National Dress - Men
The national dress for Omani men
is a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves called the
dishdasha. The colour most frequently worn is white, although a variety
of other colours such as black, blue, brown and lilac can also be seen.
Its main adornment is a tassel (furakha) sewn into the neckline, which
can be impregnated with perfume. Underneath the dishdasha, a plain piece
of cloth covering the body is worn from the waist down. Omani men may
wear a variety of head dresses. The muzzar is a square of finely woven
woollen or cotton fabric, wrapped and folded into a turban. Underneath
this, the kummar, an intricately embroidered cap, is sometimes worn. The
shal, a long strip of cloth acting as a holder for the khanjar (a silver,
hand-crafted knife or dagger) may be made from the same material as the
muzzar. Alternatively, the holder may be fashioned in the form of a belt
made from leather and silver, which is called a sapta. On formal occasions,
the dishdasha may be covered by a black or beige cloak, called a bisht.
The embroidery edging the cloak is often in silver or gold thread and
it is intricate in detail. Some men carry the assa, a stick, which can
have practical uses or is simply used as an accessory during formal events.
Omani men, on the whole, wear sandals on their feet.
The curved dagger, the khanjar is a distinguishing
feature of the Omani personality as well as an
important symbol of male elegance. It is
traditionally worn at the waist.
The shape of the khanjar is always the same and is
characterised by the curve of the blade and by the
near right- angle bend of the sheath. Sheaths may
vary from simple covers to ornate silver or
gold-decorated pieces of great beauty and
delicacy. In the
past the silver khanjars were made by melting down
Marie Theresa silver coins.
Different types of khan jars are named after the
regions in which they are made and vary according
to size, shape, type of metal and the overlay. The
top of the handle of the most usual khanjar is
flat but the "Saidi" type, which takes its name
from the Ruling Family, has an ornate cross-shaped
However, all possess certain common features and have the same components:
• The hilt may be made of costly rhinocerous horn
or substitutes such as
sandalwood and marble.
• The blade determines the value of the khanjar
according to its strength and
• The sadr, or upper part of the sheath, is
decorated with silver engraving,
• The sheath , the most striking part of the
khanjar, is worked with silver threads.
Khanjars are supported on belts of locallymade
webbing, sometimes interwoven with silver thread
or belts of leather covered by finely woven silver
wire with handsome silver buckles, and a knife
with an ornate handle of silver thread is often
stuck into a simple leather pouch behind the
Khanjars are worn on formal occasions and at
feasts and holidays, and almost all Omani men
Once worn in self-defence, the khanjar is today
both a fashion accessory and a prestige item much