Muscat: Omani headgear—the mussar—is considered the most expensive head gear in the Middle East, based on its quality and production.
Even though the mussar is produced abroad, the Omani people have a great knowledge of the quality, type and price of mussars.
The majority prefer to wear material from Kashmir, in which the wool used to make the mussar is cultivated from the neck and underbelly of the Kashmiri mountain goat.
Pashmina is the most popular material that Omanis like to wear due to its smoothness and ease with which it can be wrapped around the head. A typical pashmina mussar can cost anywhere between OMR60 and OMR450. Some mussars go up to OMR2,000.
Chinese made mussars are the cheapest and are priced from around OMR15 and are not favoured by locals.
There are several ways to manufacture the mussar; either by machine, printing or hand. The highest quality mussar is stitched by hand, as well as the designs embroidered into the cloth; this makes the mussar one of a kind and can never be duplicated.
In an interview with the Times of Oman’s sister publication Shabiba, Yousuf Al Kindy, an owner of a mussar shop said, “There are several types of mussars, some are handmade, some are machine made and other are printed. The best and the most delicate kind is the handmade one.”
“The best material used for the mussar is from Kashmir, specifically, pashmina and satoosh,” he added. Though delicate, the longevity of the mussar solely depends on a person’s ability to take care of it. Al Kindy added, “It depends on the person’s level of responsibility, but I advise that it should be kept in a cool dry place because it is very delicate.”
“If you need to wash it, steam wash it then fold it and place it in a clear plastic cover,” he added.
Normally, mussar does not need to be washed, but only ironed. The delicate can be destroyed if placed in a washing machine.
The Times of Oman also got in touch with a very reliable source to talk about the most famous and recognisable mussar—the Saidi mussar—which is only worn by members of the royal family and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. “The Saidi mussar is the same as any mussar, only it is thicker and has had the same pattern and design for 300 years,” said the source.
“It costs around OMR150 to OMR200, but they are not sold. There are specialised shops, where you can get one. Some people wear that for special occasions and weddings in Zanzibar mostly,” added the source.
He further said, “When members of the royal family turn 18, His Majesty sends them the Saidi mussar to wear. If you notice the way it is wrapped around, like the kings of India, it symbolises how far the Omani empire has reached.”