Damascus: Lamp Makers

Arabic: q al-qanādīl

Date: Twelfth to sixteenth centuries

The location of the Market of Lamps (q al-qanādīl) is not specified in the sources, though one did exist in Damascus. A qandīl is a glass oil lamp that was hung from the ceilings of houses and mosques. It was also occasionally used to light streets. There may have been a market that was itself lit by lamplight, like another market in Cairo – mentioned by Nasir-i Khusraw (d. 1088) – where all sorts of rare and precious items were sold. Information is drawn from the work of Ibn ʿAsakir (d. 1176), al-Hadi (d. 1503), and al-Almawi (d. 1573). See also: Glass makers; Glass painters; Glass blowers; Collectors of sand; Lantern makers.

Citation: Elisséeff, Nikita. “Corporations de Damas sous Nūr al-Dīn: Matériaux pour une topographie économique de Damas au XIIe siècle”, Arabica 3.1 (1956): p. 75.