Omani Silver in the British Museum in the Albukhary Foundation’s rooms

On the Upper floor of the British Museum, Rooms 42–43 house the Albukhary Foundation’s rooms. This cultural institution, founded by Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, is based in Kuala Lumpur and claims to be the largest in Asia dedicated to the arts, culture and heritage of the Islamic world.

British Museum Queen Elizabeth Court - London
British Museum Queen Elizabeth Court

These galleries in the British Museum offer a perspective to the Islamic World, with beautifully laid out displays and as they are off the main flow of visitors, the space is less crowded.

Very unusually, as so many Islamic collections seem to ignore Arabia, the displays include Silver from Oman, some donated by Oman’s Government.

Silver & Gold Necklace with Hirz - Omani
Silver & Gold Omani Necklace with Hirz

A necklace of Silver with Gold detailing is included, it has One Rupee Coins from India with a date around the turn of the 20thcentury decorating this piece. A more usual decoration would be Maria Theresa Silver Thalers, their size adding impact to any piece. A Hirz (Quran Box) at the necklaces bottom is Silver & Gold and is often designed to hold material to protect the wearer . A small piece of Red Coral and what might be a Phial for Mercury adds to this piece’s protective quality.

Silver & Gold HeadDress Weights - Omani
Silver & Gold HeadDress Weights

Silver and Gold decorative weights that the British Museum notes are for a Headscarf in Silver and Gold (similar designs are often called Ear ornaments) are also displayed. These have a pyramidal granulated decoration common on jewellery in Oman.

Silver Anklets - Omani -
Oman Silver Anklets

Silver, hinged Anklets with a chased decoration are often heavy in Oman and are one of the more distinctive Omani silver designs. They often would have pebbles inside to give a pleasing sound when walking.

 

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4