Beirut : City of Lines

Nair, Parvati, (2013). Beirut : City of Lines. Wasafiri, 28(1), 10-12

Document type:

  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Nair, Parvati
    Title Beirut : City of Lines
    Appearing in Wasafiri
    Volume 28
    Issue No. 1
    Publication Date 2013
    Place of Publication New York
    Publisher Taylor and Francis
    Start page 10
    End page 12
    Language eng

    For over thirty years now, Mr Abdel Halim Hicham has run a shop in the heart of Beirut's upmarket district of Hamra. On sale here is the woodwork inlaid with mother of pearl that he crafts by hand. Mr Hicham is a Lebanese artisan of a kind that is on the wane. He learned the trade at his father's knee and began work at the age of twelve. His is a family business, inherited through bloodline and Mr Hicham has a lifetime's knowledge of wood carving, of how to chisel the motehr of pearl into delicate, translucent shapes from broken bits of shell and how to inlay it carefully, in designs that are sometimes geometric and traditional, other times more flowing and dynamic. With utmost care, and slow precision, as if unaware of the passage of time, he glues each minute piece into the fragrant cedar wood of his country. Customers must wait until he is done. In fact, his show has more the air of a workshop, cluttered and used, the pieces of furniture, wall hangings and tabletops chaotically piled one on top of another. Some have collected dust and appear untouched for months. Others he polishes lovingly with a dirty rag dipped in turpentine. Mr Hicham keeps erratic hours. Often his shop is not open and potential customers can only peer in through the smudged window at the piles of inlaid woodwork inside. A handwritten message on the door cryptically says 'Call me', followed by a mobile number.

    UNU Topics of Focus Migration
    Keyword Migration
    JEL F22
    Copyright Holder Taylor and Francis
    Copyright Year 2013
    Copyright type Fair use permitted
    ISSN 17471508
    DOI 10.1080/02690055.2013.744791
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    Created: Tue, 30 Sep 2014, 11:31:55 JST