Traditional weaving of Al Sadu

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Inscribed in 2020 (15.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Saudi Heritage Preservation Society (SHPS), 2019

Traditional weaving of Al Sadu refers to the traditional woven textile made by Bedouin women: in Arabic, ‘Al Sadu’ means weaving done in a horizontal style. The weaving is a form of warp-faced plain weave made on a ground loom. The cloth forms a tightly woven, durable textile and the weavers make use of natural fibres found in their natural environment. The patterns found in Bedouin weaving reflect the desert environment in its simple, pure form, featuring geometric designs combined to flow in rhythmic repetition and symmetry. Weavers also use bright colours such as reds and oranges to liven up the surroundings. The beauty of each woven item depends on the quality of the spinning and weaving and the expertise of the weaver – the finer the yarn, the more pronounced and delicate the structure and design pattern. The primary bearers of Al Sadu are older Bedouin women who are master weavers. Master weavers play a key role in transmitting the related skills to others, most often within the household. In addition, associations and educational organizations play an important role in passing on the skills and knowledge through classes or workshops. Today, bearers and practitioners weave Al Sadu either as a hobby or to sell it. Al Sadu objects reflect the importance of female roles in Bedouin society, and nowadays Al Sadu has become less a functional object and more an object signifying a tradition and a deep culture.

Master weaver making al Sadu
Ninety years old piece of al Sadu
The transmission of the craftsmanship of al Sadu to the younger generation
Students during a beginner's workshop on Al Sadu at the Sadu House. Students undertake 24 hours of practical training in eight weeks under the supervision of an instructor. The advanced workshops (48 hours) are more intensive and are under the supervision of master weavers.
8th Grade students at Mama Anisa Middle School learning al Sadu basics during their art class. Al Sadu weaving has ben introduced to the 8th Grade art curriculum in 2018 by the Ministry of Education in Kuwait.
Dr Ali Al-Nijadah, Associate Professor at Public Autority for Applied Education and Training, and Sadu Loom designer. His portable looms are used for live demonstration of al Sadu weaving in Kuwait and internationally.
Master weaver Um Humood checking her work whilst explaining the different weaving patterns shown ('uwairjan').
2019 SADI (Sadu Art and Design Initiative) artists during their artist-in-residence training with the master weavers at Sadu House.
Different al Sadu weaving patterns (Owairjan, Durus Al Khail, Dhalaah, Huboob, Mathkhar)
Incorporation of al Sadu weaving in modern products (coasters, frames)