Damascus: Paper Makers 

Arabic: warrāq

Date: c. 1435

In his treatise, Jawhar-i Simī, the librarian Simi Nishapuri notes that the best paper for calligraphy is produced in Damascus, Samarqand, Baghdad and Amul. Colours include yellow, dark red, light red, blue, verdigris, natural, and straw. White paper is not desirable as it is ‘hard on the eyes’. See also: Calligrapher; Felt Maker; Engraver of Seal Rings

Citation: Thackston, Wheeler, ‘Treatise on Calligraphic Arts: A Disquisition on Paper, Colours, Inks, and Pens by Simi of Nishapur’, in Michel Mazzaoui and Vera Moreen (eds), Intellectual Studies on Islam: Essays written in Honour of Martin B. Dickson (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990), pp. 221-23.


Date: early Islamic period until c. sixteenth century (?)

Damascus was well known for the production of paper. The traveller, al-Muqaddasi (d. 991), records that paper was exported from the city in the late tenth century. Paper production in Hama, and perhaps also Manbij, was relocated to Damascus. This may have occurred in the twelfth century. Ibn Battuta (d. 1368 or 1369) describes the activities in the Market of the Papermakers, located near the eastern gate of the ʿUmar mosque, during his visit in 1327. See also: Calligrapher; Qurʾan Scribe; Painter

Citation: Von Karabacek, Josef, Arab Paper, trans. Don Baker and Suzy Dittmar (London: Don Baker Memorial Fund and Archetype, 2001 [translation of “Das arabische Papier”, Mitteilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer, 2/3, Vienna, 1887]), pp. 30-31, 52.