of the sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup in 1970, and changed the name of the country from Muscat and Oman to the Sultanate of Oman, establishing as political system the absolute monarchy.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #129, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Presidents and kings. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Oman - Wikipedia
National Dress - Men - Oman net

sender: Cresalde Jumbas Victoriano (direct swap)
sent from Muscat (Oman), on 02.03.2013 


  1. The details in your posts each week are very educational none more so than this week. My world album doesn't even include Oman although it has other Gulf States.

  2. Oman is another country I didn't know anything about. I like the postcard with the native crafts and attire.

  3. I actually have received one card from Oman via Postcrossing. thank you for your post, which is very informative.

  4. such a great stamp and nicely cancelled