Small-sized brass coffee pot (raslan) used as (mazal) to serve coffee
19th century
Object Name: Coffee pot, dallah raslan
Period: 19th century
Date: 1800-1899
Provenance: Arabia
Dimensions: H:310-W:245 mm
Medium: copper
Registration Number: QM.2018.0010.2
This coffee pot known as dallah raslan is made from copper. Coffee occupies an eminent position in the Qatari culture. It has always been present in nomadic and sedentary ways of life and constitutes the essential pillar of Arab hospitality. The gulf region inhabitants dedicated much attention and care to its preparation and presentation. It is first prepared by roasting the coffee beans on the Mehmas (skillet), and then placed in the Hawn (mortar) and ground until it becomes a powder. This powder is then placed in boiling water along with spices such as cardamom and then served to guests.

The oldest person in a gathering is served first, and the coffee pot is held in the left hand and poured into coffee cups held in the right hand. Only a third of a cup of coffee is served. It is customary to drink three cups of coffee. When no more coffee is wanted then the cup is shaken from side to side as it is handed back to the person serving the coffee. If you do not shake the cup when handing it back then it will automatically be filled with more coffee.
The Qatar Peninsula is surrounded by sea except in the south where it connects with its neighbours from the Arabian Peninsula. For hundreds of years people have shared the land, resources and knowledge inherited from their environment. With no fixed lifestyle in terms of time and place, people moved easily and freely between land and sea for trade, livestock, pearl diving, fishing, and hunting at various times throughout the year. This symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment was represented in the unity of their societies, including the exchange of knowledge, stories and the trading of available goods.

A distinctive characteristic of life on the Qatar Peninsula has long been the close association between the coast and the desert – al barr. Some desert tribes spent several months of the year in coastal cities, setting up semi-permanent residences to participate in pearl diving or fishing. Similarly, coastal residents occasionally moved to al barr during the winter to graze their livestock. This exchange of natural resources and the influence of different environments has contributed to the creation of a unique community.
The presence of British, French and Dutch trading companies in the Gulf from the early 1600s brought uncertainty to the region, with unstable alliances and intense competition over trade routes. As trade flourished, however, the strength of the Arab tribes increased. Many Arab tribes moved from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula to Qatar, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the major towns of the Gulf were founded. Several towns flourished on the Qatari coast, including Huwailah, Khor Hassan, Fuwairat, Ruwaida, Freiha, Al Bidda and Doha. The most notable was Al Zubara which became a hub for the Gulf pearl trade.