Damascus: Basket Makers
Date: c. 1890-1906
Two kinds of baskets were principally made: the strongest are made from willow (ṣafṣāf) branches, and the other is made from reed (qaṣab). The craftspeople engaged in this activity soak these materials in water until they become flexible to weave into baskets. Basket makers are usually poor rural peoples, and provides a living for many people. Although it is not a profitable craft, the utilitarian nature of baskets such as to carry apples and vegetables denotes basket making as a widespread activity. See also: Maker of lids (for protecting food) (mikabbatī).
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), p. 238 (chapter 160).
Photographer John D. Whiting (d. 1951), who also worked as a tour guide, documents a street sweeper collecting detritus into a basket made of old rubber tires. This appears to have been a local craft. See also: Maker of Cord and Twine.
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 documents a photograph of a street sweeper sweeping a basket made of old tires.
Citation: Whiting, J. D. & Matson, G. E., photographer. (1938) Diary in Photos, vol. IV, 1938.
Online Text: Retrieved from the Library of Congress