Damascus: Clay Merchants

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: turrāb

Red clay was dug using spades and placed into containers tied to the backs of donkeys. Each load was worth one qarsh (piastre), and there was much demand for this material in winter. The clay was used to coat terraces of houses in Damascus. See also: Maker of clay ovens (tannūrī).

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. 67-69 (chapter 28).

Partial translation in: Milwright, Marcus. “Prologues and Epilogues in Islamic Ceramics: Clays, Repairs and secondary Use”, Medieval Ceramics 25 (2001 [2004]): p. 74.

See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Written Sources and the Study of Pottery in Ottoman Bilad al-Sham”, al-Rafidan 30 (2009): p. 41.