Author: Julia M. Stehlin-Alzadjali
Photographer: Chandrettan, Muscat
Publisher: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOG, 2010
Format and layout
220 x 270 x 12 mm (8.7″ x 10.6″ x 0.5”)
Text and images on colour background
Photos, Illustrations, and Diagrams
This book has everything you could wish for in a good dress and costume guide. It starts with a proper map of Oman, showing the different regions mentioned in the book as well as putting it in the context of the region. Each style is illustrated with simple diagrams, images of the clothes worn by Omani women in the context of their lifestyle and surroundings, as well as images of the outfits from the collection on mannequins to give technical and historical descriptions and context.
The visual aspect of this book is excellent and gives an in-depth illustration of the traditional dress of Oman in all its splendour.
This book is a labour of love. It is the culmination of years of research and collecting of garments and stories by the author. It is impossible to read the book without sensing the author’s deep love for the country and its people. Julia’s research and knowledge of the history of Omani dress come as a natural extension of this affinity for the culture and land.
“Marking the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Sultanate of Oman’s national day, the Centre of Omani Dress has composed this beautifully illustrated book on the traditional dress of women from the Sultanate of Oman. The information is based upon the Centre’s accumulated knowledge and the ever-growing collection of over 800 pieces throughout the entire nation. From one region to the next, Omani dress for women is illustrated, explained and accompanied by full-colour photographs of women adorned in their national clothes. this is the first book dedicated to the subject of Omani dress to ever be published. It belongs in universities, libraries, and on coffee table alike, as it will appeal equally to academics and lay readers.” Backpage blurb – The Traditional Women’s Dress of Oman
The book starts with a Foreword, Preface, and Introduction. The first chapter gives an overview of The National Dress – the different types of garments, head coverings, embellishments, burqa’s, and jewellery.
The main part of the book is divided into nine chapters, each focusing on one of the nine geographical regions of the country. These chapters look in detail at the dress and garments worn in that region and put it in the context of climate, lifestyle, outside influences, economy, history, and heritage.
The book concludes with a chapter on the work of the Centre of Omani Dress, a glossary, bibliography, and some further reading recommendations.
This is an important publication. It is the first, and so far, the only book published on the topic of Omani dress heritage. It is an accumulation of research, stories, and information that might have been lost forever if not recorded in time. The layout of the book and the presentation of images and illustrations are of a high standard, easy to understand, and very informative. It is an asset to any good dress historian’s collection. The book is out of print and few copies are still available for sale. We found our copy at the Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat.
The Zay Initiative has several items from Oman in our collection. Learn more about them here.
About the author
Julia M. Stehlin-Alzadjali was the Founder and Director of the Centre of Omani Dress. She fell in love with Omani dress in 1985 when she received some Omani garments as a gift while still living in the USA. She moved to Oman in 1992 where she married into an Omani family and became part of the culture. She started the Omani Dress Project in 2003 and in 2005 founded the Centre for Omani Dress who worked in close cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, the Historical Association of Oman, Omani Heritage Gallery, schools, women’s groups, and other organisations to support, expand, and preserve the dress heritage of Oman.
Julia has since returned to the USA and The Centre for Omani Dress has been incorporated into the Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat where part of the collection is on display.