Dubai's new traditional handicrafts centre focuses on Emirati talli

Heritage workshops are open to all ages at Turath Centre for Traditional Handicrafts

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In the heart of Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood is a new building reflecting Dubai’s past and present, but also what the country hopes for the future.

Turath Centre for Traditional Handicrafts is the educational arm of Al Shindagha Museum, Dubai’s largest heritage museum and what promises to be the world’s largest open-air museum complex.

The new centre celebrates and preserves authentic Emirati heritage through a diverse programme of craft courses and heritage workshops.

The Turath Centre for Traditional Handicrafts at Al Shindagha Historical District. Ruel Pableo for The National

In particular, it is focusing on three traditions: talli crafting, Al Khoos weaving and burqa sewing.

There are also workshops on silversmithing, dukhoon making and the sewing of clothes.

Students practise talli, a traditional Emirati handicraft. Ruel Pableo for The National

Talli is an Emirati handicraft where the twisting and braiding of strands of threads create long strips of textiles with fine, elaborate patterns.

Talli is used to decorate the collars and sleeves of traditional Emirati dresses.

A woman shows off the finished product of a talli sewn at the collar and sleeve of the dress. Ruel Pableo for The National

“The centre is a reflection of our cultural mission, which is at the heart of our projects and programmes to highlight our traditions, heritage and culture,” said Fatma Lootah, director of the Cultural and Heritage Programmes Department at Dubai Culture.

An Emirati woman with a miniature sample kajujah, a metal stand that is placed in front of the artisan with musadh, a pillow used as support on which to create the braiding. Ruel Pableo for The National

“The centre will provide the appropriate environment to discover, encourage and develop talents, and we look forward to active community participation towards empowering the younger generations who wish to get acquainted with our culture and learn of our civilisation that was woven by our ancestors.”

People of all ages can learn talli and other traditional crafts at the centre. Ruel Pableo for The National

Handicraft workshops are organised for people of all ages and visitors can register their interest online via a registration form.

Ultimately, the centre ensures the sustainability of heritage industries as the country aims to diversify its sources of national economy, all while supporting cultural tourism.

Turath Centre for Traditional Handicrafts is the educational arm of Al Shindagha Museum. Ruel Pableo for The National
Updated: October 07, 2022, 6:01 PM
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