Within the community, we’re all expatriates. People come and go, depending on their job and assignments. Change is a part of life for an expat. It is unfortunate that some of our initial friendships are likely to be short-lived. However, we embrace the idea of meeting new people and establishing even more friendships.
No matter where you live, people typically cull their possessions as they prepare to move. We have used the Circle of Life to our advantage. As a result, we’ve made several secondhand purchases. We hope to have own collection that reflects our personal adventures, but these items were to nice to pass.
I’m chronicling a few of the items, not to boast, but merely share our treasures and to record the story behind the piece for later reference.
The most cherished purchase was a beautiful dagger from Oman. The seller said the proper name is a Khnajar. The exact age is unknown, but it was purchased 10-15 years ago in the country of Oman. The sheath and handle are made of silver and all the tooling is done by hand. It is a stunning piece. I find myself admiring the craftsmanship each time I walk pass the piece. The Khnajar is framed. Due to heavy restrictions of weapons in the Kingdom, she had it x-rayed to ensure the blade was still attached after it was framed. The item cost 400 riyals, which equates to $106.
The same person had a second dagger in their home. We asked if they planned to sell it as well and they immediately responded with a price. This piece originates from Saudi Arabia. The sheath is a combination of silver and leather. The sheath has two large gemstones to add a splash of embellishment. The handle has two 1-inch gold tokens attached with a tack. I don’t know the significance, but hope to learn more in the future. The age is unknown, but we were told it is very old and she acquired the dagger 10-15 years ago. The dagger is also shadow-boxed and slightly larger than the Khnajar. The framing was well done, but I would have chosen a different frame and matting colors. Depending on the cost, I might have it reframed in the future. I paid 400 riyals, which equates to $106.
After the first two purchases, the seller thought we would enjoy a smaller unframed Yemen dagger. Because of conflict with Yemen, the borders are closed which makes items from that country difficult to obtain. The dagger has a wood wrapped leather sheath. The blade and handle are heavy, but it appears to be a mold. The blade has almost no edge to it, which leads me to believe it’s for décor. At a distance it is fascinating, but I doubt it is authentic or has any historic value. Either way, I am grateful to add it to the collection.
Syrian end table with elaborate inlays. This handmade item must be seen to be truly appreciated. There are 100s, maybe 1000s of small inlayed pieces. We were told that Syrian furniture is extremely rare to find because the war-torn country has been destroyed and items simply have not survived. We’re not sure what the white pieces are, nor do we truly want to know. If it were ivory, it could possibly be confiscated. A quick google search indicates high probably of rhino, whale, or walrus tusk. We paid 200 riyals ($53 USD).
The next item was a re-purposed project. Before being transformed into an endtable, it was initially a wood privacy panel from Yemen. The table is made from two pieces; a wood privacy panel and door from the same region, which was constructed by a local wood craftsman. This is another beautiful handmade piece of furniture. Upon closer examination of the carvings, there is evidence of chisel marks. I’m astonished at the artistry and time it would take to complete. The re-purpose project was well done and flows well. The colors include vibrant shades of light brown with orange and red highlights. I would have preferred the panel kept in its originally form, however, I’m elated to display the table in our home.
Iranian bowl. Very little is known about this item, other than its origin. The bowl is heavy and measures about 9-inches in diameter. Among the elaborate scroll work, the design reveals elephants, lions, gazelles, flowers, and even a couple hidden birds. Paid 50 riyals ($13 USD).
Other miscellaneous items.;
- Three hand-carved nesting bowls. Nothing fancy, but we found them interesting.
- Hand-painted paper Mache serving tray from Spain. A thick layer of protective epoxy was poured over the entire tray to protect the art. It doesn’t look hand-painted to me, but the person we bought it from lived in Spain and was confident in the item. This piece is not exactly what we were looking for, but we took a chance. We will probably sale this item as it doesn’t flow with our décor.
- Traditional middle-eastern lantern. This is a reproduction, but it has a great look. The item was inexpensive and it will help transition the design between the furniture and décor.
- Renee has made a few purchases as well, include some palm trees and miscellaneous items for the home.