Damascus: Copper Workers

Arabic: Naḥḥās

Date: Twelfth to sixteenth centuries

The naḥḥāsīn had a market and a bath along the south wall of the Great Mosque at the time of Nur al-Din (ruler of Damascus, 1154-74). In the early thirteenth century they were located against the wall of the Congregational Mosque. They made cauldrons and other items from “red copper” (i.e. pure copper, rather than brass, or “yellow copper”). Information is drawn from the work of Ibn ʿAsakir (d. 1176), al-Nuʿaymi (d. 1521), al-Hadi (d. 1503), and al-Almawi (d. 1573). See also: Copper founders; Inlayers of metalwork; Blacksmiths.

Citation: Elisséeff, Nikita. “Corporations de Damas sous Nūr al-Dīn: Matériaux pour une topographie économique de Damas au XIIe siècle”, Arabica 3.1 (1956): pp. 69-70.



Date: c. 1990

Johannes Kalter describes the revival of traditional Syrian crafts such as metalworking, particularly in brass. The objects produced would often be inlaid with silver and copper. He also noted that the artisans use antique prototypes from museums as well as making use of old catalogues of work produced for the 1987 Paris World Exhibition. Customer demands have also led to new styles being developed. See also: Copper Founder; Copper Beater; Blacksmith; Inlay Worker.

Citation: Kalter, Johannes, “Urban Handicrafts”, in Kalter, Johannes, Margareta Pavaloi, and Maria Zerrnickel, eds. The Arts and Crafts of Syria: Collection Antoine Touma and Linden-Museum Stuttgart (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), pp. 64-67, fig. 104-106.