Monday, June 12, 2006

A visit to the Lebanese village of Jezzine

When it gets hot in Beirut, Lebanese who can flee to the mountains. Jezzine in the south central mountains is such a village. Our dear Lebanese friend insisted we should see this beautiful place of which she carries happy childhood memories.

To reach the village, you climb twisting mountain roads.

The village sits on top of a cliff rock formation.

Some buildings seem grow right out of the rock.

Back from the cliffs, there is a quiet main street,

an Ottoman vintage town hall,

boxes of apricots, oranges, zucchini, beans and other produce in front of small stores,

and a jumble of buildings old and new where the residents of Jezzine live.

The people of Jezzine are known for a unique craft, creating inlaid horn handles shaped like a bird's head. An old gentleman gave us a demonstration of this local art.

This was the old way of drilling. Nowadays, they use a drill press.

Here he has pushed the blue stone inlay into the hole drilled in the horn. He is cutting it off at the surface level. After the inlay is firmly in place, the whole will be sanded and polished smooth.

A letter opener handle, showing the distinctive long-beaked bird of Jezzine.


Nell said...

The last picture was an eerie, wonderful shock.

I'm looking at an identical letter-opener handle right this minute. It was my father's. The letter-opener part broke off years ago. I think it was something we brought back from my father's sabbatical in Europe almost fifty years ago, but it could have been a gift from someone else in those years, too. It was one of my favorite objects in the household in my childhood; I loved to be allowed to open the mail with it.

Suzanne Gilbert said...

I too am in possession of a Said & Alfred Haddad Djezzine (Lebanon) letter opener. It was my godmother's who was in the US Foreign Service from 1962 to 1985. My boyfriend just recommended we stop using it as it's getting a little loose. It's been in my possesion since 1986. I don't know when my relative could have picked it up, she traveled alot. Thanks for the information.

Patsy said...

I have one of these letter openers. It is in pristine condtion I am looking for a buyer. I have heard that these might be valuable Bakelite substance? Any comments.

Larry Eslick said...

I have a whole set of knives, spoons, forks from this village. We found it in an antigue store 25 years ago. Any idea how much they are worth? Email me.

Carl said...

I also have one of these letter openers in near mint.I bought it at a garage sale it would be nice to know its value.It amases me how they are made I dont think I would want to get rid of it unless it is worth takes alot of skill and time to make I wonder how much time.

Carl said...

I also have an SAID & ALFRED HADDAD letter opener in very good to excelent condition. I would like to know how much it may be worth it must take a long time to make.I wonder if the wings are made of gold it does look like they could be.if anyone knows please let me know they must be fairly rare.feb/7/10