Damascus: Potters

Date: thirteenth century

The “road of the potteries” (darb al-fawākhir) is mentioned by the historan, Abu Shama (d. 1268), as the place of his birth in 1203. This road was, according to Ibn Shaddad (d. 1285), formerly known as darb al-kīsān. This road leads toward Bab Kisan and the extra-mural area where ceramic kilns have been recovered during excavations. See: Glazed pottery manufacture in Damascus

Citation: Abu Shama, ʿAbd al-Rahman b. Ismaʿil, Autobiographie d’Abou Chama in Recueil des historiens des Croisades (Historiens Orientaux) (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1872-1906, reprinted Farnborough: Gregg, 1967-69), V: p. 211.

Ibn Shaddad, ʿIzz al-Din Muhammad b. ʿAli, La description de Damas d’Ibn Šaddad, historien et géographe mort à Alep en 684/1285, ed., Sami al-Dahan (Damascus: Institut Français de Damas, 1957), p. 107.

See also: Milwright, Marcus. “Pottery in written Sources of the Ayyubid-Mamluk Period (c.567-923/1171-1517)”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62.3 (1999): p. 506.


Date: 1890s

Vital Cuinet (d. 1896) reports that amphorae made of fine, pale clay were produced in workshops located in Damascus. Similar items were produced in Hasbiya and Rushaya. See also: Maker of Clay Ovens; Collector of Clay.

Citation: Cuinet, Vital, Syrie, Liban et Palestine. Géographique, administrative, statistique, descriptive et raisonnée (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1896), p. 364.

See also: Milwright, Marcus, ‘Written Sources and the Study of Pottery in Ottoman Bilad al-Sham’, al-Rafidan 30 (2009), p. 40.


Date: c. 1990

Johannes Kalter notes that the work of the potter was nearing extinction, as their most important products such as water and oil jars had been replaced by metal and plastic canisters. See also: Glass Worker.

Citation: 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. 68.