From carpets to keffiyehs

Mosul artisan maintains 65 year old loom

MOSUL — In Mosul, a traditional loom known as Al-Jouma is meticulously preserved.

This loom, operational for over six decades, is employed in crafting carpets, blankets, and keffiyehs.

Dr. Mohammed Abdel Jabbar, steward of this heritage, underscores its pivotal role in Mosul’s industrial era, noting its application in diverse settings including workshops, churches, and mosques throughout the city.

Dr. Jabbar, the custodian of the Jouma, spoke to 964media:

“This craft is a legacy from my forebears and my father, may they rest in peace, who managed a blanket manufacturing business. The locals of Mosul utilized this apparatus for producing coverlets, traditional mattresses, and keffiyehs.

“Our family, however, has honed its expertise in the creation of rugs, carpets, and blankets. Historically, our output was distributed via a pact with the Iraqi Storage Company, which facilitated the nationwide dissemination of our wares. While not my sole occupation, I engage in this craft as a pastime, driven by a passion for preserving our city’s and nation’s cultural heritage. I am determined to rejuvenate this craft before it vanishes, given that this Jouma is Mosul’s last, aged beyond 65 years.

“I’ve taken part in numerous local exhibitions to display my creations and have conducted several workshops to instruct the youth and job-seekers in operating the Jouma. Regrettably, its revival is contingent upon governmental or financial backing. With four decades in this vocation, I’ve produced a variety of carpets, mats, and tapestries. Given its rudimentary nature, the Jouma’s productivity pales in comparison to contemporary machines, prompting us to amass over a hundred pieces for sale at exhibitions.

“A novice can craft a single carpet daily using the ‘Jouma,’ whereas my expertise allows for the creation of two to two and a half pieces. My aspiration is to establish a workshop equipped with additional machines, to source yarn domestically or internationally, thereby augmenting production and revitalizing this ancient craft.”