ABHA: Jobran Salim, a Saudi man in his mid-50s, can swiftly turn stone into beautiful household pieces and amazing accessories. His father passed down this craft to him and he has mastered it to perfection.
He lives in an area located on the borders of the Kingdom and Yemen, south Jazan, and loves to hand-carve different pieces out of stone.
Salim, a deft sculptor, told Arab News that he uses primitive tools made of steel to extract stone from the mountains. He has to dig up to 20 meters in order to reach the perfect stones he needs to carve his works. The process can be laborious because of his old tools.
The red clay on top of a mountain signifies that its stone can be sculpted and new shapes can be carved out of it. The sculptor should have great skills to do this task because it is not an easy one.
Salim uses over 200 tools to cut the stone into smaller pieces and mold them the way he wants. He can make pots, plates, cups, forks and spoons with great precision.
“My father was a great sculptor and he taught all the skills I use today around 35 years ago. He showed me how to get the perfect stone and how to recognize a mountain that has good pieces of stone. My children don’t like my job and don’t want to learn to be a sculptor because they believe it is dangerous and entails many risks, which they are not willing to take,” he said.
Jibal Qais or the Qais Mountains, located on the Saudi-Yemeni border, have the best stone and one can see the red clay clearly on top of the mountains right before the sunrise. He used the stones of one of these mountains for 10 years because it had a lot of good material.
In his opinion, the best cooking pots are the ones made out of stone as they give cooked food a special taste.