Damascus: Engravers of Seal Rings

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: ḥakkāk al-khawātim

Calligraphic texts would be engraved on the surface of cast brass or silver rings. The engraver would also work on the faces of stones such as carnelian and blood stone. The principal markets were army officers and wealthy people in Damascus. The price was calculated per letter (ḥarf). See also: Goldsmith (dhahabī); Jeweller (ṣāʾigh); Copper Founder (sakkāb).

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. 101 (chapter 68).

See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Metalworking in Damascus at the End of the Ottoman Period: An Analysis of the Qamus al-Sina‘at al-Shamiyya”, in: Venetia Porter and Mariam Rosser-Owen, eds, Metalwork and Material Culture in the Islamic World: Art, Crafts and Text. Essays presented to James W. Allan (London: I B Tauris, 2012), pp. 269-70.