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National Dress - Women

Omani women have very colourful costumes which vary from region to region. The main components of a woman's outfit comprise of a dress which is worn over trousers (sirwal) and the headdress, called the lihaf.

[Women Dress]There are numerous traditional styles of Omani costume seen in Muscat. However, there are three main types which show vibrant colours, embroidery and decorations. One style of costume is rather flowing and resembles that worn by the women of the Interior, while another is decorated with distinctive silver bands. The embroidery on these dresses can take around two months to complete.

  Al Batinah
Al Dakhiliyah
Al Sharqiyah
    Musandam & Al Dhahirah

The jewellery worn by Omani women is fashioned mainly from gold, although the traditional metal was silver. Work is very intricate and elaborate patterns and symbols, even Quranic calligraphy, is engraved into the metal.

Traditional footwear was a type of platform shoe made from wood called the qurhaf. However, most women now wear sandals or Western-style fashion shoes.

Omani women have used natural cosmetics and beauty preparations for centuries and despite the supply of brand name cosmetics sold in department stores and supermarkets, the traditional products are still available at souqs all over the Sultanate.

Kohl, a dark powder used as an eyeliner made mainly from frankincense or the roots of the arvea jevanica, is still used to enhance the eyes and is applied with a small stick made from silver (marwat) or wood. As a 'moisturiser' women grind the seeds of the prunus mahled together with the yellow pigment of the carthamus tincturius flower. Indigo is also used as a 'skin wash'. The indigo is pounded into a powder and rubbed into the skin, to then be rinsed off with the crushed leaves of the becium dhofarense. This beauty treatment leaves the skin smooth and faintly tinged with blue which enhances the natural skin tone and is complemented by the colours contained within the vibrant dresses and scarves. Indigo is also applied to the face in decorative patterns for festivals and celebrations, such as weddings.

Hair is conditioned with oil extracted from the shoo seeds which is said to make the hair shine and delay the signs of greying. A popular shampoo is made from sidr and ipomoea nil leaves.

Many women in Oman paint their hands and feet with henna, particularly before special occasions such as Eid holidays or weddings. Henna comes from the plant of the same name and is extracted by pounding the leaves into a powder which is then mixed with water to form a thick paste. The paste is applied in patterns on the hands and feet, which, when dried, leaves a temporary orange/brown design which fades after around three weeks.

Omani costumes are so varied, colourful and eye-catching, that the Post Office of Oman has produced postage stamps depicting men's and women's outfits from the different regions.

[Outfit-1] [Outfit-2] [Outfit-3] [Outfit-4]


Culture:- Overview Oman Culture in focus National Dress-Men National Dress-Women The Traditional Dhow Shabab Oman Omani Food Folk songs & Dances Horses of Oman Traditional crafts

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