Sultan al-Ashraf Shaʿban (r. 1363-77) ordered the governor of Syria, Baydamur, to send to Cairo numerous items including brocade, embroidery, gold and silver needles, ornamented saddles, and saddlebags. The account of this event mentions that the palace became “like a workshop” and notes the presence of people “moulding gold” and working furnaces among the artisans. See also: Jeweller (ṣāʾigh); Maker of Gold and Silver Thread.
Citation: Ibn Sasra, Muhammad b. Muhammad, al-Durra al-muḍīʿa fi’l-dawla al-ẓāhiriyya. Published as: A Chronicle of Damascus, 1389-1397, ed. and trans. W. Brinner (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1963), I, pp. 250-51; II, pp. 189.
See also: Allan, James. “Shaʿbān, Barqūq, and the Decline of the Mamluk Metalworking Industry”, Muqarnas 2 (1984), p. 90.
Date: late fifteenth century
The author refers to the casting of gold, the making of leaf and wire from the metal. He may also indicate that gold was inlaid into metal vessels (such as copper and copper alloy). See also: Jeweller (ṣāʾigh); Decorator of metal vessels (naqqāsh).
Citation: al-Badri, ʿAbd Allah b. Muhammad, Nuzhat al-anām fī maḥāsin al-shām (Cairo, 1922), p. 363.
See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Metalworking in Damascus at the End of the Ottoman Period: An Analysis of the Qamus al-Sinaʿat 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), p. 265.
Sir John Bowring (d. 1872) notes the number of goldsmith shops in the sūq. These shops were kept in good order and abundantly supplied with goods. See also: Silversmith; Inlay Worker.
Citation: Bowring, John. Report on the Commercial Statistics of Syria (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1840. Reprinted: New York: Arno Press, 1973), p. 92.
The goldsmith dealt with both new gold and scrap. In addition to making new items, they also undertook repairs. Goldsmithing had been the preserve of a “special family” (ʿāʾila makhṣūṣa), but by the 1890s there was no one in Damascus working in this craft. All of the golden objects in the market were imported from Europe. See also: Jeweller (ṣāʾigh); Copper Beater (naḥḥās); Decorator of Metal Vessels (naqqāsh).
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. 151 (chapter 110).
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), p. 276.
A report dating to 1899 records that goldsmiths were operating in the Syrian capital. They produced a wide range of jewellery. See also: Silversmith; Inlay Worker.
Citation: R. Oberhummer and H. Zimmerer quoted in 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), p. 64.
Date: c. 1906
Henry Van Dyke (d. 1933) reports on goldsmiths working at miniature furnaces in poorly it buildings. They produced gold and silver filigree. See also: Silversmith; Jeweller; Maker of Inlaid Metalwork.
Citation: Van Dyke, Henry. Out of Doors in the Holy Land: Impressions of Travel in Body and Spirit, Outdoor Essays IV (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908, reprinted 1920), p. 290.