Bukhara, May 23 (BNA) The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) participated in the 1st International Gold and Jewelery Festival, which was held in Uzbekistan on May 21-25.
Mr. Shawq Al-Alawi, Director of the Handicrafts Department in Bahrain, presented a research on embroidery and goldsmithing in Bahrain.
She explained the historical and cultural legacy of the gold industry in the Kingdom and linking this industry to the customs and traditions of the Bahraini people, in addition to the stages of development of the gold and embroidery industry of all kinds in Bahrain.
Al-Alawi explained that the presence of gold in Bahrain dates back to the year 2050 BC – 1700 BC, where the oldest archaeological discoveries show some golden beads from the state of Dilmun. Since then, archaeological excavations have found many key artifacts in the Dilmun eras (2500 BC – 500 BC), Tylos (300 BC – 500 BC) and the Islamic era (600 AD until 1787 modern Bahrain). These pieces show great craftsmanship and resemble the nation’s wealth and the importance of gold in the social hierarchy.
Gold and silver jewelry, objects with precious stones, ivory, copper, wood and beads were also discovered. This jewelry served several purposes used in rituals or as amulets, ornaments and artistic purposes. She said the samples include bracelets, anklets, necklaces and earrings.
Shawq highlighted the pearl trade for which the people of Dilmun were famous, noting that the demand was high from India, Sindh, Persia and Mesopotamia.
An inscription from ancient Assyria, dating back 4,000 years, refers to “…a piece of fish from Dilmun” (fisheyes is the name given to pearls). This export trade was of great importance to Dilmun as evidenced by the piles of empty oyster shells discovered by archaeologists in coastal cities.
Bahrain has an unrivaled history of adapting the art of the artisan while creating exquisite pieces of raw gold jewelry. History has made the country at the forefront of jewelry design and gained worldwide fame for the island’s goldsmiths.
In folklore, there are some notable gold pieces that can be categorized into head pieces, hair tassels, necklaces, torso pieces, bracelets, rings, anklets, and costume ornaments.
Gold coins can also be categorized into everyday wear and occasion jewelry, and gold ownership has been a sign of social status and influence.
Al-Alawi pointed out that gold was the main element in the manufacture of traditional costumes (for men and women) in the form of golden embroidery threads.
She explained that embroidery is an integral part of the Bahraini thobe (the traditional dress), and the zari, the naqdah and the bresem are among the most prominent decorative elements in traditional clothing.
Design motifs are often derived from nature and the surrounding environment, including architectural elements and gold metalwork.
The simplicity of the silhouettes contrast with the elaborate embellishments, where personal details and customization tell a story about Bahrain before the dominance of Western-inspired styles and the expansion of fashion markets. The strength of historical trade ties with India, East Asia, and the larger Middle East and North Africa region is also reflected in the textiles and fabrics used to make these ornate garments.
She said that the oldest pieces in the Bahrain National Museum belong to Sheikha Aisha bint Muhammad Al Khalifa, wife of the former ruler of Bahrain, Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa (1869-1932). As in all parts of the world, the intensity of embroidery and the use of golden threads were a sign of social status, and the more elaborate the needlework, the more important a person was.