TRADITIONAL CRAFTS OF SAUDI ARABIA
Traditional Crafts of Saudi Arabia
Traditional crafts in Saudi Arabia are part of social identity, country’s creativity and cultural heritage (Laudan, 2001). The skills get passed from one generation to the next in order to preserve the traditions to future generations. The traditional culinary crafts and dining customs in Saudi Arabia are pottery and ceramics like large jars and vases. There are also stockpots, copper utensils, sesame oil for food purposes and plates. According to Topham (1986), Saudi Arabia dining customs include hand-made confectionary, dates molasses, dehydrated yogurt and honey in containers. Other traditional crafts present in Saudi Arabia that complement culinary crafts are weaving, nomadic equipment, household crafts, traditional weapons and costumes.
Saudi traditional metal work in Saudi Arabia is finding its popularity in the international market due to quality artistic work in the metallic and ceramic products (Topham, 1986). The metallic crafts use natural and mineral raw materials found underground. The craftsmen purify iron, aluminium, copper and other minerals and reconstruct into desired product. Different types of clay make different pottery and ceramics products. The traditional craftsmen make copper utensils that include copper pots, and containers for storing liquids and foods. In the past, people used traditional crafts according to the category and craft product. For example, Saudi Arabian traditional cuisine was prepared during special events like wedding ceremony, anniversaries, and Islamic religious festivals. Special traditional drinks could be available during traditional ceremonies, and the drinks were particular to some guest of honours. In the current society, traditional crafts are used for beauty and anaesthetic of the house environment.
Thousands of years, Saudi Arabia is known for its cultural and commercial activities of traditional crafts (Koc, 2013). Several pre-Islamic kingdoms controlled the economic and cultural activities taking place in the country. The emergence of the new modern era does not put too much effort to the appreciation of tradition culinary, metalwork and ceramic crafts. Muslim culture and traditional get maintained in the modern society especially jewellery, and cloaks of men and women. Tradition arts are essential in learning modern art in Saudi Arabia since they create participation of government and institution to maintain the crafts. Education institution and government bodies are building new museums to preserve and store traditional crafts and arts. Civilization is leading to eradication of some traditional practices; the museum department is preserving some of the protocol practises in order to attract scholars and international clients towards Saudi Arabia museums (Azab, 2011).
The traditional arts of Saudi Arabia are full of diversity including wooden, leather, metal and, woven objects. Saudi Arabia traditional crafts are unique and reflect the traditional customs and practices of the natives. Mass media and use of delegates will help in marketing the Arabian traditional crafts overseas. Theses traditional crafts do not get old-fashioned and remain marketable in the local and international market. The government of Saudi Arabia organizes international trade fairs and participate in expo exhibition to market and create awareness of the beautiful cultural practices in Saudi Arabia. The traditional artisans train young and talented artisans in making some of the traditional arts in order to maintain the cultural arts and crafts for future generation. The consulting traditional bodies encourage young and talented youths to join craftsmen schools and classes to gain useful skills that will make Saudi Arabia traditional crafts marketable for over thousand years (Yamani, 2004)).
Traditional culinary crafts of Saudi Arabia include Arabic coffee (Weiss, 2012). Arabic coffee has Islamic religious meaning. Islam believers do not consume alcoholic drinks or eat pork; hence do not engage in producing foods or drinks that may lead to alcohol production in large quantities. Arabic coffee is made of light grown Arabic coffee, ground cardamom and at least two cups of water. Coffee, cardamom and water are missed together and boiled for two to three minutes. A pinch of Saffron gets added for flavour. A Saudi dumpling is dessert dough made of white flour, milk, salt, baking powder and, egg. The flour, salt, egg and water get mixed together to form a thick batter. The dough get fermented for six hours and deep fried until it turns golden brown. Dumplings get soaks in cold syrup and served as soon as after soaking them. The dumplings are best served with a hot drink.
Saudi Spice Mix is also called Baharat. Baharat is made of black pepper, coriander powder, cinnamon, clove ground, nutmeg, paprika, curry powder and lime (Welch, 1980). This concoction is mixed well and stored in a tightly sealed jar. Saudi Wheat Soup is a traditional soup consumed during the Ramadan in breaking the fast. Saudi Wheat Soup is made using cracked wheat, tomatoes, and meat enhanced with cinnamon. Saudi Wheat Soup is also used during brisk days and as natural hot food for lunch. Wheat Soup has olive oil, chopped onions, pounded beef cuts, tomatoes, cinnamon and, water. Water is first heat; to it onions, tomatoes and meat get added. Cinnamon get sprinkled and served while hot. Saudi Sambousak is the fifth Saudi Arabia traditional food. Sambousak is made of white flour, oil, bread spice, ground beef, onions, and black pepper. Flour gets mixed with bread spice, and rubbed with fingertips thoroughly until dough is binding. The dough gets divided into small pieces and deep fried in hot oil (Long, 2005).
The traditional crafts of Saudi Arabia is diverse and entail all classification of handicrafts and cuisines. The first traditional industry deals with botanical products; these include wood products, hand fans, palm products and cage crafts. Saudi Arabia has fibre products like bags, fibre containers and containers. Rush plants make table and floor mats. These crafts are used in the culinary craft of Saudi Arabia. Local and international tourists do not come to view cuisine products but also admire these botanical products and use them. The Arabian countries collaborate to form a union that will help to market individual’s country traditional crafts in the Asian and Arabic nations (Long, 2005). Moreover, these unions market the traditional crafts to the western nationalities hence enhancing international relation. Traditional food products are still present in the modern society and are getting different orientation. These foods get spiced or modern methods of preparing them. Some of these foods are hand-made confectionery, dehydrated yogurt, dates molasses, honey industry, and gum and secretions from trees.
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