A coffee pot from the Musandam

Contributed by Jeremy Usher Smith

A coffee pot from the Musandam

In 1982 I was surveying the Musandam Peninsular for Arabian leopard, I was following an animal track, which passed below the hamlet of Taf al Qarha, at the base of a cliff was their midden, in it an object caught my eye. I pulled at it to find the curved base was of an Arabian coffee pot. A thin unglazed earthenware pot, which was finely decorated with lines incised into the damp clay; then a darker slip had been added to the design before it was fired. It had obviously been used regularly and was deeply scorched by wood smoke. It was missing its lid, had some damage to the handle and had a chipped spout. What was quite remarkable was that it had fallen a distance of over 75 meters onto the midden. I wrapped it in my shamagh (head scarf) and carried it up to the hamlet. I showed it to a couple of people and asked if anyone knew anything about it. People recognized its origin. I learnt it was a coffee pot that had been made by an old potter working in the coastal village of Al Lima, on the eastside of the peninsular to the south of Ras Sican. It was remarkable that this fine hand thrown earthenware pot, with such intricate decoration made for everyday use, should survive the fall.

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Taf al Qarha, Jebel Yemit Oman


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