Every community in the world has its material culture that defines a community as a society and appears to be the concrete evidence representing a culture through objects and materials they make or have made in the past, specifically familiar to them only and no other community. The description seems relevant only to studies involving archeology and anthropology, however, it considers the representation of all the material structures attributed to traditions either in the past or in present. Material culture characterizes a society, as it reveals their past, their accomplishments, and their origin. Therefore, it is considered to be useful for any society to have their material culture which establishes their identity and separates them from other communities in the world, which may be regarded as identical. Material culture can be obtained from the past. New characters can be introduced, and the old ones can be enhanced depending on the existence of the culture and the policies of the community over time. The current paper represents a detailed research about the material culture of the United Arab Emirates as well as its contemporary and historical issues. Moreover, the paper aims at presenting various views and opinions on potential changes and development in the culture.

Traditional Material Culture in the UAE

Culture is among the central aspects of the UAE since it is considered as their identity, a fact that makes the region and the people involved therein to provide full preservation and observance of their culture. It has been so for ages, considering the conservation of the indigenous culture that exists up to this day (Hurreiz, 2002). There are different forms of material culture in the region but of late there has been a review and renew in the sector of art and creativity in areas where spoken words are taken into consideration more than any other form of expressions in art. The government and private sectors are both the key players in taking specific roles in the preservation of the material culture in the region, with various exciting developments having being considered to be influenced by the government. On the contrary, the private sectors, specifically the youth, are exploring art as a way of expressing their thoughts, and reflecting the diversity culture in the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates is considered to be a perfect conservative to the cultural heritage which is original and delicious due to the influence of the rich environment found in the region. The latter includes the desert, oasis, mountains, and the variety of terrain which establishes the differences in the traditional set up that is continuously evolving. The society in the UAE is known to have survived in such conditions which led to developments of different stories and cultural explanations in history (Stone, 2002). Moreover, material culture is known to have the responsibility of holding a society in one shape, as a result of the particular religion of Islam. Individuals in the region have their source of honor from the fact of being generous to the whole public, instead of being selfish and value their interests alone.

One of the major types of material culture in the United Arab Emirates includes archaeology which involves the study of the human beings and their related behaviors over a given period. The study is done through understanding of their behavior and approaches to different situations they face in the world today (Hurreiz, 2002). The history of the human beings in a particular region, in this case the UAE, is a detailed explanation and understanding of their behavior. According to researchers, the Arabs have been found to conserve their archaeology for a long time since they know how it defines their culture and plays a major role in determining their values and norms in the world today. The latter distinguishes them from other communities even if they are probably almost alike. Archaeology in the Arabs is repetitive and has been found to possess no records since there are various repetitions among the individuals’ history and behaviors used as history through being expressed in different objects that can be kept for remembrance for an extended period in the future.

Additionally, museums are a part of the UAE material culture considering various arts and culture found in the area involving different carvings, drawings, and representations of certain aspects that happened in the past and are now considered as history. Such objects and images help the societies in the UAE to keep track of their history which enables them to follow certain rules and regulations set in the past (Stone, 2002). Therefore, the societies in the region maintain their existence as Arabs by following the different norms and conditions set by their ancestors since they would never want to be the first ones to break any rule regulation as long it would mean the destruction of culture in the United Arab Emirates.

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Contemporary Material Culture in the UAE

Researchers conducted in the past about the United Arab Emirates have found that the region has a particular contemporary culture in the form of material, described as the visual arts. The optical arts in Sharjah and Dubai have been noted to be the most effective attractive boundaries in the Emirati people for years (Heard-Bey, 2003). Sharjah is amongst the existing arts in the UAE that are considered as the critical parts, hearts of the region which has been given the title of the Islamic Culture Capital since it is a determination of almost every aspect and situation in the region. Items that are identified as important and as backbones of the culture in the region involve the literature used by individuals, the Arabic poetry constructed and recited by the Arabians and the performing arts by these people. All of the above is considered in common as the contemporary material culture.

In addition, the mentioned items have been found to establish and foster the development of the economy of the United Emirates. People are involved in the observation and the participation in certain cultural performance as well as attracting people from around the world to come and experience the culture thereby increasing the rate of tourists in the country. The latter makes the contemporary culture responsible for major roles in the society, and the biggest portion of it is developing the Emirati economy.


Heritage and culture in the Emirati is an important aspect of the society since the economy is developed in great intensities. The generations of the arts keep on changing with their age due to the variation of different artists involved in the creation of the culture complete through thigh arts and artistic objects which represent different situations and happenings in the society. The individuals in the region maintain and preserve the indigenous culture among them to enable their existence in peace and honor of the past things that happened to them involving calamities and havocs (Heard-Bey, 2003). Furthermore, different artists have been reported to be integrated into the heritage and designs, especially the artists who involve themselves in the acting while at the same time making a living out of it. Most of the artists are the youths, and they have different aspects of the way the society is changing in the world today. For instance, the work by Fatima Al Zababi is based on artistic drawings that pose a major development in the Emirati society as the individual advances in his art keeping most of the information he represent in the form of arts and thereby keeping the society.


The Emirati material culture, as described in class, is considered as the main pillar and representation of the region’s identity. It mainly focuses on expressing the region’s traditions and through various situations and activities that may be involved in development of the country Besides, material culture in the UAE brings on the fact of globalization in the region as it tends to bring people together from different parts of the world (Heard-Bey, 2003). Material culture is considered as a type of symbolism since people use different types of culture to establish their opinions about different things and situations in the Arab Emirates symbolizing them with different situations.

Changes and Transitions

There are various changes and improvements in the Emirates culture that are brought about by different aspects and situations in the world today making specific improvements and adjustment s in the material culture of the region. The changes involve advances in the current technology which leads to improvements of the carvings and drawings of the materials and objects in the Emirate culture by various artists. Due to the advanced technology, different works of the artists that could be done in the past can now be done even better with the help of machines to improve the quality of the work (El-Ojeili, 2006). Moreover, the perspective of different meanings has changed over a period since diverse aspects may have acquired different meanings in the current world.


In conclusion, the material culture has been found to have a concrete value in the overall existence of the region and is considered as the backbone of the Arabian culture among various aspects of the cultures within the region involving different ages, situations, and values. The UAE material culture is widely appreciated by the individuals in the same region thereby most of them are known to respect and conserve their culture. Considering different views and changes in the world today, the Arabian material culture have been affected, but in a positive way, since different arts in the culture are enhanced and improved due to the improvements of technology.

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