Damascus: Glass Workers
Date: Twelfth to sixteenth centuries
The glass workshop (Masbak al-zujāj) was in within the walls of the Old City, east of Dār al-biṭṭīkh and north of the Kushk quarter. Information is drawn from the work of Ibn ʿAsakir (d. 1176), Ibn Shakir (d. 1363), al-Hadi (d. 1503), and al-Almawi (d. 1573). See also: Glass Painters; Glass Blowers; Collectors of Sand; Coloured-Glass Window Makers; Lantern Makers.
Citation: Elisséeff, Nikita. “Corporations de Damas sous Nūr al-Dīn: Matériaux pour une topographie économique de Damas au XIIe siècle”, Arabica 3.1 (1956): p. 76.
Date: c. 1890-1906
Glassworkers of Damascus produced glass vessels such as lamps (qanādīl) and flasks (qinnīna), and large jars (qatramīz), and lidded preserving jars (marṭabān). The most valuable products glassworkers produce include drinking glasses (kuwayyis) and buttermilk jars (zubābī). The sand needed to create the glass is transported from caves in Jabal ‘Adhra which are about four hours away from Damascus. Glass made from these localized raw materials produce a greenish tint. During this period, the industry of glass making had been weakened by competing European industries. Nonetheless, it was still considered a profitable industry, with tourists paying great sums of money to acquire well-known glass products.
Citation: al-Qasimi, Muhammad Saʿid, Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, and Khalil al-ʿAzm (al-Azem), Dictionnaire des métiers damascains, ed., Zafer al-Qasimi. (Le Monde d’Outre-Mer passé et présent, Deuxième série, Documents III, Paris and Le Haye: Mouton and Co., 1960), pp. 163-64 (chapter 120).
Photographer John D. Whiting (d. 1951), who also worked as a tour guide, captures a photograph of a glass worker bringing the pickle jars he produced to the market. See also: Mender of Vessels; Maker of Coloured Glass Windows.
Citation: Whiting, J. D. & Matson, G. E., photographer. (1938) Diary in Photos, vol. IV, 1938. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2007675264/ (last consulted: 13 February 2017).
Photographer John D. Whiting captures a photograph of a glass worker bringing the pickle jars he produced to the market.
Citation: Whiting, J. D. & Matson, G. E., photographer. (1938) Diary in Photos, vol. IV, 1938.
Online Text: Retrieved from the Library of Congress