Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Saudi Artisan: Wood Bowl Carver

The Janadriyah Festival is a cultural heritage festival held every year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  This year the festival attracted a record high six million visitors during the month of April - and I was one of them!  I was fortunate that I happened to be in Riyadh and attended with my fellow blogger and friend, Layla who, like me, writes two blogs about living in Saudi Arabia:  Blue Abaya and her photo blog, Images of Saudi. 

Traditional handicrafts are a fading art in Saudi Arabia, however there are still some artisans who try to keep the trades alive. The man in this post is a wood carver and his specialty is bowls.  Here are some other articles about the Janadriyah Festival.

Arab News: A Record 6 Million Visit Janadriyah Festival

Splendid Arabia: Janadriyah and the Festival of Heritage

Arab News:  Traditional handmade headbands set trend at Janadriyah Festival

Blue Abaya: Expats Guide to Janadriyah

Blue Abaya: Why I love Janadriyah

Blue Abaya: Top Ten Things to do at Janadriyah 

Today is the first of the month, which means it's theme day for City Daily Photo bloggers.  City Daily Photo is an online community of photo bloggers from around the world, sharing the wonders of their area of the world pictorially with others.  Each month there are different themes that CDP members can participate in.  This month's theme is "The Creative Artisan"  

Please visit the City Daily Photo portal to view other participants' entries for today's theme day of "The Creative Artisan." 


  1. I understand why this kind of craft is dying, still it is a wonderful skill.

    1. Now they have machines that do this in a fraction of the time it takes this guy to do it. It's still nice to see how it used to be done.

  2. superb work! those old wooden dough bowls are so popular over here!

  3. This is a wonderful image. My favourite for this theme day.

  4. There is something soothing about wooden bowls. I love looking at them and touching them.

  5. Turning wooden bowls on a lathe is an art - carving as this man is doing is even finer, harder artistry. Beautiful work and a wonderful post!

  6. I love wooden bowls, first of all, they don't get broken easily and they look so nature....

  7. There is indeed excellent craftsmanship and artistry in your part of the world. Julie and I recently visited Israel and Jordan, getting as close to Saudi Arabia as Wadi Rum.

    There is a wonderful tradition of making wood bowls in Costa Rica as well, using the plentiful tropical hardwoods.

  8. Six million visitors, wow mega impressive Susie. Its always so interesting to watch craftsmen at work, thank goodness for the artisans who keep these skills alive..beautifully vibrant image for the theme.

  9. Great 'action' shot. Something I have never seen before.

  10. Carving is hard This man is amazing. I'm glad you were able to photograph him at work. Sure, mass produced bowls are cheap, but they are... well, cheap. Nicely done for the theme!

  11. Thanks for all the information about the bowls. I bought one of these bowls years ago for my mother, with the 6-sided black design around the edges (and I think I bought it in Taif) but always wondered if it was a true Saudi handicraft. Needless to say, your pictures showed me it was truly Saudi. Did anyone see the handles made ? They seem very hand-crafted. Did anyone happen to see that part of the bowl being made ? I'd be curious what you observed. .


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