Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abdel Zaher book binder

Had read about the bookbinder's market near Khan but save for a few shops on Al Azhar street, did not really see much else.

However, a few days ago, while googling, I came across the name of Abdel Zaher on Times (of London) as being a book binder who practices the old oriental art of book binding and who is in great demand. So decided to go see what he was all about.

First of all, it was very difficult to find the shop. Its behind Al Azhar mosque in a narrow street, where driving a car is definately a test of skill. And we overlooked the shop twice, since there was no signage which mentioned his name or if it was, it was in Arabic!

Went in to a shop that was being renovated and most of the stuff was lying on tables in the centre of the shop.

The shop is full of a number of items all made of papper or cloth. There are photo albums, sketch books, tissue boxes, CD holders, magazine holders etc. They are made from varied materials including tuscany paper, handmade papper, canvas cloth printed with arabic calligraphy etc. The notebooks and photo albums have a leather binding and which can be stamped in gold print depending on what you want written, at no extra cost.
You can check out his website at You can also order online.

I bought an old fashioned photo album with black sheaves and self adhesive corners, though much of his stuff reminded me of smilar things available back home (am I begining to sound like an Indophile or is is that India has so much varied art and craft that I find so many things similar?). I am planning to add the photographs and then go back to him to get the name of the place stamped on the binding!

2 comments: said...

thanks, i liked this post and i love this little store behind the azhar ... but the romance of handworked, leather bound books is quickly dispelled as you make your way past the hanging carcasses and over-ripe fruit and veg in the suq of the azhar district.

when you go to get it stamped, make your way to the back and you can watch the old man stamp it ...

Manisha said...

Thanks, shall def watch the old man stamp it!