The spread of mosaic and inlaying art in Syria

Let’s talk about how inlaying and mosaic spread from Syria to the world

Thousands of years have passed since the invention of inlaying. Inlaid artifacts with Assyrian and Egyptian roots, some dating back more than three thousand years, can be shown in many museums all over the world. The Umayyad emperors promoted mosaic art when the Muslims chose Damascus as their imperial capital in the seventh century. The city’s Umayyad Mosque was the first building in the Islamic world where the art of inlaying was utilized extensively thanks to their support in the early 8th century. The art of mosaics emerged in Damascus from this initial experience in inlaying, when largely Byzantine artists were employed. It later became a respected vocation.
There are beautiful exhibits of alluring Oriental handcraft inside the shops. However, the skillfully strewn inlaid boxes, seats, cabinets, divans, and tables are the first things that the visitor notices. These colorfully carved pieces of furniture may be the most beautiful furniture in the entire world. They are truly gorgeous designs that have mother of pearl and, more recently, plastic inlaid into them that are much sought after by tourists from other countries.


The Arabs lost their political clout after the Ottomans took over Damascus, focusing instead on business and crafts. These jobs included a variety of inlaying trades in both wood and metal, for which the city is still well known.

Designing inlaid on Damascus

Designs are inlaid into all sorts of wood in Damascus using intarsia, or inlays of opposing patterns. Forms are recessed into the wood in accordance with a predetermined layout. In the past, bits of various wood, such as ebony, lemon, oak, walnut, or bone, as well as mother-of-pearl, were used to fill the hollows. Mother of pearl and materials authentically copied by the plastics industry are currently the sole materials typically employed in the time-honored process of inlaying.

Neighborhoods where craftsmen work in Damascus

The Bab Touma neighborhood of Damascus is where the majority of the city’s mosaic artisans operate. They constantly incorporate fresh concepts and styles into their products in order to keep up with the times. All of the city’s retail establishments that tourists patronize carry their products. The eye-catching mosaic furniture and boxes stand out among other handmade goods because of its vibrant colors and dramatic appeal, which attracts customers, especially those from abroad.

Although some of these mosaic products are handcrafted in Egypt, Iran, and other nations, Damascus is the world leader in the creation of these products. the goods offered for sale in Istanbul, Casablanca, and even Oriental markets in North America. However, they can be found in large numbers in their native Syria. They are frequently in high demand as souvenirs and quite reasonably priced, adding a unique touch of the East to houses when travelers bring them back.

Tools that are used in inlaying and mosaic

A kind of craftsmanship known as Damascus mother of pearl inlay can be used to decorate any type of piece of furniture, wall and ceiling panel, or household item. The style, which has a long history dating back several hundred years, is unique to Syria’s Damascus Governorate.

Local walnut wood, silver thread, mother of pearl, camel bone, and more expensive decorative woods like lemon, olive, and Brazilian rosewood are just a few of the materials used.
The methods have historically been passed on from father to son. Artists who are interested in learning the skill can be expected to complete apprenticeships that last at least five years and can spend up to fifteen years learning under the guidance of a master craftsman.