Damascus: House Painters

Date: c. 1890-1906

Arabic: dahhān

These artisans adorn and decorate faces of property and residential walls with paintings for aesthetic purposes. The house painter required a variety of artistic skill and precision, and their paint work included landscapes, sea and ships, cypress trees, roses, and any images which his patron desired. The paints the dahhān used were either glue or oil based. As decorative residential and building painting was in vogue in Damascus, this craft was well-known and profitable. Bathhouses were especially decorated by house painters.

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), pp. 148-49 (chapter 108).