A traditional tribe of potters from Shamal in RAK at Sharjah Heritage Days
display how they keep the old craft alive
Sharjah Heritage Days, which concludes in the historic Heart of Sharjah district tomorrow (Saturday) has attracted thousands of visitors during its three-week run, introducing them to the unique traditions and customs of the UAE and 29 nations.
One such activity is pottery, which is one of the oldest traditional crafts inherited over the generations in the emirates. It represents a link between contemporary Emirati people and the ancient eras, revealing the path of progress in the country. Emirati pottery works are rich in beauty and diversity. Many of the items used by people in the past are still in use today.
At the Pottery in the UAE exhibition, a traditional family of potters from Shamal, which was a centre of pottery production in Ras Al Khaimah are sharing this traditional art with the new generation. “We use three types of clay to make the pottery items, which are fashioned on the wheel and then burnt in the kiln. This process takes a day or two, after which the pots are painted on the third day and then baked in the kiln once more,” says Salem Hasan Saeed Albayyed Alshemeili, whose personal collection of old pottery is also on display at the pavilion.
Here are the different types of traditional Emirati pottery items you should know about:
Musab: used to make tea or coffee
Mcook: used as a grain scale
Khars: used to preserve foodstuff such as dates and grains
Malla: a bowl used for storage and serving
Mat’amm or Ma’janah: a tray used for kneading or serving food
Yehla: a pitcher used to carry water
Khabiya: a big urn used to preserve grains, dates and other foods
Masher: used for cooking
Kraz: used to store ghee or oils
Coz: used for ablution, bathing
Burma: for preserving milk and yoghurt
Mazbada: for storing butter
Khanab: used to irrigate crops
Halula: for feeding sheep
There’s still time to visit SHD 2021 and see skilled potters in action who have dedicated their life to preserving and popularising a time-honoured tradition of the UAE.