The art of metal work at Muscat Festival
February 7, 2018 | 6:35 PM
by Salem Afifi

As you enter the Heritage Village at Al Amerat Park, you will spot an elderly man crouched near an oven like pot and crafting some of the most beautiful traditional metal work, thus showcasing Oman’s culture.

Rashid bin Hamad Al Batashi is a regular participant at Muscat Festival, where he shares his knowledge on the art of using flames to mould interesting shapes out of metals. It’s an iron that keeps him going.

Items such as knives, trimmers, pruning objects, and other customised tools can be found on his extensive list of creations that were traditionally used to trim bushes, prune palm trees, and cut unwanted plants, to name a few.

A resident of Quriyat Rashid has been working for more than 50 years as a blacksmith and also making a living from it. He creates several tools that were of great importance in olden days, especially in agriculture and dates cultivation. Even today, irrespective of his age, Rashid actively works to further develop his skills and perfect his artistic touch.

Having learnt this art at a very young age Rashid said that his art requires patience and expertise in dealing with iron and fire, especially in forming the shapes and in using the hammer.

In olden days locals who used such tools were mostly farmers, but the culture is slowly dying. Rashid stressed on the significance of teaching the new generation the art of metal work done by a blacksmith in order to save it from extinction as it is being replaced by modern machines today. He also felt that everyone must cooperate in protecting the traditional culture and heritage by introducing the new generation to the art.

For Rashid, this traditional craft is an essential part of Oman’s history and he is happy to find some people still practising this art.

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