THE DAMASCENE HALL
In 1958, the late Mr. Jamli Mardam Bey, the then Prime Minister of Syria , presented to the National Museum of Damascus the pieces of decoration from one of the halls of his mansion which dates back to 1150 A.H. = 1137 A.D. and is situated inthe Sulaymaniyyah Quarter, near al-Bimaristan an-Nun, Damascus. The Directorate - General of Antiquities and Museums then, decided to place these in the Lecture Hall of the Museum as a piece of decoration and permanent display of the Damascene Art down the Ages. The Directorate assigned this job to Mr. Muhammad Ali ( Abu Sulayman ) al-Khayyat, the famous craftsman of Damascus with the aid of his sons and workers.
It was not possible to reconstruct the Hall as it was, because its original plan differed greatly from that of the Lecture Hall. The original plan consists of tour parts a threshold with a small fountain, two lateral platforms and the inner hall. As the decorative elements were not sufficient to cover but a small part of the Lecture Hall, the rest of it filled with new pieces similar or contemporary to the old ones.
The work was achieved in 1962 and the Hall was inaugurated on April 29 of the same year. From the date the Hall became an integral part of the Department of Islamic Arab Antiquities.
The Hall represents the artistic trends of the 19th century A.D., notably the motifs used in the decoration: floral, geometrical, and epigraphical. Other paintings and decorations give an idea about various types of the crafts of the age.
The said emits may be summed up as follows :
The original parts of the Hall are :
1. The wooden ceiling in the raised part of the centre .
2. The basin with the medium part of the marble circumference.
3. The two niches where the fountain is placed.
4. The two niches near that of the eastern facade.
5. Some of the marble slabs fixed above the two stone facades.
6. The marble chimney ( certain modifications have been made on its lower part ).
7. Some wooden panels, fillings and cornices in addition to the two panels with their frames fixed on the south wall.