Ancient Egypt manifests itself in the wooden art of Hagaza
By: Nancy Ragab
Mon, Jul. 3, 2017
CAIRO – 3 July 2017:
A small village in Upper Egypt 20 kilometers north of Luxor has become a hub of fine wooden craft production using sarso wood, basic tools, bare hands and great patience.
Almost every working hand in the village of Hagaza is put into wood art production.
Hagaza is named after the Hejaz region in which Mecca is situated, as historically pilgrims traveling from Morocco to Mecca often stayed there on their long route to Hajj.
Along the way, some travelers fell in love with the village and stayed to join the original residents.
Since 1986 courses have been offered at three year intervals where young adults enter the local training center to sharpen their saws in high-end detailed wooden craft creation.
A wooden lotus flower - Yadaweya
"We use sarso wood in our art crafts. It is a high quality wood that is beautiful in appearance, tender in consistency yet very heavy and dense. It is unbreakable. Wood must be stored for up to four years before shaping it in order for it to gain its required strength and become completely dry, giving the best quality end product possible," said Osama, a 32 year old crafter in the village.
The artisans of Hagaza often visit museums and the historical sites of Ancient Egypt to enrich their ideas for crafts where they can observe example of Pharaonic, Islamic and Coptic art. They also search in old books of architecture reflecting on the surrounding environment to generate new ideas.
The handcrafts produced, although pieces of art, also place a great focus on usability. They are often used as kitchen tools, decorative pieces to be used on desks and in living rooms, key chains or children toys. The wooden art products of Hagaza are available for customers all year long in Cairo at a special exhibition in Fustat Tourist Market next to the Amr Ibn El Aas Mosque in Old Cairo.
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