A falcon on its stand eyes the horizon.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
The twentieth edition of ADIHEX (Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition) will be organised by the Emirates Falconers’ Club during Aug. 23 — 29. Sponsored by the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi, the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), it will take place at ADNEC. As part of its efforts to support and encourage craftsmen, inventors and companies specialised in the manufacture of falconry tools and equipment, ADIHEX has announced the launching of the Most Beautiful and Best Traditional Falcon Stand competition, for the first time in its history.
The announcement is also of course due to the historic symbolism and heritage value that the falcon represents. Today, falcon stands come in many forms and shapes; they are as varied as its manufacturing materials. However, the traditional wooden stand still has a unique special aesthetic that expresses the original legacy of falconry and falcon breeding. Raising awareness of the value of falconry as part of human heritage, the importance of preserving and promoting it, and assisting sustainable hunting, is a priority for ADIHEX, since its first edition in 2003.
In the last edition (ADIHEX 2022), the falconry sector witnessed a record-breaking participation of more than 60 exhibitors, who presented various traditional and technical falconry tools and equipment, as well as goods produced by falcon farms. They were among more than 900 companies and brands from 58 countries that participated in the 11 sectors of the exhibition. The Most Beautiful Falcon Hood competition will also take place in its second iteration this year.
32 craftsmen participated in the competition, from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Taiwan, Mexico, Peru, and Chile. In last year’s competition, Atelier Falconoid from Japan won the first place, Orton HSI from Taiwan won the second place and Afra Mohamed Al Dhaheri from the UAE, won the third place.
It is considered an essential symbol of the desert and hunting traditions. The Arabian Saluki is characterised by exceptional endurance, intelligence and loyalty; it plays an important role during falconry trips, due to its ability to find prey brought down by the falcon and hiding amongst bushes, tall grass, or other such places. The Saluki contest differs from other canine competitions which focus only on external appearance. Here, the focus is more on the personality of the dog, its hunting skills, reflexes, and sensory responses. In conjunction with the establishment of the Emirates Falconers Club in 2001, the Arabian Saluki Center was launched in Abu Dhabi.
ADIHEX also launches the Best Hunting Knife competition for the first time, as part of its initiatives to encourage individuals and companies producing hunting tools and equipment. It encourages the presentation of unique ideas and innovation in the creation of new knives that contribute to serving the world of hunting. Exchanging knowledge and experiences, enhancing professional and commercial relations among manufacturers, craftsmen and merchants and attracting more buyers and visitors, are among its purposes.
The knife will be evaluated as per its benefits and service to hunting enthusiasts, ease of carrying on road trips, including storing, as well as the comfort it provides to falconers. The design must reflect aesthetic and heritage features, especially regarding the handle. Finally, the hunting knife should be available at a reasonable price. Last year, Oryx Custom Knives, a purely local product produced by Emirati manufacturer Abdullah Al-Ahmad, was on show and sale.
The manufacturer explained he was inspired by the Arabian Oryx, which symbolises the nature and heritage of the Emirates. Al Ghail Hand Made, showcased a variety of hand-made knives in its stand last year. Company founder Ahmed Rashid Saeed Al Mazrouei said that the last edition witnessed his second participation in ADIHEX. Saudi company Al-Oqiylat specialises in manufacturing innovative hunting knives. It said it believes that the Gulf market is in need of such exhibitions that connect producers, exhibitors and the public.
The new generation is engaging in a traditional sport that has always been associated with the Arabian values of courage. The championship is being organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), the falcon racing will run daily until Jan.14.
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