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Middle Eastern Decor

Baskets and fans

Basketry is worked in most of the oases in Arabia. The most common fiber is the date palm leaf but grasses are also used in the larger oases and in the Tihama and the mountains of the Southwest. Most baskets seen in the Gulf are of durable construction and used for winnowing and containing grain, dates and other products. It is in the Asir, especially in the Abha area, that the most decorative baskets can be found. There are two basic shapes: a pot with a lid, and an open conical shape supported on a short conical rim. Nowadays these are being used as decor for bedouin tents.

Coffee pots and bean cooler

A favorite pastime of the Bedouin and indeed of most Arabs is the preparation and drinking of coffee, whether as host or guest. The coffee beans are first roasted carefully in a long handled iron pan (mihmas). The roasted beans are then transferred to a shallow wooden tray (mubarrad) which has a small opening at one end. The tray is used for cooling the hot beans and the opening is for obtaining the correct amount of beams to be emptied into a mortar. The coffee maker carefully pounds the beans in the mortar. Meanwhile, the water is boiled using an Arabian coffeepot called dallah, then the boiling water is poured into a second pot containing the ground coffee and as it comes to boil again, the coffee maker grinds the cardamom see. This second pot is set aside for the coffee to settle and the ground cardamom seed added, after which the pot is briefly brought to boil again. A third brightly polished and sometimes decorated dallah is used for serving the coffee into small cups.

Incense burners

muslim clothing Incense is commonly used in all households in Arabia and is normally burned on top of charcoal or wood embers. Most incense burners have a square pedestal base with inward sloping sides which support a square vessel with outward sloping sides. The vessel is lined with sheet metal. The legs are commonly wrapped as well. Modern incense burners keep the traditional shape but are decorated with shiny metal plates, mirrors and colored plastics.