Damascus: Needle Makers

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: abbār or ibbār

These artisans had their own market in Damascus, although by the 1890s this had closed down due to competition from mass-produced needles imported from Europe. These artisans produced needles of different sizes and for different functions, ranging from crochet to sewing belts and large sacks. See also: Locksmith (ghālātī or qalīfātī); Blacksmith (ḥaddād).

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. 215 (chapter 142).

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. 275-76.