Carved, sculpted, turn or inlaid wood is used in decoration and furniture ornaments. Marquetry uses wood of various origins. Once the wood is treated, cut in various x polygons, hexagons, it or rosettes, then assembled, turns into the geometrical designs with radiating compositions used in decorating door or window leaves. The musharabiehs made to protect the windows from prying eyes consist of turned wood trellis or twilled flat boards. Unfortunately, this craft is becoming extinct in Saida as the craftsmen become scarce: some are old men and there are very few young apprentices; machines present considerable competition.
The oldest engraver used to work in the el Kendergieh neighbourhood, close to Khan el Franj. You cannot watch him working the wood anymore with slow yet precise moves: el Mualim Sharif Dahoud Dirani el Syfaoui died on May 15, 1996, over ninety-five years old. Finally, on Bab el Saraya square, the inlayer el moualim Salah el Dine Mokhtar has converted the floor overhanging his workshop into a small museum where he displays some of his works. Will we see the day when Khan el Franj revives its handicrafts’ activities, thus safeguarding the cultural heritage of south Lebanon’s capital?
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