Damascus: Weavers

Arabic: nassāj

Date: c. 1400

In his biography of Timur (d. 1405; known in European sources as Tamerlane), Ibn ʿArabshah notes that the ruler ‘took from Damascus learned men and craftsmen and all who excelled in any art.’ His list of craftsmen includes skilled weavers. Timur ordered that the artisans of Damascus be taken to his capital in Samarqand. See also: Textile Dyer; Cotton Weaver; Silk Weaver.

Citation: Ahmad Ibn ʿArabshah, Kitāb al-Ajāʾib al-maqdūr fī akhbār Tīmūr. Translated by John H. Sanders as Tamerlane: or, Timur the Great Amir (London: Luzac and Co., 1936), p. 161.



Date: late fifteenth or early sixteenth centuries

Weavers (sing. ḥāʾik) are recorded as having been members of the zuʿr (criminal gangs) in late Mamluk Damascus. See also: Silk Weaver; Cotton Weaver.

Citation: Miura, Toru, Dynamism in the urban Society of Damascus: The Ṣāliḥiyya Quarter from the twelfth to the twentieth Centuries, Islamic Area Studies 2 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016), p. 164.



Date: 1892-93

During his visit to the sūq of the old town of Damascus Albert Terhune (d. 1942) records that weavers and other artisans had workshops and storerooms on Straight Street. The goods from these storerooms would be sold in the sūq. See also: dyer; silk weaver; brocade maker; wool merchant.

Citation: Terhune, Albert Payson, Syria from the Saddle: A Description of the Holy Land today, as seen through a young man’s Eyes (New York: Silver, Burdett and Co., 1896),  p. 49.



Date: 1927

Louis Massignon records the existence of weavers in Damascus in 1927. He writes that they would buy yarn from female spinners (ghuzūlī). See also: Silk weavers; Wool weavers; Wool merchants; Spinners.

Citation: Massignon, Louis. “La structure du travail à Damas en 1927: Type d’enquête sociographique”, Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie 15 (1953), p. 47.