The hallmark of the master soap maker (updated)

The hallmark of the master soap maker (updated)

As humans and a family of traditional soap makers we are devastated by the continued destruction of life in Syria and the Allepo soapmaking region. Hopefully there can be an end to the suffering in the area soon.

Our family has produced a large amount of handmade soap for almost forty years
and we love stories from the soap making tradition. One of the main areas of interest
in ancient soap making is the eastern Mediterranean, or Levant Region—the center of which is Aleppo, Syria. This region is home of the famous Aleppo Soap, traditionally comprised of just three main ingredients, olive oil, laurel oil, and soda (lye).

The soap makers boil this trio together, in a large cistern, with a wood fire underneath, for hours, before finally pouring it onto an ancient stone floor to cool. They then cut this room sized loaf into soap sized squares with wires and cutting knives in a process that is thought to date to 300 AD. This is followed with hand stamping each bar, the hallmark of the Master Soap maker.

It's amazing that soap making methods this old have not really been improved upon in terms of quality. This is some seriously good soap, better than most North American hands will ever get to enjoy in their daily washing routine.

This amazing tradition however, has been severely damaged with the conflict in the area, causing many businesses to be displaced to nearby country’s or destroyed all together. Let's hope they can get their lives and traditions back soon.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this short video showing this amazing soap making process.

 

Cover image: Souq al-Bzouriyya, Damascus, Syria; courtesy of yeowatzup.

Leave a comment