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
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
Musandam & Al
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
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
Oman Culture in focus
The Traditional Dhow
Folk songs & Dances
Horses of Oman