Damascus: Wood Cutter

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: kissār or kassār

This artisan made his living by cutting up dead trees in order to sell the wood in Damascus. The kissār would establish an agreement (including the payment of a fee) with the owner of the trees before starting work. He would also use his axe (faʾs) to prune trees for the owners of plantations. Occupants of the village of Jawbar, west of Damascus, specialized in this task, though in older times it was also done by Circassians. See also: Wood gatherer (ḥaṭṭāb) and Charcoal burner (faḥḥām).

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. 468 (chapter 392).

Milwright, Marcus. “Wood and Woodworking in Late Ottoman Damascus: An Analysis of the Qāmūs al-Ṣināʿāt al-Shāmiyya”, Bulletin d’Etudes Orientales 61 (2012): pp. 558-59.

Damascus, Kamer ed Din: Wood Worker
Date: August 1938

Photographer John D. Whiting documents two men hand sawing logs into planks.
Citation: Whiting, J. D. & Matson, G. E., photographer. (1938) Diary in Photos, vol. IV, 1938.

Online Text: Retrieved from the Library of Congress