The Arts and Literature
Poetry has a long history in Arabic culture. Kuwaitis cherish it and are usually aware of classical Arabic proverbs and poets. Folk art too, is rooted in the Bedouin past. The best illustration of folk art is the textiles made from sheep wool called Al-Sadu. A group of Bedouin women work to provide a constant supply of Sadu. It is popular with local people and tourists. Other folk arts include weaving, making jewellery and sword dancing.
The Bedouin sword dance is called the Ardah, which is usually accompanied by drum and tambourine music. Traditional dances are performed by troupes at family gatherings. Kuwait is trying to revive the interest in traditional handicrafts that was lost in the rush to modernize.

Sea shanties are another distinctive art form in Kuwait. These are special songs and dances that accompany various types of work on a ship, from the moment the ship is being prepared for the pearl-diving voyage until it returns.

Did you know?

The first printing press in Kuwait was established in 1947.

Other folk arts are the Samri and Khamri, traditional dances and rhythms that are performed during family gatherings, social occasions and wedding celebrations. The National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters was established in 1974. The government supports the folklore traditions of the people and is helping to keep them alive through financial assistance. It offers support to other artists as well.

Various modern arts, including painting and sculpture, have been introduced into Kuwait during the last few years. Islam prohibits the painting or sculpting of human and animal images.

Did you know?

The Museum of Islamic Arts has a collection containing more than 20,000 items of rare Islamic works covering a span of 13 centuries since the birth of Islam.