Historically, Abu Dhabi's desert culture resulted in possessions that had to be practical and transportable. Genuine traditional items, such as wooden chests, can be very expensive and increasingly difficult to find, although 'antique' copies are widely available. Traditional wooden doors are also popular, and can be hung as works of art or transformed into furniture, usually as tables with glass tops. Many outlets that sell these large items can arrange shipping back to your home country.
Other items with a local theme include the Arabian coffee pot and cups (a symbol of local hospitality), prayer beads in a multitude of colours, and woodcarvings in the form of dhows, falconry equipment and canes (traditionally used in Emirati dancing exhibitions). Ancient looking rifles, muzzle loading guns and the functional yet decorative 'khanjar' (a short, curved dagger in an elaborately wrought sheath) are also popular buys. If you intend to purchase these, check first with your airline on procedures for transporting them.
Traditional wedding jewellery made of heavy silver or later on gold and crafted into necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings are coveted forms of historic art, and make beautiful displays when mounted into glass box frames.
Once valued more highly than gold, the dried resin from the frankincense tree of southern Oman has been traded for centuries, and nowadays is often sold with a small wooden chest and charcoal burner as incense kits.
Ghutra headscarves, the distinctive white garment worn traditionally as headdresses by men in the Middle East, have become a popular fashion accessory worldwide. You will find a huge range of ghutra in Abu Dhabi's souks and malls - aside from the standard white, they come in a multitude of different colours and patterns such as chequered red and white, worn in the cooler months.
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