Oman’s pottery reflects traditional way of life

Yahya al Salmani  –
Said bin Abdullah al Adawi (pictured), works and manage the Clay Pots Factory in Wilayat of Bahla. He learned the pottery making since he was young from his parents who were working in the same field for a long time. “I learnt preparing pottery items since I was eight years old. The current factory, where I have been working, is dated back to more than 200 years,” he told the Observer.

After a retirement from the Ministry of Education, He started working in the factory on a daily basis. He brought many equipment from India, and the factory is now well known by many institutions and individuals at the national and regional levels.
To maintain this profession, Said has organized a number of workshops for the Omani youths. “I have been doing the training workshops in order to preserve this traditional handcraft skill. I strongly realize that this is a ‘national duty,’” he says.
However, Said indicates that this craft faces many obstacles, most notably the spread of unlicensed labor. He requests the authorities to tighten supervision and support the national cadres.
Among other difficulties, “it is rather difficult to buy electric furnace/oven equipment because of high prices. This leads many to close their pottery activities. “For instance, there were six pottery factories in Bahla, sadly, only one factory remained,” he said.
He told the Observer that “the Wilayat of Bahala is known for pottery industries, where large amounts of clay are collected and burned, ranging from 700 to over than 1000 degrees Celsius. The clay then turns into different colors; red, brown or orange depending on the type of clay. After the burning operation, workers polish the clay with specific materials and keep it dry to prevent any water leakage”.
Since long time, Omanis have used the pottery, mainly for storing water and dates. “The official sources said that pottery, art dates back to early 2500 BC”. However, Said mentioned that the pottery influenced the development of our culture and lives. “The ancient pottery today is considered to be an important artifact in the
studies of archaeology and social anthropology”.
Many of pottery items can be seen now in several traditional markets such as: Muttrah and Nizwa. All these handmade items reflect the time and skill required to create them. The decorations, colors and the unique shapes emphasize that pottery industry has an importance since hundreds of years ago. Locals still use them to store the drinking water, fresh date, honey and many other local products. The majority of the locals believe that storing the fresh agricultural products in these handmade vessels is healthier and contribute in preventing many contemporary diseases. Today, many tourists are hiring these clay decorated items to use them as vast and in many cases to offer them as gifts for their relatives, friends and acquaintances.