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Brilliant Sand Art in Jordan

Sand bottle art jordan

Bottled Sand art in Jordan

He puts a little sand of beige color, which acts as a background, in a small bottle and then slowly adds another colored sand. His skilled fingers are at work! He adds every new color with a thin stick or a funnel. Meticulously he ‘paints’ the parts of that color in the picture, only occasionally glancing at it. I am watching a Jordanian sand artist creating magical sand art in bottles. The sand art in Jordan is one of the very popular and ancient art form in Jordan.

Sand art jordan

While the silent fingers are doing their magic, he asks me where I come from and such. Polite and soft spoken as he is, he knows how to engage a visitor. As the conversation continues, I too ask him a few questions starting with his name.

He is 25 years old Ayman Amarat from Wadi Mousa village in Petra. Ayman belongs to a small tribe which makes vases from sand and glass. He has graduated in archaeology and wants to do something in the same field. He has acquired the skills of sand art from his father and has been practicing since last 8 years. He started learning English from 5th standard and now knows French, Italian besides English.

desert in a bottle

Ayman continues till the image is ready and then fills up the bottle with the background colored sand before closing it tightly. I gaze at the bottle. A camel and a few trees appear in a landscape. I can’t believe my eyes. How is it possible to make a perfect picture in a narrow-necked bottle just by looking at a photo? I smile. Another bottle has a face on it. These bottles have the ability to convey interesting stories.

This time it was
his turn to smile. 🙂 Says, there is no limit on what you can draw once you learn how to do it. Funnels replace brushes, bottle replaces the canvas and different colored sands take the place of paint!

Sand art in jordan
Ayman in his shop and below, with me. He tied the Keffiyeh on my head.
Ayman in his shop and below, with me. He tied the Keffiyeh on my head.

The colors are from the multicolored sand rocks that is found everywhere in Petra, the world wonder city and which makes the city so unique! And that is where it all started by Bedouins during the early 20th century. The glass sand art bottles reflect the essence craft, art and life of Petra.

Seeped from history, this art has become one of the most admired activity of Jordan. The artistically appealing craft was inspired by the multi-colored sand and rocks found in the Petra Mountains. Creative designs, mostly inspired by local scenes and camels, grew in popularity during 1940s. The decorated bottles found from that period of time tell us that.

sand art jerash
An artist cum shopkeeper waiting for customers
An artist cum shopkeeper waiting for customers

Ayman says, the artists of earlier time also developed the sand art skill to determine what can be drawn using two things; colored sand which they had in abundance and recycled bottles and jars. It started from basic layers to almost anything; new colors and new tools were introduced to the artist. The products revive the folk culture art mixed with modern designs.

souvenir sand art jordan

The bottled sand art can be seen everywhere in Jordan & has now traversed to many other countries but what I saw in Petra is definitely original and above all.

Learners learn the art in a fun way. Places where the colored sand isn’t available, the sand is mixed with powder paint or food color to create different hues. The sand thus mixed is poured into different shaped bottles and jars in order to form designs and colorful layers.

Sand art is considered a good souvenir and is available in many sizes.

You don’t need to visit Wadi Rum to be transported to the enchanting world. You can get the essence of the Jordanian desert right on the streets of Petra … in a bottle! 😀

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49 thoughts on “Brilliant Sand Art in Jordan”

  1. Wow what a talented artist. The sand bottle art look like a wonderful keepsake. It is nice to see you get to know the artist what a great story he shared with you.

    1. Thank you Rob. I always try to learn a few things about the person behind the main subject. So it was nice knowing him. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by. Keep coming.

  2. I often write blog posts about travel encounters and it’s refreshing to see that other people do it too. I think it’s awesome that you have written a post about this gentleman and his art. We take artistry of this kind of granted. Mostly, we just walk past markets etc. and ignore it because most of it could be produced in a factory somewhere in China. But then there are the real gems where you can watch an artist, like him, perform his magic and all of a sudden an object receives a whole lot of meaning. I remember the first time I travelled to Namibia or Bali, I returned with so many beautifully hand-crafted souvenirs…they still hold a very special place in my heart.

  3. Wow this takes some serious skill!! I totally agree, what a great souvenir! When I saw the title of the post I actually expected something about sand sculptures like they do on beaches across the world, though this is much more amazing. I would love to have the chance to travel to Jordan and watch the process!

  4. I love the story behind this artwork, not least that it’s a skill that has been handed down generation after generation. It’s really very impressive! Can they do customised designs?

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