Authored by Hassan Ali
A loom is a device utilized by a weaver to manufacture woven fabric. The configuration, dimensions, and constituents of the loom differ according to the region and specific requirements of the product. The fundamental hand weaving looms can be categorized as simple looms, pendant looms, rugs, carpets, table looms, and floor looms. Additionally, the Bedouins utilized verse looms, drawing looms, and jacquard looms. The prevailing type of loom used in Palmyra and its surrounding areas is referred to as the pendant loom of the carpet looms. Mr. Muhammad Kassem, a 33-year-old resident of Aleppo, possesses hereditary expertise in operating looms and will now discuss the predominant loom styles in Palmyra and other Syrian cities. Muhammad states that prior to 2011, Syria utilized over 1,700 handlooms to manufacture woolen fabric derived from carpets. Carpeting, abayas, textiles, bedding, cushions, and so on. The looms are distributed across Aleppo, Damascus, and the rural areas of Idlib, Hama, Palmyra, and Al-Sukhnah. The well-known saying states, “Weavers weave on land and spread out in the wilderness.” In antiquity, a portion of the loom was commonly situated in a cavity typically approximately one meter deep beneath the surface, while the remaining components were positioned above ground. The loom’s width typically spans from 80 to 120 cm, with a maximum length of 220 cm in Syria. The loom is supported by four wooden bases. The Sadu, comprised of two threads, is referred to as the Sadu thread and serves as the foundation for weaving the desired result. It ascends from the aperture to the summit and then descends towards the base once more. Subsequently, a knitting machine, akin to a loom, was produced, resulting in enhanced productivity and efficiency. However, the machine’s output suffered a decline in fabric quality compared to that of the manual loom. Upon my arrival in Turkey in 2014, I installed approximately 13 looms throughout various cities in the country. There are a total of six of them located in Gaziantep, with this being one of them (Photo No.). The remaining ones are situated in Kilis and Kayseri. The majority of individuals employed in Palmyra’s textile industry were female. I am unaware of the reasons for the men of Palmyra’s aversion to working on the loom. The majority of the things I manufacture using looms are exported to the Gulf countries, Jordan, Europe, and America. Working on the loom for more than 6 hours poses a challenge for professionals. For instance, a rug with a length of two meters and an approximate width of one meter necessitates a labor period of two days.
Mrs. Jawhara Al-Jumaa, a 68-year-old resident of Palmyra, discusses the practice of the handloom profession in Palmyra and its desert, as well as the associated activities. She was formerly employed in the handloom industry. Jawhara states that the Bedouins would shear the wool of the Awassi sheep on our behalf, and we would then purchase it from them and cleanse it in a wool bath. The wool, in its original state, was utilized. When preparing wool for weaving, we utilized a long wooden tool known as the tamper. This tool had a spinning piece on one end, which allowed us to create spools of wool threads. Among these threads, we left a portion undyed, while the majority was subjected to the dyeing process. The wool dyeing procedure was A significant occasion took place, during which we would convene a collective of women at one of their residences to engage in the communal activity of dyeing wool and preparing tea using firewood. The prevailing hues of wool during that period included crimson, luminescent azure, indigo (from China), yellow, and so on. Wool was immersed in dye-filled tanks of water for the purpose of dyeing, nevertheless, the black color held significant worth. The specific term for its thick thread is referred to as “Al-Jaila”. Following the dyeing process, we expose the wool to direct sunlight for a duration of two days until it reaches a state of total dryness. Subsequently, we proceed to secure the separate skeins of threads, and the kebayas are then prepared for weaving on the loom. The loom: The Sadwa (Sadu) is a machine constructed from wood and simple weaving threads. The situation was. The loom is constructed using clay and straw to correspond to the dimensions of the female worker who would operate it. It possesses a force in front of its location that can extract the threads from it. The loom I was operating had been passed down to me by my grandmother, who imparted her knowledge of this craft to me. Typically, two women collaborate on the loom, exerting force on the weaving piece, which subsequently stretches over ten cross threads. They utilize their hands and feet for labor. We specialize in weaving rugs and a variety of other items, including bags, pillow covers, animal backpacks, and more. There are two types of yarn: weave and grade number (pattern). Weaving is a form of knitting that involves moving the hands rapidly in order to get the desired design. The most challenging part of weaving is the row. In our weaving process, we utilized wool, goat hair, and camel hair. However, it is important to note that the predominant material employed was only sheep’s wool. To create a rug, a typical requirement is 5 or 6 kilograms of wool threads. The rug is often composed of three separate pieces that are sewn together to span the entirety of the room’s floor. The bedspread is a product available in two colors: red and black. The number’s engraving consists of the shapes abaki, araysi, khabasa, and comb. Except for wool, we formerly would slice old garments and textiles into narrow pieces commonly referred to as “stripes.” These stripes were then used to weave rugs, musalas, or sacks on a loom, which were hung on the walls like quivers. (Photograph Number)
The loom emits a melodious resonance that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who operates it, resonating through the streets. The sound produced by the loom is referred to as the knock. During the women’s spinning sessions, we would engage in the simultaneous activities of singing traditional songs and working. Previously, we manufactured carpets, prayer rugs, mattresses, pillows, and comforters just for the bridal wedding entourage. Recent house expansions in Palmyra have led to the removal of looms from the majority of dwellings. The loom industry thrived during my grandmother’s time, but gradually declined as easier, ready-made products became more prevalent.
In contrast to the people of Palmyra, the Bedouins relied heavily on goat hair and their looms were positioned in the exposed wilderness. The lady working with the loom would create a hole under her feet. Their loom is constructed from timber. They construct the poetic dwellings they reside in using it. The poetry home exhibits a notable quality of being impervious to water. The hair house is utilized throughout the winter season. During the summer, they utilized burlap tents. They produce custom-made burlap bags and clothing items, including hair cloaks and porches, which serve as walls for their hair house. Additionally, they manufacture rugs that have a striking resemblance to the Palmyra rug.