Damascus: Tent Makers

Date: 1870s

Discussing the market in Damascus that sold good to those about to undertake the annual pilgrimage (ḥajj), Charles Doughty (d. 1926) notes that tent makers were responsible for making and mending tents. They also performed the same jobs on the curtains for palanquins. The tent makers occupied their own street in the ḥajj market. See also: Cotton Weaver; Maker of Palanquins (muḥāyirī).

Citation: Doughty, Charles, Travels in Arabia Deserta (London, 1888. Reprinted in one volume, New York: Random House, 1936), p. 41.

Damascus: Tent Makers

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: khaymī

Tent makers were most active during the season of the annual pilgrimage (ḥajj) caravan from Damascus to the Hijaz, producing a tent called al-ṭazlāqa (the vowelling of this word is unclear). Other tents produced by the khaymī included the qubba (i.e. a domed tent) and a larger marquee (ṣīwāna). Tents might be decorated with bands of coloured fabric, sometimes ornamented with painting or embroidery. See also: Palanquin Maker (muḥāyirī).

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. 129 (chapter 96).

See also: Milwright, Marcus, “Trade and the Syrian Hajj between the 12th and the early 20th Centuries: Historical and archaeological Perspectives”, in Venetia Porter and Liana Saif, eds, The Hajj: Collected Essays, Research Publications 193 (London: British Museum Press, 2013), p. 33.