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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Al Ain Palace Museum hosts classes in lost Emirati arts

Free weekly classes in the arts of telli, khos and sadu weaving will be offered at Al Ain Palace

Women weaving palm fronds in Ras Al Khaimah. Randi Sokoloff / The National
Women weaving palm fronds in Ras Al Khaimah. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Amateurs can try their hand at telli and other disappearing crafts in a series of weekly workshops at Al Ain Palace.

Grandmothers make it look easy, but the art of telli needs no small amount of patience and skill. Up to 45 strands metallic string are intertwined in the traditional handicraft that once provided a vital source of income to many families before federation. Today, it’s at risk of becoming a lost art.

Other workshops will teach khoos palm frond weaving and sadu weaving, which uses spun goat or camel hair coloured with desert plants.

Telli once adorned the edges of fine dresses while every home had items made from khoos weaving - brooms, fans, mats and decorations were all made from the humble palm. Women were taught these arts from childhood but within generations, these skills have all but disappeared.

Sadu cloth was used for tents. It is recognised as international heritage in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Lessons are offered free of charge by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and held every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am until 12pm. They will run until October.