Sunday, May 29, 2022 | Shawwal 27, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

"Omani gunpowder " a unique legacy

Omanis have proved their ingenuity in hundreds of years through their work in different metiers. They have created a plenty of astonishing tools and handcrafts that reflects their craftmanship through the years. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that Omanis are known for their good attachment to their traditions and customs. Amazingly they passed down their cultural legacies generation after generation keeping an eye on maintaining their authenticity as well as adapting them to their current time. Thus, developing their features without any harm on their originality. Those crafts have created a good chance for them to develop and flourish through the years; nevertheless, they were of a good use in good and bad times.


Omani gunpowder making is one of the famous crafts in Oman's mountainous areas from hundreds of years until today. Surprisingly Omanis have their own way in making the gunpowder from their nature and they also have their own ways of keeping it. Additionally, they used a special kind of coal to make the gunpowder extracted from Alshkhar tree (scientifically known as calotropis procera). They especially use its coal because it is much lighter and highly flammable.


Gunpowder has been used by Omani people in many tools to serve a plenty of aims. "Alwasla" is one of these significant tools. It is used by Omani people who live in mountainous areas in the Sultanate of Oman extending from the wilayat of Quriyat to the wilayat of Sur. They inherited it hundreds of years ago and they are still using it in different special occasions. It is a piece of a gun called "Abu Asher" where Gunpowder is the only thing used in it without any live bullets. It emits a strong and loud sound similar to the sound of a cannon. Amazingly, "Alwasla" has a distinctive presence in special cultural events like Eid Al Fitr and Al Adha, national days as well as weddings. It is used by specific people who have a long experience in making Omani gunpowder.


It is heartening that there are still some people who are passionate in making the gunpowder and sometimes selling it. One of the gunpowder makers, Ahmed Al Owaisi mentioned in an interview that they have been taught how to make gunpowder by their grandparents and they are still committed to it since then.


He also presented a flask where they put the gunpowder which is called "Alkela" or "Alsamaa" which they stick to a special type of belt they wear round their west called "Mahzam". It is worth noting that Omani people have been using "Alsamaa" in hunting back in the day.


What's more, Omani gunpowder is known to be kept in an exceptional flask called "Talahiq" which is usually made of silver, gold and wood. It is astonishing that they used the horns of goats and gazelles in making Talahiq. Altalahiq is used for a matchlock gun called "Abu Fatiylah". It is designed perfectly to slide into the belt of Omani ancient warriors and accompany Abu Fatiylah gun. It is known for its unique domed shape that is decorated admirably with rows and motifs. It sometimes has wonderful conical spikes around the edge of its body. Altalahiq's decorated upper part can be opened to refill it with gunpowder again.


It is a proudest thing that there is still a wide interest in Omani crafts that go back to hundreds of years. Nevertheless, it is amazing that the government of the Sultanate of Oman is keeping an eye on these masterpieces and giving them a special diligence by highlighting their role in our countries' history and representing them in some wonderful social occasions like festival, exhibits and alike. It also sheds light on them by presenting them in museums inside and outside. Thus, attracts the tourists to visit our marvelous country to know more about it. Omani gunpowder is a worth highlighting subject that is not widely known yet very interesting. It has a considerable place at some specific parts of Oman where the Omani uses it to express his strength, ingenuity, fearlessness and power. To sum it up, nothing would be more precious than a citizen welling to devote his time and effort for the development of his country.


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