Sharjah Museums Authority organizes exhibition on Emirati dagger craftsmanship

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Sharjah Museums Authority is organizing an exhibition putting the generations-old craft of making traditional daggers under the spotlight and to showcase some of the magnificent daggers ever made by Emirati hands.

Titled ‘Dagger Craftsmanship in the UAE – A Craft of Authenticity and Creativity,’ the exhibition opened at the Sharjah Heritage Museum on Tuesday and will be open till May 24 next year.

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The exhibition aims to introduce the public to the role of the Emirati family of Mohammed Hassan Al Naabi whose members have for generations worked in dagger and sword making years before the union of the country.

The exhibition will also explore a craft that was once a main source of income for some Emirati families and educate people about it while also emphasizing the importance of reviving and preserving it alongside other Emirati handicrafts that are integral part of the UAE’s cultural heritage.

Daggers displayed as part of the exhibition. (Supplied)
Daggers displayed as part of the exhibition. (Supplied)

Most common types of daggers, their designs and crafting process will be highlighted as part of the exhibition that will attempt revive the habit of adorning Emirati traditional costumes with daggers.

Daggers displayed as part of the exhibition, many of which were designed by members of Al Naabi family include two large daggers by Halima Abdullah Rashid whose family have long specialized in crafting swords and daggers, hence the name which is derived from the accuracy and creativity of dagger and sword craftsmen.

THe exhibition ‘Dagger Craftsmanship in the UAE – A Craft of Authenticity and Creativity.’ (Supplied)
THe exhibition ‘Dagger Craftsmanship in the UAE – A Craft of Authenticity and Creativity.’ (Supplied)



The first is a 24-K gold plated dagger with an image of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan that was awarded the largest dagger title by the Sea of Culture Foundation in 2018 in the Emirates National Records category of Community Service and Love of Country.

The second is a gold and silver plated dagger studded with turquoise and bears the image of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, which has also received the Emirates National Records award by the Sea of Culture Foundation, under the Community Service and Love category.

Other featured daggers include a gold-plated Shamali dagger depicting an image of late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on its handle and a Shamali dagger decorated with silver and an image of Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, as well as a Shamali dagger made of silver and adorned with the UAE flag and emblem.

A collection of tools belonging to Emirati craftsman Abdullah Rashid Al Naabi which he used for over 40 years at his home workshop in Dubai’s Al Rashidiya area to make daggers and swords that were sold in the region and across the world, will also be featured at the show.

Workshops

An array of events will be organized as part of the exhibition and continue throughout its duration.

These include dagger-making and decorating workshops, picture corner where people can take their pictures while wearing daggers, dagger shop, and live dagger-drawing by an artist on ground.

A workshop on December 14 supervised by artist Marwa Al Sharbini will introduce adult participants to the ‘Art of Ageing’ and a dagger-making workshop on February 11 will teach participants aged 13 to 17 years old how to hand-make daggers.

Organizing the exhibition follows numerous other exhibitions, public events, workshops and talks devised by the Authority to encourage the public to celebrate and reflect on the cultural history of the country including ‘The Emirati Burqa: An Intimate Object’ exhibition in 2017, ‘Harmony. Aesthetics of Ornamentation in Emirati Heritage’ exhibition in 2018, ‘Coffee in the Arabian Gulf’ exhibition in 2019, and ‘The Palm Tree: Pride and Generosity’ exhibition in 2021.

Read more: Sharjah Art Foundation launches fifth edition of Focal Point Art Book Fair

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