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Preliminary results of the international historical and ethnographic expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”

17.04.2017

   

members of the expedition in a private Museum Bayt al-Safa in al-Hamra. Photo by Ivan Golubkov. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

 

 

In March 15—31, 2017 in the framework of the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)” being realized by Saint-Petersburg Kunstkamera Museum, Leiden Institute for Rational Monotheism (President – Aslbek Musin) and the journal “Manuscripta Orientalia” the international historical and ethnographic expedition was brought to pass with the support by the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman. Expedition route was as follows: Muscat — Rustaq — Nakhal — Wadi Mistal — Wadi Bani Kharus — Tanuf — Bahla — Jibreen — al-Hamra —Misfat Al Abriyeen — Wadi Ghul — Jabal Shams — Haima — Salalah — Duqm — Sur — Ibra — Muscat. For the first time Russian ethnographers had the opportunity to realize a research project in the territory of Oman, one of the most distinctive historical and cultural areas of Arabia, which preserved rich material for the remodelment of ethno-cultural patterns and reconstructions.

The main task of the expedition was gathering ethnographic, photo and video materials for  publication of the monograph devoted to the material world of the Qur’an and daily life of Arabia at the turn of 6th–7th centuries. This was one of the most important periods in the history of the Middle East, when the formation of state institutions ended the ethnic consolidation of the Arabian tribes and when a new ideology sprang up, uniting soon many millions of followers. The project is realized in the framework of the “Corpus Coranicum Petropolitana”, a joint project of LIRM and of the journal “Manuscripta Orientalia”. The book finalizing the project will include a series of photo and video illustrations, augmented reality, mobile apps that will be available on the project website. 

In the course of fifteen days of the field work the expedition on two SUVs covered about three thousand kilometers and brought back dozens of hours of video and more than 6000 professional photos.

HE Sheikh Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Salmi, the Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman and Sheikh Aflah b. Ahmad al-Khalili, the Omani influential theologian, granted us the interviews in the framework of the projects “Live Raciopedia” (LIRM), and “Ijma‘ = Concordia” (MAE RAS).

Professor Efim Rezvan, Deputy Director of MAE RAS and “Manuscripta Orientalia” Editor-in-Chief, was the head of the expedition. In the expedition participated: Gerşom Qiprisçi, Director of the LIRM, Anna Kudriavtceva, author of the study “The Qur’an as a source for researching the material culture of Arabia at the turn of 6th–7th centuries”, Tatyana Solovyova, head of the strategic communications division of MAE RAS and film director of the project, Tatiana Fedorova, the photo artist, Alexander Soloviev, the leading camera man of the project, Ivan Golubkov, the operator of the drone and Igor Pankov, a specialist in the history of the mystical and ascetic movements in Islam. Among the expedition participants from Omani side were Omar Ahmed Saif al-Busaidi, Assistant director of the Department of Religious Media, the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman as well as well known Omani photographer, designer and camera man, Ali Huwaishel al-Hatali, editor of PR Department of the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, Hussein Ali Abdullah al-Harbi and Saif Sulaiman Nasser Al-Ruzaiqi, the drivers and experts in local history, both — Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman.

The expedition project would be never realized without the constant and sincere assistance of HE Sheikh Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Salmi, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman and Dr. Abdurrahman al-Salmi, Editor-in-Chief of “Al-Tafahum” journal.

           
The indicative route of the expeditionfollowing the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.   Opening of the project presentation “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.   HE Sheikh Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Salmi, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.  

Sheikh Aflah b. Ahmad al-Khalili, the Omani influential theologian and the son of the Supreme mufti of the country during the interview. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

             
     
Sheikh Aflah b. Ahmad al-Khalili confirms the possibility of using of the presentation opening (see photo 2) as part of the graphic design of the documentary to be created on the basis of the materials of the expedition. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.
 

Dr. Abdurrahman al-Salmi, chief editor of “Al-Tafahum” journal and Prof Efim Rezvan are discussing the route of the expedition. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Omani expedition member Omar Ahmed Saif al-Busaidi and Ivan Golubkov, the drone operator, at work in al-Hamra. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

  Features of operating the drone under the scorching sun. Ivan Golubkov, Omar Ahmed Saif al-Busaidi and Ali Huwaishel al-Hatali in Jabal Shams. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.
             
     

Alexander Solovyov, the leading camera man of the project, at work. Misfat Al Abriyeen. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

One of the numerous graffiti in the Wadi Bani Kharus which was used as the branch of the ancient trade route. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017. 

 

 Graffiti discovered on the stone slab, used as part of a pavement in al-Hamra. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Street in al-Hamra paved in the traditional way. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017. 

             
     

White pigeons in an abandoned house in al-Hamra. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Omani expedition member Omar Ahmed Saif al-Busaidi entering the door of an abandoned house in Tanuf. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

The trunk of the palm tree sawed for use as rafters. Misfat Al Abriyeen. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Roof of a traditional house with painted palm trunks as rafters. Tanuf. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

             
     

Fields of grain and forage crops near Tanuf cultivated with the elements of traditional technology. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Sunset in the palm tree garden. Misfat Al Abriyeen. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

The elements of aflaj, the traditional irrigation system. Misfat Al Abriyeen. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Ali Huwaishel al-Hatali, Omani expedition member drinking spring water from the aflaj canal. Misfat Al Abriyeen. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

             
     

Efim Rezvan and Anna Kudriavtceva in the old palm garden in al-Hamra. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

The tomb of Ayyub near Salalah. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

A Cave and a spring near the tomb of Ayyub, one of the oldest holy places on the Route of Frankincense. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

A lone camel near the tomb of Ayyub. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

             
       

Fresh notches on the frankincense tree in Wadi Dawkah. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Burning of incense in Salalah market. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Sunset in Salalah. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

An elderly woman with traditional nose ring in Salalah. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the road between Salalah and Mirbat. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Camels and ships were replacing and complementing each other on the ancient Route of Frankincense. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Excavations of the ancient fortified harbor town of Khor Rori (Sumhuram, Moscha Limen) that flourished in 1st—5th centuries AD as an important transit point on the Route of Frankincense. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Sunset in the bay of Mirbat. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Sharqiyya sands. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.

 

Members of the expedition. Short rest and coffee in al-Hamra. Photo by Tatiana Fedorova. The expedition following the project “The Material world of the Qur’an (the everyday life of Arabia in the Prophet's time)”, 2017.