The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          

 


HALL OF THE CERAMIC

Ceramic is made of pure, compact clay. The best quality of clay is the Kaolin which is found in China and in certain regions of Europe like Bohemia. The clay of Syria is not as good as the Kaolin, that is why it is always coated with a whitish layer. As soon as the vessel is modeled and backed, it is coated with this material. After that, the vessel is again baked, colored and dipped in a solution of Mardasanj ( soluble powder in water ).When the vessel is placed in the oven, a glassy material flows on all its surface. This coat of glass, named enamel, protects the vessel and enhance its beauty.

Man discovered glass by chance in Egypt and in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium B.C. In fact, when the mineralls of copper found, the silica attached to the copper appeared on the surface. It was transformed into crystals of silica mixed with the oxide of copper of a bluish green color. At the beginning this material was thrown out as useless. Later on, man thought of coating the pottery with this beautiful blue material when it was in the state of liquidity and as such a new and useful industry was discovered. The new discovery was developed and used in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and Persia during the second millennium B.C.

Persia has practiced the ceramic craft since the 7th C B.C. They made vessels, statues and panels out of this material. They also formed beautiful mural decorations of small squares.

The Arabs and Muslims learnt this craft from Persia and Byzantium. They manufactured ceramic vessels of different forms and dimensions according to their needs, notably plates, bowls,jars, amphorae, pitchers, goblets, lamps, flagons, inkstands, squares, steles, grave-stones and pegs etc.

The production of ceramic developed considerably in the Muslim world of the 5 - 9 A.H. = 11 - 15 A.D. The Arab travelers told us a lot about its abundance and its modest price in spite of its value and beauty. Certain towns ( Qashan, Raqqah, Damascus) were famous for the manufacture of the different forms of ceramic which was named after them: ceramic of Qashan, ceramic of Raqqah and ceramic of Damascus.

 

Panel of ceramic

 

Monochrome ceramic vessel. Iran Mongol period

Vessel of Damascene ceramic

 
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