Damascus: Makers of Wooden Vessels
The making of wooden vessels was a significant activity in Damascus, generating a high demand and with its own souk in the city (Suq ʿUlabiyya). The items produced by theʿulabī include both small ornamental boxes (sing. ʿulba) and larger containers for more utilitarian uses, such as storing sweetmeats, livestock feed, milk, and yogurt. Boxes for the storage of perfume and sweetmeats were popular gifts for circumcision and wedding ceremonies.
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. 318 (chapter 238).
Also discussed in: Milwright, Marcus. “Wood and Woodworking in Late Ottoman Damascus: An Analysis of the Qāmūs al-Ṣināʿāt al-Shāmiyya”, Bulletin d’Etudes Orientales 61 (2012): p. 555.