Oman Cultural Days in Brunei Darussalam Part.1

I finally obtained the photos I took when I worked as a Liaison Officer for a Cultural showcase from Oman two years ago. As I am currently working for the Ministry of Culture, youth and Sports in Brunei , I was able to join in many, many cultural events that is happening in Brunei, events that I would not be able to participate in, do not have access to or otherwise would not have known should I have not been working here.  I attended cultural exhibitions and shows from China, Japan, Malaysia and for this post, I had the honor of attending a cultural exhibit from Oman, as an exchange between the two ministries of cultures of Brunei and Oman.

As you can read below, the exhibit is held  in honour of the 30th anniverary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei Darussalam and Oman. It was held for four days, from 11 until the 15 of November 2014, at the main hall of the International Convention Centre, Bandar Seri Begawan.

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I will split this article into three ; first, this introduction, the second one will be manuscripts and the third one would be artifacts such as jeweleries  and decorative items. As Oman is in the Middle East region, it is suffice to say that the decorative language they have is very similar to their regional neighbours – a lot of vegetal and floral motifs and geometric designs, although theirs are a lot more tribal in design, as one may see in the photos below.

they have a lot of silver (or perhaps, silver plated) utensils and other items  and they are very decorated in various, complicated designs . They set up two miniature tents, one for seating area and one is for henna tattoo area. Inside, they brought coffee pots, a basin in which they discard water, a serving apparatus for serving their Helwa (sweets) , incense burners (enough to fill the hall completely with swell smelling smokes)  and a sprinkler filled with very,very strong smelling rosewater that will not disappear even after 10  washes (apparently, the Omani produced the best rosewater)  All of these are carved with intricate flowery designs.  These designs for these utensils will be featured in the next article.

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This is me in one of the tents. As you can see there are low (very low) sofas that forces you to sit crosslegged on the floor they are just literally cushions, oriental carpets,  a table with an incense burner on top (Which is thankfully not lit yet, we are not used to being subjected to such immense amount of sweet smelling smokes) and the curtains, well they are the walls of the tent itself, held up by a metal frame. Believe it or not, the Omanis brought all of these from Oman and given away to the higher ups when they have finished with the exhibit.

During the exhibit, there are other cultural events took place. I had mentioned henna tattoo (mainly for the women) tent, but there are also a  photography exhibit celebrating the relations between the two countries, a massive amount of book collections, mainly regarding Oman and their literary culture (some were in Arabic), artifacts and manuscripts exhibit (most of them are just replicas, including an old copy of a verse of the Qur’an written on a camel bone),Calligraphy demonstation,video playing of Oman tourism, small culinary experience consisting of black, thick Omani coffee and perfumed, spice flavoured Helwas and dates  as well as musical and dance performances.

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Stay tuned for the rest of the articles!

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