A Korean visitor (right) at Sharjah's pavilion at Seoul book fair tries on traditional Emirati attire Image Credit: Supplied

Seoul: Scores of Koreans coming into the ongoing 65th annual Seoul International Book Fair have enjoyed their first comprehensive taste of Emirati history, heritage, fashion, traditions, customs and practices.

Drawn in by the scent of bakhoor incense creating a unique atmosphere at Sharjah’s Guest of Honour pavilion, they are enjoying the emirate’s cultural showcase featuring traditional song and dance performances, henna and calligraphy demonstrations, a fashion section allowing them to try out traditional and modern Emirati designs, and lots more.

Koreans enjoying Arabic coffee at the book fair in Seoul Image Credit: Supplied

Dancing with the beats of Shindo and Rahmani drums and the Tanbura played by the Sharjah National Band - a Sharjah Institute for Heritage affiliate - who are putting up multiple live shows at the book fair and across Seoul, the Korean community has been left both entertained and informed about the distinctive elements of the choreography styles, lyrical compositions and traditional instruments inspired by UAE’s diverse natural landscapes that shape the nation’s performance arts heritage.

Sharjah National Band at Seoul book fair Image Credit: Supplied

Tapestry of fashion

The vibrant colours, heritage-inspired designs and the skilled artisanship that have built the repertoire of traditional Emirati costumes worn by women have been explored and even tried out by enthusiastic and fashion-forward Korean ladies who have been visiting the Sharjah pavilion. These traditional garments showcased at the book fair speak volumes of the beauty and authenticity of Emirati heritage, and highlight the nation’s leading efforts in preserving, redefining and promoting it to the world.

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Crowd puller

One of the most popular sections at the Sharjah pavilion has been the Henna Corner, where visitors of all age groups have queued up to have their palms decorated with intricate designs and personalised messages being drawn by expert henna artists.

A henna design in progress at the Sharjah pavilion at the fair in the South Korean capital Image Credit: Supplied

These artists have introduced visitors to the history and importance of henna decoration in Emirati history, and how the tradition has been passed through generations owing to its central place in joyous occasions and celebrations.