Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clay Seals: Exploring Bahrain Through Art


One thing I love about our virtual trip around the world, is discovering countries that I knew very little about. One of those countries is Bahrain. I knew approximately where it was located, the Middle East, and therefore had a few ideas about what it is like. But, there were definitely lots of things I didn't know. It was fun to discover Bahrain together with my girls.

Did you know that Bahrain is an archipelago nation? It's a small nation made up of 33 islands located off the east coast of Saudi Arabia. (You can see it on a map here.) Because of it's island location, it served as a center of trade for many, many years. It is greener and less barren than it's neighbors in the Middle East, but very few animals make their home there.

Bahrain has a very rich history and we found our inspiration for our art project from its ancient history, the Dilmun Era, which was between 3200 and 2200 B.C. Dilmun was a great center of commerce and trade. One of the most significant archaeological finds from this era was a Dilmun seal. A man would use this seal to "sign" an agreement. Because each person has their own unique seal, when he died his seal would be buried with him.*

We took our inspiration from these seals and created our own unique clay seals.

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Supplies Needed:
Air Dry Clay (We love the Crayola brand.)
Toothpicks
Wax Paper

We've used air dry clay a few times during Project: Around the World, like our clay baskets from Angola. We've been using the same tub of Crayola Air Dry Clay for all these projects. We find it easy to use and it dries nicely. It's been well-worth the price.


I gave each girl a small lump of clay, some wax paper, and a toothpick. We used the wax paper to keep our clay from sticking to the table. You can also use a plastic tray if you have one. But, wax paper does the job nicely.

The girls rolled their clay in a ball and flattened it into a round seal. Then, they used their toothpicks to draw their decorations. They worked on creating their own personal seal. Their challenge was to create something that reflected who they were.

Ask these questions to help with the design. 

What are your favorite things?

What words do you use to describe yourself?

What are your talents and interests?

What is your passion?

We chose toothpicks to create our designs because it's a favorite choice of my girls. But, don't let that limit you. You can use your fingers, forks, knives, other pieces of clay, LEGOs or other small toys. The possibilities are endless. 

After you're done, leave the seals on the wax paper and leave it to dry for at least one day.

Note: You will not be able to use this as a real seal. The clay soaks up paint and ink to easily and it will not stamp on paper. We did test it out and it didn't work!

It was fun to create our own personal seals and learn a bit about the history of Bahrain in the process.

Explore the world through art! Make clay seals inspired by Dilmun seals, an ancient artifact found in Bahrain.

*Information about Bahrain came from the book Cultures of the World: Bahrain by Robert Cooper.



Thank you for following along during our artistic journey around the world. To find all our projects so far, please click here or on the image below.


To further explore the world through crafts, activities, and food, please follow my Around the World Pinterest board:



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