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Skills associated with traditional handicraft

Overview

Uses of palm isqa (the petiole, the stem of the palm isqa)

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Isqa , plural form asaq, is the petiole of the palm tree after the dates are picked. It is preferable to use isqa al qatari, isqa al khasab or isqa al jashoush “jash”, as they are known for their length and durability.

Isqa has a variety of uses. For example, the game of tarqi’ana is made from isqa. The exterior of the isqa is thinly sliced from the right and left sides, so that, when shaken, it makes a sound similar to applause. This game is commonly played in the summer and the sounds and crackles that result from children playing it prevents calm and tranquility in the summer, which is why the elderly would say: “Do not make noise during qaid (Summer) as the qaid will run away”.

Isqa is also used in making "nashaba", as it is somewhat curved. As it becomes old and dry, it becomes even more curved. In ancient times, people would utilize it as a bow for shooting arrows. The nashaba was in the form of a semicircle, and consisted of an arc of isqa and a flute of zour, and placed on it was the "seha”  in the front of the arrow, in addition to the ouya  formed of isqa, and the rope made of fibre after processing it. It demonstrates the skill of using the crossbow in hitting targets or birds on palm trees. It also has other uses such as hunting and fighting. We can still see it in Bedouin television shows, carried by the Bedouin on his back. 

Isqa is also used in cleaning, as aloe is present in the stem of the petiole after removing dates. The shamarikh are collected together and tied with a rope while they are soft and left to dry under the sun. It can then be used as a broom. The isqa was used in the manufacture of burqas in the past, where it would be shaped in the form of a small stick that matched the shape of the burqa to be placed in its front.

 

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