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About the Author
Haajar Gouverneur was sponsored by the Al Nahda Philanthropic Society to travel throughout Saudi Arabia to photograph traditional doors and gateways. Mohamed Zakariya is an award-winning master calligrapher.
The Messenger of God said, "Whenever the door of supplicatory prayer du'a is opened unto any of ye, the doors of Mercy too shall be opened unto him."--Qur'an
Doors of the Kingdom is a unique collection of photographs depicting the ancient and disappearing craft of doormaking in Arabia. The Islamic concept of hurma, or sanctity of a place of dwelling or worship, is recurrent throughout Arabic poetry and literature. The door (bab), preserver of sanctity, becomes symbolic of the boundary between public and private space, and between the profane and the sacred.
In 1995, Haajar Gouverneur traveled throughout the Arabian Peninsula photographing each region's distinctive doorways and the remaining artisans who make them. The doors of Arabia, painstakingly hand-carved from the wood of the Al-Athel trees, last in their exquisite variety for hundreds of years. This ancient craft, passed down from generation to generation in the central and northern regions of Saudi Arabia, is now nearly extinct. Modern materials, technology, and changing priorities threaten the continuity of the sacred and artisanal tradition of doormaking.